23 September 2007

Lambeth's for everyone

Murmurs abound on T19 and Stand Firm about the possibility of TEC Bishops' voluntarily withdrawing from Lambeth.

Over here in the UK, we can't stress strongly enough what a really, really bad idea that would be.

The whole point of the 2008 Lambeth Conference is that it is intended to be a place and time when ALL the duly elected and consecrated Bishops of the Communion can be present together (and we hope the Bishop of New Hampshire will be there as a duly elected consecrated Bishop). So that they can listen, pray, worship, take Communion and understand each other better. As some Bishops did recently at the meeting in Madrid.

Clearly some maths has been done and a little analysis of what would be left if TEC withdrew. It's no surprise that the suggestion emerges from the more conservative position... because ... hey presto .... the orthodox, open, inclusive, classical Anglican voice is reduced. Result, for those who are not keen to celebrate the ministry and God-given gifts of all people whatever their sexual orientation or gender - happiness!

The Archbishop of Mexico spoke very powerfully yesterday to a meeting of Inclusive Church in London. His comments on the marginalisation of Primates from the smaller churches in the Communion were very relevant. Clearly in terms of voices listened to in the Communion, size does matter.

The agenda of the Lambeth Conference is carefully organised to try to ensure that real encounter happens. For TEC to withdraw, for what may undoubtedly be good and constructive motives around ensuring unity, would simply mean that the issues which bedevil us would still continue to be around for another 10 years, and then another.....

It is vital for the future health of the Communion that all the Bishops who have been invited are there. If we don't talk we'll never make progress towards the deeper understanding of one another and of God to which the Spirit is calling us.

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