Bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina Ask for Your Prayers Ahead of the Lambeth Conference
Dear Beloved of God,
Grace and peace to you from your bishops of North Carolina.
Each of our households are in the final stages of preparing for departure to Canterbury, England, where we, along with our spouses, will attend the Lambeth Conference. Until very recently, we had hoped for a gathering primarily characterized by building our fellowship in Christ through bible study, worship and deep conversations. Knowing that the once-a-decade (or so) gathering of bishops from around the worldwide Anglican Communion has sometimes been an occasion of great controversy and discord inconsistent with the unity to which we aspire, we were cautiously optimistic about this gathering, optimism based upon small group meetings with other bishops from around the world, held via Zoom last fall.
Early this week we received some study materials including some draft documents titled "Lambeth Calls." These draft statements "outline ways in which the Anglican Communion might collectively seek to be 'God's Church for God's World' in the decade ahead." These documents include affirmations and calls to action on Mission, Evangelism, Christian Unity, Reconciliation and Creation Care. One proposed "Call" addresses marriage in a manner that is giving us great pause, particularly because it contradicts the canons of The Episcopal Church. Until these documents arrived in our inboxes, we had no idea such plans were being put together for votes to be taken. Both of us feel misled as well as disappointed to realize there was this particular agenda revealed so close to our departure.
That said, no action at Lambeth will undo or supersede the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. We will go forward maintaining a commitment to engagement and active listening, as well as giving witness to the Gospel as we are seeing it lived out in our diocese and beyond. We are particularly blessed and delighted to be traveling with many LGBTQ+ bishops among the House of Bishops from the Episcopal Church. We will journey in solidarity, resting and relying upon the Way of Love to illuminate always the path forward. We will continue to live into our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being. Please keep us in your daily prayers as we will keep you in ours.
Yours in Christ, the Way of Love,
Bishop Sam Rodman and Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple