The 15th Lambeth Conference in Canterbury had officially come to a close on Aug. 8, the Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported.

At the end of the gathering, Episcopal bishops from 165 countries under the Anglican Communion pushed for unity amid highly divisive issues hounding the Christian world.

The report noted that hotly debated matters include same-sex marriages, refugee care, and climate change.

Ending on a Hopeful Note

The 650-plus Episcopal bishops and spouses said they ended the conference "more hopeful" than when they started.

Craig Loya, a Minnesota bishop, said he felt the conference signals a 'fresh start' for the Anglican Communion.

Loya told Episcopal News that they tackled interfaith relations and possibilities of movements against democracy - issues that had created divisions among bishops even before the conference started.

Despite such divisiveness, the Episcopal bishops passed 14 statements of support dealing with various issues in the United States, the Middle East, and Ukraine, among others.

The news report identified the long-standing gun violence problems in the US, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the volatile peace situation in the Middle East.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and conference convenor, inquired about the participants' takeaways from the once-a-decade religious gathering.

Phyllis Magina, the wife of Diocese of Nambale in Kenya Bishop Robert Magina, said that God's power to bring people from all over the world into a single place surprised her.

She explained that they 'learned from him, heard from him, and listened to him under his feet.'

Meanwhile, Bishop Jose McLoughlin of Western North Carolina said he has "high hope" in the Anglican Communion.

The bishop told fellow participants that the communion recognizes its 'grounding in Jesus.' 

He added how he feels the Anglican Communion's thrust to let the world know about Jesus' love for everyone.

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Division Looms

Despite the rosy speeches, there remains an undeniable division in the communion, the ENS report noted.

The article bared how at least three conservative bishops refused to participate in the conference over human sexuality issues.

ENS noted that the primates of Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda provinces skipped the conference, which allowed lesbian and married gay bishops to take part in the activities.

The article likewise mentioned how conservative bishops belonging to the Global South showed up to the conference to rally behind the majority of bishops supporting sexuality and marriage positions that are anti-LGBTQ+.

Outgoing Anglican Communion Secretary General Archbp. Josiah Idowu-Fearon told fellow participants that they should understand their differences instead of forgetting them.

The archbishop explained that when bishops understood their differences, they would succeed in 'working together.'

Known Personalities Engage with Episcopal Bishops

There was no shortage of known personalities who engaged with the Episcopal bishops throughout the conference.

One was Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who penned a letter telling the Anglican Communion that the conference's timing happens "at a time of great need for the love of God."

Cardinal Antonio Tagle, a Philippine Catholic religious leader, also participated in the event.

Tagle delivered a talk titled "The Church of I Peter for the Coming Decade," where he underscored the Letter's message to the early Christians during a time of persecution.

Related Article: Queen Elizabeth II Tells 15th Lambeth Conference Anglican Bishops: 'It's a Time of Great Need for God's Love'