Thursday, 31 July 2008

Lambeth, July 31st

Dear Ones,

Today was Ordinary Day 8. Eucharist was offered by The Anglican Church of Burundi. The theme for the Day was "Listening to God and Each Other: The Bishop and Human Sexuality" My Indaba group, as I told you yesterday, did this yesterday. Today my Indaba group took up scripture and the interpretation of it. As most discussions we found differences, but some real genuine listening and those that prepared their interpretations as asked were just wonderful. In my Bible Study yesterday we did this and the presentations, interpretations we very inspiring. We joked that several sermons were offered for future use!

This afternoon Nedi and I had a delightful meeting with Bishop Michael Sande, Bishop of Butere, in the Anglican Church of Kenya. We had a good discussion over lunch about possible work together on mission in the future. I then went to a special meeting provided by Coventry Cathedral here in Britain on Reconciliation. Many of you will know of the Community of the Cross of Nails, based in reconciliation. In WWII Coventry Cathedral was bombed and virtually destroyed. The back wall near the altar survived and two charred pieces of wood fell in the shape of a cross. That cross still stands with words inscribed in the wall. "Father Forgive." As the story goes, people asked the then Provost, don't you mean "Father forgive them?" And the Provost wisely said, "no, we all need forgiveness, we have all fed into this." As they say he decided that the Christian way was one of counter culture. Would that we had more leaders live out of this model today! Amazing stories of reconcilation were told in their work around the world especially in Muslim/Christian conflict in Africa. You can find more about this at

After this I attended my self select workshop of the day which was on the consequences of climate change, this day especially in Sub Saharan Africa, most particularly Sudan and Burundi. Excellent presentations by both bishops of these regions. They are seeing complete changes in seasons, farming, they are seeing nomadic people having to move farther and farther each year in order to live as they have in the past.

Tonight's evening worship was Night Prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book, a beautiful book and provided by the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.

Our relationships are continuing to build and deepen. I am not sure what all that will mean at the end of this time together but I do feel a spirit hoping for a way forward. I am still putting together my thoughts on this historical time and event and promise to provide it when the conference ends, but I do want to allow it to be lived in and to its fullest. Until then, I promise to keep you informed of my vision of things on the ground.

I end tonight with the Litany of Reconciliation from Coventry Cathedral.

Following the bombing of the Mediaeval Cathedral in 1940, Provost Dick Howard had the words 'Father Forgive' inscribed on the wall behind the Altar of the ruined building. These words are used as the response in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation, which is prayed in the ruins every Friday at noon, and is used throughout the world by the Community of the Cross of Nails.

A Litany for Reconciliation

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

Father Forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,Father Forgive.

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth, Father Forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,Father Forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,Father Forgive.

The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,Father Forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,Father Forgive.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.



Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Lambeth, July 30th

Dear Ones,

Today was "Ordinary Day 8". The proposed theme was "Living Under Scripture: The Bishop and the Bible in Mission." And so it was, for most of the day. My Indaba group however has had a quiet revolution of sorts, hoping to tackle more of the hard questions earlier, so we moved to human sexuality today. This discussion was one of the best we have had. It is clear that we come from many different places and have many different experiences and yet everyone in our group listened, and proclaimed in a very graceful way.

Still, the best part of this for me is the Bible Study group. After our usual Eucharist at 7:15 provided today by Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, we went into our Bible Studies to look at John 11: 1-44. The deepest conversations are happening here and I wish we had more time with this group. Although our Bible Study groups are folded into an Indaba group, with four other bible studies, you lose the intimacy and we are often not together much in that group. Still, as I said, the discussions were quite good!

There was a hearing today regarding the listening group and the final paper to be released upon our departure. It was filled with all sorts of ideas of course! I am hoping we can surprise the world but I am not sure there is time to do so. We need more than, as one eloquent Brit put it, "our holiday snaps!" to send back! I can tell you no matter what the whole leaves with, individuals, including me will have much to share, pray about, and many to be in communion with, not just ideas or abstract realities, but real people.

My self select session today was with NT Wright, Bishop of Durham and a great writer and bibilical scholar. His recent book Simply Christian has been very important to me. He spoke on The Bible and Tomorrow's World.

I then headed off to clean up a bit for my evening at the Old Palace, the Archbishop's residence in Canterbury, in the Cathedral precincts. It was a lovely evening. The Archbishop, his wife Jane, and son Pip, have been entertaining us here for night upon night. If you can imagine hosting over 1200 people but parceling them out in small enough batches to make it all workable. I am not sure how many they have done but it is amazing. One picture above of the people milling around a yard, if you look at the part of the palace in the background, one guide casually stated that this part had been there since the time of Anselm.

I am putting lots of pictures in tonight. Some I just got today from the London day at Buckingham and some from tonight at the Old Palace and one from NT Wright's presentation. At Buckingham Palace, I was amazed to see Marshall McReal, member of the Compass Rose Board!

