Despite the bible-based conservative Anglican bishops and ministers holding their own separate conference in Jerusalem a few weeks before, Dr. Williams said 70 percent of bishops worldwide had formally registered to attend the Lambeth Conference thus indicating their 'strong loyalty to each other and a desire to stay together.'
Though a majority of Anglican bishops had expressed interest to attend, there would be notable absences of bishops from some of the fastest-growing Anglican provinces in the conference. The churches in Nigeria and Uganda, together, represent 25.5 million people who identified themselves as Anglicans, as reported in the respective country's latest census. This is just shy of England, which has 26 million of its citizens identifying themselves as Anglicans in the last census.
The head of both the Nigerian and Ugandan Churches have been trenchant critics against the U.S. Episcopalian move to allow the ordination of an openly-gay bishop, saying it was inconsistent with the Scripture. The ordination has sparked outrage among the conservatives within the Church calling homosexuality a 'sin'.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen, said the acceptance of homosexuality was tantamount to calling it holy when God said it was a sin which needed to be repented for.
Ever since the ordination issue, the unity of the Communion became fragile where each side accused the other of tearing apart the Communion. The disappointment of the conservatives in the liberal provinces, the U.S. and Canada, was evident in some of the conservative dioceses severing its relation with their respective national province and opted to join the traditionalist.
It was not surprise that Dr. Williams was crystal clear in barring Gene Robinson, the gay bishop, to attend, saying he found it 'extremely difficult' to see what circumstance he could participate.
Despite no invitation being sent to Bishop Robinson, the U.K. Guardian newspaper reported the possibility of his presence in the Lambeth Conference and planned activities by gay right campaigners could be a possible factor in deterring the traditionalist from accepting Dr. Williams' invitation.
The Lambeth Conference will be held in July this year and it is held every decade. In the previous conference, participants approved Resolution 1.10 that upholds a marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman.