Saturday, 2 August 2008
Lambeth, August 2nd
I am not really going to be able to explain the first picture above. It is a public registrar's office I have passed everyday on my walks. I see it every time and wonder how it sums up something about our walk through life and all we have been about here in Canterbury. I offer it to you. Another one I saw but could not get a good picture of said "Bishops: acquired for clients". It is one way to do it!
Today started as the rest, Eucharist at 7:15 provided by the Anglican Church of Kenya, breakfast, then Bible Study on John 18:1-18. I think our Bible Study participants are mourning a bit. It has been truly transforming to be in these small groups, studying Scripture, and simply sharing our stories, how they relate and intersect with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and even more putting names and faces to the Communion. Tomorrow will be our last meeting.
We then went to our Indaba group for a meeting entitled "Fostering Our Common Life: The Bishop, The Anglican Covenant, and the Windsor Process." There was no consensus and in fact, in my group, I would say there are feelings that range from no covenant at all no matter what, to those simply open to the idea and not committing (perhaps the largest group), to those convinced it is the only way forward. I am becoming less and less convinced that it is the answer. I intend to address that in my last post from the conference. Today was our last Self Select workshop and I attended "The Science of Climate Change" which was headed by Professor Ian James, University of Reading, UK. He is also ordained. He gave an excellent presentation, much of which I have seen before but also new information is always coming out.
I must say that I keep hearing occasionally from other bishops, from some of our US congressman, and others that there is a lot of "science" that debunks the current science that seems to overwhelmingly corroborate that we have a serious humanmade problem on our hands. I have asked these folks, sometimes in person, sometimes in writing to supply me with this science or at least links to it, and I still have yet to recieve it. In all seriousness I would like to see the other side. I asked Professor James to direct me to some. He was at a loss saying that there are many articles debunking it, but hard science he had not seen either. We have a problem and a short time in which to address it, but I keep saying I am willing to look at the side that says we have no problem, or at least it is not a human made one.
This afternoon a special hearing was called to listen one final time to the reflections group, putting together the final draft of our reflections of these past weeks. If you were expecting a definitive answer on matters, you will most likely be dissappointed, but what lies behind it and I believe a lot of what will be in the statement, will speak to what Anglicanism is all about, what Lambeth is supposed to be about, and will be an investment that is well worth if for our future. What can't be captured in a statement of any kind are the miraculous meetings that occur at lunch, and dinner, and in the wonderful ques, lines, we stand in for everything. It is difficult to engage here and not learn, no matter where you are from.
The Church of Ireland provided evening worship. After dinner a plenary was offered in which four of our stewards, the young people from all over the communion, offered their reflections of these past weeks. Just a reminder, the stewards are those folks who wear bright yellow jackets, with "Steward" written across the back and direct us. They are essentially crowd control, and yet so much more. Stewards from Southwest Florida, the Seychelles, South Africa, and the UK offered reflections and then opened the floor for questions. It was pointed out that when questions have been taken this week they have been written on cards and turned in, but not tonight, they were taken fresh, off the cuff, from the floor.
This was amazing just as I thought it would be. These are truly stunning young people, divinity school students and graduates, cardiovascular medical students, and the list goes on and on. Some of them are in youth ministry now, some wanting to be ordained. Solo from the Seychelles wanted us to know that mass is often boring, sermons boring, music too slow and old. He also wanted us to know that even when it does not seem like it they want to know, youth love for you to tell them your stories.
Penny from the UK said that all she knew of bishops was that you had to clean up the church before they came, and it usually just meant more work for her. But, she said, "after spending these three weeks with you I can say you all are pretty colorful characters. " Please, she asked, don't wait for us, let us use our skills and talents now. In one of the more poignant moments she said to us, that being with us these three weeks has given her great hope and has fed her desire to be ordained. She said, 30 years from now I hope I will be here, wearing a purple shirt! This was greeted with raucous applause (think about that, a bit of a informal vote!) She hesitated and said, "When I have recently told my friends this, they have said, don't be silly, the Anglican Communion won't be here in 30 years!" She said, these past three weeks have made her know it will be and she implored us to stick with it, and she promised if we did, her generation would care for it too.
When they were asked what we should do about this, and I believe our own Nedi Rivera asked them this question, they said we need better music and maybe some dancing! I am sure Nedi liked that answer! Maybe hip hop once in a while. The next questioner told them not to expect him to hip hop dance, it would not be pretty. He then asked what is there not enough of? To which the wise Penny replied, "Not enough hip hop dancing!" While it was funny, I think we need to hear it. What we may least like to do, or feel we are least equipped to do, may be exactly what is needed. And we may just need to get comfortable enough to do it!
They went on to say we should not wait for youth to respond to what we have created for them, but instead ask them to create it.
When they were asked what they most loved about Jesus, they responded with his coolness, his good attitude, one said that Jesus could cry and showed sorrow for his friends.
When they were asked what specifically brought them hope in watching us these past weeks they said, the relationships they saw building here, the diversity, and as one put it so well, seeing people talking to each other not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Amen to that!