Updated Saturday evening
This press release comes from the Church of England:
Lambeth Conference: funding
The Lambeth Conference Funding Review Group has published its report. The review was commissioned last August by the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England following an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company* for financial help.
The Review Group, chaired by John Ormerod, a former partner of accountancy firm Deloitte, makes a number of recommendations to be acted on by the Lambeth Conference Company and the Anglican Communion Office.
The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council each agreed, last August, to make available to the Lambeth Conference Company up to £600,000 as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continued. Both bodies regarded these amounts as interest free loan facilities. Of the £388,000 actually borrowed by the Company, £124,000 has now been repaid, leaving £132,000 owing to each organisation as fundraising continues.
By the end of 2008, the review reports, the projected deficit had reduced from an estimate of over £1 million in August 2008 to £288,000, in part as a result of further fundraising efforts and in part due to actual costs proving lower than had been cautiously projected earlier in the year. The total cost of the event was £5.2million, as against the budget of £6.1million.
*The Lambeth Conference Company is the body given responsibility for managing the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008.
The main report is available as a .doc file.
Update Now also available as a PDF file.
Appendices are available as a PDF file.
From the Notes to editors:
The review group’s members were: (chair) John Ormerod, a former partner of accountancy firm Deloitte; the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester and member of the Archbishops’ Council; Dr Christina Baxter, principal of St John’s theological college, Nottingham and also an Archbishops’ Council member; and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner. The group had staff support from two people provided via the office of the Church Commissioners.
There has already been generous support from the Church of England for the Lambeth Conference. Parishes and dioceses have made donations towards the costs of overseas bishops attending and the Church Commissioners have met the fees of the English bishops and their wives attending the Lambeth Conference, the costs of some of the conference organising staff, and some of the hospitality offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Nick Baines, who authored a blog for Fulcrum during the Lambeth Conference, and has his own blog here, has written an article, The Lambeth Conference 2008, a review after six months. He says:
It is a review not of the conference itself, but of the conference as reflected in the blog I wrote during it.
Peter Owen made reference yesterday to the Q and A concerning the cost of the Lambeth Conference. The full text of the relevant Questions and Answers is below the fold.
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Church Commissioners:
Q19. How much have the Church Commissioners given to defray the debts of the Lambeth Conference, and pursuant to what powers, and what impact will this decision have on the amounts made available by the Commissioners in coming years to support parish mission?
Mr Andreas Whittam Smith to reply as First Church Estates Commissioner:
A. In 2006 the Commissioners agreed to make a grant of up to £1.05 million over 2006-2008 to the Lambeth Conference in respect of certain specific costs (e.g. English bishops’ attendance fees and the conference manager’s salary costs). It is expected that the grant, which is consistent with what has been done for past Lambeth conferences, will be within budget.
In addition they agreed in August 2008 to make available an interest free loan facility of up to £600,000. £194,000 of the loan facility has been drawn down. The Directors of the company have recently indicated that they do not expect to have to draw down any of the remaining £406,000 and that they are now able to repay £19,000, leaving £175,000 outstanding to the Commissioners (and the same amount to the Archbishops’ Council).
The sums from the Commissioners have been made available under section 5 of the Episcopal Endowments and Stipends Measure 1943 which provides that the Commissioners “may at their discretion pay the whole or any part of … such office expenses … as it is, in their opinion, necessary for the Bishop to incur”. Thus the Commissioners have a discretionary power to meet expenses of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his capacity as a diocesan bishop.
This expenditure will not impact on the Commissioners’ other distribution plans for the 2008-2010 triennium.
Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q24. How much has the Lambeth Conference so far cost
(a) the Church Commissioners;
(b) the Archbishops’ Council
and how much more is it expected to cost either body?
Mr Gerald O’Brien (Rochester) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q25. What contributions towards the cost of the 2008 Lambeth Conference are being made by the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and any other Church of England bodies, and how much of these contributions is likely to be ultimately funded by dioceses (either through apportionment or through the loss of grants they might otherwise expect to receive)?
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q26. How much has the Archbishops’ Council given to defray the debts of the Lambeth Conference, and pursuant to what powers, and what impact will this decision have on the amounts which dioceses will be asked to contribute towards the Council’s budget in coming years?
Mr Andrew Britton to reply on behalf of the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
A. With permission, I will answer questions 24, 25 and 26 together.
The Church Commissioners budgeted to make grants to the Lambeth Conference totalling up to £1.05 million in 2006-8 in respect of specific costs. This grant expenditure is expected to be within budget.
In addition, as announced in August 2008, the Council and Commissioners agreed to make available an interest free loan facility of up to £600,000 each to the Lambeth Conference. To date £194,000 has been drawn down on each of these facilities. The Directors of the company have recently indicated that they do not now expect to have to draw down more than this total of £388,000 and are this week making an initial repayment of £38,000. They are also continuing their fundraising efforts in order to repay as soon as possible the outstanding total of £350,000.
The Council’s loan has been made under its objects “to co-ordinate, promote and further the work and mission of the Church of England” under the National Institutions Measure 1998. The funds have been drawn from legacy receipts so will have no impact on the sums requested from dioceses towards the Council’s budget.
The Commissioners’ expenditure on the Conference and the loan have been funded from their bishops’ office and working costs budget and will not impact on their other distribution plans for the 2008-2010 triennium.
I do not have a figure for the total amount raised from within the Church of England towards the costs of the conference but I understand that dioceses generously contributed around £500,000 and parishes over £100,000, much of this to enable bishops from poorer parts of the Anglican Communion to attend the conference.
Two articles by George Conger have just been published in places you might not normally look.
The Institute on Religion & Democracy The Seinfeld Conference: A Reflection on Lambeth 2008
The Christian Challenge The Hollow Men—Lambeth 2008, What Happened And Why
The Church of Ireland Gazette reports in Inquiry established into Lambeth Conference finances that:
Following reports of a £1.2m shortfall in the funding of this year’s Lambeth Conference, the Church of England’s Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners have set up a review, under the independent chairmanship of John Ormerod, a former senior partner of Deloitte, to examine the financial management of the Lambeth Conference.
The team has also been asked to make recommendations regarding the future involvement of the Council and the Board of the Church Commissioners in assisting the financing of meetings of the Lambeth Conference. A spokesman for the Church of England told the Gazette: “The inquiry is due to report back to the Council and the Board early in 2009 with a preliminary report on the financial difficulties and how these arose. A final report, examining the way forward, will be produced in summer 2009. The Council and Board have indicated that the inquiry’s report should be published.” The membership of the inquiry will be: John Ormerod; the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and Christina Baxter (both Archbishops’ Council); and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner…
Archbishop Barry Morgan spoke to the Church in Wales Governing Body, and the full text of his address is available here.
A related press release is here: Lambeth talks need time to continue if church is to stay united, says Archbishop.
A press report about this was headlined Homosexuality should not be an issue to tear the Anglican Communion apart, says the Archbishop of Wales.
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow and Galloway has published his address to Diocesan Council in which he discusses the Lambeth Conference.
The full text is available here: Bishop’s reflections on Lambeth.
…The fact is that neither of the extreme positions if I can call them that can be expected to give up what they believe God has called them to witness to as part of the life of their Province. There may be a way through but it is not dear yet where it would take us - meanwhile we hold to the position that we are in pending further provision in the Communion to take account of the need for some enlarged thinking. Whether the proposed Pastoral Forum to take over the care of congregations that have chosen to renounce the leadership of their Diocesan Bishop can have any place in this process I personally doubt.
It seems to me that the issue is not that we lack structure but that the structure has failed to address the situation and when it has attempted to do so Provinces have simply continued to do what they wanted to do and ignored the proposals put forward by the Instruments of Unity. I do have an unease that at the heart of our Communion there is a lack of evenhanded dealing. It was almost as if we were trapped into a game of “my pain is bigger than your pain”. The approach of the Church of Canada about which we were able to learn so much more this year and which was praised for its theological method was completely ignored and brushed aside for example whilst and the interference of another Province in Canada where proper and full provision had been made for congregations who felt alienated remained un -rebuked in spite of it having been forbidden by the recent Primates meeting.
The Canadian Anglican church has a long and strong history of fidelity and development - it gave the Communion AYPA for example - and has been not accorded the respect that it should have. There is more than one way of destroying a Communion but injustice is high on the list of how to achieve it.
We heard much about the need to support churches in other parts of the world; but very little of the vulnerability of the church where society has moved ahead of the game in its provisions which is the position that we find ourselves in along with other churches in the developed world.
Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports Lambeth absentees press on as letters wait to be sent out:
A MONTH after the Lambeth Conference, the 230 or so absent Anglican bishops have not yet been contacted in order to “build bridges” with them. In the mean time, their leaders have stated that they have heard nothing from Lambeth to give them pause as they seek to form a new North American province.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kenneth Kearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, committed themselves at the Lambeth Conference to ensuring that the absent bishops were kept fully informed of what had taken place, and of the process expected to lead to the Anglican Covenant…
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports Archbishop accused of marginalising homosexuals and republishes the article by Bishop John Chane to which this refers under the title Scapegoats of the Anglican communion.
Archbishop Peter Jensen wrote this: Trusting God at GAFCON.
The Anglican Journal has published a number of articles on this.
And then there are two other pieces:
Theological Reflection: Stepping back from full inclusion by Walter Deller
Theological Reflection: Commitments of the mind and heart: Will the centre hold? by George R Sumner
The Bishop of Washington has some critical comments: The Lambeth Conference: The turning point that wasn’t.
The bishops of the Diocese of Dallas liked it a lot: Lambeth: Interview with the bishops.
The Presiding Bishop listened: Hearing the call.
First, Jean Mayland of MCU wrote Holding together but going nowhere.
Second, two people from Inclusive Church have written personal reflections:
Clare Herbert “Beyond the Fringe” and
Greg Tucker Reflections on the Lambeth Conference.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent a letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, setting out his personal reflections on the Lambeth Conference. You can read the full text of it at Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion.
See here first.
The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial today, Lambeth Conference Funding which says:
…However, should the Church of Ireland be approached to contribute some funds towards the £1.2m shortfall, it should not rush to join in footing the bill because what the shortfall points to is a serious level of mismanagement. It is the height of financial irresponsibility to run a massive international conference venture without being sure that the necessary finance is in place…
The Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council is a priest of the Church of Ireland.
Ephraim Radner published at Covenant an article titled True Christian Unity? Reflections on the Lambeth Conference.
Graham Kings published at Fulcrum an article that will also appear in this week’s Church of England Newspaper titled Patience and Urgency Lambeth Conference 2008.
Bishop Pierre Whalon, who is Bishop in Charge, Convocation of American Churches in Europe has written On polygamy, homosexuality, and generosity.
The Bishop of Ely, Anthony Russell has written On returning home from Lambeth.
Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, has written Analysis: Will the Lambeth Conference bring peace to the Anglican world?
The Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard has written Bishop John reflects on Lambeth.
This time from the Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham.
Earlier entries in this series:
All of these are from last week’s paper edition.
What happened? No one quite knows by Pat Ashworth
Spouses tell their stories by Margaret Sentamu
Lambeth bishops in their own words by Simon Sarmiento
Readers Digest Church Times version of Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008 (PDF)
Leader The story of Lambeth ’08
IT IS TROUBLING that, five days after the close of the Lambeth Conference, many people are asking: what did the bishops do? We suspect that some bishops fall into this group, and not just those who stayed away. Part of the reason for the uncertainty is that the bishops did many things. We hope that our digest of the long Reflections document will help readers to pick out the most important of these.
They did talk about sexuality. They did talk about the threat of schism and the means of heading it off. The two-and-a-half weeks in Canterbury were not an avoidance exercise; for it was known beforehand that the Conference by itself had no authority to resolve the crisis over homosexuality, even had the GAFCON bishops been present. For this reason, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team devised a programme that emphasised conversation rather than resolution.
We have no quibble with the Lambeth Conference conceived as a means of enlarging bishops’ vision and enabling them to serve their dioceses better. We should not mind, even, if in 2018 the Archbishop (it might be Dr Williams: he would be only 68) clears the programme completely of meetings and turns the whole thing into a bishops’ holiday — just so long as the Conference has no executive function…
Do read all of this.
The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial in its issue of 15 August, which is titled Anglican Governance.
