In the aftermath of the most recent Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church, Albert Mohler interviewed Rev. Canon George Conger. He is an Episcopalian Priest with the Diocese of Central Florida and the Chief Correspondent of “The Church of England Newspaper.”
Albert Mohler: Every 10 years the bishops of the Anglican Communion gather for what is known as the Lambeth Conference named for the palace across the Thames River from Central London which is the traditional and historic home of the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the leader of the Anglican movement worldwide. The Archbishop of Canterbury is now Rowan Williams. As the bishops gathered, there was much controversy that had been boiling for some years, but the focus of the controversy is the issue of local authority. The specific exploding point here—or the fuse on this bomb—is the issue of human sexuality and homosexuality, and the catalyst for all of this was what happened five years ago.
Five years ago in Minneapolis, the Episcopal Church, U.S. confirmed Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop of any Anglican Communion—and that set the stage for what happened and didn’t happen in London at the Lambeth Conference. What didn’t happen is that all the bishops attended. Gene Robinson was there and he was not invited to participate in the conference. There were others who were not invited. Over 200 conservative bishops met earlier and then boycotted, more or less, the Lambeth meeting out of their frustration with the fact that pro-homosexual bishops, especially of North America, would be attending.
The Archbishop of Canterbury decided before the meeting began, and made the announcement, that there would be no resolutions and no votes to avoid division, but rather discussion groups. As the Lambeth Conference came to an end it released a document—I hold that document in my hand—entitled, “Reflections Upon the Lambeth Conference 2008.” It calls for what is described as a “season of gracious restraint.” Included in this are three moratoria: the first moratorium most significantly is a moratorium on Episcopal ordinations of partnered homosexual people and also the elections of bishops included within that.
We are very glad to have today as our guest, the Rev. Canon George Conger…. Can you tell us what in the world happened at the Lambeth Conference?
George Conger: Well, there was about three weeks of talk and talk and talk, and that’s all that happened. No decisions were taken, no actions were taken. Nothing authoritative or prescriptive was done at this meeting.