The official Lambeth Conference website offered this notice:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams today launched the official programme for Lambeth Conference 2008 Equipping Bishops for Mission at Lambeth Palace. Joining Dr Williams on the panel were Archbishop Ellison Pogo (Archbishop of Melanesia and Chairman of the Design Group) and Archbishop Ian Ernest (Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean). Mrs Jane Williams outlined the plans for the Spouses’ Conference which is being held alongside the bishops’ conference. Jane Williams was joined by Margaret Sentamu. 30 bishops from 17 provinces around the Anglican Communion also joined the press conference.
The full statement is here.
UK Press reports included:
* Six hundred bishops sign up for Lambeth despite threats of schism (London Times)
* Launch of Lambeth Conference 2008 (ACNS)
* Gay 'climate of controversy' clouds Anglican gathering (UK Guardian -- which included this "what-were-they-thinking?" photo of His Archbishopness):
Finally, my award for best headline goes to Ruth Gledhill's blog, entitled: The Importance of Archbishop Ernest. Why?
[from Gledhill's blog] In October, Archbishop Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean, was along with other leading Global South primates co-signatory to a document in which they called for Lambeth to be postponed and said that 'what is at stake in this crisis is the very nature of Anglicanism.' Today he sat next to the Archbishop of Canterbury at the press conference at Lambeth Palace to launch the 2008 Lambeth Conference. ... His is not the only view to suggest possible fracturing in the conservative ranks.
So what does it all mean?
1 - In July the every-ten-year gathering of Anglican bishops will happen. In spite of the best efforts of the schismatics to keep it from happening, bishops from around the communion will spend weeks together in prayer and study and worship -- seeking unity in the Christ who binds us altogether as diverse members of His Body in the world.
2 - We will be there ... to witness to the Good News of God in Christ Jesus working in and through the lives of vocations of the LGBT faithful.
3 - There will be Life After Lambeth Conference. In August, we will not be celebrating the Kingdom Come nor will we be grieving the End of the World. The bishops will meet, pray, cogitate, negotiate and then we'll all fly back home and work on being the church in the world. And in this part of the world, that church looks like a community of faith inching ever-closer to the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ.
It may have "begun" ...
... but it isn't even close to being over!