Admiral of Morality: Lambeth 2008 materials now online

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lambeth 2008 materials now online

The Lambeth Conference 2008 Official website, is now up and running. The web site is a work-in-progress, but already has many useful resources, including a live ticker counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds-—in case you must know--until the Conference begins.

It has pages noting the planners, many links, and, yes, a blog, by the Conference manager. It also has an online registration page (password and login needed please).

About the Conference, the site notes:
The Lambeth Conference is one of the Instruments of Communion of the global Anglican Communion.

It is convened every ten years at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and is the only occasion when bishops can meet for worship, study and conversation. Archbishops, bishops, assistant and suffragan bishops within the Communion are invited.

Also invited to attend are bishops from other churches 'in communion' with the Anglican Communion, bishops from United Churches, along with a number of ecumenical guests.

As well as the 800+ bishops who attend, their spouses are invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury's wife to a parallel, independent gathering: the Spouses Conference.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop Rowan Williams has called the next Lambeth conference for July 2008. His wife, Jane, will convene the Spouses Conference.
The site has a programme page with events and schedules for the the Conference, including a rough daily schedule, that identifies how the days are broken up. The Conference runs 20 days, from July 10-August 3 of 2008.

The Daily Schedule, notes that groups of participants, after morning Bible study, will break off into expanded groups, and later, self-selecting groups, to explore various topics. Among those noted are:

• Biblical interpretation / Hermeneutics
• Ecumenical Management
• Anglican identity, the role of bishops
• Issues of Covenant
• Listening Process (within the Communion)
• Engagement with other faiths
• Evangelism and Mission
• Gender and Sexuality
• Relationships, Social and family relationships
• HIV/Aids
• Millennium Development Goals

Consider for a moment these topics, and consider the perspectives and voices, brought to these discussions, by the bishops of our Church. Consider also, what the discussions might be like with them there, and without; and consider too, the reasoning behind various calls, for our bishops to attend or not.

If the calls for our bishops to attend are rooted in patience and love; a desire to better know other bishops and their churches, and for them to know us; and to engage in discussions designed to nourish each other in our faith and work, then the thrust is generally to attend.

If the calls for our bishops not to attend are rooted in some desire or expressed need for "punishment," discipline, anger at our Church and/or at the Communion bodies, or as a way to isolate or shun our Church, then the thrust is generally not to attend the Conference.

Back in March, the issue of not attending, was raised on this blog and others. This discussion has now commenced again somewhat, as various commenters mark time between news out of New Orleans, and as some others, continue the project to foster division in the Church.

When the issue of not attending was raised here back in March, one commenter said that not attending Lambeth, or sending only a partial delegation, was "sad and misguided."

At the time I was of several minds about the issue, but not anymore. Not going would indeed be a sad and misguided decision, and a lost opportunity to extend the hands of friendship and give voice not only to our Church, but to all those around the Communion and indeed the world, who look to our Church for guidance, hope, and peace.

We must continue to extend our hands and lift our voices whenever possible. The Lord tells us that we do so not because we expect anything in return, but because doing so is the right thing to do.

That's good enough for me.

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