Making the long, journey from London and sacrifically putting up with the California version of February weather (75 degrees with blue, sunny skies!) were Inclusive Church allies Philip Chester and Giles Goddard -- pictured here with Integrity Board member Caro Hall (Director of Anglican Communion Affairs) and my own over-dressed self.
We had quite the delightful visit, after the chance to worship together at noon Eucharist in the CDSP chapel and a lunch "conversation-with" members of the seminary community. It was marked with hope and optimism in a time of very genuine concern for the "what nexts" of being a Church ... being a Communion together.
It also pointed out, once again, the very real differences between our CofE cousins and ourselves as American Anglicans and ... as we named it in our afternoon conversation ... if WE are family members separated by a common language, how much more do we have to work to bridge the gaps with our Anglican counsins-further-removed by language, custom and culture in order to be part of this global Anglican family!
I wrote about that a few months ago in a piece called "Mind the Gap:"
For there are very REAL differences between us and our Anglican siblings, cousins and cousins-once-removed – and those differences did not start with the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003! To “mind the gap” is not to ignore those differences but to refuse to allow them to be exploited into the divisions they do not have to be.
George Bernard Shaw’s famous description of “two countries separated by a common language” is also a very apt description for the gap I found myself called to “mind” while I was in England – the gap between my experience in the American Episcopal Church and the experience of those who live and move and have their being in the Church of England. And if Americans and Brits have a gap to mind no wonder the Communion is facing challenges to its unity when we’re trying to bring Newark and Nigeria together under the same tent!
That's the work we'll be about together at Lambeth Conference ... with Giles and Philip and our other Communion Cousins: "minding the gap" as we build relationships across the pond AND across the divide.
There are miles to go before we rest, but if yesterday was any indication, we are off to a VERY good start!