By: MARGARET BROWN
Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.
AT THE first Lambeth Conference in 1888 it was agreed that the four essentials for a United Christian Church were the Holy Scriptures, the Apostles’ Creed, the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, and the governance of Bishops (The Episcopate).
Known as The Lambeth Quadrelateral, at this year’s conference running from July 16 to August 3 at the University of Kent, Bishops from all over the world will be working within that framework seeking spiritual refreshment, getting to know and trust one another, and to sort out present difficulties. The Bible studies will be concentrated on God’s word in the Gospel of John, the disciple who recorded the seven miracles performed by Christ during his ministry.
To an onlooker there seems to be a division between those who believe that every word within the Bible is sacrosanct and others who think the Scriptures either should not be taken literally or should have a more liberal interpretation in order to move with the times. The split over the consecration of one gay Bishop, women priests and single sex unions has led to a boycott by some 250 Bishops in Britain and abroad, these preferring to attend a breakaway gathering in Jerusalem.
The Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers, being devoted to the betterment of the Anglican Communion and seeking to resolve conflict should it arise, with a special emphasis on the spiritual enrichment of Bishops in order to help them to carry out their roll in the 21st century.
How, in the present climate, unity will be restored remains to be seen. In one of his writings the Archbishop of Canterbury stated that “orthodoxy is not an end in itself” – a humane and liberal view at odds with those who believe that the word of God cannot be broken. Dr Rowan is much in need of a miracle – so help him God.