YAT Urges Lambeth Conference to Build Theological Links Across Borders

Paper given at the Lambeth Conference Seminar on Theological Education in Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean by Thomas Sharp, YAT Project Coordinator, on 1st August 2022.

The Young Anglican Theology Project is a gathering of young people (aged 18-40) across the Anglican Communion that seeks to connect, encourage, and empower young Anglicans with a passion for theology. You don’t need to be an ‘official’ theologian (ordained, academically qualified or experienced) to join in. It may seem that a project such as ours is an indicator that university theology is failing to serve the church. It might seem that we are in competition with the university, providing a forum for theological growth and fruitfulness, which is outside the university… and, I admit, far cheaper than a university.

But almost all of us who are involved in running it have university degrees in theology. We have valued the training we have received in universities, and it is that expensive training which enables us to build a healthy and fruitful community of theologians.

What projects such as ours reveal is that theology is at its best when all sorts of people in all sorts of contexts are working together. My theological perspective is from a place of immense privilege (I am about to attend my fifth university graduation), but I cannot serve the church alone. And at the same time, the church is not better off if it does not use its university-trained theologians.

As a communion, we cannot at present afford to finance Anglican Universities all around the world, as much as I would love that. Make that a call – for every province to have a university! But we can afford to connect those who have the privilege of education to those who do not. In all church development programmes, we so often make people think they have to do theology alone, or only with the people around them. But that is no longer true.

Since CoViD, we have used the internet to know better people across great distances, divides of culture and class, privilege and education. We have realised that we are not alone. I in my ancient cathedral in London, I am not alone. The university professor in Cambridge or Cape Town is not alone. The Bishop, priest, deacon, or layperson in their office or parish or home, is not alone. No anglican, wherever they are, secure and settled, or on the road and searching for a home, should ever be alone. Wherever we do theology, we can choose to do it together. And I believe that if we do theology alone, in isolation, then that is a choice too.

From the beginning of our discipleship programmes, our ministry programmes, our youth and academic programmes, we should nurture a reaching out, to find allies in the theological task, to find friends and fellow-workers in this theological ministry.

They may be nearby. They may be far away. They may be the laypeople in the parish who never get asked their opinion. Or they may be the university lecturer you get to know online. If we do not make these links, these international and inclusive partnerships as theologians, we have chosen to work alone, and our theology and our church will be poorer for it.

The problems we face, we must face together. Rich and poor, south and north, professor and parish worker. Migration is a problem in latin-america, yes. But issues of migration have poisoned our politics here in Europe too, and paralysed our Church of England, as we have failed to counter the rising tide of Xenophobia and racism in our nation. And there is climate crisis everywhere.

If we try to solve these theological problems alone, as provinces or regions, I don’t think we have very much chance of success. But if we try to solve them together, there is a possibility of a new, deep and grounded theology, a possibility of deep and empowering speech for the churches, a hope for deep and powerful change for all our nations… change in the Spirit, and hope for the kingdom.


Please do use the Young Anglican Theology Project. But also make your own friendships across borders and around our communion. If theology is to help unite us in mission, to flow from our being one body, one church, one communion. We must never attempt to do theology alone. We must always seek to serve Christ and speak of Christ together.

YAT Launch event played at Lambeth Conference

One response to “YAT Urges Lambeth Conference to Build Theological Links Across Borders

  1. […] networks across borders, including using the Young Anglican Theology Project, of which I am a part. You can read my short speech here on the Young Anglican Theology […]


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