Time to go home

August 3, 2008 at 6:22 am 3 comments

This is the last day of the Lambeth Conference. The bishops have been on the university campus for 18 days and this evening the farewells will be said at a closing service in Canterbury Cathedral before the great procession of coaches starts to head for Heathrow and Gatwick.

What can we make of the experience? It is still too early to know what the effect of all this time and effort will be. All of us go away enriched by the conversations, the stories, the friendships that we have found here. All of us will take with us memories of special people and special moments. All of us will have a renewed and enriched sense of the great value of the Anglican Communion.

But it is frankly not clear what we have achieved. The last few days have involved a drafting group in spending many hours trying to write a reflection paper on the conference for all the bishops to take home with them. It describes our discussions and concerns in some detail. But on the big issues around how we hold things together in the future there isn’t yet clarity. This conference has passed no resolutions and issued no generally agreed statements. It is therefore uncertain as to what is the mind of the conference on some of the most difficult issues. Today we shall see the final version of the document which reports the conference, but there has been no process by which the members of the conference can agree the text!

So where do we go from here? I shall think about that in the next few days. I shall want to give an account of the conference to the diocese and to think through the implications of it for our overseas links. I shall also want to think about my own work as a bishop and how that has been enriched by all this. And I shall want to reflect of the design of this conference, because although it has been a rich experience it has not empowered the members to get their voice heard and to feel that the future direction of the Cmmunion has been clarified.

One last point. The Archbishop of Canterbury certainly emerges from this with enhanced stature and authority. His standing in the Communion is beyond question. I hope he uses that to full effect in the months ahead.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julia  |  August 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you Bishop for sharing with us your experiences and thoughts during this busy time. In my preachment today I recalled your words of encouragement to us as a newly formed benefice…to be Christ centered people, that is our calling, and others will see and be transformed…Amen to that!

  • 2. Richard Dixon  |  August 3, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you Bishop for sharing the conference with us, it seemed much more relevant as a result. Having said that if I was looking for guidance on issues such as the authority of scripture, or the need to review scripture in the light of changing cultures, I will have to wait and see. Perhaps that is as it should be.

  • 3. Ray Rampton  |  August 6, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Thank you for your blog. An excellent idea. Good to get the feeling from the “inside” instead of press and TV reports.

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