Anglican bishops from around the world are engaging in a series of conversations relevant to the themes of the 2022 Lambeth Conference. Excerpts of these monthly conversations are shared at lambethconference.org, and a few passages appear below. The actual conversations are held privately online, among the bishops and a few Anglican theologians.
The Lambeth Conference is a global meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion. It has convened roughly every 10 years since 1867, and will meet for the 15th time from July 27 to August 8, 2022.
The conference is based at the University of Kent in Canterbury, about 60 miles east of London. Some events will be at nearby Canterbury Cathedral, and at Lambeth Palace in London, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the conference host. More than 600 bishops (and their wives or husbands) are expected to attend.
For October, the discussion prompt was Jesus’ words from Matthew 5: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? … You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. … Let your light shine before others.” The respondents were asked: “What does it mean to be salt and light in your setting?”
— Kirk Petersen
Being salt and light in Malaysia for the Archbishop is also about speaking out against injustice and corruption as Christian leaders. At a meeting last year with Sabah’s chief minister and Christian leaders, the Archbishop explained, “I said, if the government policy is good for the people of the state or the country, the church will support it, but if the policy does not benefit the people in the whole state, and if the policies marginalise certain groups of people, or if it involves some forms of corruption, then I said, we want to say to you that this is not right. And we want to tell you, not through social media, but through this face to face dialogue. And actually, the chief minister appreciated that very much.”
— Melter Jiki Tais
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia
and Bishop of Sabah (Malaysia)
“To be salt in a place, to influence that place, to bring healing, to bring purification, to bring transformation, to bring light, to be the light of the world in a place, is to bring the light of the gospel. To bring light in the darkness, is to transform a space from darkness to light and from the presence of evil to something which is the presence of God and of goodness and transformation. So, in this context, church planting is the necessity of Christians and Christian communities to be in those places of darkness, to be in those places where there is great suffering or a great sense of hopelessness, with people feeling far from God.”
— Ric Thorpe
Bishop of Islington, Diocese of London
“We are all tied up. We are all in this ‘bake’ together and live in an amazing web of relationships, sometimes good, sometimes conflicted, but they are relationships to be nurtured. I’m a Brazilian; the Brazilian with the Japanese mother and Italian father, working globally for the past 20 years, and speaking different languages all the time. In my context in Latin America, to be salt and to be light, first of all should be prophetic; to speak the truth to power and every power. So, that includes the political powers and the religious powers, to speak the truth against any kind of social norms that are oppressive and exclude people.”
— Paulo Ueti
Theologian and scholar, Anglican Communion Office, based in Brazil
“Salt is salt, whether it is in England, or in Finland or wherever, salt is salt, light is light. If one lives in a predominantly religious society, which is most of the global south, very many people take their religions very seriously. To be salt means you’ve got to stand out … You’re called to challenge your society and to prevent your society from getting corrupted and that is not easy.”
Archbishop Josiah believes the church doesn’t speak out enough against issues like corruption. “Why don’t we talk about corruption? Why don’t we talk about high handedness, misuse of power? Why do we oppress the poor people in the church? Why don’t we speak against that? You cannot be salt in one place, and then you sort of cease being who you are, what you are called to be, in another situation.”
— Josiah Idowu-Fearon
Secretary General, Anglican Communion