Today was Ordinary Day 8. Eucharist was offered by The Anglican Church of Burundi. The theme for the Day was "Listening to God and Each Other: The Bishop and Human Sexuality" My Indaba group, as I told you yesterday, did this yesterday. Today my Indaba group took up scripture and the interpretation of it. As most discussions we found differences, but some real genuine listening and those that prepared their interpretations as asked were just wonderful. In my Bible Study yesterday we did this and the presentations, interpretations we very inspiring. We joked that several sermons were offered for future use!
This afternoon Nedi and I had a delightful meeting with Bishop Michael Sande, Bishop of Butere, in the Anglican Church of Kenya. We had a good discussion over lunch about possible work together on mission in the future. I then went to a special meeting provided by Coventry Cathedral here in Britain on Reconciliation. Many of you will know of the Community of the Cross of Nails, based in reconciliation. In WWII Coventry Cathedral was bombed and virtually destroyed. The back wall near the altar survived and two charred pieces of wood fell in the shape of a cross. That cross still stands with words inscribed in the wall. "Father Forgive." As the story goes, people asked the then Provost, don't you mean "Father forgive them?" And the Provost wisely said, "no, we all need forgiveness, we have all fed into this." As they say he decided that the Christian way was one of counter culture. Would that we had more leaders live out of this model today! Amazing stories of reconcilation were told in their work around the world especially in Muslim/Christian conflict in Africa. You can find more about this at http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/
After this I attended my self select workshop of the day which was on the consequences of climate change, this day especially in Sub Saharan Africa, most particularly Sudan and Burundi. Excellent presentations by both bishops of these regions. They are seeing complete changes in seasons, farming, they are seeing nomadic people having to move farther and farther each year in order to live as they have in the past.
Tonight's evening worship was Night Prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book, a beautiful book and provided by the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.
Our relationships are continuing to build and deepen. I am not sure what all that will mean at the end of this time together but I do feel a spirit hoping for a way forward. I am still putting together my thoughts on this historical time and event and promise to provide it when the conference ends, but I do want to allow it to be lived in and to its fullest. Until then, I promise to keep you informed of my vision of things on the ground.
I end tonight with the Litany of Reconciliation from Coventry Cathedral.
Following the bombing of the Mediaeval Cathedral in 1940, Provost Dick Howard had the words 'Father Forgive' inscribed on the wall behind the Altar of the ruined building. These words are used as the response in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation, which is prayed in the ruins every Friday at noon, and is used throughout the world by the Community of the Cross of Nails.
A Litany for Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,Father Forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth, Father Forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,Father Forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,Father Forgive.
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,Father Forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,Father Forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.