Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth: what happened on Wednesday

The official account of the opening session is on ACNS and is imaginatively titled The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams opens the Lambeth Conference.

From this we learn the important fact that:

Some Bishops have chosen to stay away although only one Province (Uganda) has no Bishops present.

Dave Walker who was actually and corporeally present at the session has a guarded account on the Church Times blog at The opening session of the Lambeth Conference.

His first batch of cartoons are now available here.

The view from the press room is rather different, see Ruth Gledhill’s blog post titled Lambeth Diary: the ‘Clean and the Unclean’, although I fancy the picture of Bishop Martyn Minns was not taken yesterday. She writes:

…Read and believe if you like the official stuff trickling in a tightly-controlled way out of Jim Rosenthal’s entirely independent press operation operating from a place I’ve yet to track down somewhere on the university campus. This is where the ‘on side’ ‘journalists’, many of whom seem by coincidence to wear episcopal clerical collars, are permitted to hang out. I am sure the citizens of the former USSR were similarly enlightened by what Pravda produced on a daily basis. The real operation, the concrete prison where proper journalists do their work, is being run by the staff from Church House. Peter Crumpler and his minions, themselves shut away in an even more terrible bleak hole of a broom cupboard than our own, are brilliant. (Update: Incredibly, TEC might be coming to our rescue. A series of unofficial bishop briefings is to be organised, beginning this evening. I’ve been asked to make clear that these are nothing at all to do with the official Lambeth press operation.)

There’s nothing like a Lambeth Conference or two to swing me back into the conservative camp. Here I am, separated from the leaders of the Anglican Communion, of which I happen to be a covenanting member, by a ten foot wall. I’ve helped pay for this! Oh it makes me so cross.

Ok then, it’s not a wall, merely a security fence. And it’s probably closer to eight feet than 10, a closer inspection today has established. It comes complete with security guards. The wire lacks barbs but I’ll try and supply those. I guess David Virtue, George Conger and Riazat Butt and I, all equal in our exclusion, are the ‘terrorists’. I’m telling them, a three-foot fence of hurdles, or even a green line made of ribbon, would have been enough. Or even, they could have just asked us not to go in the Big Blue Top. But no. Forget simple human means of exchange. The staff running the Anglican Communion Office have moved beyond that. They’re probably wearing bomb-proof vests under their copes in case my pen is loaded with a bullet. Pathetic.

George Conger has an account of the day, and his own comments on the environment for the press at Religious Intelligence in Lambeth Conference: ‘Efforts must be made to preserve integrity of Church’:

…Bishops began arriving on Wednesday on the campus of the University of Kent situated on a hill to the south of Canterbury, with lines snaking across the campus as the bishops registered for the conference and were assigned dormitory rooms. A corps of yellow-sashed volunteers ranging in age from university students to elderly clergy escorted the new arrivals to their assigned rooms, while also enthusiastically patrolling the boundaries of the plenary areas —- keeping the press and on-lookers on the far side of a 10-foot high chain link fence.

Participants in the Conference have been divided into castes denoted by the color of the lanyard holding their name tag, with the freedom to roam determined by one’s colour. Bishops and their spouses wear purple, volunteers yellow, exhibitors at the Marketplace —- the venue for shops and special interest groups wear white, the press blue and conference staff red.

“Red is home, blue away” the bishops were told in the closed evening session that outlined the mechanics of the conference in between bouts of hymn singing, with the bishops cautioned to be careful in what they say to “outsiders.”

In other news about Wednesday, I had lunch with Jim Naughton who has told you all about it here. As he reveals, I shall be in Canterbury for the first time on Saturday, and will give you my own on-the-scene report after that.

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3MinuteTheologian (Justin Lewis-Anthony)
12 years ago

George Conger said: “…Bishops began arriving on Wednesday on the campus of the University of Kent situated on a hill to the south of Canterbury”

Wrong. It’s to the *north* of Canterbury (as a quick glance at the cathedral, visible from practically every point on the campus, would tell you.)

I love reading professional journalists writing about things I know about it: spotting the simple errors reminds me not to trust (or to trust with a hermeneutic of suspicion) everything else they write about!

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
12 years ago

Ms. Gledhill appears to be perturbed. Pity that.

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
12 years ago

Mr. Conger has a known history of perceiving things for the opposite of what they really are . . . 😉

John B. Chilton
12 years ago

In her post Gledhill writes that all the photos are from Gafcon.

In her next post she says things aren’t as bad as she thought they would be for journalists when she wrote the post Simon is quoting from.

Phyllis
Phyllis
12 years ago

I guess I’m flummoxed on this one. I fail to see why the fact that there is security at Lambeth would turn Gledhill into a conservative. I would think it would have precisely the opposite effect.

Mary Clara
Mary Clara
12 years ago

The University of Kent campus is located IN the city of Canterbury, though it feels somewhat separated as it is up on a hill overlooking the rest of the city. It is indeed on the northern side (NNW of the Cathedral and the old walled city) and on the edge of town.

Simon Sarmiento
12 years ago

Thanks, John.

The later post from Ruth is here:
http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2008/07/inside-the-wire.html

She does say
Things are getting better. I By the end of the conference, I feel, we won’t even notice the fences are there.

Doxy
Doxy
12 years ago

So now Ms. Gledhill finally understands what it’s like to be kept out of doings of the church to which she covenants and to which she pledges?

Oh, the irony…

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

Someone — I forget who — recently made the comparison between Ruth Gledhill and Rita Skeeter from “Harry Potter”.

Good Lord, I had no idea how accurate that was.

Really one of the most pathetic little screeds I’ve seen in a long time, and that in a supposedly respectable newspaper’s online edition no less. Well, I suppose Murdoch can always appropriately rename it the “Daily Profit”.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

Ruth Gledhill writes: “It can’t be any coincidence that the boycotters are, by and large, the ones who understand how to talk to a fellow human being with dignity, and not turn their backs on them and shun them” I’d be tempted to ask everyone here to contribute to a list of comments the boycotters have made about their fellow Christians in recent weeks or months. There can’t be many of us who haven’t been shunned at one time or other, including right now all those assembled at Canterbury. Why, only a day ago Nigeria threatned serious sanctions against those… Read more »

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

“the boycotters are, by and large, the ones who understand how to talk to a fellow human being with dignity, and not turn their backs on them and shun them”

Well that’s simple enough to explain, Ruth.

From the category “fellow human being,” the boycotters just EXCLUDE any LGBT person—or other human being/church who allies w/ LGBTs—and Voila’!

;-(

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