It's been a busy week! I finally have a quite hour or so to myself since this is "London Day" when the bishops and their spouses travel to Buckingham Palace for tea with Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II.
On Friday we finish setting up our Canterbury Communications Centre [3C].
On Saturday many more volunteers arrived. We held two training sessions. The first was a briefing for those likely to talk to British "journalists." [I put the term in quotes because most reporters in the UK are only interested in the scandalous and sensational.] The second was an orientation for all volunteers [below].
Speaking of British "journalists," Ruth Gledhill--a reporter from The Times whom I am convinced was the inspiration for Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter series--paid us a visit in the 3C. One of the producers showed her [below] a preview of a new documentary--Voices of Witness: Africa--in post-production . There was some conflict on our team about the wisdom of trusting Rita, I mean Ruth, with this story. Much to my surprise she gave us positive coverage on her blog and other press pick it up.
On Sunday an open-air LGBT Eucharist was held. Colin Coward of Changing Attitude presided and Susan Russell of Integrity preached. Attendance was good. Many bishops from the Episcopal Church were present--including our own bishop, Prince Singh. Just before the start of the service, the American bishops walked [below] with Gene Robinson from the parish hall to the nearby athletic field where the Eucharist was held . Of course there was thunderous applause.
On Monday we distributed the first issue of our daily newsletter--The Lambeth Witness--. Although we had obtained all necessary permissions in advance, the head conference organizer objected to the fact that we were ACTIVELY HANDING THEM OUT rather than PASSIVELY DISPLAYING THEM. This is a green conference, and she deemed the latter less wasteful than the former. So, I spent a good part of my day figuring out out to construct 10 newspaper racks from materials available at Staples.
On Tuesday I spent most my day finalizing preparation for a screening of Voices of Witness along with a preview of Voices of Witness: Africa. Also arranged to have a paper folding module added to your photocopier so that our volunteers wouldn't have to stay up past midnight manually folding the newsletter.
I saw +Steve and Gretchen Lane on campus. They seemed hale and happy. Steve reported that some of the Global South bishops are dissatisfied with the "indaba" small-group conversation process being used because it doesn't give them a forum to express their views.
On Wednesday several of our newspaper racks were vandalized. Campus security, rather thin on the ground, is investigating the matter. We also will be posting monitors at the known trouble spots.
In the evening we previewed Voices of Witness: Africa and showed Voices of Witness in a large lecture theatre. Several of the Africans highlighted in the preview--Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, Father Michael Kimindu, Davis Mac-Iyalla, and Mia Nikasimo answered questions [below].
On a personal level, I am STILL not getting enough sleep. But I think we have turned the corner on workload and things will be a bit less hectic for awhile.
Although I am fairly comfortable driving in Britain, I've managed to ding our rental van twice in the same place--both times attempting to park. The vehicle is small by US standards but huge by UK standards and it doesn't fit easily into English car parks or garages. I bought all the insurance coverages just in case something like this happened!
John Clinton Bradley