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,




  1. Indeed...may it be so. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.


  2. Wow - what a great hymn, Greg! I'll have to get a copy.

    Jim and I leave in the morning - Paris for a couple of days, and then to Canterbury on the 24th.

    Somehow we'll all find a time to rehearse before Evensong on the 26th.

    Know that we're all praying for you, Nedi and the rest of the bishops.

    See you there...blessings!

  3. May it be so.

    Speaking for myself, after being "unwelcomed" from the faith home of my youth, I was drawn to TEC (St. Mark's) because of welcome to all. What a witness to me when I needed it most!

    Subsequently, +Gene's exclusion at Lambeth saddens me, as it excludes not only him, but also the Diocese of New Hampshire, in addition, glbt individuals, Christian and non-Christian alike, who have trusted in the love of their Creator, while receiving a cold shoulder from those who should be using those shoulders for carrying their burdens.

    May it be so.

    Kyrie eleison

  4. Dear Bishop Greg,
    Your comments about the treatment of Bishop Robinson grieve me deeply. Why does he need to be handled with such security? Whom has he threatened? What has he done except be who God made him to be? I think I must bless all those who went out of their way to share Eucharist with him, and pray for those who shun him. And also pray that the words of that wonderful hymn come true one day. Thanks for being there as a witness and a participant.
    Carol T

  5. What powerful words in that hymn. I hope that our church, and all of us, can begin to live up to them.