Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth Calls – An update on the process

This afternoon the Archbishop of Canterbury outlined changes to the Lambeth Calls process; details are on the Conference website and are copied below.

Lambeth Calls – An update on the process

In this afternoon’s Lambeth Calls session on Safe Church, Archbishop Justin outlined some changes to the Lambeth Calls process.

The Bishops will continue to discuss the calls at their tables, recording feedback and observations, and this will be given to the group working on Phase 3 of the Conference so that the voices of bishops will be heard as the process continues. Six groups will have the opportunity to give verbal feedback during each session, on a randomly selected basis.

However, having listened to the bishops, Archbishop Justin advised delegates that electronic recording of choices will not be in place for the remaining calls, an announcement that was greeted with supportive applause.

An opportunity will be given at the end of each session for a verbal indication of agreement. If the calls gain clear assent they will be sent forward for further work.

31 July 2022

For reference the arrangements before today’s changes are here.

Today’s session was the second Lambeth Call. The first Call (on Mission and Evangelism) was yesterday and details are here. It is interesting to note that 464 Bishops voted responded to the Call. Since there are more than 600 bishops at the conference it appears that a substantial number failed to respond in any of the three ways available.

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Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
8 days ago

The person(s) selected to make a judgement on what constitutes ‘clear assent’ now holds the future of the Anglican Communion in their hands. Lord have mercy.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
8 days ago

Justin Welby isn’t making too great a job of this, is he?

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
8 days ago

Just a trifling little point about this Safe Church call, the last one that is going to be voted on. It’s illegal in several countries, including the UK. It proposes As part of the Call, the bishops committed to intentionally sharing safeguarding information about clergy between Churches of the Anglican Communion to improve safety and standards around the Communion.  Unfortunately the GDPR in the UK (and corresponding law in the EU) mandates that personal data may only be transferred to other countries when the receiving countries have a level of protection equivalent to that of the sending country. That is… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
8 days ago

This might possibly answer your point… The guidelines and protocols that the Safe Church call affirms do not prescribe specific actions or rules, and that is by design, said Blake, the Safe Church Commission chair. “Why ‘guidelines’? Because of 165 countries and all those different legal systems, we cannot have a prescriptive set of rules. But we can have guidelines which need to be contextualized to each province, and we tested the suitability of those guidelines through a broad membership on the commission throughout all parts of the world. And part of my role as chair was to say, ‘This… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
7 days ago

Mr Blake is, at best, badly advised. This thing that the bishops have committed to doing cannot be done legally in the UK.

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
8 days ago

Really he couldn’t organise a p**s up in a brewery.
What a shambles. Why did he not foresee this farce?

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Graham Watts
7 days ago

He obviously did, and he is organising it, though rather abusively. He seems to have exclusive control over the rules of procedure. Also known as “THE PROCESS”. Please note that THE PROCESS may change overnight, according to the Archbishop’s requirements.

Cynical observer
Cynical observer
8 days ago

The same sort of supportive applause that no doubt happens at meetings of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Fr Gustavo Mansella
8 days ago

I served in the staff of Lambeth 2008, coordinating translation services in eight different languages for the whole Conference of Bishops and Spouses. Being immersed among the Bishops, and the dynamics of the gathering, I am not surprised that many Bishops appeared to not respond to the call. First, interpretation and understanding in a language that for many may be only their third language takes time. Never mind that instructions sometimes are convoluted even in English! And so I found many times that when eventually some Bishops were ready to vote, the window had already closed! Second, the Bishops are… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Fr Gustavo Mansella
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
8 days ago

I like this comment. Thanks!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
8 days ago

Thank you for this comment.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
8 days ago

Interesting swipe at Robert’s Rules of Order. But what about Welby’s Rules of Order? Robert’s Rules of Order — Known and knowable, indeed widely published. Commonly understood as the best way to run a very large meeting that conducts business. Developed by Henry Martyn Robert–whose family left South Carolina because they were abolitionists, and whose father was the first President of Morehouse College, a historically Black institution. Robert himself served in the Union (anti-slavery) Army during the Civil War. And he began to develop the Rules after a Baptist-church meeting–yes, a church meeting!–went wrong. Welby’s Rules of Order — Unknown… Read more »

Fr Gustavo Mansella
Reply to  Jeremy
7 days ago

I cannot see anything wrong with Robert’s per se. My observation was that all should be given a fair chance to learn to play by them.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
7 days ago

Good point.!

