Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lambeth Conference

The decennial meeting of the world's Anglican/Episcopal bishops isn't much in the news but it is much on the minds of many of us in The Episcopal Church - as well, I suspect, as in the other 37 provinces. I've been following bishops' blogs and news from Episcopal Life, videos from TECtube and Bishops Lane, Chilton and Smith. My own Bishop has written several reflections that are posted on the diocesan website. Lambeth featured in both of my recent sermons.
But I confess I don't know what I hope will come out of this Conference except a better understanding between bishops about who these different but similar provinces are and lasting friendships. My guess is that there are people in every province who support the actions of TEC and the Church in Canada just as I know there are those here at home who do not support those actions. Can we really be reconciled with each other without changing our positions? That remains to be seen.
I am very grateful that the Archbishop of Canterbury made it clear that this Lambeth is not to be a legislative session. I think we would do well in TEC to consider modeling our General Convention next summer after Lambeth. While we are bound to legislate some things - canons and constitution, budget, elections, consents - we could spend much more time in conversation, prayer and Bible study.
Surely, listening, studying and praying together might eliminate some walls. If we get to know our "enemies" then we might find it harder to sling names and mud at them and they might discover that we aren't all that bad, either.
Let's put aside power and control and authority for one General Convention. We might find we like it a lot better than battling over legislation, much of which makes no difference in the life of the Church.


Anonymous said...

I really don't know what to think about Lambeth. Perhaps some good will come out of it, but I can't help but wonder if Christ himself would entirely meet with their approval if he were physically there. Many of the Bishops remind me of the Pharisees calling Christ a drunkard and someone who eats and drinks with harlots, tax-collectors and sinners. To be Christian is to be Christ-like. Not to be judgmental, but I really don't see much Christ-like behavior happening in Lambeth. Gene is a fellow Bishop elected by New Hampshire and should be there instead of being on the fringes. I sometimes wonder if there really is an "Anglican Communion." Some of our people are acting like Freewill Baptists and Holiness with their condemnation instead of Episcopal/Anglican. One of the things that led me to the Episcopal Church was a sense of educated religion, more openness, and less of condemnation. We are supposed to be more like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son. Any more all I am hearing is fundamental dogma and it is really beginning to turn me off on the Episcopal Church and religion in general.

Anonymous said...

...instead of Episcopalians...geez...sorry

Margaret said...

Dear Weed,
So many people are turned away from the institution because we consistently put our worst foot forward in public, places like Lambeth. Yet I have been heartened by some of the bishops' blogs. There is a wonderful statement today from Terry Brown, a bishop in the Solomon Islands that might raise your spirits a bit.
And I do think that, for the most part, parishes seem to go relatively untouched in non-controversy-laden dioceses. I make my people aware of what's happening at Lambeth and General conventions but it doesn't change their day to day lives, how they pray or behave. Maybe it should but somehow it doesn't. How curious is that!
So don't turn completely away from TEC. There's a lot of good stuff happening and no one is going to talk about it - it's the old good news doesn't sell papers thing.