After the Old Palace, I came back and made my way to two more events, both fringe events. First the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals which promotes the care of all creation but with a special emphasis on bringing to attention and curbing the abuse of animals. I then left and went to the last of the conversations with Bishop Gene Robinson. What I witnessed there was amazing. This was the kind of discussion I wish we were seeing everywhere here. One bishop from a part of the world where this is a very difficult thing to abide, stood and said to Bishop Robinson, "I came here tonight to listen, to hear more, to know more. The reality is that this is just too difficult for our people to take right now, but in meeting you tonight, I wish to tell you that, my brother, I do love you. I will pray for you, and I hope you will pray for me." This was the kind of dialouge the group sponsoring was hoping for. There was a very good crowd present.

Of course, the very top picture is my tribute to Seattle. A Starbucks literally right at the doorway of the Cathedral.

Now, it is off to bed. Many blessings to you all.


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Lambeth, July 29th

Dear Ones,

This was "Ordinary Day 7" however, it was not quite as ordinary as the others. Today the theme was Equal in God's Sight: When Power is abused. Seems we certainly need to listen to such a theme! We still had morning worship at 7:15 provided by the Anglican Church of Canada. If there are churches or provinces here that seem to be the brunt of the "problem" it would be us and the Anglican Church of Canada. Today Bishop Mark McDonald, our former bishop of Alaska and now the Bishop for Indiginous People gave the sermon. It was fantastic as it often is. His best line, which I think I will get right is this, "The only thing strange here is grace." It reminded me of one of my favorite lines, "Grace is hard to take." It is difficult, because we don't want to believe that grace is for everyone, unearned, free, plentiful. Instead we prefer to believe as we see the world live, that things have to be earned, even grace.

The agenda from the ordinary day changed today as we moved from breakfast, not to Bible Study, but to the Big Top, everybody, bishops and spouses. When we arrived at the Big Top the men were seperated from the women and we sat in the Big Top, segregated by gender. We began the topic of violence, especially against women, but also against all those who are not in power. We began with a play which was just superb. I have posted a picture from the play above. It was a montage of sorts of all of the miracles of grace performed by Jesus, the times he healed, women, who were seen as outcasts of their times. Jesus broke all the social codes in doing so. We then had a dramatic reading by the same actors of II Samuel 13, the rape of Tamar. We were put in groups of three to discuss this study and the issues. I was in a group with two from Africa, and our sharing and our cultural learning was amazing. They shared with me that in both their countries, men with AIDS believe they can be cured of AIDS by having sex with a virgin girl. So, they are having sex with even thier own daughters, often infecting them. In only one of the two countries is this a crime.

At one point we were told, and not very far into our study that the stewards, the wonderful young people who have come from all over the world to do just about everything from ushering, guiding, serving, had reported that since we had started the study (less than an hour) over 100 men had left the tent, and no women. Later it was reported that actually a few woman had left but the disparity is still worthy of notice. Some men stood and complained about our taking on this topic, only one woman did. One woman from the West stood to complain that we were segregated and did not understand why that was done. As she said, "If we cannot talk together about this in this safe place where will we be able too." I was so proud of the leader who said, "The answer is simple, many women in this room do not find this a safe place." In essence the questioners "culture was showing." She is not to be singled out. We are all learning such lessons, one of the great things about this bringing together of so many different cultures from so many different contexts. Chaplains were provided for those who needed to talk after this discussion and they were available all day. I found this to be one of the best pastoral moments of the conference and a much needed thing to do. It was a response to a large number of people who have no voice.
Our House of Bishops met in the afternoon for announcements. We then met with bishops from Africa. I set a meeting with two bishops from Kenya for Thursday. Nedi and I will be be speaking to them about mission possibilities between the two dioceses. We then had our usual Bible Study, today on John 10: 11-18, the Good Shepherd. We then went to Evening worship presided over by the Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma), the area still reeling from cyclones and flooding. At the end of that service, Archbishop Rowan Williams gave his second presidential address to the combined assembly. I found it to be a very courageous speech. He, at great risk by his own assessment, attempted to spell out in his own words the two very different perspectives present on the edges of this event and I must say I think he did a very good job with this. The feeling among many was that his address proved at least one point, he gets it. He does see the different perspectives and additionally, how the opposite edges view each other.
Where will all of that take us? We will see. Still, a general goodwill is still in the air, and hope as well. The only thing strange here is grace. Thank God for it!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Lambeth, July 28th

Dear Ones,

Well, Ordinary Day number 6. Glad to have the rest of yesterday as today was very full. Started with Eucharist provided by the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean. These folks are so very beautiful, graceful, grace-filled. Breakfast, bible study, today on John 10:1-10. I have to say this has been the greatest blessing to me in this Lambeth, this Bible Study. Today I post a picture we took today of this fine group.

We then went to Indaba group. This is interesting and trying. The first draft came to us in this group today from the Reflections group, made up of one listener from each Indaba group, so 16 people in all. Let's just say that the draft incited quite a discussion, but all of this is good. People are talking. That is what we are here to do.