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
7 days ago

Ideally, and if they genuinely want to, yes.
And the criminally minded really ought to study law.
Until then, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
7 days ago

Good to hear a wider perspective. It shows how frustrating the changing rules on voting/affirming must be for those working in their second or third language. Saying/shouting ‘no’ is, I believe, hard in some cultures. I hope someone has a gentle arm around the ABoC this evening. It is a brave leader who can soldier on through another week of this and face the aftermath.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Fr Gustavo Mansella
6 days ago

Highly informative comment Fr., many thanks for posting it. 🙂

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 days ago

So only 464 bishops voted on the first call (on Mission and Evangelism) and the vote result was 66-33-1 in percentage terms. I’m left to wonder which number is worse. The total voting–464 bishops–is not a quorate number. On hearing that result, any savvy legislator would suggest the absence of a quorum. Furthermore, now that actual voting has apparently been done away with, how will the _presence_ of a quorum be determined? And 33 percent wanted more study? Of a call on mission and evangelism? That’s a strong signal, on the first vote, that the Calls were going to face… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Jeremy
Jeremy
Jeremy
7 days ago

According to Episcopal News Service, “At the July 31 session, Welby asked the bishops to register their agreement with the Call on Safe Church by remaining silent, a bishop in attendance told Episcopal News Service, and those who objected were encouraged to raise their voices, which none did.” This is very typical of a voice-“vote” procedure in which the chair wants no one to object. The fair way to conduct a voice vote is to ask “those who are in favor, say aye” and then to ask ‘those opposed, say no.” The procedure Welby is using has unfortunate effects: It… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Jeremy
Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Jeremy
7 days ago

As I commented earlier elsewhere, there is method to this madness, and it marks effective use of shambolism as a management tool.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jeremy
7 days ago

I can see it; you can see it; bishops are intelligent, educated people so I guarantee many of them can see it. After this Lambeth Conference, how many bishops will either still trust or respect Welby?

I think the conservatives are underplaying their hand using their political capital to get a vote affirming Lambeth I.10. If they pushed for a change in the presidency of the Anglican Communion away from the Archbishop of Canterbury, right now I suspect they would have enough votes to carry the motion – especially under the new ‘voting’ rules.

Susannah Clark
7 days ago

Personally I’d prefer transparency about who voted what, and in what numbers. In Parliament we get a record of how MPs voted. I realise that bishops would feel that disclosure on how they voted would render them ‘partisan’ into the future on (say) an issue like sexuality, where there are conflicting views in their dioceses. It would effectively be an announcement that thereon after they favoured a particular side. I can see that’s tricky, because it might subvert confidence and respect among half your priests. But so is an elected MP’s position tricky, because her/his constituents get to know what… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 days ago

I agree with you, Susannah, about transparency in voting. Also, it’s not clear to me how Jeremy says that 464 out of 600 bishops attending the Lambeth Conference “is not a quorate number.” It’s interesting to compare the position at General Synod, where, under Standing Order 16(1), a quorum is one fifth of the members of each house (bishops, clergy and laity), with the recorded votes at the group of sessions in York in July. A counted vote can be of the whole synod (i.e. not distinguishing between the three houses) or by houses, when the numbers voting for and… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  David Lamming
6 days ago

I regard the Lambeth Conference, in the language of Robert’s as a “deliberative assembly with enrolled membership”–that is, bishops of Communion provinces. Unless the assembly has made a bylaw to differing effect, a quorum in such a body is “a majority of all the members.” In this regard, it is may be noteworthy that the membership list of the Lambeth Conference would appear to be a guarded secret. Did anyone announce, at the beginning of LC22, whether a quorum was achieved and if so, what the calculation was? The exact denominator, in the quorum determination, may be known only to… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

I don’t think anything like “Robert’s Rules” apply. They are to all intents and purposes unknown in this country (and probably unknown outside the USA, I suspect). There is no equivalent that I am aware of in the UK — any body that wishes to have rules will write their own, probably based on those of some other body. If they are a charity or a company they will need to comply with charity and/or company law, but that does not apply to the Lambeth Conference. My take is that the Conference is a gathering at the invitation of the… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 days ago

