Tuesday, 22 July 2008

News from the Big Blue Tent (6)

Think of the conference as a body:

its head in Keynes where the indaba groups meet to reflect; its mouth in the big blue where we gather for worship and plenaries; its feet on the path between Park Wood and the Central Campus (personal best time 12 minutes so far); Its hands in the Marketplace where bishops fondle the latest selection of liturgical garments for all climes; its (rapidly extending) stomach in the Rutherford and Eliot dining halls. But its heart is in the Prayer Place.

Situated just behind Dave Walker’s cartoon tent the Prayer Place is a haven of godly silence amidst all the conversation and business of the programme. It’s a roughly octagonal space one floor above ground level with a large amount of window. There’s a prominent central cross (life size, or do I mean death size?), and several items (icons, an open bible) symmetrically around the walls. There are a few chairs and then an inner and outer circle of prayer stools. It can sit (or kneel) around 50 plus people and does so for early morning prayers (I haven’t made it as far as Night Prayer yet) at 0630 each day. The rest of the time there are no more than a handful of people there, sometimes nobody at all, but somehow it feels as though this is what holds it all together.

Here in the silence (Rowan on the retreat mentioned the ancient church father who believed that a good bishop was a silent bishop) I find God closer than anywhere else. The stools are just the right height to support me in the half lotus position that I find most sustainable for a prolonged period. There’s a board for prayer requests and nobody has filled the air with pseudo celtic rhythms - just silence! When I’ve been engaging with God by engaging at a human level for a few hours it’s wonderful to just go there and engage with him directly, on my own.

Highlight of the day: supper with yet another African bishop who is keen to establish links and not at all put off by the Gafcon stuff.

Lowlight of the day: walking back to Park Wood past a stream of bishops holding hands with their spouses and missing my wife. Maybe I should explore Riazat Butt’s story about the escorts being laid on for lonely bishops, with most requests being for young women at night!

Posted by David Walker on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 at 7:30pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Big Blue Tent | Lambeth Conference 2008
Comments

Yes, we all miss our partners.

Especially those of us prevented from having partners or an ordinary coupled life by Church or Civil Laws. Or those hounded like Bishop Robinson and Dean Jeffrey John ---to name but two out of millions down through time and around the globe.

The brave not so new heterosexual world of compliance

Back to the half-lotus perhaps ....

Posted by: Treebeard on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 at 8:40pm BST

What Treebeard said.

Welcome to *our* world, Bishop David---for too many of us LGBTs, too much of the time. Be thankful your "closet" experience lasts only a few days!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 at 2:55am BST

A very good and moving point JCF.

Very telling indeed.

Will the bishop(s) listen ?

(Rowan isnt).
Glad LGCM are ditributing the Michael Harding Memorial Address by Rowan Williams, at the moment.

"*I've changed my mind--having explored those interesting notions, as a junior professor."*

"Rowan, it WON'T do".

My friend Michael (Harding) may well be turning in his grave'--and has Rowan stiopped to wonder if *this* is respectful to Michael ? Or don't dead queeers count, either ?

Posted by: Treebeard on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 at 4:09pm BST

Treebeard and JCF, this is a rather lame comparison. No one is forbidding David Walker from being with his wife; she' s just not there. It's called being lonely, and it's not limited to any one group. And does everything always have to circle back to gay people - is it really all about us?

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 at 10:16pm BST

Only Connect BillyD

only connect

Yes, the bishop is simply lonely --no-one has taken way his partner or his life

Posted by: Treebeard on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 at 11:49pm BST

"And does everything always have to circle back to gay people - is it really all about us?" - Posted by BillyD

BillyD, you really need to ask that question to those bishops of the Anglican Communion---both at Lambeth, and boycotting it---who KEEP MAKING IT ABOUT US.

Merciful Christ! It's not as if I, in my boring ol' life, wouldn't like to return to the anonymity (the "little way", per Therese of Lisieux) I deserve. It's the Akinolas, and Minnses---and now, Deng Bul---who keep *dragging us LGBTs* out into the spotlight: to point, and mock, and arrest, and bully, and assault, and exclude.

"He must increase, but I must decrease": tell me, BillyD---why won't they LET us decrease???

Lord have mercy...

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 24 July 2008 at 8:33pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.