I had lunch with Bishop Ed Little, a great colleague in the House of Bishops and a wonderful exemplar of reconciliation and grace. After lunch, there was the second hearing from the Windsor Continuation Group. If you are paying attention at all you will know that this has made a splash around the communion now. Today, this group presented some new information, among that a request to have the moratoria on same-sex blessings, consecrations of practicing gay persons, and incursions to be in place indefinitely. There is also provision for a "holy office" as many are calling it, or a faith and order commission. The room in which the hearing was held was at least 120 degrees and I am only slightly exaggerating. It was not a good setting. About 20 people spoke in the one and half hour session. It was civil and everyone stated clearly their case. We are clearly not of one mind on many of these issues. The Archbishop has made it clear we will not be deciding these items at this conference and I trust him on that, but this is our time to share our concerns and our hopes.

Then, in the afternoon, self select workshops. I once again attended the Climate Change workshop. Today the bishops of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh spoke of the changes in their regions. I find these fascinating and I am getting to know bishops from around the world and to learn a bit more about the issues that face them and their people.

Evening worship was provided by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. It was beautiful but the Big Top was hot! Today was to be the hottest day of our stay here. It lived up to its billing!

Very disconcerting during the day was an email I received from a youth contingent from our diocese traveling in the Holy Land. 4 of our youth were just inches away from a women who was murdered before their eyes. They are all unharmed physically, but emotionally are shaken. I spoke with the adult sponsor tonight. They were scheduled to come home anyway in a few hours and will be. Please pray for them, for those affected by this death, and for peace in the Middle East.
I am also mourning the passing of two saints of St. James', Austin, who died within 24 hours of each other. Ms. Hortense Lawson and Mr. James Means. I once said that if I had to put a voice on God, it would be Hortense's voice. I will hear it in my prayers forevermore. I give thanks this night for their lives. They both taught me so much. May they rest in peace.

And then tonight, in plenary, we had perhaps one of the best presentations of the conference and one of the best I have ever heard, from Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He spoke on what covenant means and he spoke of two different covenants, the covenant of fate, and the covenant of faith. He made a good case that the covenant of fate is what holds us together and is so important to hold us together. I hope this speech will somehow be available to the world, because it is worth hearing again and again. One of my favorite quotes he gave tonight was this. "If we were absolutely totally different, we would not talk to each other, and if we were absolutely totally alike, we would have nothing to talk about." He further said, "the very premise of covenant begins in difference."

He received a long standing ovation and another after answering several questions. It was an uplifting evening and a good end to this day.

A good rain and nice thunderstorm is rolling through, until tomorrow,



Sunday, 27 July 2008

Lambeth, July 27th

Dear Ones,

OK, I am going to admit, I took a day off! Sunday was a very light day, nothing required although several things offered and I just decided to not be "on the program" today. So, I slept in a little more than usual, cleaned up a few things around the little room I have, walked to the train station and went to the town of Whitstable, which is a beach town. They happened to be having their annual Oyster Festival this weekend. So, I took part in these festivities and, on beautiful day, hung out with normal, everyday people. I didn't have to have an ID badge and there was not "the next thing to get to." I went swimming and enjoyed the gorgeous day! Of the two pictures above, one did not turn out quite like I had hoped, the crates sitting there are all filled with old oyster shells. And the sign reads, "Oyster Shell Recycling" subtext: used to build new oyster breeding grounds.
Train back to town, dinner, and now I am writing you. I took some pictures of the beach and the town above. In many ways it reminds me of our part of the world but there are no snow topped mountains and I do miss those!

One of the pictures above is of Luke Fodor, Network Coordinator for ERD and me at the Episcopal Relief and Development booth here at the Marketplace at Lambeth. Luke's wife is from our neck of the woods and he secretly loves us very much! Of even more interest are the pictures you see in the booth behind the two of us. These are pictures taken by Laura Ellen Muglia on her mission to Tanzania. Olympia is incredibly represented here!

I also wanted to send along this link to the music that goes along with the words I put in the blog last night. This is Jack Barben singing. Jack is an extrordinary musician. Some of you will remember him from the convention last year, and he has led music in several other workshops and conferences. Jack is currently the Director of Music at St. Benedict's, Lacey. Here is the link to "Let the Broken ones be healed."


Saturday, 26 July 2008

Lambeth, July 26th

Dear Ones,

Today was Ordinary Day 5. We opened with Eucharist by the Province of Australia. The theme for the day was the Bishop and the Environment. I have really been excited about this day. The Rev. George Browning, Bishop of Canberra preached. He is also the Chair of the Anglican Global Environmental Network. Breakfast, Bible Study on John 9: 1-41. Tea, then Indaba group. Our group today took up the discussion of the proposed covenant. It is clear we do not all see eye to eye on it, but in my group I found much more concern about its introduction than a clamoring of support for it. We will be sorting out more about this as the next week goes on, but the Archbishop has made it clear repeatedly that this will not be decided at this event, but will come, if at all, some time later.

My afternoon was a busy one. I worked with two other bishops on a document that needed some work, and then collected my rochet and chimere for our group picture. You might imagine trying to get almost 700 bishops in one photo. It was an amazing sight. The spouses had their picture taken earlier, and at 2 p.m. was the bishop's slot. It took about 40 minutes to get us in place and about 10 to take pictures. The press was then allowed to take photos of us, and then we were carefully brought down from the risers built for this occassion. You can look at the Lambeth website to see all of this, but I have placed a picture above too. I have also put a picture of a breakout small group within an Indaba group, as well as a few other shots. The Lambeth site again is

Immediately following the picture I had to quickly move to the media center as I was one of the media responders today along with Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont. If you have a desire to see that report you can go to Episcopal News Service and look under "multimedia."

