By Mark Michael

An Episcopal priest who has used the arts to build inter-religious understanding, one of African Anglicanism’s leading theologians, and leaders in evangelism, safeguarding, and pastoral care were among the 32 recipients of the 2020 Lambeth Awards, presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury to honor outstanding service to the Church and the wider world.

Award recipients were announced by Lambeth Palace on June 30, and include Church and interfaith leaders from the UK, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, and the United States. The awards ceremony, which has always been held at Lambeth Palace, has been cancelled due to COVID-related travel restrictions.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “This is the fifth year of the Lambeth Awards, and I am constantly impressed and humbled by the work that recipients have accomplished, sometimes in the most challenging circumstances. Not all are followers of Jesus Christ, but all contribute through their faith to the mutual respect and maintenance of human dignity which are so vital to spiritual and social health.”

Archbishops of Canterbury have been regularly making honorific presentations since 1940, when Archbishop Cosmo Lang instituted the Lambeth Cross, an award for ecumenical service. Awards for service to the Anglican Communion and the Church of England were added later.

Welby significantly expanded the Lambeth Awards in 2016, to include honors in the fields of prayer and the religious life, reconciliation and interfaith cooperation, evangelism and witness, education and scholarship, community service, and worship. Each the awards created in 2016 is named for a former Archbishop of Canterbury. The highest award, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Anglican Communion, has been given only twice, and was not awarded this year.

The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, an Episcopal priest currently serving as the senior priest of the Church of the Epiphany and Anglican Centre in Doha, Qatar, was awarded the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation. Chandler is the founder and president of CARAVAN, an nonprofit that seeks to build bridges between people of different faiths through travelling arts exhibitions on universal religious themes, like a 2019 London installation of “peace donkeys.” The Lambeth Awards citation noted that he “has spent his life focusing strategically on the role of the arts in the context of interfaith peace building, toward building bridges of understanding, respect and friendship between the Abrahamic faiths.” Chandler is also one of three candidates in the election for Bishop of Wyoming.

The Cross of St. Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion was awarded to the Rev. Professor Joseph Galgalo, a systematic theologian who has served as vice chancellor of St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya for the last nine years. The citation recognized Galgalo’s important work in contextual theology as well as his energetic leadership at St. Paul’s, noting that “he has overseen extraordinary growth in this ecumenical University: trebling the number of students and academics; founding three new campuses; and, without overseas grants, establishing thirteen new buildings on the Limuru campus.” Professor Galgalo’s service to the Anglican Communion has included service on the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, as well as leadership in the Communion-wide listening process about human sexuality.

A retired Kenyan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Wasonga, was also awarded the Cross of St. Augustine, for his pioneering leadership in environmental concern, and his role establishing a peer-mentoring program for African Anglican bishops.  John Mullin Clark, a former missionary and administrator for the UK-based Church Mission Society, received the honor for his leadership in Communion-wide mission coordination and in trusts that provide financial support for Anglican churches in Iran and Jerusalem.

Three of the recipients of the Canterbury Cross for Service to the Church of England have been important leaders in the church’s attempts to grapple with sexual abuse within the church and to establish new standards for safeguarding. Jo Kind was recognized as the first abuse survivor to testify before General Synod, in 2018, and for her work in coordinating support groups for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Dr. Margaret Kennedy was recognized as the founder of Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MCSAS), an organization run by survivors for survivors, that seeks to advocate for improved safeguarding standards across many denominations. Phil Johnson, the chair of MCSAS, was recognized for his work as a spokesperson for abuse survivors for over twenty years, and for service on several panels that have helped the Church of England reckon with its past failures and improve safeguarding protocols.

Awards were also presented to leaders in a variety of ministry areas, including Mike Pilavachi, the founder and longtime leader of the youth festival Soul Survivor; Mother Jennifer Anne Goodeve, an Anglican nun who transformed a Victorian convent into a highly regarded modern nursing home in Chiswick, England; Bishops of Derry Ken Good and Donal Mckeown, one an Anglican and one a Roman Catholic, who worked together for peace in Northern Ireland; and Jonathan Bryan, a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who has used a system of typing by eye movement to write several books about his life and his faith.

The full list of award recipients can be viewed here.