It concludes with this:
… It is also important to emphasize that the Anglican Communion is not, as Dr Williams did at least suggest in his statement, a Church. It is a communion of autonomous Churches. If the Lambeth Conference were empowered to speak for the Anglican Communion as a whole, it would have been astounding that, at its recent two and a half week meeting - at a cost of some £5m - it did not issue any resolution and was reportedly boycotted by between one-fifth and one-quarter of its members.
However, as a conference, it is appropriate not to have resolutions, and members of a conference are free to attend or not to attend or to ‘boycott’, as they wish. If one has a role in governance, however, one does not have that choice.
Certain current proposals in the Anglican Communion would tend to lead towards a ‘global Church’ model. However, any such proposals will need to be the subject of very careful consideration and scrutiny, and cognisance will need to be taken of the fact that, according to our Preamble and Declaration, the General Synod is the chief legislative and administrative body in the Church of Ireland (BCP, p.777, Section IV). It should remain so.
Savitri Hensman has written an article on Comment is free which is titled Too big a tent with the strapline:
Rowan Williams preaches tolerance, but the Anglican church would rather pander to bigots than fight homophobia.
Her article concludes:
Meanwhile, at the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a “covenant of faith” that would “promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us”, and suggested “a Pastoral Forum to support minorities”. But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer’s family.
This one is from the Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill.
Read the transcript of his audio interview in this PDF file: Lambeth Conference 2008 Mark Rudall talks to Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.
The audio itself is linked from this page.
Updated Thursday evening
Today, the Bishop of Winchester has published a lengthy article, The Lambeth Conference 2008 – and the future of the Anglican Communion A Report to the Diocese of Winchester although I cannot at present find it on the Winchester diocesan website, but only on the Global South Anglican website, and, in part, on the Anglican Mainstream website.
Anyway you can read it all here.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones has written about this letter, see Senior bishop predicts Anglican battle ahead.
The Church of England issued this press release today:
Lambeth Conference: Funding
11 August 2008
The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England have both met within the past few days to discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company* for financial help. The Board met this morning (August 11th) and the Council on Thursday August 7th.
The Company has assured the Board and the Council that it is continuing to make further approaches throughout the Anglican Communion to meet the full cost of this year’s Conference. It cannot, however, be confident that these will generate funds sufficiently quickly for it to meet all of its obligations as they fall due over the coming weeks and months.
The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council have therefore each agreed to make available to the Company up to £600k as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continue. At this stage both bodies regard these amounts as interest free loan facilities.
They will be considering these matters again at their September meetings when they expect a further report from the Company about the progress of its fundraising efforts.
There has already been generous support from the Church of England for the Lambeth Conference. Parishes and dioceses have made donations towards the costs of overseas bishops attending and the Church Commissioners have met the fees of the English bishops and their wives attending the Lambeth Conference, the costs of some of the conference organising staff, and some of the hospitality offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
More information about the Lambeth Conference is available at www.lambethconference.org.
*The Lambeth Conference Company is the body given responsibility for managing the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008.
Katie Sherrod has written on her own blog, That Wild Uncontrollable Force.
Watching Lambeth unfold was like watching one of those foreground/background optical illusions where, as you stare at the picture, either the profile of a beautiful young woman moves to the foreground or the image of an old woman moves forward while the young woman’s image disappears. It is almost impossible to see them both at the same time.
Lambeth was the same-there were two Lambeths occurring simultaneously, one out in front, the other in the background.
The Lambeth of the Indaba and Bible Study groups was the one in the foreground most of the time. But at key points, the Lambeth of the Windsor Continuation Group [WCG] and the group writing the Reflections documents moved out of the background into sight…
Jim Naughton has written at Comment is free The archbishop’s hands are tied, not ours.
The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don’t have to do the same.
Extensive research has proven that I am not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Neither, in all likelihood, are you. These facts, in hand for some time now, acquired new significance yesterday with the revelation that Rowan Williams, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury, believes, what a great many Anglicans believe, namely: “that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might … reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”
Bishop David Rossdale asks this question: If resolution 1.10 is important, what about resolution 19?
The more I read the final Lambeth Document, “Capturing Conversations and Reflections”, the more I rejoice that we did not go down the road of resolutions and votes. To have a ’snapshot’ of the engagement between the Bishops is probably of far more worth, than adding to the fossilised remains of earlier conferences, which leave skeletal resolutions disconnected from the tissue of conversation lying behind them as some sort of guide to the heart and mind of the church.
Much has been made of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Conference, as though this is an enduring and unerring piece of truth. It has become almost a test for orthodoxy. But if this resolution has such enduring status, then all resolutions of the Lambeth Conference must be given the same status. So what about Resolution 67 from 1908? Very importantly it states…
Updated Sunday morning
Daniel Burke of Religion News Service interviewed Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland. The Washington Post carries this story at Raising Issues Of Race in Anglican Rift.
The Times had interviews with seven bishops by Bess Twiston Davies in The Anglican balancing act, in a church near you.
The Los Angeles Times had an unsigned opinion article, Adding to division.
Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph that Archbishop may be forced to do fundraising tour to solve £1m Lambeth financial crisis.
Related to this is the ACNS press release, Finances and the Lambeth Conference 2008.
The webcast press conference held by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk is reported for Episcopal Life Online by Solange de Santis here.
Sunday morning update
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote for Comment is free The road from Lambeth.
I wrote a second column for Wardman Wire Lambeth Conference: Sex or Power?
Here are more Lambeth Conference news items from last week’s Church Times that were only available to subscribers until today.
Williams urges generous love
Lawyers see 1662 as still able to unite
Bishops tackle extremism and ‘daily business of dialogue’
Spouses aim to build good faith
Step up moral pressure over climate, Conference is told
Millennium Goals must be met, say Lambeth walkers
Ecumenical participants grapple
Murphy-O’Connor warns of ‘ecumenical shadow’
Jim Naughton wrote the Church Times press column last week. It is now available online at What I ‘learnt’ at Lambeth.
FOR AN American church flak like me, learning to work with the British news media has been similar to learning to drive on British roads. The enterprises are fundamentally similar, and yet one’s reflexes need reconditioning to avoid accidents.
As a former journalist, I was struck first by the difference in the ways that American and British journalists attribute (or don’t attribute) the information in their stories. The British press is freer in its use of anonymous sources than its American counterpart. One is constantly reading that a paper “has learnt” something. Well, how, exactly?
Perhaps this wink-and-nod approach makes a certain sense in the cosy world of the Anglican Communion, but it’s open to abuse. A friend of mine recently found her fondest hopes transformed into the hidden agenda of the Episcopal Church by a reporter who assumed that my friend had much more influence that she has…
The Economist has several articles about the Lambeth Conference:
The high price of togetherness
The bishops got on fine for a while—but was it only a holiday romance?
Anyone for Schadenfreude?
What Roman Catholics fear from an Anglican split.
Leader: United we fall
The writhings of worldwide Anglicanism are another reason to disestablish the Church of England.
I linked last week to three reports in London newspapers about what Bishop Cathy Roskam was alleged to have said about husbands beating their wives.
These reports all referred to the Lambeth Witness as the source of the quotes, rather than to any Episcopal Church news briefing.
The relevant issue of the Witness is available as a PDF here.
Bishop Roskam’s own response to the press reports can be found on her blog (scroll down to item 9) and is reproduced in full below the fold here (emphasis added).
Bishop Roskam’s blog, #9, July 31, 2008
Imagine my horror to read in an English newspaper this morning a headline that screamed Woman Bishop Says Third World Clergy Beat Their Wives over a picture of yours truly. The article went on to quote very selectively from an interview I had given as one of the press briefers a couple of days ago when the theme of our day was Equal in God’s Sight: When Power is Abused. Let me tell you a bit about the day itself. The program originated from the Spouses Conference under the able leadership of Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The bishops and spouses met together in plenary, men one one side of the tent and women on the other. Jane Williams gave the first theological reflection on violence. She said in the course of it that violence done in the body of Christ is violence done to the body of Christ. Dr. Jenny Te Paa followed with remarks about the program to follow, saying that the morning’s focus would be solely on violence against women and girls.
A really excellent theatre company then performed a very moving piece on the conversations and healings of women by Jesus. This powerful and moving drama included the woman taken in adultery, Jairus’s daughter, the woman with the hemorrage who touched Jesus’s garment, the woman who could not stand up straight until Jesus heals her on the Sabbath, and, with an added twist, the parable of the Prodigal Daughter.
The play was immediately followed by the reading from 2 Samuel 13:1-22, the rape of Tamar. Dr. Gerald West led the Bible study on this passage. We shared in groups of three in response to six or seven questions. Then there was some sharing in plenary before Jenny Te Paa returned to bring the program to its conclusion.
So it was on this day that I was one of the press briefers for the Episcopal Church. And no, I did not say that clergy in the Third World beat their wives! In fact I said nothing about violence in the developing world per se. All my comments were made in the context of the pervasive nature of violence against women all around the world. The only area I singled out was our own context, siting the recent spate of murders in the New York area of women, and sometimes their children also, by husbands or boyfriends. But of course, those comments were not quoted.
In Lambeth 1998 Jack Spong, then the Bishop of Newark, made some very hurtful comments to the press about African bishops that sting people to this day. We made a big mistake then by not addressing his comments at the time. I was not going to make that mistake again. I asked for a point of personal privilege during the afternoon plenary today and addressed the matter. I stated unequivocally that I never said—nor would I say—that clergy in the third world beat their wives. I told them of the context of what was quoted and told them of what had been omitted. I apologized for anything I might have said that led to misunderstanding toward my brother bishops or jeopardized already difficult ongoing conversations at this conference. I said that if anyone had any further question, I would wait after the session at the back of the room and be happy to speak with them. I also suggested that they ask some of our partners in other parts of the world if the person in the article bore any resemblance to the person with whom they had been working all these years.
Afterward a couple of bishops had a few questions for clarification, but many bishops from both near and far came over to express their understanding and support, for which I am very grateful. ENS will also issue a statement I am told and I will continue to do what I can to clear the air about this matter.
I have to say it is very disheartening after all these years of building relationships around the globe to think of these lies going out over the internet to people who don’t know me and who will believe what was said. At the same time, I also need to reiterate that violence against women remains a problem the world over, and all of us within the church and in the larger society must do all we can to prevent it.
The BBC Northern Ireland radio programme Sunday Sequence can be listened to via the BBC iPlayer. Last week’s programme hosted by William Crawley can be heard here, until next Sunday.
There is a segment on blogging at the conference, about 24 minutes in that lasts about 6 minutes. It includes contributions from Bishop David Chillingworth, and also from me.
Another article that I wrote on Saturday can be read at Wardman Wire titled Lambeth Conference - Touching Base: Guest Column by Simon Sarmiento.
First, Tony Sadler formerly the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, writes to The Times Arch appointment.
Second, Priyamvada Gopal who teaches postcolonial studies at Cambridge University, writes for Comment is free about Orombi: a child of empire?
Third, Will Self, columnist at the Evening Standard, writes It’s your job to stand up to the bigots, Archbishop.
Updated Tuesday evening
Robert Pigott of the BBC has published his final entry in Lambeth Diary. Read DARING THE EXTREMES TO LEAVE.
Anglican TV has Archbishop Orombi clarifies The Times letter.
The Living Church has What the Lambeth Conference Accomplished by Steve Waring.
ENS also has two further reports by Mary Frances Schjonberg:
Lengthy reflections document called ‘narrative’ of Lambeth experience and
Reactions to Lambeth Conference span the spectrum.
Tuesday evening additions
Yesterday’s Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 had a segment at 8.53, which includes both a report by Robert Pigott and an interview with Bishop Nick Baines.
The Telegraph added another article, this one by George Pitcher and headlined Archbishop of Canterbury upbeat after Lambeth Conference.
The New York Times which sent a war correspondent rather than a religion correspondent to cover the conference has Anglicans to Seek Pact to Prevent a Schism by John F Burns.
Rachel Zoll of Associated Press filed this from New York: Anglican Leader Seeks Moratorium On Gay Bishops.
The Washington Post filed this from London: Gay Bishop Dispute Dominates Conference by Karla Adam who concludes with:
Diarmaid MacCulloch, a professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, said many of Williams’s efforts to “prevent some from grandstanding,” like meeting in small groups, were “sensible in trying to keep the temperature as low as possible.”