Then I reported to the Big Top and to Dent Davidson, as it was the Episcopal Church's night to offer evening prayer. Our House of Bishops choir sang and for those who attended I think it was a hit. Nedi and I both sing in this choir, and if you look closely you will also note Jeff and Lisa Lee, so a big Olympia contingent in this!

Then, finally, a nice dinner and time to share with others. Tomorrow will be a slow day, which I desperately need. This is full, and long, and tiring. However, I feel so blessed to be here and I am learning so very much. I end tonight with the text of the last song we sang tonight. You will not hear the tune, which is beautiful, but the words are the prayer for this next week and for this conference. The hymn is by Michael Hudson and Marilyn Haskel and it is entitled "Let the Broken ones be healed."

Let the broken ones be healed, let the lost be found and fed.
Let the grace of God roll on, roll on.

Let the river rise and spread. Step into the stream with me.
Let God's gracious purpose be. Let God's gracious purpose be.



Friday, 25 July 2008

Lambeth, July 25th

Dear Ones,

Back to Ordinary days, this being the Ordinary Day 5. Same schedule, 7:15 Eucharist, today by The Church of North India and the Church of Bangladesh, then breakfast. Bible Study today covered John 8: 31-59. While we discussed that my Bible Study is becoming closer and closer and wanted to process the day before, the ironies, the incredible sight and feel of marching with our brothers and sisters for a cause that deserves and needs our moral and spiritual voice, hunger and poverty. That day will not soon be lost on any of us. Thanks to Mary Allen, one picture was found with me, kind of in it. I put it in just above. Also, you can see the BBC news video at

Today, we turned our focus to one of the issues that I have the most passion about and the one that I think is the most serious for us to have a voice; Climate Change and Global Warming. In my self select session I again attended the Climate Change workshop entitled today "The consequences of of climate change From South to North" The Chair was John Prichard, Bishop of Oxford, UK, and Tom Wilmot, Bishop of Perth, Australia and Bishop Mark McDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Toronto, Canada and former bishop of Alaska. This was a fascinating discussion. I am very heartened by how many bishops see this as a major focus and how many want to know more.

In keeping with that theme today the spouses had a presentation from Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum, a known expert in Climate Change. Until 2007 he was the Director of the British Antartic Survey. He then gave an excellent plenary to the entire conference tonight in the Big Top. We will continue our exploration of the Bishop and the Environment tomorrow.

Dent Davidson showed up tonight and our bishop's choir rehearsed, we will also rehearse tomorrow and then lead Evening Worship tomorrow evening. It was good to see him. He is a huge asset to our House of Bishops and to our Church.

Our Diocese of Olympia Cursillo community sent a package to both Nedi and I filled with "palanca" for us both. These letters and well wishes and assurances of prayer have been so very important to both of us. Thanks to all who took the time to do this. You are a blessing and we are so heartened by all who are praying for us. My picture tonight is of our presentation in the Big Top by Dr. Rapley. I hope it gives you some perspective on our meeting space.

I leave you with a quote from one of those letters from Cursillo. The person sent me a 1939 quote by King George VI, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than life and safer than a known way!" That is a keeper!



Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lambeth, July 24th, London Day!

Dear Ones,

Today was London Day, which meant getting up even earlier, about 6 a.m. for breakfast, then on the bus at 7:15 a.m.. We drove to London to Whitehall, where we unloaded and began walking in the Walk of Witness which was purported to be the largest walk for hunger and poverty ever in London. I don't know about that but it was huge. We walked past 10 Downing Street, past the Houses of Parliament, over the Thames, and into Lambeth Palace. We were treated to a very nice meal (kind of a contradition in a walk to eliminate poverty) but there you have it. The Archbishop and his wife Jane were simply wonderful in their hospitality. Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined us for a while and spoke to us as well. He gave a superb and inspiring speech to us and that was echoed by all I spoke with today.

We were there about 3 hours, and then back aboard the buses to head to Buckingham Palace. Having stood outside these gates two years ago almost to the day, it was surreal to actually enter into them. For this entry we had to have our special invitation, our passport, another form of indentification. We were then taken into the inner courtyard, which is just a large gravel yard, much like what you see in front of Buckingham Palace. After a short wait, we were taken through the Palace and into the beautiful back yard, where huge tents with tea, sandwiches, deserts awaited us. There were two bands in two seperate parts of the garden. After a time, the Queen and Prince emerged and were ushered down a corridor of people which we formed on two sides. People were randomly, at least that is how they put it!, selected from the crowd to step out, where advance people took down the names in the party on cards, and prepared you for meeting either the Queen or the Prince. I was not selected. I am not nearly interesting enough. Nonetheless we were just feet away from them both and I must say they did take time and talk as they made their way down the line. Then they made their way to the Royal Tent, where a few more dignitaries, much farther up the food chain than me, were offered entry. After a while the corridor of humanity was formed again and the Queen and Prince walked up the aisle and back into their home. The weather was magnificent.

