Thursday, 31 July 2008

News from the Big Blue Tent (15)

Today Anglicans circled prayerfully and slowly around, worked hard at not stepping on each others toes, and eventually all ended up in the centre admiring Canterbury. Yes, it was the official opening of the new University Labyrinth on the slope behind Eliot College and with wonderful views over both city and cathedral. I’m not sure whether the Conference simply coincided serendipitously with the labyrinth’s creation or not, but it made a fine late addition to the programme and afforded yet another way of holding all we are doing before God.

Our indaba group on sexuality was every bit as moving as I had hoped for. Emotionally I think the Conference has gone a long way towards endorsing what I would call responsible, accountable, contextual diversity. The tricky bit may be trying to capture that in a text that will survive the flights home, the determined shredders of the blogosphere and the efforts of some of our absent friends.

The morning video journal, before the dismissal at the end of the Eucharist, featured Tom Shaw from Massachusetts (thank you spell checker) and a Tanzanian bishop (whose name I didn’t catch) explaining how they keep up a warm and loving dialogue on human sexuality, that has now lasted several years, across their obvious and persisting theological differences. It was an example of the same graciousness that has been the hallmark of the last two weeks, but it shows it doesn’t have to end when Lambeth is over. The video introduction featured Rowan, who started by saying, “The 1998 Lambeth Conference spent a lot of energy discussing sexuality”, at which point the audio failed, whilst the picture jumped once or twice then stuck on a still of the Archbishop with his eyes closed (a blink stretched into eternity). Clearly this is where the energy finally ran out. The whole big blue tent roared with laughter, especially Rowan himself, and the mood, already buoyed up by a splendid sermon from the Archbishop of Burundi, rose even further. It was a good start to a good day.

Highlight of the day: I’m invited to supper at the Old Palace Canterbury tonight.

Lowlight of the day: when I get back I’m going to have to pack as tomorrow is my last day here before returning to Worcester for the Three Choirs Festival.

Posted by David Walker on Thursday, 31 July 2008 at 5:03pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Big Blue Tent | Lambeth Conference 2008
Comments

Thank you +David for your blogs. I've read them every day and been both entertained and informed by them. I'm sorry you're not staying to the conclusion - I shall have to move to another blogger to find out how the story ends.

Enjoy the singing of the 3 choirs - may the Anglican Communion still be singing the same song by the time everyone leaves Canterbury on Sunday.

Thanks again!

Posted by: Reader on Thursday, 31 July 2008 at 10:12pm BST

Likewise: Thank you Bishop David for your informative and open conversations on this site. The Lambeth Conference 2008 would not have been as accessible to us in the South Pacific without your daily input.

At Saint Michael and All Angels in Christchurch, New Zealand, our early Mass this morning was for the intention of the Bishops at Lambeth - that the Life-giving Holy Spirit might renew you all in the charism of your calling.

May Justice, Peace and Love flow from the final meetings of our Church's Pastors - back to the diocese and parishes of the world God calls us all to inhabit and redeem.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 12:30am BST

Yes, I've enjoyed your commentaries, too, here and when referenced on Episcopal Cafe. Thanks so much.

Posted by: Jay Vos on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 1:06am BST

Thank you too, +David. I too have read your daily blogs with great interest, and profit. They have informed my poor prayers. It was also good to meet you last Friday at the WATCH stall.
I am sorry you won't be there at the end, too, but for what better reason than the Three Choirs Festival. I wonder if the unnamed Tanzanian bishop was Mdimi Mhogolo of Central Tanganyika - a remarkable man with a warm and independent mind.
All good wishes

Graeme Watson, Retired priest of Stoke Newington.

Posted by: Graeme Watson on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 6:39am BST
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