Thursday, 17 July 2008

Lambeth, Thursday, July 17th


Lambeth 2008 has begun. I, along with 600 plus bishops from around the Anglican Communion gathered together on Wednesday evening July 16th to officially open Lambeth Conference 2008. Many spouses and support staff are also present raising that number. The spirit here is warm and inviting. We began the evening with a welcome from Archbishop Rowan Williams and greetings from those supporting the conference through the great efforts of Design, Volunteers, Stewards, Hospitality, Chaplains, so many who have made this come together. We began learning and singing together.

We gathered in a large beautiful tent that rises above the University of Kent campus called the Big Top. It does indeed look a lot like a circus tent and I am sure some are already making some connections here, but those could not be farther from the truth. It is a most worthy shelter and serving its purpose quite well. After the introductions we were sent off to dinner and, for many, an early night of rest after long hours of travel.

Worship begins at 7:15 a.m. each day and this day was no different. We gathered for Eucharist in the Big Top. Worship today was provided by the Lambeth Chaplaincy team. Each morning the Eucharist will be offered by a different province of the communion. The most moving moment in this and also when we said our prayers in Canterbury Cathedral earlier in the day, was the Lord's Prayer, when we are always offered and asked to pray in our own language. The holy and rising murmur is really moving.

After breakfast, we moved into our first Bible Study. We are, as many of you know, focusing on the Gospel of John. There are some 81 small groups for Bible study, by my count, and these are made up of roughly 8 or so people. I am facilitating one of these groups. We began today studying the Prologue of John. We will hold Bible Study each morning of the conference save Sundays and the London day. We will also be meeting in larger Indaba groups. These are made up of a combination of five of the Bible Study groups. You can find more about Indaba groups on the Lambeth website.

After the Bible Study we left the University of Kent for Canterbury Cathedral. Although they offered buses I, along with a few others, decided to walk the short distance down to the Cathedral. I need the exercise! One of the light parts of the day were the 45 minutes we had just before going into the Cathedral to begin our retreat. Some of you who have been to Canterbury know there is a Starbucks literally attached to the gates to the Cathedral. There was quite a diverse and wonderful line of bishops present there! They were all offering a bit of aid to the economy of Seattle!

The Archbishop gave two very good meditations on the topic of "God's Mission and a bishop's discipleship." We were allowed some silent time after each meditation with prayers following. We will repeat this schedule tomorrow. The Cathedral precincts are closed to the public for these two days so we have it to ourselves which is quite a luxury and a great blessing. I have had two brief but quite nice discussions with the Archbishop. You can view photos of each day along with much other information at

I blessedly got to spend some time this evening with my Bishop's Colleague Group and now I am settling in for the evening. I want to commend the tremendous hospitality of so many volunteers from the Church of England and youth and young adult stewards who are everywhere on campus to help us, and who have been here a week already preparing for the event. They come from all over the Communion, and they are just superb.

On a personal note, I feel so blessed to be here, and honored to represent you, the people of the Diocese of Olympia. Nedi is here doing that as well and I know she shares this sentiment. I am humbled by that honor and will do all in my power to honor you in it. I miss my family already. My son was very sad when he hugged me goodbye at the airport. He said, "Dad, this is just too long!" It is, and yet I think about so many who have to go so much longer, and at such much greater cost. I think of our soldiers and their families, missionaries who give of their lives away, so very many.

I am not sure if I will blog each day but I will try to keep up with this as I can. Please keep us all in your prayers, those who chose not to be here, those told not to be here, those who simply could not be here, and those who did make it here, many at greater sacrifice than I will ever know in my life. I give thanks for you daily as you go about the mission of the Body of Christ each and every day. Pray for us, as I will pray for you.




  1. Greg...thanks for blogging and letting me know! All of Lambeth is in my prayers every day. Of course, you and +Larry B are at the top of my list. I was very impressed by the ABC's statement that the Anglican Communion is a wounded body, and he hopes that we can find the trust in God and one another to change in the way that God wants us to change.

    What I'm reading on many blogs from TEC members and C of E members is they expect nothing to come from Lambeth. We are so wounded and that has caused great cynicism. I feel hope. Those who do not want to see others as human beings have stayed away. I feel deeply sad for those who will not come to the table with ++KJS. But I feel hope. Love can conquer all.

    God bless you my friend, Roseann

  2. Greg,
    Thanks for recognizing the cost to the families of the military. Your son's comment brought back a rather poignant memory of one of Marc's deployments. My daughters & I were about half way home from seeing the ship pull away, when our then 5 year old daughter wailed, "I thought it would be fun, but it wasn't!" Her older, more experienced sister had to comfort her until I could pull of the freeway. Thus began 6 long months. (I can't imagine 12-15 month deployments.)

    May your time at Lambeth be worth the disruption of your family's life. May it be a common experience that creates common bonds with those of differing positions on the issues that divide us. May the life-giving Spirit use those all too human emotional bonds to bring healing and new life to our Communion.

    Blessings to all you meet,

  3. Cows indeed can fly and bishops too ;-)

    Glad to see you cyber(air) born.

    from Karen W,

  4. From Ora ---


    Be assured that those of us 'deep in the heart of Tejas' have and will continue to pray for all Bishops of the Communion,including those who feel that they can not accept God's invitation to eat and drink at the table or be in prayer and conversation with faithful servants who witness to Jesus Christ as their personal savior. May God the Holy Spirit rest on and move among each Bishop those present and those absent.


  5. Thank you, dear bishop, for your skills in communicating. My prayers are with you, and all assembled, as you strive to be attentive to the Holy Spirit's work within the church.

    May this gathering help each of us to find the focus God would want for us as individuals and as a community.

    Blessings always, Kathleen

  6. Thank you, dear bishop, for your skills in communicating. My prayers are with you, and all assembled, as you strive to be attentive to the Holy Spirit's work within the church.

    May this gathering help each of us to find the focus God would want for us as individuals and as a community.

    Blessings always, Kathleen

  7. Dear Bishop Greg

    Thanks for the updates...and how exciting to have COTA/Karen Ward mentioned re: the emerging church.

    Lots of love and prayers for all for the next few weeks at Lambeth; may the Holy Spirit work with you all; those present and those not present.