We then boarded our buses and took the road back to Canterbury. I think Nedi and I represented you well. I have no pictures as it is against policy to have cameras in either Lambeth or Buckingham and since were not allowed to bring bags or have anything we could not carry on our person, I could not have done it. I wish I could have! Also, we wore our cassocks all day long and those don't exactly have lots of storage space!

I have to say, I consider myself quite fortunate to experience such an event and yet the irony is keen. As I stated before, the march for poverty as we marched toward a fabulous meal that many never would get to enjoy, and then on to visit a monarch, who met many who eagerly lined up to meet her; who will not make in their lives, and perhaps even three or four of their lives, what we spent on those three hours in that garden. Perhaps this will all go toward, in some strange way to help that situation. One of the highlights of my day was sitting with John and Joseph, both from Tanzania. They are youth stewards, those who are helping make the conference flow, pages, guides, gophers. They are youth from all over the world. We shared tea and dessert at Buckingham Palace. Perhaps that is one small sign of the Kingdom, what it is supposed to be. That was the glimpse I will take from this day....

A day which started with a them, to eliminate poverty, and to promote the MDGs, the Millennium Development Goals. You can find out all about these at We have done much with promoting these in our diocese and we will be doing more. I have shared with you my personal committment of giving .7% of my income each year toward them, because it has been calculated if we did, all of us, we could see the goals achieved. My fervent hope, and there is certainly some momentum building here, is that these goals, and other important issues like protecting our planet, will be the real issues we galvanize around in these next days. Keep praying that we can see and hear God and follow in the path of grace and graciousness.



Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Lambeth, July 23rd

Dear Ones,
"Ordinary Day" three. The Theme for today was "Transforming Society: The Bishop and Social Justice." We began with Eucharist at 7:15 a.m. done by the Episcopal Church in Cuba! That was fun. Breakfast, Bible Study, today on John 8:1-20 "I am the light of the world." My relationship with my brothers in Bible study continues to grow. We then had tea, and went to our Indaba session. Many good things happened here too.

This afternoon was the first of two hearings on the Windsor Report, by the Windsor Continuation Group. This group was put together to help assess the report and to work on how it might or might not be applied. They reported earlier that they were not completed, and it would take more time and conversation. They did present some findings. One finding suggested the "great turmoil" in the Episcopal Church in the US. Many in our House of Bishops spoke at this hearing, and many in Canada as well regarding the lack of "turmoil." As one bishop put it, "the world needs to know that only .7 of 1% of Episcopal parishes in the US have left the church." This is often percieved by many to be almost 50/50. It was a cordial but clear hearing which started and ended on time. There will be another one next week. No decisions will be made here but the Continuation Group wanted to capitalize on the time here to listen to others. It should be noted that many of our bishops spoke to the Windsor provision regarding jurisdiction and incursions into other dioceses. It was noted that Olympia is a diocese that suffers in this regard as do many others.

We had tea again! Then we had another set of self select programs. Today I chose the one entitled, "The Economics of Climate Change" and it was excellent. I will bring much back on this. Tonight was the first of two nights in which the a few of the American bishops offered "A Conversation with Bishop Gene Robinson." We are trying to hold back so that others from around the communion can come and meet Bishop Robinson but can also hear from bishops that voted for him, from some that did not vote for him, and how our polity works and how his election occurred. I did not attend this one tonight but heard it was well attended. I plan on attending the one upcoming.

Some of you will know Clark Berge, our very own, who calls the Diocese of Olympia home even though he now lives in Berkely. You may remember that Clark was last year named Minister General of the world wide Society of St. Francis. What a joy to find him heading up the chaplaincy service here and leading the daily office in the prayer place set up at Lambeth. I sat with him a while today and took his picture just above!

Also, thought I would add here what Brian Mclaren said about his time at Lambeth which more accurately describes the reality then one headline in papers here today which said, "WAR AT LAMBETH!" We all found that one interesting. Here is what Brian said:

"Joyful time at Lambeth

What a tremendous honor and pleasure it's been to speak on the subject of evangelism at the Lambeth Conference being held here in Canterbury, England.
I know that most people think the "news story" here is about divisive controversies over sexuality, but my sense is that the real news story is very different. There is a humble spirit here, a loving atmosphere, a deep spirituality centered in Bible study, worship, and prayer, and a strong desire to move beyond internal-institutional matters to substantive mission in our needy world.
In every conversation and gathering I've participated in, the spirit has been kind and holy and positive. That sort of good news doesn't attract the media the way a salacious or pugilistic story does ... It will be interesting to see whether the press reports what is actually happening here, or if they need to rewrite the narrative to fit the shape of war-tales they are more accustomed to telling.
My sense is that the quiet, prayerful, and humble patience of Archbishop Rowan Williams is leading the way to better days for the Anglican Communion. It feels like the bishops gathered here are turning a corner together. I feel that I'm witnessing the emergence of something good, beautiful, true, and blessed ... Hearts here are sincerely open to the Spirit of God.
Thanks for all who prayed for me regarding my plenary session here tonight. Everything went well, and I look forward to my next two days here."

