Possibly 3/4ths of all Anglican Bishops haven’t RSVP’ed to Lambeth

From the Telegraph:

Only a couple of hundred of the 880 Anglican bishops invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference, one of the most critical gatherings in the Church’s history, have replied by the deadline set by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams hopes that the conference, which is held every 10 years at Canterbury, can be the starting point for rebuilding the Church, which has been torn apart over the issue of homosexuality.

The failure of so many to respond is fresh evidence of the disintegration of the 70 million-strong worldwide Communion, and will come as a further blow to the authority of Dr Williams.

When he issued the invitations in May, he asked the bishops, who are scattered all over the world in 38 selfgoverning provinces, to send in their replies by July 31.

Several conservatives are delaying their decisions because they will not attend if liberal Americans are there – which will not be finally determined until later this year.

At least six conservative archbishops from Africa and Asia, who represent hundreds of bishops and more than a third of active Anglicans, have already threatened to boycott the event.

Last week the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Peter Jensen, wrote to Dr Williams. The conservative evangelical said he and his five assistant bishops could not yet say whether they would come.

He said their decision would depend on the attitude of the liberal leadership of the American branch of the worldwide Church, which has been given until Sept 30 to reverse its pro-gay agenda.

Archbishop Jensen indicated he would take the lead from the African conservatives. He will not attend the conference with the Americans unless they agree to toe the predominantly conservative line on homosexuality.

The Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, said in a recent interview that more than half of the Church of England’s bishops would also wait until next month before deciding whether to attend.

Anglican officials admitted that just “several hundred” bishops had registered for the conference, but stressed that more replies were still coming in and blamed delays in the postal system.

A spokesman said the deadline of July 31 had been suspended.

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