Lambeth Conferences

Lambeth Conference, the once every ten -yearly general meeting of all Anglican bishops.


The name comes from Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, where the conference up to and including 1968 also took place. Since 1978 it takes place on the Canterbury campus of the University of Kent, since it is possible during the summer holidays, that all bishops stay for the duration of the conference at the same place in the student dormitories of the University, together.


The conference was first held in 1867 and has evolved over the decades into one of the four instruments of unity of the Anglican Church world.

At the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in May 2007 to the conference in 2008 will be held:

The idea of ​​a conference was first held in 1851 in a letter written by John Henry Hopkins, Bishop of Vermont, to the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, the exact reason for the first meeting was an urgent letter from the Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to Archbishop Charles Thomas Longley from the year 1865. In this letter, the Anglican inhabitants of the British colonies in North America expressed their concern that recent decisions of the Privy Council could lead to the fact that in the Canadian church other canonical provisions could be considered as in England and Ireland. So the Canadians feared they would be forced to " drift into the status of an independent branch of the Roman Catholic Church." For this reason, they asked Longley, a "national synod of bishops of the Anglican Church at home and abroad " to call that should come together under his leadership. After he had consulted with both houses of the Convocation of Canterbury, Archbishop Longley agreed and called all the bishops of the Anglican Communion (then 144 in number) to a meeting in Lambeth in 1867.

Many Anglican bishops ( including the Archbishop of York and most of his suffragan bishops ) had so much doubt about the meaning of such meeting, that they refused to attend her. Dean Stanley did not let that Westminster Abbey could be used for the conclusion of worship, and gave to justify that the meeting was only a partial assembly. The effect of their actions is uncertain, and in addition they stand out due to " the presence of prelates who are not members of our church " from.

In his opening speech, however, Archbishop Longley explained that the congregation did not intend to take over " the functions of a general synod of all the churches that are in full communion with the Church of England," but merely "things that are of practical interest to discuss, and what we deem useful to hold in decisions which may serve as a safe guide for future actions. " The resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences were never considered Synodaldekrete, but her weight has grown from conference to conference.

76 bishops accepted the invitation of the Primate, the first conference to attend, which was held on 24 September 1867 in Lambeth and four days lasted. The meetings were not public. The archbishop opened the conference with a speech; then followed by discussions. There committees were formed, which should report on specific questions. Resolutions have been adopted and a Enzyklikalbrief was written, which was addressed to the faithful of the Anglican Communion.

All subsequent conferences will each open in Canterbury Cathedral, where the archbishop from the chair of St. Augustine from preaching before the proceedings shall be continued afterwards at Lambeth Palace, since 1978 on the Canterbury campus. After five days of deliberations and the establishment of committees, the meetings adjourned for two weeks. This is followed by a further five days of meetings in order to receive the reports of the committees to take decisions and to leave a Enzyklikalbrief.

Chronology of Conferences