22 May 2007

Reconciliation at Lambeth?

So by now, the news about Lambeth invitations is all over the blogosphere. Nearly every diocesan bishop of the Communion has been invited, but as the Washington Post has reported, Bishops Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns will not be invited. There is quiet talk that the Bishop of Harare might be univited (which would really change the situation and the focus of invitations/uninvitations).

So what to make of all this? Well, it's better than many of us might have expected. Most bishops of ECUSA will be in Lambeth, which is surely a good thing. As we seek to repair breaches in the Communion, it is essential that people spend time together in prayer, worship, listening, and engagement. That cannot happen when we're talking about people, rather than with them.

I would have hoped that +Gene would be invited. Much of the focus is on him, so it would make sense to me (and to many others) that he be in the room to listen to share. Some people on the left will rejoice that +Martyn has not be invited, but I think the conversation would benefit from his presence as well.

I am a bit disappointed that we live in an age when the Archbishop of Canterbury must remind the bishops of the Communion about our polity (the Lambeth Conference is not a synod, etc.) and point out that doctrinal assent is not required for attendance. Nevertheless, I am happy that this expectation has been laid out clearly.

Let us hope that Bishop Robinson will indeed receive an invitation as a guest -- as Canon Kearon suggested might happen -- and that he will be able to be "inside" rather than "outside" when the bishops are talking about him.

Let us give thanks for so many invitations, and let us pray for a few more. Most of all, let us pray that a spirit of grace, charity, and concord will be kindled in the Anglican Communion once again.

(I'd write more, but I'm in Heathrow now, just about to board a plane for the US. More to come after I've had eight mind-numbing hours in a small aluminum tube to ponder all this.)


Michael M said...

I Canterbury believes what he says about the limits of the Lambeth Conference's scope, why is he letting the fundies get away with insisting that Lambeth 98's statement about sexuality is Church law?

Scott Gunn said...

Michael, that is an excellent question. Why, indeed, are the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the Windsor Report accorded quasi-canonical authority?

We need to keep reminding everyone of the fact that Lambeth is not a synod and the Windsor Report is not the Gospel.