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,