Thursday, 17 July 2008

News from the big blue tent

Yesterday was a quick course in the essentials of British life for our guests (how to queue for registration, how to queue for supper, how to queue for an internet ID and password); today has seen Lambeth find its feet, with the first of three days of retreat.

Scripture, fellowship and worship are to the fore. Every day, even the retreat days, begins with Eucharist, breakfast and bible study. It’s quite something to hear people harmonising to hymns they’ve nver sung before in languages they don’t speak. Rowan has been superb. This is what he is at his very best at, weaving bible passages together in ways that draw out depths of insight into what being a bishop is about.

The cathedral and its precincts have been closed off for us today and tomorrow. As I arrived I heard one frustrated visitor to Canterbury complaining that she was going home Saturday and wouldn’t get to see the city’s main attraction. But frankly, it’s a working cathedral not a monument and we’re working it pretty hard.

Down in the crypt after lunch I found a quiet side chapel with some magnificent medieval wall-paintings and fell into prayer. About 20 minutes later I sensed someone cross my vision and opened my eyes. A nun had climbed over the altar rails and was stood in the sanctuary, arms stretching upwards towards one side of the ceiling, her hands obscured by a massive supporting pillar. What a lovely posture for praise I thought, then her flash bulb went off.

Highlight of the day: Rowan’s addresses.

Lowlight of the day: No hot water in the showers this morning. Conspiracy theorists will assume this is a plot by the organisers to stop bishops even thinking about sex, let alone talking about it.

[Editors’ note: David Walker is the Bishop of Dudley in the diocese of Worcester. He will be blogging for us regularly on Lambeth from a bishop’s perspective.]

Posted by David Walker on Thursday, 17 July 2008 at 9:27pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Big Blue Tent | Lambeth Conference 2008
Comments

What a wonderful way to start the Lambeth Conference - with a retreat. I would love to have heard the Archbishop's addresses, and to have been able to share in the Eucharist, the prayers and the silence.

We celebrated Mass at St. Michael and All Angels church in Christchurch, New Zealand, this morning with a special intention for the Holy Spirit's guidance upon the Bishops of our Communion.

May the Gospel of Christ be at work amongst you all in your conversations, study and worship together. We in the parishes of the Communion will be in sychronicity with your desire for unity, peace and inclusivity in the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 18 July 2008 at 12:21am BST

Too many D Walkers .......!!!!

And what happened to this David Walker after the Packer ammendment? ...... he vanishes from the voting record of the English General Synod.

Thanks Peter very useful tables.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 18 July 2008 at 8:29am BST

"Rowan has been superb. This is what he is at his very best at, weaving bible passages together in ways that draw out depths of insight into what being a bishop is about."

In the photos posted by Ruth of The Times he looks very happy, almost dancing. I am sure this Lambeth will eclipse bad memories of Lambeth 1998 and give the world a vision of the Church resplendent.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 18 July 2008 at 9:54am BST

Martin asked what happened to me after the Packer amendment at General Synod

At that point Synod broke for supper. The debate was originally scheduled to finish then and I had always known I would need to leave at that point in order to catch a train back home preparatory to attending on Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace the next day.

Had I stayed on I might have been tempted by the amendment that would require 2/3 majorities to change the Code, and would have agreed to the word "statutory" being inserted. Otherwise I would have continued to oppose amendments and voted in favour of the final motion.

Posted by: David Walker on Friday, 18 July 2008 at 6:14pm BST

>I had always known I would need to leave at that point in order to catch a train back home preparatory to attending on Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace the next day.

You know, there aren't many people in the world who can use that as an excuse to miss a meeting. LOL!

Posted by: sheila on Saturday, 19 July 2008 at 4:41am BST

What a good account!

As Shiela says - Where else would this happen??!!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 19 July 2008 at 10:07pm BST
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