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 http://www.lambethconference.org/ 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.