[Anglican Communion News Service]

The Lambeth Conference, which gathers bishops from across the Anglican Communion about once a decade has been postponed until 2021 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a video message released today that he had consulted with a wide variety of stakeholders in recent weeks, including some of the Communion’s forty primates.

Welby said that international travel restrictions have factored into the decision, as well as a need for bishops to be present to their people at a time of crisis. “The place of a Bishop at a time of difficulty is a place of a shepherd when the wolf is attacking the flock,” he said.  “It is to be with them. To be alongside them. To love them. To suffer with them.

“Because of the Coronavirus, travel around the world is deeply restricted and the amount of time that we will face these limitations is unknown. For these reasons, so that we may be good shepherds as bishops in the Anglican world, and encourage the church to be there for God’s suffering world, we have decided to reschedule and postpone the conference and to put it forward till 2021 at pretty well the same time.”

Welby said that new dates were not yet available, but that conference attendees would be notified as soon as possible. Read it all.

On March 20, GAFCON announced that its Kigali 2020 Bishop’s Conference, a gathering designed especially for Anglican bishops from more conservative provinces that would not be attending Lambeth, would also be postponed “until such a time as it becomes practical to reconvene.”

In a letter on GAFCON’s website, GAFCON’s General Secretary Archbishop Ben Kwashi said that the conference organizers “have in mind the need to act responsibly and not risk adding to infections in our host nation, Rwanda, nor risk delegates to the conference becoming infected and spreading the disease in their home countries.”