Anglican Archbishop John Sentamu of York issued a plea for unity among members of the worldwide Anglican Church Communion, stating that conservative Anglicans should not boycott the 2008 Lambeth Conference and that sexuality issues were not a “test of orthodoxy.”
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the archbishop warned bishops of the conservative Global South that they would be in danger of putting themselves outside the worldwide communion if they carried out their threats to boycott Lambeth next year.
"The thing that unites all Christians is our faith in the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ,” he was quoted as saying.
"The other thing to remember is that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace,” he continued. "As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message.”
Archbishop Sentamu said he did not find that the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church in Canada had any doubts in their understanding of God.
"What they have quarreled about is the nature of sexual ethics," he said.
Archbishop Sentamu urged the bishops of North America and the Global South to attend the conference.
"You are members of one body and therefore you should listen to one another and find a way out. I want to say to both sides, you would do well to come to the Lambeth Conference for us to hammer out our differences,” he was quoted as saying.
However, he added, that Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, expects those who attend Lambeth to abide by the decision-making processes of the Anglican Communion.
"The Archbishop of Canterbury is very clear that he still reserves the right to withdraw the invitations and that those who are invited are accepting the Windsor process and accepting the process about the covenant,” he was quoted as saying.
However, he continued, “Church regulations and Church legislation should not stand in the way of the gospel of love your neighbor.”