Ok, back to my blog,

Tonight was a free night and I wandered alone into Canterbury, and walked back. It is good exercise which I am needing about now. Tomorrow morning, very early, we leave for London. I will participate by the Archbishop's invitation in the Walk of Witness for the MDGs. This will be a walk through London to Lambeth Palace where we will eat lunch and then move to Buckingham Palace to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family. I will report tomorrow on how all of that went. Now, I need to get some rest!



Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Lambeth, July 22nd

Dear Ones,

The second "Ordinary" Day and as suspected, they will not usually be very ordinary. The day started as always with 7:15 Eucharist, today offered by the Church of the Province of Central Africa. It was great as was the evening worship provided by Igeja episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Colorful, exciting, fun!

Breakfast, Bible Study, today on John 6: 1-14 and 25-59. As I have said I am growing closer and closer to these group of fine men, they do all happen to be men, and I am learning much from them as well. Believe it or not I am not the "newest" bishop in the group. One of my Japanese brothers has been a bishop for three weeks. There is a bishop here that was a bishop for 5 days before coming here!

We then went into our third Indaba group meeting. I think these are very good Some in the groups are frustrated that we are not moving more quickly into the more difficult topics but I find their process well thought out and, at this point, I am trusting it and following it.

After lunch, we had a bit of free time. I used it getting my computer into better shape with the wonderful campus support they have here. I also secured my invitations for the visit to London on Thursday.

After that free time we had our first of many self-select programs. I decided today to go see Brian Mclaren one more time as he will be leaving here on Thursday. Brian spoke on "Evangelism by Example" and it was as good as the night before.

We then headed for dinner. Tonight the presenter to the entire conference was Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation to the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican, Mission, Social Justice, and Evangelization. He too joined Brian Mclaren's workshop today and he spoke to us about the same topic. It was good to have him here with us.

You will have read that the Archbishop of the Sudan and his bishops held a press conference today and asked Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to resign. I did not see the press conference, it occurred during our self select programs and I have not read the transcript as of yet too. You can expect more of these I would suspect. As much as the Archbishop of Canterbury would like us to focus on a wide range of pressing issues for the church and the world, there does seem to remain a unitary focus. For now, I am trying to stay focused on dialogue and listening which is where I think the most good will come. For now, keep praying.

I need to say also that, now sitting in this conference, and being part of it, I am disheartened by all of the speculation, much of it misguided and false that comes from those from all quarters of our church. We all need some holy patience. The rapid communication and speculation and accusation that flies, often with little or no real information, is a recipe for problems always.

Now, for something a bit lighter. There is a cartoonist on the campus, making cartoons everyday. I will try to send some along so you can see them too! Not sure you can read it but it says, "The Secret Plan" And it has a long line of bishops standing in a line to the Dining Hall and then it reads, "Now the Lambeth Conference attendees are being encouraged to talk to each other!" We do need to do that. The big picture above is the view of Canterbury, the town, and the Cathedral out my window.



Monday, 21 July 2008

Lambeth, July 21st

Dear Ones,

Today was our first "Ordinary" day. We will have quite a few in the next few weeks that have this basic form. Eucharist at 7:15 a.m., breakfast, Bible Study, Indaba Group for an hour or so, on a topic, and then lunch, Indaba again, and an evening program after supper. On some days afternoons will have some self select programs of various varieties. Eucharist was offered by Korea with the Korea Mother's Union Choir performing as well.

Today was the first day to be in our Indaba Groups. "Indaba" is a Zulu word meaning conversation with a purpose, usually utilized with perplexing problems. Of course we know the obvious issues but we have many more relating to some issues that affect the world and in which we might affect the world to greater levels together, as a communion. Today's Bible Study was John 6: 14-21, and the Indaba theme for today was "The Bishop and Anglican Identity" The Indaba groups are made up of five Bible Studies, so they are 40 people or more. I am impressed so far and I found these groups much more interesting than I had thought.

We had a brief meeting of the House of Bishops today, although in this setting we are not the House in session. We simply gathered to share our impressions so far and to make announcements about upcoming events.

Tonight we had the great pleasure of seeing Brian McLaren who gave one of the best presentations so far. He answered questions at the end and when asked by one of the 1000 or so present "Where can we find models of what you are talking about?" McLaren specifically named one, Church of the Apostles in Seattle, and Karen Ward! I am adding two pictures that Dave Manes on our staff found somehow! I have not seen these as of yet myself. Both were taken after the Opening Eucharist at the Cathedral on Sunday.

Blessings to you until tomorrow!


Sunday, 20 July 2008

Lambeth, July 20th

Dear Ones,

Well, you can't get more Anglican then what I was able to experience today. The opening Eucharist in Canterbury Cathedral was just incredible. Although I have been in this sacred space before, two years ago, and then in the last few days on retreat, having it all to ourselves; such a place is not truly known until you worship, in community, in it. Today was such a day. You knew today that this is what this space was made for. It was a magnificent sight, with so many colors and cultures represented. The sermon by Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka was a true gift. There are a few pictures on the Lambeth website but they don't do it all justice, as you might suspect.

