Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth: Sunday and the scorecard

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.

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JPM
JPM
12 years ago

If you were American you wouldn’t find is at all remarkable that Wright is never at home, since it seems that a week seldom passes when he’s not here lecturing us all on what naughty colonials we are.

Pluralist
12 years ago

The Windsor Continuation Group will do what it wants whatever the Lambeth Conference thinks – presumably it will listen, but it is semi-detached at best and for a purpose. It is in order to drive this Covenant and now Faith and Order Commission (biblical hermeneutic for the Communion, international Canon Law), but it still has to get past the Churches and if the bishops are relatively uninformed then the chances of it getting past the Churches are fewer.

David H.
12 years ago

Indeed. Is there some sort of “Tell Bp. Tom to go home and tend to his own knitting” pressure group I can contribute to ? Of course, maybe the good people of Durham *like* it this way đŸ˜‰

John
John
12 years ago

It’s extremely important that Tom Wright should be teased and that people of all shades should make ironic remarks about him. Teased,gently laughed at, criticised (for his poor performance as a bishop in his diocese): not abused.

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

The “innocent” should not be surprised at “official” documentation being released, purportedly following “proper discussion and consultation” at conferences.

Organisational politics at is worst, and praise be to God that the technology exists to expose these charlatons for what they actually are.

Just imagine how many other conferences they’ve been able to portray as “unanimous” or “unambiguous” when it actual fact documents and positions have been released without participants input, knowledge or consent.

God is far greater than any one camp, and is certainly in not in the pocket of organisational hoodlums.

Merseymike
Merseymike
12 years ago

Tom Wright is teased because of his sheer self-importance – its a bit like pricking a very overblown balloon. He is supposedly a rated academic (not that ‘theology’ is a truly academic discipline….would the study of Grimm’s Fairy Tales or any other literature be awarded a separate discipline – its simply an aspect of literary criticism with an imaginary friend thrown in) but his books are simply unreadable.

JPM
JPM
12 years ago

David, according to MadPriest, the people in Wright’s diocese pay for all his travel–but they only buy him one-way tickets.

John
John
12 years ago

‘he would be under discipline for leaving his wife and setting up with a same-sex partner.’

Thus Wright on Gene Robinson, in his latest interview.

At best, this is highly misleading, at worst it’s a lie. In view of all the discussion and documentation of the circs, this is absolutely disgraceful.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
12 years ago

Tom Wright is not primarily a theologian, but a New Testament scholar. His style is more readable, clearer, and more logical than that of 90% of his peers in that discipline.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

It does show how much Bishop Tom Wright knows about the victim of his calumny. Bishop Gene has written a very good book which perhaps Doubting Thomas ought to read – he then might learn something about the circumstances surrounding Gene’s need for honesty about himself. This might lead Tom to become more honest about HIMself – and perhaps write (another) Book: about it. If he tells the truth, no doubt it would be a best seller – maybe even helping all of us to understand the subtle world he operates from.

Simon Sarmiento
12 years ago

Just to clarify the comments above concerning an interview with Tom Wright, the reference is to an interview in Christian Today, URL is http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bishop.tom.wright.lambeth.and.paving.the.way.to.anglican.unity/20993-4.htm Here it is in context: When Gene Robinson’s consecration was mooted in 2003 the Archbishop issued a statement at the time warning that if Robinson was consecrated he could not be regarded as a bishop by most of the churches in the Communion because even if he was a priest in most of the churches in the Communion he would be under discipline for leaving his wife and setting up with a same-sex partner. In most… Read more »

John
John
12 years ago

Am I missing something? That’s what I read. It seems clear that what I and others have said is just criticism.

WilliamK
WilliamK
12 years ago

Thanks, Simon, for the clarifying information. The problem with Wright’s claim about +Gene is that it could apply just as validly to TEC’s primate, ++Katharine: “In most churches in the Communion [she] wouldn’t have been exercising a ministry as a priest.”

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