Checking out the blogs and news this morning before heading off to the Canterbury highways and byways, here are a few of the "bits and pieces" I picked up that either amuse or enlightened me:
THE GUARDIAN offers this "who's who" of "the major players:"
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Rowan Williams
One of the brainiest men in the Anglican Communion, with suitably inquisitive eyebrows, he is the 104th person to hold the post and is a poet, translator, heavyweight academic and linguist. Dismissed by the conservatives for being too liberal and harangued by liberals for pandering to conservatives, Williams has managed to retain an impressively dignified demeanour since he took office in 2003. Speaks in a rich timbre and gives a good sermon.
The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu
A man of the people, who chopped up his dog collar in protest at Robert Mugabe's regime and threw himself out of a plane for charity, he is outspoken, with a strong campaigning background. In October 2007, he won the title Yorkshireman of the Year and he is possibly the only Church of England bishop who will ever be asked to take part in Celebrity Big Brother. (He said no.)
The presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori
A formidable, unflappable combination of intellect, theology and savvy, she is also a second lieutenant in the US air force and a qualified oceanographer. She is a feminist and pro-gay liberal, maddening conservatives, who regularly excoriate her for bringing about the collapse of the Anglican Communion. She tackles criticism with ease and dishes out pointed rebukes.
The Bishop of New Hampshire, the Right Rev Gene Robinson
A love-him-or-loathe-him figure who has shoved homosexuality to the top of the Lambeth agenda, even though the topic is not formally mentioned in conference sessions. The bishop is a beaming, avuncular man who has proved to be divisive, acting as a tipping point for conservatives itching for a fight. He likes coconut cream pie and staying in on Friday nights with his partner of 20 years, Mark Andrew, and he and carries his staff in a rifle case. Although he is not officially invited to Lambeth, he will be there anyway, in an informal capacity.
Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Right Rev Gregory Venables
Overseeing Anglican provinces in Catholic-heavy South America, he has offered oversight to dissenting parishes in the US and Canada, and his most recent adoption was the diocese of San Joaquin. He is currently in negotiations with Pittsburgh, which looks set to leave the Episcopal. He is part of the Global Anglican Future Conference, a shadow conservatives launched in Jerusalem last month, and says the disintegration of Anglicanism cannot be ignored any longer.
Walter Cardinal Kasper
Not an Anglican but a Roman Catholic, and Pope Benedict's right-hand man on ecumenical relations and Christian unity. Kasper will address Lambeth delegates on, among other things, the ordination of women as bishops, which the Vatican opposes. He is expected to make pithy yet hostile sounds about the Church of England's predilection for women clergy and the general liberal drift of Anglicanism.
And Thinking Anglicans has this round up
The official Lambeth Conference site is here and the official press release is here.
Lambeth Palace published this History.
It’s interesting that only 2 of the 38 provinces now have no bishops registered to attend.
Several sites have published primers about the conference:
The Guardian has this Q&A, the main players, and the absentees.
The BBC has What is the Lambeth Conference?
The Times had this history article.