MacCulloch predicted that the controversy about homosexuality would “rumble on because it can’t be resolved with two great cultural gaps” but that in time, the factions might learn to live with their differences.
“Overall, the conference did less damage than it could have,” he said, “and that’s something to be thankful for.”
Comment is free has an article by Theo Hobson titled The death of liberal Anglicanism.
Guardian leader: Faith 1, Charity 0
The Times Ruth Gledhill
Dr Rowan Williams restores peace at the troubled Lambeth Conference and
Commentary: rebellion in the Church’s ranks
The Times leader last Saturday: Lambeth Conference: good news for Williams
Audio of the entire press conference is now available here.
The full text of The Archbishop of Canterbury Concluding Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008 is now available online.
PDF copy also.
The final version of the Reflections document is now available at Lambeth Indaba Reflections.
The Notes are separate as a PDF.
A PDF version of the main document is here.
Global South Anglican has published this Statement at the Lambeth Conference 2008.
The note at the bottom says:
A note from Archbishop John Chew: “Signatures are still being gathered at the point of posting and will be released as soon as we are able to. Bishops who were at the special meeting on the 22nd of July are welcome to add their names to the undersigned list. To indicate, please email us at email@example.com
When a list of names is posted, I will update here too.
Monday morning update
The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest (Indian Ocean)
The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi)
The Most Revd Dr. Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle (Congo)
The Most Revd Archbishop John Chew (Southeast Asia)
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar)
The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania)
The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak (Sudan)
The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem & The Middle East)
The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi (West Africa)
The Most Revd John Wilson Gladstone (South India)
The Rt Revd Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania)
(Ed: This list is still being updated)
The Sunday Programme on BBC Radio 4 is devoted entirely to the conference. Listen to Jane Little here (URL lasts for only one week).
Robert Pigott of the BBC has another diary update here: read A TWO-TIER COMMUNION: 2 AUGUST.
Bishops blogging: Episcopal Café has a new roundup here.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones at the Sunday Telegraph has Bishops ask Archbishop of Canterbury for an ‘orderly separation’.
For a different viewpoint, read Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times at That’s the spirit, Bishop Bigot. Let’s hate everybody.
Updated Saturday 11 pm
The fourth draft of the Reflections document is available in full as a PDF here.
The Church Times blog has a commentary on it by Bill Bowder at The Bishops’ reflections – comprehensive, but rather hurried.
The Episcopal Café has extracted the two controversial sections of the text and they can be read at Live: Semi-final draft of Lambeth Reflection paper with some commentary by Jim Naughton.
And earlier, Jim wrote Live: bits and pieces as time ebbs at Lambeth.
See also Live: feudal morality.
The BBC’s Robert Pigott has updated his Lambeth Diary again, see A TWO-TIER COMMUNION: 2 AUGUST.
Marites Sison at Anglican Journal has No concrete action anticipated on sexuality before Lambeth concludes
Solange de Santis at Episcopal News Service has Lambeth bishops air differing views on covenant.
Yesterday’s press conference was about the proposed Covenant. Here are the reports of that:
ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Lambeth Conference begins two-day covenant discussion
Anglican Journal Marites Sison Lambeth seeks common ground in proposed covenant
ACNS Press Conference on Anglican Covenant: ‘We are on a pilgrimage together’ and the full audio recording of the press conference is here.
Jim Naughton has some background links and commentary at Live: softpeddaling the appendix.
Updated Saturday evening
The Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and presiding bishop of Jerusalem & the Middle East,Mouneer Anis, has held a press conference and issued a written statement.
You can read the written statement in full here.
Update For a full video record of this press conference, go to this ENS page, and navigate by date to to the two videos dated 08/01/08
You can read Jim Naughton’s take on this at Live: Mouneer Anis forgets his lines.
Ruth Gledhill also reports on it, in Endless debate on sexuality ‘is exposing Anglicans to ridicule as the Gay Church’.
The First draft of the Lambeth reflection on the bishop and human sexuality can be found at Episcopal Café under Live: Lambeth bishops reflecting on sexual ethics.
It is also discussed here on ENS and at “No idea” consecration of gay bishop would cause such a stir on Anglican Journal.
Martin Beckford has this in the Telegraph Liberal agenda of Western churches a ‘new form of colonisation’
… or more accurately today it’s news from the big white train, as I head back north and west ready for tomorrow’s Three Choirs Festival opening service.
We took photos in our bible study group this morning and I handed round Celtic style cards with knot patterns on like the ones I have at times designed and fabricated into rugs, cushion covers and jumpers. I inscribed in each a Franciscan tau cross and Latin greeting and then appended my email address. Put together that says quite a lot about my spiritual wells. Yesterday a colleague had given each member a copy of the TEC Book of Common Prayer which brought back happy memories of when I used the rite to say matins each morning whilst staying with a Texan priest in Peru.
The indaba groups are moving from direct discussion of sexuality to matters of covenant. I guess there’s a general recognition that we’re not, in two or three weeks, going to build levels of agreement (or agreement to differ) the whole way, but there’s a sense of having made enormous progress in terms of mutual understanding, love and (dare I say it) trust in each other and each other’s integrity. Whilst nothing will satisfy Orombi and Akinola, nor the shady figures from North American behind them, there’s been good solid evidence on campus that archiepiscopal bullying has its limits and that there is a more representative voice of southern conservatism which will listen to those of its neighbours who have been at Lambeth and are able to share the seriousness with which we are working at our unity and respond to such visible signs of progress as can be signed off by Sunday night.
Highlight of the day: (actually last night at the Old Palace reception) yet more conversations with amazing people such as Sebastian Bakare of Harare and Cardinal Walter Kasper.
Lowlight of the day: Train struck a tree so we limped to the next station before being decamped onto the following stopper. Reached Charing Cross 30 minutes late to find Bakerloo line closed.
Last word: Thanks everyone for your comments.
Two reports from Anglican Journal by Marites Sison
Updated 5.30 pm with items from Friday:
Covenant is ‘future-directed’ says Gomez by Paul Handley
In the paper today:
Many of these are subscriber-only, but here is what you can read now:
See also this list here.
And the CT blog has The indaba groups talk about sex
Other that is than the opinion article in The Times by Archbishop Henry Orombi which is here.
BBC Robert Pigott Lambeth Diary updated again on 1 August, read No Changing of Minds.
The Times Joanna Sugden Hazy deliberation brings no resolution, just reflection
Guardian Riazat Butt ‘Mini Lambeth’ would be the way forward, say dissatisfied bishops and also Lost property, naked bishops, and the mark of the beast.
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury ‘betrayed churches over gay bishops’ (this covers other topics besides Orombi).
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.
Updated Friday morning
Listen to the press conference here.
Anglican Journal Marites Sison No consensus yet on sexuality, but bishops make ‘significant step forward’
ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation and videos of both the presentations are also available, Archbishop Ian Ernest here, and Bishop Colin Johnson here.
Sorry, it has been pointed out to me that these videos do not have individual Permalinks, you have to locate them from here, by date. The date for these two items is 07/31/08.
Updated Friday morning
The full article in The Times by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi can be read at The Church cannot heal this crisis of betrayal.
And Ruth Gledhill writes about it: Rowan Williams betrayed churches over gay bishop, says African leader
Ruth Gledhill reports: Lambeth Diary: Rowan accused of ‘betrayal’
In a comment piece in tomorrow’s Times, the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, will accuse the Arcbishop of Canterbury of a betrayal at the very deepest level. He will argue that even the Pope is elected by his peers, but Dr Williams in his office is little better than a remnant of colonialism.
Also, in The Times Cardinal Kasper is reported to have been very negative, see Catholic-Anglican relations reach new low over women bishops
The full text of this is now available in English at Zenit Cardinal Kasper to Anglican Communion
Fulcrum has the full text over here.
Pat Ashworth has Rowan Williams: a call for mutual generosity
and also Windsor: mixed responses
Ed Beavan has Bishops talk about Windsor Continuation Group’s proposals
Robert Pigott has updated his diary, see the 30 July entry at Lambeth diary: Anglicans in turmoil
Riazat Butt has a Lambeth Diary in the Guardian. Today it is titled Group meetings to resolve conflicts mocked by bishops.
It also mentions the use of diplomatic passports by archbishops. Here’s some more background from Uganda. It’s an inter-faith issue as you can see.
Kampala Monitor Uganda: Religious Leaders Holding Diplomatic Passports Illegally
…Religious leaders who hold diplomatic passports include the Archbishop the Church Of Uganda, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, the Archbishop Of Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Uganda.
When contacted, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said; “I can’t comment on a matter which I have not heard. I will give a comment later.”
However, the Muslim Supreme Council Publicist, Hajji Nsereko Mutumba, defended the religious leaders’ right to possess diplomatic passports. “Did they get these passports through the window?
Religious leaders are sacred people. They are bigger than even ministers. They should hold these passports,” he said. Mr Kasaija, who was defending his Shs290 billion 2008/9 budget said Ugandan diplomatic passports have been abused by criminals who masquerade as diplomats.
He said officials who are supposed to access diplomatic passports include; government ministers and their spouses, foreign service officers, their spouses and children below the age of 18, the head of public service, the chief justice, justices of the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, chancellors and vice chancellors of public universities, the governor and deputy governor of Bank of Uganda, recognised traditional and cultural leaders, the speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament, permanent secretaries, chairpersons and vice chairpersons of permanent commissions…
Times Online has a roundup Lambeth Voices: a panel of Anglican bishops share their views with Faith Online. Mouneer Anis is forthright in his views.
Today, the press conference was concerned with the interpretation of the Bible. The speakers were Archbishop David Moxon and Professor Gerald West from South Africa.
Jim Naughton has this: Live: the Bible press conference
Anglican Journal Marites Sison Bishops share common commitment to remain biblical
Episcopal News Service has a report by Mary Frances Schjonberg Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture and there is also video of Professor Gerald West addresses media at Lambeth News Conference Search for this video on date 07/30/08.
There are no reports of this in the British newspapers so far.
Tomorrow is sex day here at Canterbury, so tonight I’m missing any number of receptions being hosted by groups wanting to get the last word to bishops in advance. Meanwhile the work on the “conference document”, whatever that will turn out to be, continues apace; the listeners draft texts which we then meet each afternoon to critique. Today’s session was remarkable only for the fact that hardly any USA bishops spoke, otherwise we made the usual range of strengthening and clarifying amendments that 600 articulate adults are always going to be able to provide. We’re being told that a number of people have responded to Rowan’s question last night about what they might offer in generosity to those of an opposing view. There’ll be more discussion on that tomorrow.
The spouses fled the campus this morning, being taken on a range of day trips to different parts of Kent and its environs. It was suggested over breakfast that the group going to Rochester might pay a friendly call on the bishop; if he won’t come to Lambeth, Lambeth could come to him. In its wilder versions the idea involved large quantities of rainbow ribbon.
I’m clearly getting a reputation in my bible study group; one colleague was quite adamant that I wasn’t going to be allowed to go through a whole session without telling them a story about St Francis of Assisi.
Highlight of the day: a brilliant lecture on scriptural authority by Tom Wright, who combines immense scholarship with a highly engaging style. Unusually for a 4pm slot the room was packed.
Lowlight of the day: my debit card was jammed then swallowed by the ATM. Still, that solves the question as to whether I pay £22 for the official photo. In any case, Dave Walker’s cartoon version gives a far more complete picture of our time here.
Yesterday, Dr Maria Akrofi of Ghana addressed the daily press conference.
Watch it all here.
Read the report by Pat Ashworth Rape and the abuse of power: bringing it home to the bishops.
I’ve no idea what a “cage match” is, but Jim Naughton described one that didn’t happen here yesterday.
Guardian Riazat Butt Gay clergy: Archbishop urges Anglican factions to ‘show generosity’
The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury’s unity plea to Lambeth Conference and also Lambeth Diary: Rowan begs, ‘Choose Life’
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury accuses Anglicans of threatening ‘death to each other’
Anglican Journal Marites Sison Rowan attempts to bridge sides in human sexuality debate
Today we threw over the usual timetable and spent the morning as spouses and bishops together studying the story of the rape of Tamar as a way into seeing what societies, including our own, do to the powerless. To make safe space for all we were divided into male and female on separate halves of the Big Blue. Riding Lights Theatre Company provided some fascinating drama on the same theme from the New Testament, showing us how women are accepted as long as they are infantilised, useful or invisible. The story of how all the men around Tamar work to silence her voice was pretty salutary. Chaplains were available then and all afternoon to help people deal with the personal issues raised. This could have been trivial and corny but ultimately it was challenging and profound. I suspect the more paternalistic the home culture the more shocking the day was. And for many of us the read across to other minorities including LGBT who are invisible, allowed to participate only in as much as they prove particularly useful or blocked from seniority was pretty obvious. It will form part of the narrative we take forward.
