Lambeth Conference Opens July 23 in Canterbury

Episcopal News Service. March 9, 1978 [78057]

London, Eng. -- The opening and closing acts of the 1978 Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion will be held in historic Canterbury Cathedral and will feature the celebration of the Eucharist and sermons by the heads of the Church of England and the U. S. Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Donald Coggan of Canterbury will preach at the opening service at 10:30 a. m. on Sunday, July 23, and Presiding Bishop John M. Allin of the U. S. Episcopal Church will deliver the sermon at the closing service three weeks later on Aug. 13 at the same hour. Both services are open to the public.

Archbishop John Sepeku of Tanzania will be the celebrant on July 23, using the Tanzanian Liturgy, and Dr. Coggan who is president of the conference, will celebrate at the closing service.

Some 440 bishops -- 400 diocesan and 40 assistants -- will come from 25 independent churches or provinces of the Anglican Communion and from about 100 countries for the decennial conference. Members will take "common counsel" and adopt reports and resolutions of an advisory nature for the guidance of their national churches and dioceses. In addition, eight members of the Anglican Consultative Council standing committee, 20 consultants, and 25 observers from other churches will attend and participate fully in the conference.

The first Lambeth Conference was held in 1867 and they have been called about every 10 years since then. The last one was held in 1968. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls the conferences and he determines the agenda.

This year the conference -- the eleventh one -- will move from the traditional Lambeth Palace in London to the University of Kent in Canterbury, where registration will take place all day July 22. The bishops will live together on the campus with special opportunities for fellowship, discussion, sharing and communication with Anglicans of diverse experience. The context of the conference is prayer and deepening of the understanding of the ministry of a bishop today.

A special day during the conference will be Tuesday, Aug. 1, when the members will go to London for a tour of Lambeth Palace, a Festal Evensong at Westminster Abbey at 2:00 p.m., and a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. The preacher at the Abbey service will be Archbishop Moses N. C. O. Scott of West Africa.

A great deal of time of the conference will be devoted to informal discussions in the three major sections and the 33 sub-groups.

However, four special afternoon plenary sessions have been announced: July 28, "Training for Ministry in the Church;" July 31, "Ordination of Women to the Priesthood;" Aug. 2, "Anglican Relations with Other Churches;" and Aug. 4, "The Anglican Communion and its Future." Other plenary and regional sessions will also be planned.

Two special lectures will take place at the beginning of the conference: "The Conserving Society," by Barbara Ward on July 24, and "The Economic Factor in Human Aspirations," by the Rev. Charles M. Elliott on July 25.

Devotional lecturers -- one for each week -- will be Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of Sourozh of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Rev. Christopher Duraisingh of the Church of South India, and Archbishop Stuart Blanch of York.

It is intended that the two weekends during the conference will be free days.

Mrs. Donald Coggan is in charge of a committee making arrangements for bishops' wives. A conference for wives will be held at Christ Church College in Canterbury, Aug. 5-13. The program will include times for prayer, discussion, talks and lectures with speakers, such as Dr. Allan Wicks, Bishop Lesslie Newbigin and Dr. Cecily Saunders.

The secretary of the conference is Bishop John Howe, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council.

A book of preparatory articles, "Today's Church and Today's World," with a special focus on the ministry of bishops, may be ordered from one of the following: CIO Publishing, Church House, Dean's Yard, London SW1P 3NZ, England; The Anglican Book Centre, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2J6, Canada; or, The Anglican Book Society, Canterbury House, 760 Somerset Street, West Ottawa KIR 6P9, Canada. (A request for delivery by air rather than surface mail is suggested.)