Voices of Witness Africa, made by Integrity USA featuring gay Africans from Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda telling their stories. Integrity wanted to bring them to the Lambeth Conference but most would have lost their jobs and hence ability to get visas if they had 'come out' of Africa in this way. So instead the lobby group sent a team headed by film editor Katie Sherrod, interviewed above, to Africa for two weeks to video their stories and bring them to Lambeth.
The result is an incredibly powerful and moving film which is to be sent to every one of the 880 bishops in the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion.
I was shown an exclusive preview of the film in St Stephen's Church Hall where this excluded community, including gay Bishop Gene Robinson, is hanging out during the Lambeth Conference. The hall, with its multitude of laptops, wires everywhere, splintering wooden floors and ramshackle tables and chairs, reminded me of nothing so much as an African mission post. Some excerpts from the film, which will be launched at the conference on Wednesday, are reproduced above.
(The whole 20 minute video sample is JUST available on Walking With Integrity ... watch it and be moved and then pray for our witness when it airs here at Lambeth Conference on Wednesday evening. And kudos to Katie Sherrod & Cynthia Black for making this wonderful witness happen!)
This most interesting tidbit from the opening press conference, as reported by Jim Naughton on Episcopal Cafe:
During the opening press conference George Conger of the Church of England Newspaper asked an extremely perceptive question about Robinson’s exclusion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, he noted, had described the ecumenical visitors to Canterbury as “full participants” in the Lambeth Conference whose differing theologies would challenge the bishops and deepen their conversations. Given that the Salvation Army does not baptize, and the Armenian church holds what Anglicans might consider an unorthodox understanding of the nature of Christ, does Bishop Robinson’s exclusion signal that the issue of homosexuality is more theologically significant than sacramental and Christological differences?
- It does make one wonder, doesn't it?
Here's the sermon preached at this morning's cathedral service by Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo, Sri Lanka ... which included this quote (one I am told was met by "enthusiastic applause.")
“There is space equally for everyone and anyone regardless of color, gender, ability or sexual orientation. If we attempt some game of uprooting the unrighteous, then my sisters and brothers, none of us will remain."