Lambeth vigil supported by 6000 Anglicans prays for inclusive church
PRESS RELEASE Tuesday, October 7, 2003 For immediate release
The leaders of the Anglican Church will be literally surrounded by prayer as a network of over 6000 Anglicans organizes a vigil in churches around Lambeth Palace on 15th October. At 11 am, grassroots church-goers will assemble at the parish churches of St Matthew’s Westminster, St John’s Waterloo and St Peter’s Lambeth – the three parishes that immediately surround Lambeth Palace – to pray for the future of the church. The vigil has been organised by Inclusivechurch.net.
‘The meeting at Lambeth Palace of Anglican Church leaders from around the world to discuss the future direction of the Anglican Communion will be a pivotal meeting for our Church,’ says Giles Fraser, chair of Inclusivechurch.net. ‘We are praying that justice will prevail and that the historic, tolerant spirit of the Church of England, which is its genius, will grow, not diminish.’
‘People want an inclusive church,’ says Anne Kiem, a laywoman from All Saints Church, Fulham who will be at the vigil. ‘I do not want to belong to an organization that excludes people on the grounds of race, sex, gender or sexual orientation. This is what, I believe, the vast majority of people in the Church of England think too.’
‘Grassroots members of the Church of England are now speaking loud and clear to Anglican leaders,’ says April Alexander, the lay chair of Southwark Diocesan Synod, another supporter. ‘When secondary issues come to dominate over the church’s core beliefs about the loving-kindness of God, something very serious has gone wrong.’
Inclusivechurch.net is a grassroots network of Anglicans with a campaigning edge, open to anyone who shares the vision of an inclusive church. It began as a group of friends from Southwark, London and Oxford who were increasingly worried about the future direction of the Church of England. Others similarly concerned over recent injustices in the church asked if they could join, including individuals from the evangelical wing of the Church. It snowballed very quickly: over 6000 people have now registered their support. A number of organizations including LGCM, Changing Attitudes, Affirming Catholicism, MCU, GRAS and the Open Synod group are involved.
In August 2003 a petition was launched on the website Inclusivechurch.net. It contains a Statement of Belief written by a group of Oxford theologians. The statement expresses the strong conviction that the Church is for all people regardless of sex, race or sexual orientation. It calls on the Church to act justly, particularly in the appointment of clergy and bishops regardless of sex, race or sexual orientation. Visitors to the website, be they individuals, PCCs (Parochial Church Councils) or other organizations, are invited to register their support.
Press are invited to attend the vigil respecting the fact that it is open to anyone.
St Peter’s Lambeth is 200 yards from Vauxhall BR Train Station on Kennington Lane. St John’s Waterloo is across the road from Waterloo BR Train Station. St Matthew’s Westminster is on Great Peter Street, round the corner from Church House.
Facilities for the press will be available at St Matthew’s Westminster.
Giles Fraser, the chair of inclusivechurch.net, can be contacted on 07811 444011.
April Alexander, Anne Kiem and other members of inclusivechurch.net are available for comment. Please call Mark Vernon on 07966 376564.