The Episcopal Church Center sponsored a press conference today on the Lambeth Conference featuring the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, professor at Episcopal Divinity School and a member of the Conference's design group.
Jefferts Schori and Douglas emphasized the conversational aspect of this Lambeth Conference as differing from the 1998 meeting which was more parliamentary with resolutions. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Design Group have put together multiple encounters between those from very different cultural contexts to pray, worship, and talk about issues that both unite and divide the Anglican Communion. There will be times of closed sessions and others of a more open nature.
According Douglas, the lack of invitation for Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the bishops of irregular dioceses is rooted in the Windsor Report. Archbishop Williams' decisions were based in the report. In addition others were not invited such as Nolbert Kunonga of Zimbabwe, who is allied with brutal dictator Mugabe. However, it was acknowledged by the Presiding Bishop that when we avoid people who make us uncomfortable it ceases to be an incarnate conversation. The loss of one diminishes all. She reminded all that it is also not up to just one person to represent the story of The Episcopal Church and human sexuality.
In response to a question by a Diocesan Communicator, Maria Plati of Massachusetts, and the relevance of the Lambeth Conference, Bishop Jefferts Schori remarked that it was an important global conversation of one part of the body. It is a time for listening to one another and that there would be no final decisions made without consultation with other members of the churches.
In response to questions about the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, the Presiding Bishop announced that Bishop O'Neil of Colorado will be with Bishop Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem to lend him support during that time. Jefferts Schori commented that all conversations can be helpful and GAFCON is no threat to the Lambeth Conference although Bishop Dawani has said that introducing conflict into already conflicted part of the world is not welcome.
Listen to the webcast here.
The schedule of events during the Lambeth Conference and other information is here.
UPDATE: 11:30 p.m. EDT - The Pluralist has extensive reporting and comments here.