Rowan spoke after Evening Prayer, but that’s heavily reported elsewhere so I won’t repeat it here. Conference organisers and insiders to the process seem upbeat about how it is going, the rest of us have to either trust that or make an uninformed decision (not that I’m suggesting bishops ever do make uninformed decisions).
A couple of blogs ago Leonel mentioned the Origins bar at Darwin (yes I know, that really is corny) so we fixed up to have a drink there this evening and I got introduced to some of the wonderful stewards who, for pocket money, look after us all the time. Two weeks in and they’re still smiling. I asked whether they had been put off bishops for life and were all about to become Baptists, but they seemed pretty happy at working with us.
Highlight of the day: the first cool breezes on campus for days
Lowlight of the day: the harrowing scenes of the aftermath of the winds and floods in Burma, shown as part of that province’s presentation of itself during Evensong.
The full text of this has just been released and can be read at ACNS:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Second Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008
Telegraph George Pitcher Anglicans struggle to find a safe place for sex
Times Ruth Gledhill’s blog Lambeth Diary: ‘Pastoral Forum’ proposed
The Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham and the Bishop of Mississippi, Duncan Gray gave statements to the WCG hearing. Both can be read by scrolling down at this page.
ENS has video of last night’s news conference about the document, here.
Integrity issued a press release, LGBT Anglicans Back on Chopping Block
The Inclusive Communion response is available as a PDF here.
BBC Robert Pigott Oppose gay bishops, Anglicans urged
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury to create group to punish rule-breaking Anglican churches
The Times Ruth Gledhill Anglicans to halt gay bishop consecrations and same-sex blessings
Anglican Journal Marites Sison Proposal calls for moratorium on same-sex blessings and gay ordinations
ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Windsor Continuation Group proposals on homosexuality issues, interventions, get mixed reception
Living Church Steve Waring ‘Time Out’ Proposed at Lambeth Conference
Updated and republished 11 pm Monday Originally published at 7 pm
The full text of the Preliminary Observations issued by the Windsor Continuation Group is now available at ACNS.
This document is NOT a report by the Windsor Continuation Group. It constitutes their preliminary observations on the life of the Communion and of the current state of responses to the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and offering some suggestions about the way forward. These observations are offered to the Lambeth Conference for conversation and testing. Are they an accurate description of the current state of our life together?
Update at 11 pm Monday
The document as published by ACNS currently lacks the final page of the paper version which reads
Update 2 pm Tuesday
The omission described above has now been corrected.
Ministering “pastorally and sensitively to all”.
The WCG note that the Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 included a call for “all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex”.
We further note that in Dromantine in January 2005, the primates stated that “the victimisation or diminshment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship”.
We believe that the time is ripe for the bishops of the Lambeth Conference to reaffirm the commitments expressed in these statements, and to invite them to be committed to challenging such attitudes where they may exist in the societies, churches and governments of the nations in which they proclaim the Gospel as good news for all without exception.
Also, there are problems with the two links to PDF files at the bottom of the ACNS page. One of those links is to the PDF version of the same document(s), which contains the same omission, and the other is a PDF version of the first draft of the Indaba process document, but I am unable to open it on a Macintosh.
One of my hopes in writing this daily piece is that it helps those beyond the university campus to hold what is going on up here in prayer. Today I got to be part of that when I joined the Third Order Franciscan Praying Presence at Greyfriars in the city. Franciscan tertiaries from the UK and beyond are following a daily prayer routine for the conference in the place where the very first Franciscan house in England was founded, during the saint’s lifetime, in 1224.
The chapel is part of the original buildings and has miraculously survived the reformation and all that has happened since. My task was to preside at the noon Eucharist and then share lunch. It was a chance to preach on the day’s text (John 10.1-10; I am the door of the sheepfold) and relate it to the Franciscan charism. Prayer is being stepped up on campus too. From today on there is a vigil from 0900 to 2100.
This afternoon saw the second set of Windsor Continuation Hearings, the papers for which are now available on Thinking Anglicans. The pattern tended to be conservative TEC followed by liberal TEC with some good, and good natured, speeches on both sides. Most telling was the temperamentally conservative bishop who personally opposed the consecration of Gene Robinson but still has territorial invasions in his diocese. We need a tool that will allow these to be examined; maybe the WCG paper suggests something (though it needs some beefing up in my view). (By the way, thanks for all the comments and links readers have added, as I said, I’m not responding to each but am taking you with me on the journey.)
Tonight’s main speaker was Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, he’s well worth listening too, especially on religion and culture, but I’d accepted an invite from USPG who kindly support our work with Peru. Anyway, last time I invited Rabbi Sacks to something he sent apologies, so it felt fair enough. The USPG reception was humbling. In rapid succession I spoke with the Bishop of Harare and the Archbishop of Burma, amazing people living out Christian lives and ministries under appalling conditions. The Archbishop of Southern Africa spoke movingly to the assembled gathering. A wise friend from a conservative African province said to me, “If you disagree with your husband or wife, you don’t kick them out; you just carry on walking side by side and believe things can change in the future”.
This morning’s Eucharist was presided over by the Indian Ocean province. I was surprised to see my friend Graham Cray, bishop of Maidstone and suffragan of Rowan on the platform. For a moment I thought I had the media scoop of the conference: “Diocese of Canterbury goes for alternative provincial oversight”. Surely not even Rowan’s worst nightmares feature that eventuality. All was soon cleared up; the province had invited its three links to each put a bishop on the altar.
Highlight of the day: hearing the voices of children outside playing in the summer sun as we celebrated the Eucharist in the thirteenth century Franciscan chapel.
Lowlight of the day: the heat and humidity in the Spouses’ Venue for the Hearings session. Is God trying to tell us something about bishops and hot air?
Another interview by Pat Ashworth was in last week’s Church Times and is with Archbishop of South-East Asia. Read Clarity needed before next ACC — Archbishop Chew.
Archbishop Deng’s suggestion that 500 of the bishops had been present at a meeting of provinces of the Global South on Monday was described by someone who had been there as a huge over-estimate: the number was around 150. But his claim that 17 provinces agreed with the statement was thought extremely likely to be accurate by the Archbishop of South-East Asia, the Most Revd John Chew…
…“Sudan came out with the statement for reasons of their own, and felt they had to say something. It was important for them to make that statement, and we appreciate them for that. I don’t think you will find any of the Global South provinces disagreeing with what they say. The way they put it will be coming from Sudan, but the essence — yes.”
Archbishop Chew had not studied the statement, but there was nothing new in it, he suggested: it repeated Windsor and was consistent with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine. “They are not calling for anything new, which would have been unfair. They are saying that if we do not take up what we have committed [ourselves to] seriously, then even in the eyes of the secular world, our credibility is reduced…”
Pat Ashworth at the Church Times blog has interviewed the Bishop of Botswana, read it in full here.
THE FURORE over the Archbishop of Sudan’s comments last week is dying down: a bit of excitement that grabbed all the headlines, including our own. The story is moving on. But many have since observed that the official statement on sexuality that came from the Sudanese House of Bishops (and with which 17 provinces concurred) did not contain a call for Gene Robinson’s resignation. That came in the afternoon press conference, a day after the statement was put into circulation.
Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia was one of those expressing puzzlement. “We had a meeting of six to eight American bishops with Sudanese bishops, all having diocesan links. It was a very helpful meeting because we respect and appreciate the Sudanese position and at the same time welcome their commitment to remain in relationship with us: we accept that we have much to learn from them and they seem to welcome our participation in their lives,” he said on Saturday.
“Archbishop Deng Bul made it clear at the press conference. He was asked what he would do if he were Gene Robinson. It was a speculative question and he said if he was Gene Robinson, he would resign. It was not a formal call from the Sudanese bishops. He did not repeat that to us as a demand at all.”
The Bishop of Botswana, Trevor Mwamba, was even more forthright on the discrepancy between the statement and the views expressed later by Archbishop Deng. “My personal view is that it wasn’t helpful at all. I can understand where they are coming from in being in a Muslim context. But having said that, I am also aware that somebody organised that position. In the context of the conference it’s regrettable that it was done but here are other factors at play and we need to name those factors.
“We are using each other at times for ends which are not constructive. That’s just one example of people being used. Another is that people are continuously talking up the absence of our brothers from four African provinces from this meeting. But the point is that a lot of those brothers of ours – 200 is a nice round figure – would have wanted to come here. That’s important to say.”
Bishop Mwamba described the situation as it had been in Uganda, “where a special Synod is organised and provision passed which would penalise any bishop coming to the Lambeth Conference. That denied freedom of expression in terms of any individual bishop. The invitation to Lambeth is in the gift of the archbishop and it is up to a particular bishop, not a particular province, to say I will come or I won’t come.
“What are we saying about our leadership styles? It was the same in Nigeria- many would have been glad to come. So when they say 200 of our brothers have boycotted the conference – definitely no. Maybe given the freedom, one or two would have stayed behind. It must be clearly understood: the reason why they didn’t come is that they were forced not to come.” He finds it therefore a paradox that while they stay at home, some of the American allies who have been working with them – for example, Bishop Robert Duncan and others - are here…
I spent all of Friday and Saturday at the conference, staying overnight on campus. Some of each day was spent in the Marketplace, where I was helping Dave Walker, the cartoonist, who has a stall there selling his products, but obviously he can’t be on the stand at the same time as he is being cartoonist in a tent elsewhere on the campus.
All of the bishops I talked to so far have been positive about the state of progress, though I did see a few eyebrows raised when I told them what Rowan Williams had said to the press on Friday about the success rate of Indaba groups (around 80% going as expected).
Jim Naughton spent some time on Saturday trying to assess where the Conference had got to so far, see Live: where things stand. As I am quoted there saying that it was late in the 1998 conference before things started to get really difficult, I thought it might be useful to link here to what I wrote on the corresponding Sunday of 1998. I titled it then “calm before the storm”.
Tom Wright wrote a letter home about the Lambeth Conference so far. Read it on Fulcrum at Mid-Lambeth Conference Letter to the Diocese of Durham. He also seems reasonably up-beat about progress to date. I must admit I thought one of the most interesting tidbits of information was:
this is the first time for nearly a year that I have had more than seven consecutive nights in the same bed
which seems quite remarkable given that the Diocese of Durham covers only 987 square miles according to the CofE Year Book, and thus on the small side by global communion standards.
However, it does put into context the problem he had last Saturday when, while he was giving all those interviews to newspaper reporters, he was at the same time trying desperately to find his missing robes to wear for the opening service. In the event, he had to go without, as they had not been posted to him from Bishop Auckland, as planned. (The parcel which at one time was thought to contain the Bishop of Durham’s convocation robes turned out in the end to contain the shoes of the Bishop of Chile.)
I talked to Archbishop Phillip Aspinall fairly late on Saturday afternoon, and was rather surprised to discover that he had no idea at all of that morning’s (rather sensational) UK national newspaper headlines about the conference. This would not be surprising for your average jobbing bishop attending the conference, but he is after all the frontman for the official daily press conferences and I would expect someone or other to have made sure he was properly briefed before that started (at 1.30 pm).
More generally, and more worryingly, the bishops did not seem to be aware of the documents being issued by official bodies like the Windsor Continuation Group to the conference and also to the press. I am left wondering how such information is being disseminated INSIDE the conference itself.
Well, I did what I said I was going to do: took the train to Dover, bought a map and bottle of sun tan lotion, then walked along the cliffs to Samphire Hoe (the country park made out of the Eurotunnel spoil heap) read my book for a good three hours then retraced my steps slowly along the coast to catch the London Victoria service back to Canterbury. The sun has shone all day, but hazily enough for me not to burn and I now feel thoroughly into the plot of “Animal’s People”. I’ve had a good supper (before the queues), a cooling shower and made liberal use of the after sun spray.