My recollection of Lambeth 1998 is that some attempt was made then to follow the CofE General Synod Standing Orders, but this was not entirely successful…

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 days ago

I’m not sure matters are so simple.
For good or for ill, there is an entity called The Lambeth Conference Ltd., Registered Charity No. 1121679. Its trustees include names recently mentioned on this board, including Thornton and Ineson.
https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search/-/charity-details/4032288/trustees
But more importantly, the claim you are making is that the Archbishop of Canterbury “determines the process” no matter what the hundreds of bishops attending might think.
That would be an extremely unusual way for any assembly to operate.
Is that the Archbishop’s position? It would be good for someone to ask the question.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

I guess it is sensible to have a limited liability company responsible — but company and charity law is only concerned about how shareholders or directors or trustees vote. I imagine that the bishops who are invited are not (in the overwhelming majority of cases) any of those. They are just “conference delegates” attending a conference. And I did suggest that the Abp of Canterbury can take advice from whomsoever he wishes — and I intended to imply that that might well include the assembled bishops. Or it might include only the primates, or the senior primates, or hs own… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 days ago

I think the bishops are more than “conference delegates.” They are members of the conference. Without knowing what English law might apply–so I too lack information–I would have thought that a meeting of the members of the conference must be quorate (according to whatever standard) for the meeting to conduct business that is in any way valid as the work of the conference (in any sense of “valid”–we know it’s not legislatively valid). To illustrate the point, let’s see whether there’s any absurdum to be reductio’d here. If the Archbishop were to convene 10 bishops on the side and declare… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

I think you are missing the point. The only authority that the Conference has is a moral authority. That authority comes from the collective episcopal authority of those attending. It puts its resolutions or calls out, backed by the moral authority of those present – and it is then up to the provinces of the Communion, and where relevant the wider Church and world, to receive or reject them. There is no reason to think there is any quorum – a resolution passed by only a small number of bishops will just have less moral authority. And there is zero… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 days ago

Simon, I think you are conflating procedural validity with legal force. They are not the same. Every assembly can pass a hortatory resolution that has no legal power whatsoever. That’s nothing unusual. It expresses the sense of the group, or it calls upon someone else to do something, without having any power to bind. Even such a hortatory resolution, however–or as you put It one that has only moral authority–must be procedurally valid as an act of the assembly, or the organisation assembled. That’s a different question entirely. In other words, just because a resolution has only moral suasion does… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

The Charity Commission website identifies the ‘Activities’ of the Lambeth Conference as follows:

“Every 10 years or so, the Archbishop of Canterbury invites the bishops of the Anglican Communion to join with him in prayer, study and discernment. [The Lambeth Conference was planned for July 2020 in Canterbury Cathedral and the University of Kent. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic the Lambeth Conference will now take place in July 2022.]”

Invitation, prayer, study and discernment don’t suggest any legally binding consequences on anyone.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 days ago

Some years ago, at my workplace, I had a small hardback-bound book “The Law of Meetings”, but I don’t recall the author’s name and researches today have drawn a blank, except for the fact that there are currently in print a number of academically published equivalent manuals in this country directed at different disciplines. They would, of course, be redundant if Robert’s Rules had any authority in the UK. They don’t, and so far as their US parliamentary origin is concerned, the equivalent here is Erskine May.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 days ago

For private assemblies, the closest UK equivalent to Robert’s is probably Palgrave, The Chairman’s Handbook, which was first published in the late 19th century and has gone through several editions since. But the Charity Commission has published electronically guidance on “Charities and Meetings.” That guidance is dated 2012. It is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charities-and-meetings-cc48/charities-and-meetings This guidance sets the default quorum quite low–but it also says that the charity should set a quorum for a general meeting carefully with regard to the number of members. It even mentions the 20 percent figure. The web guidance also states: “If a meeting does not have… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Peter Owen
5 days ago

