Friday, August 1, 2008

Lambeth Letter #6


The Lambeth Conference is drawing to a close and I am REALLY looking forward to coming home.

On Monday the bishops were presented with a document containing observations and recommendations for continuing the Windsor Process. On the minus side, it reiterated a call for moratoria on public rites for same-gender blessings and LGBT bishops. On the plus side, a separate page [that for some reason is missing from the online version] reiterated a call for a pastoral and sensitive response to gay and lesbian Anglicans and condemned homophobia and victimization of gay and lesbian people. We stayed up into the wee hours [again!] preparing a response.

On Tuesday afternoon the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a "presidential address" in which he urged both conservatives and progressives to be be generous with each other on issues of homosexuality. That evening we previewed Voices of Witness: Africa a second time. The Bishop of California hosted the event. The room was filled to overflowing with bishops and their spouses.

On Wednesday afternoon LGBT Africans shared their stories. That evening the cast and crew of Seven Passages gave an amazing performance. The play consists entirely of words from the Bible and the real-life stories of over 100 gay and lesbian Christians living in Michigan. It explores 7 "clobber passages" of scripture that are used to condemn same-gender relationships and 7 "life passages" common to gay and lesbian Christians.

On Thursday, the bishops began discussing homosexuality in their indaba groups. The Rev. Canon Phil Groves also issued a report on the Anglican Communion Listening Process. Canon Groves is especially encouraging the Don't Throw Stones initiative to end violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

On Friday, the bishops discussed a draft summary of their indaba group discussions on homosexuality. Several LGBT-supportive bishops objected that the draft did not fully reflect what they had shared in their indaba groups. The bishops also began discussing the Anglican Covenant.

Looking for petrol, I "got lost" and found myself in the nearby town of Whitstable where I enjoyed a quite luncheon overlooking the English Channel.

Representatives of 7 LGBT Anglican organization--including yours truly--met Friday afternoon to consider our witness in a post-Lambeth Anglican Communion. We agreed to form a new umbrella group--Inclusive Communion--to coordinate our ministries.

On Saturday the bishops were presented with a draft of "Reflections upon the Lambeth Conference 2008"--which will summarize all the indaba group discussions. We are concerned that the final document will codify moratoria on same-gender blessings and LGBT bishops--making it difficult for the Episcopal Church to move forward on these issues at the next General Convention.

We also began the process of winding down our presence in Canterbury. After a noon Eucharist, most of our volunteers left town. Most of my team relocated back to Ebury Hotel for a couple of days. We dismantled our Communications Centre. The Integrity USA team also enjoyed a final meal together.

Today (Sunday) I was up early to distribute the final issue of our newsletter and to disposed of our rubbish. As I write we are waiting for the bishops to conclude their deliberations. Integrity USA has a response prepared regardless of the outcome.

fast forward

Well, the final indaba group report is a little better on sexuality than the last draft. Sadly, +Rowan spoke very strongly in favor of moratoria during his final presidential address and at the press conference that followed. Integrity USA released its final press statement.

It's midnight here. Time for bed. Up at 5 am to drive to Heathrow with the remnant of our team.

Your ambassador,

John Clinton Bradley

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