So what to write about today? Perhaps it’s a chance to give a sense of where I feel I (personally as opposed to the conference as a whole) am at this instant on the Anglican Communion issues we’re going to be dealing with next week. I may well change; I have to be open to that if I’m taking the process seriously, but this is how it feels this middle Sunday evening.
I think it is possible to envisage some sort of covenant document, broadly along the lines that the Design Group have come up with, which uses the traditional Anglican formularies for the bulk of its text, recognises that as Anglicans our mission is to enculture the gospel along with evangelising the culture, and clearly avoids attempting to lay down the line on doctrinal issues that are not part of the historic creeds and on moral positions. A covenant will need to have some criteria for determining whether a particular church is adhering to it, and there have to be ways in which new areas of concern can be raised and addressed in a timely fashion where they are so grave, have so wide an impact or are sufficiently divisive not to be simply matters that provinces (or dioceses) can determine autonomously without being called to some form of account. My area of greatest scepticism is whether such a covenant can ever be used to deal with matters that have already become rancorous.
I’ve heard enough stories this last 10 days to know that even TEC bishops who voted against Gene Robinson are facing territorial incursions from parishes who think the game is now pick-a-bishop. That really will not do. We mustn’t let this particular issue off the hook again.
And so to bed! I read and study my bible habitually, prayerfully and hard, learning both from the insights the Holy Spirit provides me and from the long tradition of piety and scholarship within which I am continually formed and reformed. My personal conclusion is that what St Paul and the Old Testament are condemning are not faithful, loving and stable same sex relationships as we see them today but rather matters of cultic sex, sex as the expression of a particular power relationship, and promiscuity. The other main argument, that God didn’t create Adam and Adam, collapses into a narrow form of Thomism (in which every “thing” can have only one good and natural purpose) that is explicitly rejected in the Prayer Book (and its revisions) marriage service and therefore cannot be claimed as Anglican.
Nonetheless, if I ever thought this issue could be “adiaphora” (something a local church can determine without needing to heed others) I no longer do. The consecration of a bishop in an active same sex relationship has certainly helped some Christians in North America to feel more fully accepted by the church, official liturgies and blessings for such partnerships have done the same for the couples involved and their friends. But the price is being paid elsewhere, particularly in places where Christians are on the defensive or in a minority in relation to Islam, and are often seen as slack on topics such as the consumption of alcohol. In countries like these male homosexual activities are often still criminal. There is no way they can tackle these issues at present in their contexts nor could they defend themselves by saying that “it’s not us, it’s just the Americans”. Indeed the very fact that it is the USA (in many parts of the world I doubt Canada is adequately distinguished) leading that plays into the anti-imperialism and hatred of America that is so strong across the globe. Invasion by American cultural values is no more popular than invasion by its troops.
As a C of E bishop I recognise that were I to insist on carrying out the consequences of my own views on this subject rather than upholding what Synod and the House of Bishops have agreed then I would have to resign. But my Anglican ecclesiology and catholic spirituality teach me to be obedient to the collegial will, properly expressed, not least because I might well be wrong. Equally, I believe that any individual church that claims to be Anglican needs to have a polity which gives full weight to the whole communion. It’s here where I find I am looking over the next few days to my American brothers and sisters for reassurance.
Highlight of the day: a good long read.
Lowlight of the day: the campus shop had closed when I got back and there’s no beer in the fridge.
The Telegraph has a report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones which is headlined Homosexual bishops face Anglican Church ban.
This refers to the third report from the Windsor Continuation Group, which is due to be released on Monday afternoon. See here for the first and second reports. According to Wynne-Jones the third one will say:
The paper, “How do we get from here to there?”, stresses that it is vital that an Anglican Covenant be agreed so that churches around the world are mutually accountable and united by a common set of beliefs. This must happen as soon as possible, it says, to prevent further haemorrhaging of the Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexual clergy.
Until a consensus is reached, the American and Canadian churches must refrain from consecrating more homosexual bishops and carrying out blessing services for same-sex couples, the paper says.
If they do not, they will face being pushed to the margins of the communion and find themselves excluded from the councils that are central to the governance of the Church.
This was of course what the original Windsor Report recommended in 2004. But it also recommended an end to boundary crossings, and now it seems that recommendation may also be repeated:
The African churches, which oppose having practising homosexuals in the clergy, will be told that they must stop intervening in the affairs of other churches as their actions are deepening the rift.
Nigerian and Ugandan archbishops have taken control of dozens of parishes in America and Canada opposed to a liberal agenda.
It seems extraordinarily unlikely that the Nigerians, Ugandans, and indeed the Kenyans or Rwandans, would now agree to undo this, no matter what TEC or ACC agreed to do.
The Sunday Times published a long interview with Bishop Gene Robinson by Rosie Millard.
Thanks to those who are adding comments to this blog. I’ve taken a decision that my time is best spent writing the daily instalment than making individual responses, but do rest assured that you are all part of what I am carrying with me into the various sessions here.
Last night and today we’ve looked at environmental issues. The figures for how much the carbon dioxide level has gone up in recent years were, alongside plenty of other statistics, both frightening and compelling. And, given that Anglicans don’t subscribe to the “let’s use the world up so that Jesus will come back soon” heresy, we need to effect the moral leadership that is our only option for a problem market capitalism is singularly unfitted to deal with unaided. I spoke with a bishop from the Pacific region who has already seen five islands disappear under the water in recent years; one from Tanzania told us that the snows are melting from the summit of Kilimanjaro; a colleague from Zambia spoke of how the rainy season which should last from October to late April is now down to December-March. What bishops do in their bedrooms gets put into perspective when we recognise that those bedrooms may be uninhabitable or under water within a generation.
The conference process goes on and there were some deeply moving moments in my Bible Study Group this morning. The group of 15 or so listeners (one from each indaba) has now been chosen. These bishops will produce the draft documents that will eventually be processed by the conference into something that Rowan told us after Evensong today should not be a record of what was said but provide clear and prophetic direction to the communion. I don’t as yet have a full list but I do know two good friends; Michael Perham of Gloucester and Bill Godfrey of Peru are on it. These are people in whom I have confidence.
After lunch we had the Lambeth 08 photo. For forty minutes the staff painstakingly arranged all 670 or so of us in tiers whilst we sweated in the afternoon heat, close proximity and convocation dress, and regressed to schoolboy/girl status. At the point when the whole thing seemed to have completely bogged down we burst into a spontaneous rendition of Amazing Grace (a full four verses) which defused the situation.
The programme has been quiet since then; Evening Prayer was led by TEC. There were plenty of people there (except for a number of English bishops who have shot off home for a 24 hour break) and it was one further nail in the coffin of the rumour that significant numbers of TEC bishops are deficient in Christology (or other areas of doctrine). Tonight there are a handful of fringe events but I’ve bought a can of decent beer and am watching a favourite old film (Pleasantville) on my laptop. Tomorrow I’m skipping both the options of the cathedral and civic reception or a parish visit and will take a train to a decent beach where I can enjoy a long walk and a good novel.
Highlight of the day: the amazingly proficient choir of TEC bishops and spouses who helped lead Evening Prayer.
Lowlight of the day: discovering that the train I need tomorrow goes from the further away station.
Here’s a piece I wrote for Lambeth Witness. It’s in this issue here (PDF).
Lambeth: The View from the English Pew
by Simon Sarmiento
I’m fairly sure the average English churchgoer thinks that the Lambeth Conference is something of great importance to bishops. After all it gives them a chance to get away from home with their wives for over two weeks, and the Church Commissioners will pick up the full tab. Unlike their American counterparts, they are already accustomed to the primitive plumbing facilities of English university residence halls, which they experience every July when General Synod goes to York. But hey, it’s free.
I don’t believe though that many Church of England (CofE) parishioners think that the Lambeth Conference is of importance to them. They know that the Church of England is ultimately controlled by Parliament, via powers delegated to the General Synod, but they also know that the General Synod is very rarely able to agree on anything very quickly, if at all. So the chance of anything changing in their parish church because of something a Sudanese bishop said is rather remote.
And most parishioners know that what the national newspapers and television tell them about the CofE is rubbish anyway. They know this because their parish clergy, especially those who are members of General Synod, tell them this all the time.
And because the average churchgoer doesn’t read the Church Times, the only thing they will ever learn about Lambeth is what they hear in the pulpit. Lots of sermons have been preached in England recently about the Conference, and how important it is to pray for the bishops, including those not coming. In fact the main thing most people know about this conference is that hundreds of bishops are staying away. They may not be very clear about why this is, but one thing they are all certain of: it’s not the Church of England’s fault.
(I realise earlier reports for the past couple of days are missing, but I will start the catch-up process with the most recent material.)
Guardian Riazat Butt Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Canterbury backs Anglican ‘Holy Office’
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams backs ‘Anglican Inquisition’
The Times Ruth Gledhill Anglican version of the ‘inquisition’ proposed to avoid future schism
What is this about? It is about this document, available here. Right at the end is this sentence:
The Common Principles of Canon law Project ( Anglican Communion Legal Advisers Network) gives a sense of the integrity of Anglicanism and we commend the suggestion for the setting up of an Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’.
Ruth Gledhill explains further in her blog, Lambeth Diary: Anglican ‘Holy Office’.
Robert Pigott has a diary entry for 25 July about this press conference, see Agreeing to Disagree here.
In the Church Times blog Pat Ashworth had Rowan on ecumenism - all in the same boat.
And here is the Anglican Journal report on this story, by Marites Sison Proposal calls for creation of Faith and Order Commission
and Episcopal News Service has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg, Lambeth Conference begins considering ‘difficult situations’
and Religious Intelligence has a report by George Conger Lambeth: Is Inquisition on the cards?
and the Living Church has a report by Steve Waring Archbishop: Communion Faith and Order Commission Gains Momentum.
It was the turn of the Church of North India to lead the Conference Eucharist this morning. It’s surely no coincidence that the Indian bishops have been more prominent participants in the various events I’ve attended since. Having presided at the breaking of the bread with us they have gone on, like an extended Ministry of the Word, to break open their stories and their lives through the rest of the day.
The conference theme for Friday has been Christian ecumenism. There are huge differences of context between a majority denomination in a majority Christian community and a small church in a land where some other faith dominates, but what all seemed to have in common is that ecumenism works best in places with natural shared boundaries (a town, an island, a nation) but it’s much harder going at intermediate levels where jurisdictions overlap and often make it hard to assemble meetings of the necessary people. It also appears easier to be ecumenical when there is an obvious shared task, particularly in response to a crisis. Someone offered us a lovely quote from Desmond Tutu, that apartheid was too big a problem for the churches to tackle it separately. What I’m increasingly feeling though is that much of what we do is an infantile form of ecumenism based on “what can we all do together?”, grown up ecumenism must lie in what we empower some to do on behalf of all.
It feels like we’re now close to being ready to tackle some of the Anglican Communion agenda items directly. Whilst they are certainly not more important than what we did in London yesterday they are matters for which the conference, as one of the Instruments of Communion, has a particular responsibility and locus. We’ve built relationships and allowed divisive issues to emerge where they have come up naturally and it has been OK. I even get a sense that for some the encounters (let the lobbyists shudder) have led to bishops reflecting on and maybe revising their positions.
I took my daily tour round the marketplace earlier, to honour the efforts of those who have come to Canterbury to be with us. I’m trying to let myself be drawn into conversations both with those whose positions I share and others whose viewpoints I find antithetical or even (in one or two instances) slightly disturbing. Partly, I think it’s important to be open to having my attitudes challenged and changed and partly, as my chaplain used to say when he’d invited the JWs in for a chat, when they’re talking to me they’re not talking to anyone else.
I’m writing somewhat earlier today in the hope of getting to sleep sooner, so I’ll blog something tomorrow about tonight’s plenary on the environment and climate change – another issue far too important to get pushed off the agenda.
Highlight of the day: Meeting Professor Grace Davie, whose work I’ve long admired and whose arguments I’ve written papers attacking. Her work in the sociology of religion has paved the way for humble empirical theologians like myself to do our work.
Lowlight of the day: writing this blog then the program crashing before I’d saved it, so I’ve had to type it all in again. But, dear reader, you’re worth it!
This week’s Church Times press column is available on day of publication and is written by the Editor himself.