Several of us walked back to the University, and on our way made our way to see Bishop Gene Robinson, who, as you probably remember was uninvited to the event. Though the press finds him quite interesting and is probably spending more time on him then some of our events, he has stayed away from the main venue, at least as far as I know. He would be unable to get into any official sites, including Bible studies or worship services because he does not have security clearance. He is under heavy security as he goes about his life here. Today, many in our House of Bishops, and some bishops from around the globe, came to share Eucharist with him after the services in the Cathedral.

At 4 p.m. today we all gathered in the Big Top to begin the actual conference itself. We had reports from the Windsor Continuation Group, and the Lambeth Design Group. We had descriptions in far more detail about our Indaba groups which we will be meeting in after Bible studies beginning tomorrow. Indaba is a Zulu word which means conversation, especially around tension or disagreement. As it was explained to us by the Archbishop of South Africa, villages will often use this method when disagreements arise. It is designed to give everyone a voice in the process. After hearing the presentations we were asked to discuss with someone we had not met two questions: 1. What surprised you the most about these presentations today, and 2. What assurance do you have that you did not have when we began. I was fortunate to meet with a bishop from Kenya. We agreed that we were surprised by the work that has gone into this, and by the amount of input that will be offered and expected from everyone. That no matter what the press is saying, our design here is not there to keep us away from the important issues, but is designed to have us build relationships around these issues. We both felt assured that this press perception would not be the reality, even if we are not able to perfectly agree at the end of the day.

We begin tomorrow with that and I will be reporting on it. I have no pictures today as those were not allowed in most venues. I will resume that, hopefully, tomorrow.

I end this blog with the words from a hymn we sang today in the Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral. The hymn was written by a composer many of you know, a Lutheran I believe, Marty Haugen, "All are Welcome" While is was not lost on us that this may not be entirely so, and the truth of those missing, those that chose not to come, and those that were uninvited, all of whom we pray for everytime we gather, still the hymn was irony, with much hope.

Let us build a house where love can dwell

and all can safely live,

a place where saints and children

tell how hearts learn to forgive;

built of hopes and dreams and visions,

rock of faith and vault of grace;

here the love of Christ shall end divisions:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,

and words are strong and true,

where all God's children dare to seek

to dream God's reign anew.

Here the cross shall stand as witness

and as symbol of God's grace;

here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found

in water, wine, and wheat:

a banquet hall on holy ground,

where peace and justice meet.

Here the love of God, through Jesus,

is revealed in time and space,

as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach

beyond the wood and stone

to heal and strengthen, serve, and teach,

and live the Word they've known,

Here the outcast and the stranger

bear the image of God's face;

let us bring an end to fear and danger:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,

their songs and visions heard

and loved and treasured, taught, and claimed

as words within the Word.

Built of tears and cries of laughter,

prayers of faith and songs of grace,

let this house proclaim from floor to rafter;

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

May it be so,



Saturday, 19 July 2008

Lambeth, July 19th

Dear Ones,

Today we completed our retreat time. We began the day with Eucharist at 7:15 a.m., breakfast, and then Bible Study. Today we studied John 4:6-42. Incidently, if you wish to follow the bible study you can find a close approximation of what we are reading online at along with photo galleries, program schedule,etc.

The Bible Study is really a very inspiring and fruitful time for us. It is laying a good foundation for our future days together. I am indeed fortunate to know the bishops I have met from all over the world. Although some groups have more than one bishop from the US, I am the only one in our group. This passage is about the "I am" proclamation by Jesus. The Archbishop shared with us in an earlier talk, that because Jesus said, "I am", for that reason, "we are." We cannot lose sight of our reason for being, who we are, and whose we are.

In the afternoon the sun came out and afternoon tea was served on the lawn. The University of Kent sits on a hill overlooking Canterbury with the Cathedral towering above all things. From the open grassy area we looked down upon the Cathedral and shared tea together. After tea we entered worship in the Big Top once again (picture just above! When 800 people pack into this and the sun beats down, it is hot!) this time welcoming a large delegation of ecumencial partners and those in communion with us from around the world. Although we have many ties the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America may be our closest tie and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson was with us at this event. As he read the reading just before the Archbishop's homily I gave thanks for our deep and abiding communion with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Western Washington.
We were given the evening free. I wandered into Canterbury with a few others and the sunset was magnificent. I post a picture above for you to see a glimpse of it.

Tomorrow morning we will have the opening Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral. I will have much to share about that then. I have not followed the press as of yet but I will say to you, from my standpoint, this conference if off to a very solid, gracious beginning.
Many blessings to each of you. As you celebrate Sunday services across the diocese know that you will be in my prayers.


Friday, 18 July 2008

Lambeth, July 18th

Dear Ones,

Our second full day was once again held in retreat. It began with Eucharist at 7:15 a.m. with breakfast following. After breakfast we held our daily Bible Study. Today we studied John 1: 19-34, "Make straight the way of the Lord." We had an excellent discussion. This room is filled with people from around the world with many different experiences and perspectives. One bishop reminded us of what Coleridge once said, "He who loves Christianity more than truth, goes on to love his Church more than Christianity, then goes on to love his own sect more than his own Church, then goes on to love himself most of all." It was a good and humble reminder.

