After a three day retreat, which concluded on Sunday afternoon, 650 Anglican bishops officially opened the 14th Lambeth Conference at the Cathedral of Canterbury. The liturgy which opened the conference included a sermon by the Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, in which he said that the boycott by around 200 bishops of the summit is a sign that “all was not well.”
The conference was convoked by the celebration of the Eucharist, which was presided over by Archbishop Rowan Williams, with the sermon being delivered by Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
“We are a wounded community,” the bishop said in his sermon as he described the absence of more than 200 bishops who are boycotting the conference over the ordination of the actively homosexual Gene Robinson and the adherence of the Communion to Scripture.
“Some of us are not here, and this shows everything is not fine. The crisis is certainly a complex one. It’s not a crisis that can be quickly solved. A long, daring journey awaits us, a journey that will require our prayer, faithfulness and mutual confidence, and above all confidence in God who makes reconciliation possible,” said the bishop.
In his homily, the Anglican leader also focused on the “challenge of unity in diversity” and the call to be “an inclusive community in which there’s space for each and everyone.”
Following the opening liturgy, the Anglican bishops held their first plenary session of the conference.
The Lambeth Conference will consist of two weeks of discussions about numerous issues, including sexuality and female bishops.
In spite of the boycott by a quarter of the Anglican Communion’s bishops, Archbishop Williams maintained that the Church isn’t headed for schism, saying, “If this is the end of the Anglican Communion I don't think anyone has told most of the people here.”