Read Press: Saying no to the media by Paul Handley which includes this:
…THE RELATIONSHIP between the press and the conference organisers — mediated through the media team — is deteriorating nicely. Having been told earlier that journalists could not attend the cell groups, the indaba groups, or the “self-select” seminars, and some of the plenaries, it was found that the fringe meetings were also out of bounds, unless the meeting organiser agreed otherwise. A journalist had been ejected from a meeting (on the subject of mediation) the previous evening.
The latest news was that members of the press were also barred from the 7.15 a.m. eucharist, because “it is important for bishops and their wives to be able to worship freely”. The image conjured up was of obtrusive television interviews being conducted at the communion rail. Journalists do actually know how to behave themselves during services. It felt like dragging our Lord into the organisational pettiness. The least the organisers could do is to lay on a public eucharist before the bishops’ service.
THE OTHER ROW on Tuesday was about a list of those attending. This has not yet been forthcoming — and might never come forth — because of “security reasons” (10.30 a.m. press conference) or “privacy laws” (1.30 p.m. press conference).
We did wonder, briefly, whether the security reasons had something to do with Radovan Karadzic masquerading as Rowan Williams (see below); but the Archbishop later visited Dave Walker’s cartoon tent, and there was no hint of a Serbian accent.
Lots of press questions were about the presence of bishops from provinces that had previously announced that they were boycotting the conference. “Nigerian bishops” (10.30 a.m. press conference) changed to “a fax from a Nigerian bishop indicating that he was coming” by 1.30 p.m. “So,” a German reporter asked dryly, “the fax is here but not the bishop?”
After a tetchy discussion about all these restrictions, a journalist asked, without a hint of irony: “What, then, is the point of our being here?” A member of the media team said grumpily afterwards: “Well, you asked to come here.”
Church Times leader: Wheat and tares in Canterbury
Economist Going their own way, by God
Comment is free Theo Hobson The Anglican communion has never been stranger
International Herald Tribune Chloe Breyer The Anglican Church’s shifting center
Pat Ashworth writes on the Church Times blog about this.
…Our morning press briefings bristle with tension and frustration. The Church House communications team are brilliant: they go the extra mile for us every time and are taking all the flak for whatever higher authority has decreed that we cannot have a list of the 670 bishops who are said to be present. Lawyers and privacy laws have been mentioned. Today we are told there will be a list, but that bishops can decline to be on it. So our readers worldwide - whose Church this is – cannot know whether their bishop turned up or not…
…It’s the story of our lives, speaking to somebody afterwards, if they’ll speak to you at all. It’s second-hand reporting. It just won’t do. None of the bishops’ seminar options, the ‘self-select sessions’, are open to us. I look at the range of issues and am desperate to sit at the feet at some of the renowned people from all over the globe who are leading them.
Here is everything that matters, everything the Church should be engaging with. What wouldn’t I give to go to The Deadly Co-epidemic of Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS, chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town? Or The Consequences of Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa? I want to know about the Church’s role in peace building and conflict resolution. The mission challenges posed by eastern spiritualities. Christian responsibility in relation to the Holy Land. And the rest.
I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth. I want to see the flashpoints, hear the burning things I hope the bishops want to say from their own contexts. I don’t want someone else to tell me what was said. The conference is heavily in debt and there’s all the more need for us to know it is doing its work. The only result of keeping the media at arm’s length like this will be the headlines that everyone’s expecting and nobody wants.
Let me repeat that last sentence:
The only result of keeping the media at arm’s length like this will be the headlines that everyone’s expecting and nobody wants.
We haven’t been in the tent today, we’ve been in London.
I could write about the lunch that Rowan and Jane hosted for some 1500 friends and colleagues in their back garden, or the graciousness of Her Majesty who won the hearts of the conference and our guests with her legendary conversational gifts in another back garden a mile or so away. I could congratulate the staff, stewards and drivers who managed the logistics of decamping the entire conference a two hour journey up the road for a day. If you want a funny, it would be the line from a well-known hymn quoted by the bishop next to me as several hundred purple clad bishops headed in unison for the Embankment Station urinals, “All one body wee”. But the only real story today is of how we marched together to uphold the Millennium Development Goals and to call for a radical commitment to justice and mercy from (especially) the governments of the wealthy nations, and of how Gordon Brown pledged his commitment in person.
We marched not simply as well-fed bishops of the west but as bishops and spouses from (we were told) some 130 or so countries. Many of those marching live in places torn by war, depleted by poverty, threatened by climate change. They come from dioceses where children have no schools, curable diseases kill many and harvests fail. Physically it was a march of 1500 churchmen and women, symbolically it was a march of the 80 million Anglican worshippers we represent and a march for the sake of the billions in whose countries we live and work. Crowds lined the streets and applauded. Some stopped what they were doing and joined us as we journeyed past the great departments of state in Whitehall, past Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, past the Abbey and over the river to Lambeth.
I’ve been in meetings before where Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) has spoken on the subject of poverty, so I knew it was a passion of his. But even for me, let alone for those hearing him for the first time, this was a speech to remember. It was an integrated effort of heart and mind. Without visible reading of notes he drew on both the macro-economic statistics of poverty and the individual, named, people he has met at the point of their deepest need. There was oratorical flourish in his comparison of the effects of the speeches of Socrates and Demosthenes on their audiences (was this a subtle contrast between himself and his predecessor?). He set everything within the great tradition of campaigning and action on behalf of the oppressed and excluded by Christians and other faiths. But the crux of the speech was in the specific commitments he made on behalf of his administration, and which he pledged to take to the United Nations debate in September. I must have spoken to dozens of people as the day rolled on; I didn’t find anyone who was less than full of admiration for what we had heard.
Can we take this on into the rest of the conference, as a reminder that the world and we have bigger issues to address than what bishops do in their bedrooms (in my case mostly sleep and blog)? I hope so. The next few days will tell.
Highlight of the day: that Prime Ministerial speech
Lowlight of the day: returning tired to the campus tonight to yet another huge queue at the one outlet and handful of overstretched staff distributing food. But unlike many around the world we did all (eventually) get fed.
The Times Ruth Gledhill
Bishops invited to give tribal politics a go at the Lambeth Conference
and Cardinal Ivan Dias: Anglican Church suffering spiritual Alzheimer’s
Also Lambeth voices: a panel of Anglican bishops share their views with Faith Online
Guardian Riazat Butt
Call at Lambeth for gay bishop to resign post
and Cardinal accuses Anglican Communion of ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s’
Also Conference diary
Telegraph Martin Beckford
Liberal churches have ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s’, claims Vatican cardinal
and Church needs a miracle to survive, says Archbishop [this is not Rowan Williams speaking]
This evening, the other statement issued yesterday by the Sudanese bishops has been published by ACNS. This is headed Statement of the Sudanese Bishops to the Lambeth Conference on the Situation in Sudan and it starts out with this:
We, the Sudanese Bishops gathering at the Lambeth Conference, would like on behalf of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) and the whole Sudanese people, to acknowledge and appreciate your prayers and support during the 21 years of war in Southern Sudan and in reaching the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement / Army (SPLM/A) on 9th January 2005. The CPA provides the basis for a just and sustainable peace in the Sudan. We give thanks to God for the agreement and express our support for all efforts to ensure its full and timely implementation.
After 21 years of war, in which more than 2 million people lost their lives and more than 4 million people have become refugees or internally displaced, we are greatly encouraged at the new future offered by the CPA. However, we remain deeply concerned that the conflict in Darfur, in Western Sudan, continues unabated, and at the localized conflict in several places which threatens stability and the sustainability of peace…
Please do read it all.
(This article has been delayed, sorry.)
More4News, the programme produced by the Channel 4 News team for the More4 digital channel, had a report Tuesday evening on the Lambeth Conference, and the Bishop of New Hampshire. You can watch the report by going here.
Anglican Journal has Lambeth Conference will deal with ‘breakdown of trust’ by Marites Sison concerning the Windsor Continuation Group.
The full text of the presentation by Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in the Roman Catholic Church, can be read on ACNS at The church needs apologists, not apologisers, Cardinal Dias says.
There was a game Sue and I used to play with the kids on long car journeys. Someone starts by saying, “My aunt went to Paris and brought me….” and names one item. Player two repeats exactly what player one has said, and adds one item at the end”. And so it continues (what we mathematicians call a process of iteration). Anyone who fails to correctly recite the entire list is eliminated. Take this as a metaphor for the Conference.
We began last Thursday with bible study; on Sunday we added plenary sessions; Indaba groups started on Monday; Tuesday saw the first self-select sessions; today we’ve had a double dose with the introduction of fringe events and hearings. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that the real conference process is that whoever, by sometime late next week, can recite in order, all the different types of event we’ve had on the timetable, will get to decide the Anglican Communion’s policy on sexuality. And actually, I can think of plenty of worse ways.
Tonight I was part of a group putting on a fringe event for bishops who are Visitors of Religious Communities. It was well attended, lively and constructive. The monastic orders (who are well represented in the chaplaincy team here) reflect the overall life of the Communion: in places where the church is growing they are typically growing, in other places they are seeking to develop fresh expressions of community life to reach out to those no longer attracted by past formulations. In England the concepts of poverty, chastity and obedience are about as counter-cultural as you can get - in fact the mere notion of making a lifetime commitment is pretty hard to grasp for those who have grown up in a culture where nothing, including the three traditional foci of career, locality and relationships is forever.
The Hearing was the hardest event I’ve been to yet. These broadly relate to the Covenant or Windsor processes. Bishops get three minutes to speak to whoever chooses to turn up. It’s not a forum for formal debate, there are certainly no motions, amendments or votes, but the platform (today they were the Windsor Continuation Group) take back all that is said, together with comments submitted in writing, and process it into a further statement to the conference. I reckon something like two thirds of the bishops attended today’s session. We heard at first hand the real anguish that the divisions are causing to people on all sides of the questions. Speeches were delivered with pain and passion, but with grace. It was pretty heart wrenching, but then that’s exactly how it should be.
Chaos reigns over the arrangements for London tomorrow. Many of us UK bishops had not spotted an advance notice telling us we’d need passports or driving licences for this. The details of what we are allowed to take or not take failed to get read out in some indaba groups. When I asked at the information desk I was told that I must take suntan lotion but cannot take any form of bag (except a lady’s handbag). “So, how do I carry the suntan lotion?” I asked. After a reflective silence one of the helpers suggested I carry it in my pocket. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to transport a part used container of lotion in my trousers, it sounds potentially very messy.
Highlight of the day: I visited the “Holy Socks” stall in the marketplace (www.holysocks.co.uk - believe it or not). Having not worn socks for thirty years I threatened to picket it, but the lady (who’s from Scotland) was so nice that I promised to give her a blog mention instead.
Lowlight of the day: the university failed to adjust the time settings on the air-conditioning to take account of evening meetings (clearly something students never have) so we sweltered in a packed lecture hall for our evening fringe event until the events people (hats off to them) brought in several large electric fans.
This report about my second visit to Canterbury on Monday has been delayed, mostly because Tuesday, when I was not there, was a much more exciting day, at least for journalists. Whether this is connected to my absence, I do not know.
Also from a separate IT Desk I was able to get a WiFi login for my own personal use. I have to say that the instructions for using it in conjunction with Windows XP (which is what my laptop runs) are definitely not for the faint-hearted. However, on Monday I was able to connect using the Press Room’s ethernet rather than the WiFi, and so avoided the challenge again.
During the day I attended two press briefings, one conducted by Paul Feheley of Canada and one conducted by Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia. The latter was the one at which the Archbishop of Canterbury answered questions, which have been pretty thoroughly reported elsewhere already. I didn’t understand the logic of his answer about why the Bp of New Hampshire had been excluded, but then neither did most other people I talked to.
The earlier briefing was dominated by complaints from several other journalists, but Bill Bowder in particular, about being excluded from the morning and evening worship in the Big Top. I was personally surprised to discover this was the case as I distinctly recall ten years ago that these sessions were not restricted only to bishops and spouses, and plenty of outsiders attended them on various occasions. No convincing explanation of the need for this restriction has yet been offered.
I also spent time in the Marketplace. Among the exhibitors there were Inclusive Church, and also WATCH, Changing Attitude and LGCM.
