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.