Thank you, Peter, for the links. I’ve looked at the most recently filed memorandum and articles of association of The Lambeth Conference Ltd (let’s call it “Lambeth Ltd”). I’m not sure it’s correct that the only members of Lambeth Ltd. are the trustees (see Articles 1.7, which seems to distinguish, and allow for the possibility of a member not being a trustee; see also Articles 3.3, which distinguishes between consent to membership and declaration as to trusteeship). On the quorum for members of Lambeth Ltd, there seems to be a maximum of 12 members (Articles 3.1) and the quorum required… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

I re-iterate that there is no UK equivalent of what I understand to be the role of Robert’s Rules in the USA. There is no single widely-accepted guide to procedure at meetings. There is simply very commonly accepted practice, and each society or group provides its own rules if it is required to have them or thinks it needs them. Charities and companies must comply with the relevant law when holding meetings but that only applies to their meetings of shareholders or directors or trustees, and so far as I am aware the law does not lay down very much… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

Thank you, but I consider that you are approaching the status of the Conference from a totally wrong footing. This is neither an annual meeting nor a general meeting of the company and charity. Those could, and for all I know may well, take place in London where their registered address is, and there is no reason to suppose that the law is not being strictly followed. (Incidentally, for those who may not wish to trawl through the records, the Archbishop is neither a trustee nor a director.) That the non-binding effect of Conference resolutions is already obvious, as carefully… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 days ago

Rowland, please see the above comments for details on The Lambeth Conference Ltd, the private limited company and registered charity. As I said there, having reviewed the latest memorandum and articles, I agree that Lambeth Ltd is not the bishops’ gathering and that we should distinguish between the two. I don’t agree that the existence of Lambeth Ltd necessarily means that the decennial bishops’ gathering has no legal status of its own. On this point, it is useful to read (very carefully!) the “History and Purpose” document that was sent out with the first draft of the Calls. It is… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Jeremy
6 days ago

It’s rather condescending of you to say that you “take me at [my] word that General Synod has set the [quorum] standard at 20 per cent“, when I cited the relevant Synod standing order which, if you wanted or had bothered to do so, you could check by viewing the standing orders on the C of E website: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2022-07/Standing%20order-%20updated%20July%2022.pdf/ Since you now say, “I’m not aware that the Lambeth Conference has any specific quorum standard“, I take it that you will withdraw your earlier assertion that “The total voting–464 bishops–is not a quorate number.” If you respond to this comment,… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  David Lamming
6 days ago

No, David Lamming, I have been commenting here for I think at least 15 years in this fashion. I do not intend to change it now for you. If you’re wondering whether I’m an English-qualified solicitor, the answer is no. My position is that absent a specific rule adopted by the assembly, the default rule for the quorum of an assembly is a majority of those enrolled and able to vote. I have given you authority that supports my position–as a general, default rule. Your position appears to be that there is no quorum requirement at all for an assembly,… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Jeremy
Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 days ago

Susannah, as much as I would prefer transparency, I see a benefit to the vagueness in this instance. We know that the Communion is not of one mind on sexuality. The best that we could hope for (and it is an unrealistic hope) is for an acknowledgement that there is disagreement and that both sides are acting according to their interpretation of Scripture, tradition, and reason, as they feel directed by the Spirit (such as what came out of the Canadian General Synod a decade or more ago). In that context, a legislative “victory” for one side or the other… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jim Pratt
6 days ago

Thanks Jim. I think Justin has signalled this in his statement, opening the session on Human Dignity, where he seems to support a ‘pluralism’ in the Church, and refuses to discipline or exclude Provinces with divergent views on sexuality. Indeed, he affirms the theological seriousness of both the main conflicting positions. That offers precedent for resolving things in England as LLF moves towards actions and decisions.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 days ago

“He refuses”
Don’t give him more credit than he deserves. He has no power to discipline, and I suspect that his powers to exclude sees that have attended the conference for 150 years is also limited.

Susannah Clark
7 days ago

Although my views are different to Andrew Goddard’s, there is a detailed and thought-provoking article over on the Psephizo website today – tracking the way these ‘invitations’/’calls’ developed step by step over the years, months, and days preceding the Lambeth Conference. There are questions worth asking about the way this Conference has been prepared and handled, and I found it worth a read.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 days ago

Thanks very much for linking Andrew’s incisive analysis Susannah.

While we may disagree strongly on content, people of all theological stripes should be able to unite in calling out a process that would shame a cigar chomping gerrymanderer.

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