LGCM, which is sponsoring the Peterson Toscano shows next week, had several interesting documents available, including this review (PDF) of the book by Phil Groves, which has been mentioned as a major resource for sexuality-related discussions at the conference. Unfortunately, Professor Michael King is not impressed by this book, although he does like a couple of chapters in it. These were not the ones written by his professional colleagues. You can read a much more favourable review of this book here, and another critical comment here. I have still not read most of it, so am reserving judgement. There is also more about the book here.
Speaking of books, I was sorry not to be there today, Wednesday, when Peter Francis, who edited the book Rebuilding Communion to which I contributed a chapter, was due to be the LGCM Guest of the Day.
At the end of the day, I went down to St Stephen’s Church for Evening Prayer. Everyone was welcome to attend this service…
Updated six times Originally published at 6.27 pm
Full video of entire press conference now available from ENS, see below.
The Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan have issued a statement, which is copied in full below. In addition, the Primate of ECS held an impromptu press conference in which he stated that the Bishop of New Hampshire should resign.
Jim Naughton has reported on this here, and
Ruth Gledhill has reported on it here. Note this now includes a video of the archbishop’s remarks
Also reported by Marites Sison here.
And by George Conger Lambeth rocked as Archbishop calls on Robinson to resign.
And by Cherie Wetzel here.
Now, reported by Riazat Butt in the Guardian Gay bishop should resign for good of the church, says African archbishop
And by Ruth Gledhill in The Times Sudanese Anglicans demand gay bishop Gene Robinson resigns
And also by Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Gay bishop Gene Robinson ‘must be sacked’ to save church from schism
And Mary Frances Schjonberg for Episcopal News Service has Sudanese primate wants Robinson’s resignation
Note ENS has also has a full video recording of the entire press conference. Find it here. Navigate to the two videos by date: 07/22/08
And on Wednesday morning by Robert Pigott for the BBC Gay bishop Robinson ‘should quit’
And the Daily Mail Dismiss gay bishop, say Third World church leaders
Original Statement of the Bishops of ECS
In view of the present tensions and divisions within the Anglican Communion, and out of deep concern for the unity of the Church, we consider it important to express clearly the position of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) concerning human sexuality.
We believe that God created humankind in his own image; male and female he created them for the continuation of humankind on earth. Women and men were created as God’s agents and stewards on earth We believe that human sexuality is God’s gift to human beings which is rightly ordered only when expressed within the life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman. We require all those in the ministry of the Church to live according to this standard and cannot accept church leaders whose practice is contrary to this.
We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships. This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment.
The unity of the Anglican Communion is of profound significance to us as an expression of our unity within the Body of Christ. It is not something we can treat lightly or allow to be fractured easily. Our unity expresses the essential truth of the Gospel that in Christ we are united across different tribes, cultures and nationalities. We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away, to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.
Out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we appeal to the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada, to demonstrate real commitment to the requests arising from the Windsor process. In particular:
- To refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops or priests
- To refrain from approving rites of blessing for same-sex relationships
- To cease court actions with immediate effect;
- To comply with Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference
- To respect the authority of the Bible
We believe that such steps are essential for bridging the divisions which have opened up within the Communion.
We affirm our commitment to uphold the four instruments of communion of the Anglican Communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council; and call upon all Provinces of the Communion to respect these for the sake of the unity and well-being of the Church.
We appeal to this Lambeth Conference to rescue the Anglican Communion from being divided. We pray that God will heal us from the spirit of division. We pray for God’s strength and wisdom so that we might be built up in unity as the Body of Christ.
The Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul
Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of Juba
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!
Riazat Butt wrote on the Guardian newsblog about Escorts on offer for lonely bishops at Lambeth conference.
This article also mentions the dining hall flow chart, which can be found here.
Updated again Tuesday afternoon
There was a press conference today at Canterbury, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury answered questions.
A full audio recording of this can be downloaded from the ACO website, go here.
A video recording of it is available at ENS, go here.
Navigate to the video by date: 07/21/08.
Jim Naughton has posted about it, see Live: ABC meets the press.
I will add links here to further reports about this event.
Anglican Journal Communion not headed for a schism, says Archbishop of Canterbury
Guardian Riazat Butt Church is not wounded and bleeding, says Williams
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams: Traditionalists ‘alienated’ by women bishops
The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop confirms church’s anti-gay sex stance
With the daily bible study groups and the first two rounds of indaba meetings adding up to something more than 5 hours, today has been a day of much active engagement in conversation. This complex system of study group, indaba, self-select sessions, hearings, listeners, rapporteurs, facilitators and (eventually) groups to draft texts for exposure is scary because it’s untested. But, as Rowan reminded us yesterday, the traditional method of resolutions, amendments and votes hasn’t exactly served us well in the past. Not least because virtually no resolution has ever led on into action! It seems like the great majority are prepared to trust the process, but recognise that we need to work it and own it to ensure that it delivers.
Indaba is not simply 40 people sitting in a circle and talking in plenary for two hours. Most of the time we have been working in smaller groups (of size 1,3,5,10 so far in mine) and then sharing the essence of the conversation with the wider group. The tricky issues are being flagged and discussed, but they are arising in a context and from a developing relationship of collegiality and charity rather than simply being hurled across a divide wrapped round large bricks. Indeed, the people who have most to fear from this relational and contextual method of working are the lobbyists and pressure groups who would dearly love to control the conference from outside. At some point I expect they will try to break the communion we are establishing. Will we be firm enough to resist it? Pray for us!
Today we completed our guests’ initiation into British culture. Having introduced them to the queue we have now added that quintessential, the blocked footpath and hole in the road with accompanying ear-piercing mechanical digger. Another conference has just arrived on site - a group of people doing a two week EFL course. Distinguishable by their lack of badges (with or without lanyards of appropriate colour) they are wandering about a campus full of bishops looking rather more perplexed than the ubiquitous and conference-hardened rabbits.
Highlight of the day: During the Eucharist a Japanese bishop came to the platform to apologise to his Korean colleagues for the past mistreatment of their country by his.
Lowlight of the day: Discovering that there was indeed to be a provincial meeting in the only gap in today’s schedule, and discovering too early to have an excuse to miss it.
Riazat Butt reports on Sunday’s events in the Guardian Church crisis: Simmering dissent, pleas for unity and grass skirts in the aisles as Anglicans meet
Ruth Gledhill reports them in The Times Archbishop of Canterbury says: ‘Now we must work out what is really important’ and Joanna Sugden wrote The shindig begins with nerves and half-naked dancers
George Pitcher in the Telegraph has Bishops boycotting Lambeth Conference ‘are weakening church’s efforts to resolve crisis’
For the BBC Nick Higham asks Will the conference bring communion?
And the Radio 4 breakfast programme Today had Theo Hobson and Nick Baines discussing the conference, go here for the 6 minute segment at 0840.
James Macintyre in the Independent has Bishops back plea for ‘inclusive communion’
Rowan Williams gave a Presidential Address. For an html copy of the full text it is necessary to go to ENS who have kindly reformatted it here.
The official press release about it is here.
ACNS has however the full text of the Sermon given by the Right Reverend Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo at the opening service in Canterbury Cathedral.
The Order of Service is available as a PDF here.
Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times wrote A broad church with narrow attitudes. Here’s an extract:
…The visible loathing of some Anglicans for gays and women – expressed in terms that would have them prosecuted in any other walk of life – is indefensible. The British make much noise opposing the intolerant practices of Muslims and other imported religions. They seem deaf to the intolerance of members of their home-grown church. That the conservatives have constant recourse to biblical texts has no more to do with the case than if Islamic scholars appealed to the Koran against the Crown Prosecution Service. The law of the land is the law of the land.
No less astonishing is that the parties are largely warring because the Church of England remains stuck in an imperial time warp. A global membership of some 80m – overwhelmingly in the new Commonwealth – is under the leadership of an archbishop in England, custodian of just a million souls, and a governing body meeting in Lambeth.
The origins of this dispute thus lie not so much in the biblical understanding of sexuality but rather in Anglicanism’s inability to handle global diversity in human behaviour. There is no way African cultures will regard sex in the same way as Asians or Europeans. Why does the church pretend otherwise?
This is a relic of the status of the Church of England as the established church in what was once a far-flung empire. It has struggled to mimic the diversity of the British Commonwealth, allowing archbishoprics to flourish and hierarchies to proliferate. But the trappings of doctrinal centralism remain in place.
The obvious solution to the row over gay and women bishops would be to live and let live. Let a thousand sexualities bloom under the capacious canopy of mother church. Do not impose on the cultures of Africa the sexual norms and gender equalities that have evolved under the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant aegis. There is no need for this dispute…
Read it all.
Today we raised queueing to an art form. From joining the queue for the bus to the cathedral at nine o’clock this morning to getting back off the bus at half past two I calculate I spent two hours in worship, half an hour in coach travel and three hours in queues. We queued to get on the coach, queued to get into the cathedral, queued to get out of the cathedral, queued to leave the precincts and queued for the coach to campus. Mercifully the people serving lunch had kindly stayed on way beyond the scheduled time, so we all got fed. But the crux is that these are not like the queues of the desperate outside a shop in some command economy nor the queues of the frustrated praying that a bus will stop. These are the queues of people who know that they will get where they’re going, and, although it will take some while, there’s some fascinating conversation to be had along the way with the strange assortment of people we find stood beside us. Maybe that’s a metaphor for the conference.
The cathedral service itself was splendid, both expectedly and unexpectedly. It was always going to be something special but in two places it excelled itself. The gospel procession, featuring melanesian religious carrying the book in a model boat whilst singing and dancing, will no doubt feature in everyone’s list of images from Lambeth 08. It was stunning. I hope the TV reports have focussed on that rather than processions of prelates. But equally amazing was the sermon preached by the Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Hardly using notes he reflected on the day’s lectionary gospel (the parable of the wheat and tares) and called us to three things: rigorous self-scrutiny, unity in diversity and prophetic ministry.
Hardly had lunch digested when we assembled in the tent for an explanation of the conference process. It builds on what has been most appreciated in previous conferences - the small bible study groups - and drops what has been least effective. The western pattern of resolutions and amendments is replaced by the indaba groups (5 bible study groups working together) and a robust process for collating the indaba discussions. Its a recipe to allow everyone to speak and be heard, rather than one that favours the politically astute, the most articulate and the accomplished manipulators. When Rowan rose to give a Presidential Address he got no more than a few words out before conference stood spontaneously to give him a prolonged ovation. He was visibly moved. For that matter, so was I.
Highlight of the day: that sermon
Lowlight of the day: hot water supply was dodgy again this morning
The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme had a major report on the Lambeth Conference. It includes recorded interviews with Vincent Strudwick, Graham Kings, Norman Doe, Lucy Winkett and Judith Maltby, by Trevor Barnes, and live interviews with Paul Handley and Stephen Bates, by Roger Bolton.
Go to this page, open the link there, and go forward 23 mins 45 secs (URL will not persist after one week).
I visited the University of Kent at Canterbury on Saturday.
My main purpose was to give a Media training session to some Americans and Canadians, but before I did that, I wanted to collect my Press credentials and to check in at the Media Centre. I was interested to see if the accommodation there was as dire as Ruth Gledhill had originally reported. I had forgotten how ugly some of the buildings are.
The letter telling me where to go to collect my credentials had said:
Your accreditation pass and welcome pack will be available from the Accreditation Desk in the GRIMOND Building, University of Kent at Canterbury, from the morning of Wednesday, July 16.
While waiting in what turned out to be the wrong queue at the GRIMOND building, I met an English bishop of my acquaintance who, when I explained to him what I had come to do, said he thought the CofE bishops might find a similar session useful. Before you ask, he wasn’t NT Wright.
When I went to the right desk, I got my accreditation pass and blue lanyard quickly enough, and also a very welcome free pass for use in either of two car parks on campus. But when I asked if there was anything else I should receive, I got an emphatic No.
Expecting to receive perhaps at least a paper map of the campus (how minimalist can a Welcome Pack be?), I was a bit surprised but tried not to show it. I asked again, just to make sure. Still No.
So then I asked if other material was to be obtained from the Media Centre. Yes, she said, it was. So off I went to find the Media Centre. Luckily I had written down its location before leaving home.
When you get there, it is indeed up a lot of stairs and down a lot of corridors, and the space allocated for journalists seems extraordinarily small for the huge number of them that have been given accreditation. I was told (I did not see it for myself) that the room to be used for press briefings only seats a few dozen.
