Live: whispers, impressions

By Jim Naughton

The news of the morning lies in the Conference organizer’s unwillingness to disclose the names of the bishops in attendance. This is presumed to be an effort to shield bishops from provinces boycotting the conference from reprisals when they return home. A few bishops are on hand, I don’t know exactly how many, but I’d say enough to man one side of a full court game of basketball, but probably not enough to man both.

The rest of my report consists primarily of whispers and impressions.

First the whispers:
Everyone is wondering how the Conference is going to pay down its debt, which, according to news reports this morning, stands at roughly one million pounds.

The initial report of the Windsor Continuation Group, presented at last night’s opening plenary session was not well received by the Episcopal Church’s bishops, and the negative reception seemed to cut across ideological lines.

The bishops have not been timid about disagreeing with one another in their Indaba groups, but most of the bishops I have spoken to say the disagreements have been friendly and even constructive. The African bishops have impressed upon Americans that Gene Robinson’s consecration has presented problems for them, not just theologically, but in terms of mission. The Americans are more willing to hear this concern, than to rehash old arguments over homosexuality. I am not clear on whether the American bishops discussed the mission-related problems the Episcopal Church would have faced had it not proceed with Gene’s consecration. A recent study by the Barna Group (published in the book unChristian) indicated that 90 percent of young Americans associate the word “Christian” with the word homophobic.

Some bishops from other parts of the developing world are a bit miffed at what they regard as the extensive focus on Africa.

While a handful of bishops have criticized the Indaba format, the primary complaint fielded by conference organizers is that those sessions aren’t long enough. The bishops want to spend more time talking together. They are less keen on the more continuing-ed. elements of the curriculum, which begin today.

Now the impressions:

Philip Groves’ book The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality - a resource for the Anglican Communion's Listening Process has become required reading for anyone hoping to participate in the debate on sexuality. Almost every “self-select session” focusing on the sexuality issue is based on a chapter in Groves’ book

Last night’s BBC documentary Battle of the Bishops should have been called Peter Akinola and his critics. The crew received excellent access to Akinola, and brought him alive, strengths and weaknesses equally evident. It made no effort to examine the role that Western financial contributions have played in elevating homosexuality to Communion-breaking issues.

Finally: Just as I am writing, the Church of Sudan has released two statements, one is a statement on the genocide in Darfur, the precarious situation of the church in Sudan and the church’s hope that the Communion will support the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. The other is a statement asking the Episcopal and Canadian churches to refrain from ordaining additional gay clergy or approving rites for same-sex blessings; cease court actions, etc.

Guess which one is engendering more interest in the press room?

Comments (4)

Anglican Journal,

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/100/article/-79aca3a1d0/

Frustration is rising among members of the media here who have been barred from attending a majority of events at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, including the daily eucharist, and who have not been furnished a list of bishops who are present or absent for unspecified “security reasons.”

“All I can say is that all provinces are represented except Uganda,” said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, who is acting as a conference spokesperson.
...
There was also great confusion around events that were open or closed to the media.

I do wonder where they are expecting to get the money to pay off the debt. I would certainly think that there many other things on which TEC could use its limited financial resources. Maybe Rowan can get it written off as a bad loan.

I'm just a naive economist, but I thought organizations had budgets and lived within them.

What's been the pattern in the past? Lambeth Conference passes the hat around the provinces after the conference is over? How open have the books been in the past? You always hear that TEC pays a major portion because the expectation is it should given how wealthy it is. Hmmm.

Personally I'd rather see the D of Washington spend the money on upgrading the comment module on this blog :).

Add your comments

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Reminder: At Episcopal Café, we hope to establish an ethic of transparency by requiring all contributors and commentators to make submissions under their real names. For more details see our Feedback Policy.

Advertising Space