What is on the hearts and minds of the blogging bishops during their time in Canterbury at the Lambeth Conference? Deep and not so deep thoughts are being shared across the blogosphere in these few weeks. Some are mastering technology with only a few lessons before leaving their trusty media officers. Some are still challenged. Following are few “outtakes” found in the Feed (see below for more) that links many of the bishops’ offerings.
Day 3: Highlight of the day: I met my namesake, the cartoonist, whose work I’ve admired since I first found it on a website. We had our photos taken together to prove we’re really not the same person.
Lowlight of the day: This is the only conference I can recall that doesn’t provide good quantities of tea and coffee at every meal and break. It took me 20 minutes to find a mid afternoon hot drink.
From Day 2: Highlight of the day: being given an invite to a drinks party hosted by Jack Iker tomorrow. Perhaps this really is engagement across the fault-lines. I felt touched, honoured, and minded to go listen.
Lowlight of the day: 2 minutes later being told the invites were only meant to be given to “sympathetic” bishops. But hey, I do sympathy really well, perhaps I am invited after all.
From Day 1: Highlight of the day: Rowan’s addresses.
Lowlight of the day: No hot water in the showers this morning. Conspiracy theorists will assume this is a plot by the organisers to stop bishops even thinking about sex, let alone talking about it.
Other bishops seem fascinated by the bathrooms in their spartan quarters. Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona gives us a video tour here and Bishop Neff Powell of SW Virginia has comments on the quarters for him and his wife (yes many have single rooms – although some have moved their furniture!)
Dorothy and I arrived safely in Canterbury on Wednesday afternoon, settled into our rooms, and set up our computer connections. We have adjoining rooms in the student dormitory. The bathroom and shower are down the hall, with sinks in our rooms. Bishops and spouses are taking this arrangement with varying degrees of good humor.
As for mastering technology – it is fun to watch the progression of skill on the blog from the bishops of Maine – Knudsen and Lane. Comfort in front of the camera, shirt colors and backgrounds improve with each video here.
Bishop Marc Andrus of California records a choir singing Waterloo from ABBA here.
Many blogged on the silence or lack thereof. Bishop Christopher Epting, Ecumenical Officer for TEC, found silence in the side chapels and choir stalls here. Others were amazed that 600+ bishops who rarely see each other yet share so much in common could be silent at all. Bishop David of Grimsby writes:
It was a very profound silence – 650 bishop at one in silence. Thus ended our days of retreat during which we had experienced some very profound and accessible teaching from the Archbishop in his role as a focus for unity in the Anglican Communion.
Many gave thanks and were impressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s teachings and meditations. Others listened to the voices of history and place as they sat in Canterbury Cathedral. Bishop Neff Powell of SW Virginia reflects:
We have now completed two days of a three-day retreat at Canterbury Cathedral led by the Archbishop. There is ample time for quiet prayer and many of the bishops take advantage of this opportunity. Others talk quietly in small groups of two and three. I have had some difficulty focusing on the meditations, I think due to a combination of the thick accent and the sound system at the cathedral. The setting of Canterbury Cathedral is deeply moving. I spent a good deal of time just considering the sacred space. What does God say to us through these sacred stones?
Bunnies are capturing some blogging time for many of the bishops. Bishop Alan Wilson of Buckingham has the best idea about the bunnies and their omnipresence:
I’ve got an exclusive for Fleet Street! This whole campus is teeming with rabbit life. It makes Teletubbyland look like a Sunday school outing. And this lot require no outing — these little chaps are most definitely robustly heterosexual. Some wonder whether they have been intentionally supplied to add a touch of, er, bunny love to some potentially contentious proceedings. I don’t want to spread hysteria and panic about this conference, but I feel I should share with the world this Victorian patent for “a device to extract auditory and visual information from private gatherings of bishops, commonly known as an Episcope.” It was secretly developed for the use of the Archbishop of York in 1868, to keep him abreast of proceedings which, as you will remember, he had boycotted. But these days, who would do such a thing? And why? I think we should be told.
Bishop Alan’s blog gets my award for the most interesting.
If you want to follow the thoughts of the blogging bishops use this link for the continuous feed of their blogs – all in one place.