But on the other hand, it is much, much closer to the main conference venues than the place used for these purposes in 1998. It was at the other end of the campus, but was a lecture theatre with ample room for everyone to sit. And it had been equipped with CCTV to allow journalists to watch the plenary proceedings from afar. Space for journalists in the tent ten years ago was extremely limited.
Anyway, when I got to the Press Office I found Peter Crumpler, and told him what had happened at the Registration Desk. He rolled his eyes and said: “Didn’t they give you a personal ID and login for the WiFi?” “No”, I said, “they didn’t.” Of course, it hadn’t occurred to me to ask specifically for that, in the absence of absolutely any other paperwork.
I really didn’t want to go all the way back to the other building at that point, so I borrowed a login ID from another journalist and tried to get my laptop connected to the University network. I did succeed eventually, but it was not straightforward. I will start again on that trail on Monday morning.
Before I left the Media Centre, I did get from Peter’s friendly staff a copy of the paper Official Programme & Event Guide, which lists all the separate events in detail and contains lots of useful information. Today, I’m at home perusing the Programme Guide to plan my future visits.
But I still have no idea what else might have been in the Welcome Pack.
I said earlier that news was scarce yesterday. The Bishop of Durham leapt to the rescue, and gave interviews to all the journalists he could find, who happily quoted him at some length, but apparently didn’t ask any questions.
The longest quotes were in the Telegraph where Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote Anglican communion a ‘train wreck’, says bishop.
“All sorts of forces have built up over the years in the communion through misunderstanding and people doing things differently without really consulting,” he said.
“Sooner or later this was all going to meet and hit the buffers. It’s been like a slow-moving train wreck.”
The bishop, who is highly respected and a close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, told The Sunday Telegraph that the presence of American bishops involved in the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop, was proving divisive.
“A lot of people here have a lot of questions about why the American bishops are here,” he said. “Those questions are in the room.”
…Bishop Wright said that there was mistrust between the different factions over who was going to make the next significant move. “It’s like a very odd game of cards,” he said. “We’re all being very civil and talking politely, but people are wondering who is going to play which card next and hence what responses may be possible.”
Bishop Wright added that the summit was lacking direction and questioned how effective it would be.
“There’s a sense that we’re all not quite sure where this is going. That’s the mood of the conference. It is gloriously confusing at the moment and slightly worrying in that one has no idea what’s actually going on.”
But he also spoke to either Victoria Combe or Ruth Gledhill who wrote Gay bishop’s ‘row ‘like Iraq war’ for the Sunday Times.
One of the Church of England’s most senior bishops has compared the consecration of a gay bishop in America to the invasion of Iraq.
Tom Wright, the bishop of Durham and the fourth most senior in the English hierarchy, said both events showed Americans were prepared to act “how they please” with disregard for the rest of the world…
…Wright, who represents moderate conservative clerics who, rather than schism, want provision within the church for conservatives opposed to gay clergy and women bishops, said: “George Bush said he was going to invade Iraq. Everyone told him not to because there would be consequences, but he did it anyway.
“The Americans floated the balloon in 2003 when they consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. They knew exactly what they were doing then and they know exactly what they are doing now. They knew it would be unacceptable to the majority of the Communion. They are doing exactly as they please.”
He continued: “Either the rest of the world caves in or someone has to stand up to them.”
And he spoke to Riazat Butt whose article for the Guardian was mainly about Church of England unrest threatens to harm links with Vatican.
As a consequence of all this Jim Naughton had a
dream nightmare of an interview with Bishop Wright, as reported at Live: a lesson in moral reasoning on the Episcopal Café.
This document, which was mentioned in various earlier reports on the conference, is now available as a PDF file on the official site.
You can also obtain the official bible studies booklet, Signs on the Way, from this page in two formats.
The retreat finished at lunchtime today after a fifth and final address from Rowan. Among the gems was a quotation from Alan Ecclestone (I did my curacy in the parish next door to where Alan spent many years; I always found his writing more complex than Rowan’s!) that “episcope is insight as well as oversight”. The main theme took us into Hebrews and the notion of Christ who clears a new and living way so that we can go where otherwise we could not. Christians (and bishops in particular) lead by following Jesus. Writing it down makes it sound simple and obvious, but there’s a huge depth in what we have heard and it sets the context within which we will turn to the conference part of Lambeth on Monday.
Various ecumenical guests joined us this afternoon. There is enormous support for us from orthodox, catholic, protestant and pentecostal denominations, mostly in presence but some with letters of greeting. Reading all the titles of the writers made me wonder whether the problem we have with Anglican authority is that we just don’t have impressive enough words in front of our names. If Rowan styled himself catholicos, supreme head, patriarch, holiness or beatitude who’d dare oppose him? Personally my vote is for “His beatitude”, there’s something about Rowan that encapsulates what Matthew 5 is all about. We had a reading from the works of the sixth century St Dorotheus. I’m starting a rumour that he/she is the patron of Changing Attitude.
It’s been humbling to eat and speak with bishops from Sudan and Zimbabwe. To hear stories of the faith lived out under persecution from bishops whose courage and humour are intact. As when I went to Peru three years ago, it has convinced me that the Anglican Communion may seem to make little difference in England, but to these leaders of small, young churches in difficult and hostile surroundings it matters hugely to be part of something global and steeped in history. The catholicity of Anglicanism is far more at stake here than it was at General Synod two weekends ago.
Highlight of the day: I met my namesake, the cartoonist, whose work I’ve admired since I first found it on a website. We had our photos taken together to prove we’re really not the same person.
Lowlight of the day: This is the only conference I can recall that doesn’t provide good quantities of tea and coffee at every meal and break. It took me 20 minutes to find a mid afternoon hot drink.
Friday has been like Thursday, only more so. Once again the bulk of the day has been spent at the cathedral, listening to Rowan, praying and quietly getting to know one another. In the Bible Study Groups we’re getting to a deeper level of engagement and beginning to touch on areas that we can’t simply agree as platitudes. It’s still early but the process seems to be doing what it was set up to do. As Rowan explained, we’re modelling what it is to be a cell of the Body of Christ; that doesn’t promise to resolve all disputes, but we won’t get far without it (what in my mathematician days we called a “necessary” as opposed to “sufficient” condition).
In the dining halls as well as the formal sessions there is a good mixing of traditions and stances - it doesn’t appear that many are seeking the comfort of the likeminded. Today I’ve talked with bishops from Tanzania, Canada, West Indies, USA, India, New Zealand, Eire and the UK.
The security looks big because to cordon off an outdoor area (the surrounds of the big blue) you need a lot of fencing, but it’s no more than I’m used to when I attend secular voluntary sector conferences for which participants have had to pay fees. Delegates get in, others don’t. We wouldn’t want the press in the bible studies or indabas either, but there it will be more discreet because it’s all indoors. The media have a pretty free run of much of the rest of the site. This is hardly going to be a conference that maintains a high level of secrecy, but we do have the right to do our business in a manner that allows (encourages) us all to feel able to open up to one another.
Highlight of the day: being given an invite to a drinks party hosted by Jack Iker tomorrow. Perhaps this really is engagement across the fault-lines. I felt touched, honoured, and minded to go listen.
Lowlight of the day: 2 minutes later being told the invites were only meant to be given to “sympathetic” bishops. But hey, I do sympathy really well, perhaps I am invited after all.
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.]
We recommend this essay by the Rt Revd Pierre Whalon, the Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. He writes on ‘what lies past Lambeth 2008. And Lambeth 2018. And 2028…’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent an open letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, in advance of the Lambeth Conference.
The full text of the letter is online and can also be found below:
The Feast of Pentecost is a time when we give thanks that God, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, makes us able to speak to each other and to the whole world of the wonderful things done in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a good moment to look forward prayerfully to the Lambeth Conference, asking God to pour out the Spirit on all of us as we make ready for this time together, so that we shall indeed be given grace to speak boldly in his Name.
I indicated in earlier letters that the shape of the Conference will be different from what many have been used to. We have listened carefully to those who have expressed their difficulties with Western and parliamentary styles of meeting, and the Design Group has tried to find a new style – a style more reflective of that Pentecost moment when all received the gift of speaking freely about Christ.
At the heart of this will be the indaba groups. Indaba is a Zulu word describing a meeting for purposeful discussion among equals. Its aim is not to negotiate a formula that will keep everyone happy but to go to the heart of an issue and find what the true challenges are before seeking God’s way forward. It is a method with parallels in many cultures, and it is close to what Benedictine monks and Quaker Meetings seek to achieve as they listen quietly together to God, in a community where all are committed to a fellowship of love and attention to each other and to the word of God.
Each day’s work in this context will go forward with careful facilitation and preparation, to ensure that all voices are heard (and many languages also!). The hope is that over the two weeks we spend together, these groups will build a level of trust that will help us break down the walls we have so often built against each other in the Communion. And in combination with the intensive prayer and fellowship of the smaller Bible study groups, all this will result, by God’s grace, in clearer vision and discernment of what needs to be done.
As I noted when I wrote to you in Advent, this makes it all the more essential that those who come to Lambeth will arrive genuinely willing to engage fully in that growth towards closer unity that the Windsor Report and the Covenant Process envisage. We hope that people will not come so wedded to their own agenda and their local priorities that they cannot listen to those from other cultural backgrounds. As you may have gathered, in circumstances where there has been divisive or controversial action, I have been discussing privately with some bishops the need to be wholeheartedly part of a shared vision and process in our time together.
Of course, as baptised Christians and pastors of Christ’s flock, we are not just seeking some low-level consensus, or a simple agreement to disagree politely. We are asking for the fire of the Spirit to come upon us and deepen our sense that we are answerable to and for each other and answerable to God for the faithful proclamation of his grace uniquely offered in Jesus. That deepening may be painful in all kinds of ways. The Spirit does not show us a way to by-pass the Cross. But only in this way shall we truly appear in the world as Christ’s Body as a sign of God’s Kingdom which challenges a world scarred by poverty, violence and injustice.
The potential of our Conference is great. The focus of all we do is meant to be strengthening our Communion and equipping all bishops to engage more effectively in mission; only God the Holy Spirit can bind us together in lasting and Christ-centred way, and only God the Holy Spirit can give us the words we need to make Christ truly known in our world. So we must go on praying hard with our people that the Spirit will bring these possibilities to fruition as only he can. Those who have planned the Conference have felt truly touched by that Spirit as they have worked together, and I know that their only wish is that what they have outlined for us will enable others to experience the same renewal and delight in our fellowship.
This is an ambitious event – ambitious for God and God’s Kingdom, which is wholly appropriate for a Lambeth Conference. And our ambition is nothing less than renewal and revival for us all in the Name of Jesus and the power of his Spirit.
May that Spirit be with you daily in your preparation for our meeting. As Our Lord says, ‘You know him, for he lives with and will be in you’ (Jn 14.17).
+ Rowan Cantuar
Paul Handley wrote in the Church Times about Monday’s press conference:
Lambeth Conference to go ahead with most of the bishops present.
(Scroll down for other information about the programme, the cost, and the spouses conference.)
From the blogs:
Alan Wilson gives some background on Indaba in The Morning After: Indaba or Prozac?
He then also comments on the press coverage in Ten Rules for cooking up a Gay Schism:
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Are we wobbling off piste? Reporting the same Lambeth Conference launch, Riazat Butt in the Guardian concludes “Gay Climate of controversy clouds Anglican gathering” whilst, probably more accurately, Ruth Gledhill of the Times reports “Sexuality will barely be on the Lambeth Conference agenda.” The blue train is wobbling on the tracks, friends. Entirely as an exercise in communications studies (and not theology, you understand) may I humbly propose a facetious little something to help keep this thing rolling…
Only Connect has an article by Paul Bagshaw titled Lambeth Conference in no sense a law making body.
Updated again Wednesday evening
Today, a press briefing was held at Lambeth Palace to launch the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Here is the official press release.
Here is information about the programme.
Episcopal News Service has published Lambeth Conference program launched; audio streams available.
Press reports so far:
Riazat Butt Guardian Gay ‘climate of controversy’ clouds Anglican gathering and later Williams puts sexuality on the agenda for bishops.
Ruth Gledhill The Times Six hundred bishops sign up for Lambeth despite threats of schism and also blog article The importance of Archbishop Ernest and Boycott fear on conference.
Update Tuesday evening
Lambeth Palace has released video recordings of the press conference:
Update Wednesday evening