In the eye of the media

August 2, 2008 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

The press and TV have been here in force for the last 24 hours as the conference has turned its attention to the most difficult issues we face. Casual strolls round the campus have meant surprise encounters with journalists and others trying to get their heads round the extraordinary experience of a gathering of mostly men from around the world discussing something as apparently irrelevant to their usual newsgathering as homosexuality.

It is clear that the conference won’t be able to make some new statement which resolves the disputes on this subject which have preoccupied the communion for so long. I can well remember the last Lambeth Conference and the way in which this subject dominated the news reporting then. Have things moved on since then? Well, in some ways yes. The ordination of Gene Robinson hugely raised the temperature. But I also sense from private conversations that many people are beginning to feel that the real issues for us lie elsewhere and that we shall find that this particular dispute becomes less high profile in the years ahead.

Meanwhile we only have 48 hours to go now, and there will be much manoeuvering from some members of the conference to ensure that certain statements emerge from the conference seeking to establish the formal position of the communion on this subject. But my sense is that most of us would rather leave that attempt alone now. For many here the big issues remain about justice for the poor, climate change and the relationship between global anglicanism and other churches and other faiths. It now matters a great deal that we find the words to communicate the mind of the conference on those matters before we leave.

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A new kind of parliament? Time to go home

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