Dear saints,We are almost on the home stretch here at Lambeth 2008. I want to thank Al for seting up this blog so that I could be in some communication with you. Thanks to those of you who were able to get back to me. For the most part, it appears as if things are moving in a positive direction.
We are almost on the home stretch here at Lambeth 2008. I want to thank Al for seting up this blog so that I could be in some communication with you. Thanks to those of you who were able to get back to me. For the most part, it appears as if things are moving in a positive direction. We engaged human sexuality in our Indaba session yesterday. The Windsor continuation process and the Covenant are not intended to be completed here; that process will involve all the provinces and could take years to reach a final version--aren\'t you glad we are Anglicans?! The final statement to the Church and the world will be a consolidated document gleaned out of our various Indaba engagements (fifteen in all) over the course of Lambeth 08. There will be no resolutions and legislative actions from this gathering of the Communion.
So, here I am on the last day of July, 2008. Let me share some of my reflections.
It is so good to have Roja with me. She has had a good time connecting with the spouses, who in my opinion are having a much better shot at engaging what\'s important for mission in God\'s world. The bishops seem to be more concerned about defining unity out of this obsession with human sexuality, which in this context primarily means homosexuality. There also is an association of unilateralism with our country\'s leadership and out action at General Convention. I have thought and prayed about this seeming obsession, especially in light of the many silent cries of the poor, the disenfranchised women, the environment, and a world seeking purpose. I mostly don\'t get it! We went on a historic march of witness in London last Thursday (July 24) when nearly 700 bishops and their spouses representing 130 countries marched to bring attention to the Millennium Development Goals. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described it as '...one of the greatest public demonstrations of faith (London) has ever seen...' I just don\'t get it! It is still my hope that we will be able to keep our eyes on all the vulnerable, including the LGBT community, and move beyond this quagmire we have created. All our small group engagements (Bible Study and Indaba) without a doubt have highlighted stories of how the MDGs are a good reason for us to continue as a Communion. This is articulated, but could become the main galvanizing point of the Covenant. Such an emphasis could help us reformat the purpose of our communion. By engaging this, the symbolic bonds of affection could create companionships--not donor-recipient relationships--and other creative ways of being a true Communion. What a JOY that would be to the poor as well as those who have enough to share! We will have brought heaven to earth.
I am saddened by the state of affairs in the old country when it comes to how women Bishops are viewed. We have started almost every morning with an opening Eucharist. So far, we have not had any of the women Bishops celebrate or preach! I am deeply saddened to be a part of this boys-club. One of the most poigniant sessions here was a study and reflection on the rape of Tamar from 2 Samuel 13. We have a lot to share with the rest of the communion about what it means to be a wholesome Church. I have also come to understand that there are just two bishops of color in the Church of England: the Archbishop of York from Uganda, and the Bishop of Rochester from Pakistan. Bishops here are appointed, not elected, and I find it intriguing that the 'Anglican identity' of the Church here is so male and Anglo-Saxon, still. The Bishop of Rochester is not at Lambeth in protest alongside the bishops of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). So, I have started introducing myself as the Bishop of Rochester who showed up. I must confess that I have grown so proud of the Episcopal Church\'s faithful witness to the Gospel across the pond. We are so blessed to have a Presiding Bishop of such caliber and grace as Katharine! It took me a long trip and a marathon hanging out session with other bishops to truly recognize the gift we offer to the Communion. This does not mean we strut around self-congratulating ourselves, but in the words of Micah, continue to '...do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God....'
I am happy to tell you that I have worked very hard these few weeks along with all the bishops and spouses. I have been listening, laughing, crying, dialoging, sometimes debating, praying, singing, studying, sometimes biting my tongue, and sitting in silence with my brother and sister bishops. Three more days, and then we will head home. Nothing can take away this complicated gift from us. We have a world to heal and an obsession to tackle. May God who calls us to love the world as much as Jesus did find us uniting with a great YES for a millennium of a more wholesome model of mission!
Roja sends her love.
VIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, New York