|Title ID||1643||Collection ID||503|
|Date||3 July 1958|
|Keywords||Buildings Ethnic Groups Religious Activities Religious Buildings Religious Festivals Urban Areas|
|Format||Mixed Colour and Black & White Sound|
|Duration||29 min. 32 sec.|
|Copyright & Access||Copyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details|
A professional record of the ninth Lambeth Conference, an assembly of Anglican Bishops at Lambeth Palace in London.
On 3rd July 1958 over three hundred Anglican Bishops from across the world congregate at Canterbury Cathedral for the opening service of the ninth Lambeth Conference. For the first time in the Conference's history, the events are televised to the United Kingdom - a BBC camera is present in the Cathedral. The Bishops meet in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace on the following day - a sound crew records the proceedings for internal records, meanwhile the reporters and press photographers leave the room after the opening speech by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher. Individual committees meet to discuss a range of subjects and three representatives make direct addresses to the camera, explaining their committee's agenda. Leonard James Beecher, The Bishop of Mombasa and Vice Chairman of the 'Ministries and Manpower' committee, discusses the community spirit in Britain's New Towns - his words are illustrated by B&W images of a New Town (Crawley?), of its houses and shopping centre, and of a young mother being visited by a member of the clergy. Hiyanirundu Lakdasa Jacob de Mel, The Bishop of Kurunagala, from the 'Conflicts Between and Within Nations' committee, discusses human conflict - he does so from within the Church of St John the Divine in London which is undergoing restoration. Finally, Stephen Fielding Bayne, The Bishop of Olympia and Chairman of 'The Family in Contemporary Society' committee considers the problems of overpopulation - black and white images of rural India and of urban Hong Kong are used to illustrate his words. The findings of the various committees are drafted into reports, with the final resolutions being fed back to the Conference and being published for public consumption.
When not in meetings, the Bishops relax in the grounds of Church House, take a motorboat cruise along the River Thames, and visit several prolific London buildings including the Headquarters of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), and the Church Missionary Society. In addition they are guests at two garden parties - one hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the other by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Religious occasions during the Lambeth Conference include a Sun Eucharist at St Paul's Cathedral and Holy Communion at Westminster Abbey, an event which brings the Conference to a close.
Lambeth 1958 (1958) was produced by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), an organisation dedicated to communicating the Christian faith via a range of media. Screen Archive South East also holds The Lambeth Conference 1948 (1948), a film of the eighth Lambeth Conference which was also produced by SPCK.
The main proceedings of The Lambeth Conference take place at Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but are not open to the public and press. SPCK therefore utilized the moving image format to provide an insight into a previously closed-off world, providing images which give added value to the reports, resolutions and encyclical letter published following the completion of the Conferences. Consequently, films such as Lambeth 1958 (1958) can be viewed as examples of the Church of England adopting modern technology to communicate its own modernity, ironically perhaps within the context of a long-established, dogmatic event.
The Lambeth Conference was initiated in 1867 - subsequent meetings have been held circa every ten years at the invitation of The Archbishop of Canterbury. The ninth Conference took place between 3rd July and 10th August 1958 and was presided over by Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury (Fisher also presided over the 1948 Conference and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953). In the Screen Archive South East film [Interview With Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Fisher] (1961?) Geoffrey Fisher is questioned on a range of topics including the role of the church in contemporary society.