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!




  1. Thanks Bp Greg for your daily update. I have been reading it daily as well as a couple of other blogs, and it is so much more insightful then the press reports. (including ENS!) We should try Indaba at St. Mark's!
    You and all our sister and brother bishops are in my daily prayers.

  2. Be sure to use your southern dialectal translator, should you get a chance to chat with Her Majesty (chortle, chortle).

    I'm still relatively new to TEC, but have followed developments over the past few years closely. I see that the Windsor Report certainly allows for a "listening process" that seems to mean different things to different people. I truly believe that church leaders with different views on matters related to human sexuality will not change the hearts and minds of others with different understandings on these matters. I'm greatly concerned that there does not seem to be a process that ensures the opportunity for glbt believers (and those outside of the faith) in countries where they have no ecclesiastical support (And in some, no governmental protection.), to share their stories in safety, and in a way that respects their value. Thus the "listening" that could change hearts and minds is impossible and it depends upon those on the "outside" to create the opportunities on the "fringe."

    I came out in a faith setting in which this was the case, realizing in mid-life the spiritual and emotional harm I was experiencing and was healed through the ministry of those who could see me as a child of God. How do we support our glbt brothers and sisters in other provinces who need to know we ARE them and they are children of God? I'm not trying to be a provocateur, but this does weigh on me at a time when I wish we could be placing ourselves in harms way for others. I know we need to be patient, but does patience become a virtue when spiritual harm is being perpetrated upon others?

    I'd better stop. Sorry! Thanks so much for the reports!

  3. Thank you for letting us know that God and grace are at Lambeth, even if the media isn't capturing that big picture of ..."a humble spirit, 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." That gives me hope!