Thursday, July 31, 2008

It was sex day at Lambeth Conference ...

... and we had the rainbow ribbons ready to go AND The Lambeth Witness was all printed and folded and ready to go, too -- including a great reflection by Bill Countryman: "Listening to God and to each other." And so we said our prayers and headed off to the University hill to see what the day would bring.

Here's how ENS describes the process that set the context for the conversations the bishops would have in their Indaba groups:
Two questions were suggested to bishops for consideration during the morning's meeting. One centered on how the debate on homosexuality and the divisions it has caused in the communion affects the bishops' mission efforts in their contexts. The second asked what bishops needed from each other -- and are able to give each other -- to help each other be leaders in their dioceses' mission.

The questions posed to the bishops did not involve a reconsideration of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said in the day's introductory video shown to bishops after the morning Eucharist is "where the vast majority of the communion still stands." Instead, he encouraged the bishops to deal with what he called "the unfinished business" of the resolution, which he described as being "about how we engaged sensitively with each other in our different readings of scripture and our pastoral approaches to people with gay and lesbian lifestyles."
(Yes, I could have lived without the "lifestyles" part but considering the source ...)

Anyway, wandering about the campus after the Indaba groups concluded for lunch (they break from 1:00 - 2:00 for lunch around here) we ran into a few of our bishops out-and-about and they ALL described their groups conversations as "difficult at times but very good." (+Steve Lane describes his group process in some detail here.)

(Here are the bishops, etc. gathered for lunch on the Rutherford lawn ... the spec in the middle is a rainbow hang-glider ... which I decided to take a good omen.)

There was some consternation about 3:30 when there were rumors of protests about to happen somewhere on campus. We were happily ensconced in our "Lambeth Field Office" outside the Darwin Press Room ...

(AKA "at work in the fields of the Lord.")

From there we watched what turned out to be "dueling press conferences" ... the daily Episcopal Church briefing (with Bishops Smith, Knudsen and Bruno described here) ...

... and this one called by +Keith Ackerman, which included about 1/3 press and 2/3 which I heard the BBC producer call "dissident supporters."

Frankly, I suspect there was not a single thing said by any of them that we haven't heard before. (Jim Naughton had some thoughts on this here.) I thought for a moment this afternoon if we shuffled the deck up and dealt out all the bishops at random they could probably each give their "opponents" speeches as easily as they could their own at this point!

But here's +Jon, looking pretty cute on his Lambeth scooter:

There's not a lot of "news" up yet and I'm heading to bed but I did find these:
A BBC report: Bishops raise homosexuality issue and then this other BBC report: Lambeth Diary: Anglicans in turmoil (it didn't look a lot like "turmoil" up on the hill, but maybe from a British perspective ...)
There are still miles to go before we rest ... both literally and figuratively ... but at the end of "sex day at Lambeth Conference" it looks like [a] there's still an Anglican Communion and [b] we're still in it.
Stay tuned for further developments.


Michael Barham said...

Can someone please explain to Bp. Rowan that homosexuality in NOT a lifestyle! Argh!

Thanks for your blog, I've enjoyed reading.


Caminante said...

Did you photoshop in the 'Missing Link' on the building by the Keith Ackerman 'press conference'? There has got to be a message in there, too.

The 'lifestyle' word should be banned from the English language.