We then once again traveled to the Cathedral where we heard two excellent meditations by the Archbishop with time for reflection. Bishop Councell of New Jersey said it best in his blog today,

"There is something awesome about being in that Cathedral space with 650 bishops, with the Archbishop of Canterbury teaching us, directing us through his meditation. They were wonderfully insightful, spiritually very deep and profound. He began his third address on the role of the bishop as both friend and stranger. A bishop is at home among the people and yet stands apart. A bishop speaks the language of the people, but speaks the word of God.

After each of his meditations there was time to visit the various chapels of the cathedral, or to walk around the precincts. It was an immense privilege to have that space for the benefit of the bishops alone for these two days.

The fourth address began by quoting an early Christian theologian who said, a single Christian is no Christian. Our need as bishops is to be in council with other bishops. We’re called to live in community and to live in communion.

The very challenging suggestion the Archbishop made was to identify one other bishop about whom one feels nervous, and ask that person to pray with you. It was a very powerful challenge to us to work to restore wounded communion.

He also said the Gospel is only truthfully spread by those who are in communion."

We ended the day with rest and relaxation. Tomorrow we begin again. You remain in my prayers.



Thursday, 17 July 2008

Lambeth, Thursday, July 17th


Lambeth 2008 has begun. I, along with 600 plus bishops from around the Anglican Communion gathered together on Wednesday evening July 16th to officially open Lambeth Conference 2008. Many spouses and support staff are also present raising that number. The spirit here is warm and inviting. We began the evening with a welcome from Archbishop Rowan Williams and greetings from those supporting the conference through the great efforts of Design, Volunteers, Stewards, Hospitality, Chaplains, so many who have made this come together. We began learning and singing together.

We gathered in a large beautiful tent that rises above the University of Kent campus called the Big Top. It does indeed look a lot like a circus tent and I am sure some are already making some connections here, but those could not be farther from the truth. It is a most worthy shelter and serving its purpose quite well. After the introductions we were sent off to dinner and, for many, an early night of rest after long hours of travel.

Worship begins at 7:15 a.m. each day and this day was no different. We gathered for Eucharist in the Big Top. Worship today was provided by the Lambeth Chaplaincy team. Each morning the Eucharist will be offered by a different province of the communion. The most moving moment in this and also when we said our prayers in Canterbury Cathedral earlier in the day, was the Lord's Prayer, when we are always offered and asked to pray in our own language. The holy and rising murmur is really moving.

After breakfast, we moved into our first Bible Study. We are, as many of you know, focusing on the Gospel of John. There are some 81 small groups for Bible study, by my count, and these are made up of roughly 8 or so people. I am facilitating one of these groups. We began today studying the Prologue of John. We will hold Bible Study each morning of the conference save Sundays and the London day. We will also be meeting in larger Indaba groups. These are made up of a combination of five of the Bible Study groups. You can find more about Indaba groups on the Lambeth website.

After the Bible Study we left the University of Kent for Canterbury Cathedral. Although they offered buses I, along with a few others, decided to walk the short distance down to the Cathedral. I need the exercise! One of the light parts of the day were the 45 minutes we had just before going into the Cathedral to begin our retreat. Some of you who have been to Canterbury know there is a Starbucks literally attached to the gates to the Cathedral. There was quite a diverse and wonderful line of bishops present there! They were all offering a bit of aid to the economy of Seattle!

The Archbishop gave two very good meditations on the topic of "God's Mission and a bishop's discipleship." We were allowed some silent time after each meditation with prayers following. We will repeat this schedule tomorrow. The Cathedral precincts are closed to the public for these two days so we have it to ourselves which is quite a luxury and a great blessing. I have had two brief but quite nice discussions with the Archbishop. You can view photos of each day along with much other information at

I blessedly got to spend some time this evening with my Bishop's Colleague Group and now I am settling in for the evening. I want to commend the tremendous hospitality of so many volunteers from the Church of England and youth and young adult stewards who are everywhere on campus to help us, and who have been here a week already preparing for the event. They come from all over the Communion, and they are just superb.

On a personal note, I feel so blessed to be here, and honored to represent you, the people of the Diocese of Olympia. Nedi is here doing that as well and I know she shares this sentiment. I am humbled by that honor and will do all in my power to honor you in it. I miss my family already. My son was very sad when he hugged me goodbye at the airport. He said, "Dad, this is just too long!" It is, and yet I think about so many who have to go so much longer, and at such much greater cost. I think of our soldiers and their families, missionaries who give of their lives away, so very many.

I am not sure if I will blog each day but I will try to keep up with this as I can. Please keep us all in your prayers, those who chose not to be here, those told not to be here, those who simply could not be here, and those who did make it here, many at greater sacrifice than I will ever know in my life. I give thanks for you daily as you go about the mission of the Body of Christ each and every day. Pray for us, as I will pray for you.