All Anglican Church of Canada bishops have been invited to the Lambeth Conference next summer in England.

The University of Kent, about five kilometres northwest of Catnterbury Cathedral in southern England.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent over 800 bishops invitations by email on Monday, May 22, about 14 months in advance of the gathering at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

Invitations to the 1998 Lambeth Conference-named after the Archbishop’s official residence in London-were sent out four years early, but that took place during a less contentious time in the life of the Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Communion officially incorporates those dioceses throughout the world which the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes as being in communion with him and his Diocese of Canterbury.

In the lengthy invitation email sent to all bishops took pains to state that “an invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy.”

“Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.”

Canterbury Cathedral, as seen from the university. (University of Kent photo)

Still, the Archbishop failed to invite the only openly gay bishop in the Communion, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, which Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster called unfortunate.

For a longer story, go to the Anglican Journal website here.

For the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation, go here.

For some history of the Lambeth Conference, go here.