It was an emotionally up and down day. The final verson of the "Reflections" came out and I was not only disappointed with its content, but also with the process. We had not been given a chance to review the last and most controversial section before it was printed up, and I felt that the process had not been done fairly. The trust that had built up over the past few weeks was rapidly evaporating for me. But after a wonderful final Bible study session and the chance to air my concerns in the final indaba group, I felt much better.
There will be a lot of questions as to "what came out of Lambeth?" I will be mulling this over in the next week or so, and will write more about it later, but it is probably easier to say what did NOT come out. First, no schism! Those who predicted that this would be the end of the Anglican Communion were dead wrong. Yes, there is a group (GAFCON) which has already left, but those of us remaining (about 85%) are committed to remaining together. The other thing did not come out was any kind of policy. There was no legislation done--only conversations were held. Finally, what will have to wait is a solution to the problems that beset us. There will be more meetings, more discussions. The American House of Bishop's meeting in September will be important for us to digest the meeting and come to some understanding of how we will respond to the mood of Lambeth, especially as regards c the issues of moratoria and "Pastoral Forums" who could monitor our compliance with the Windsor Report. All this remains to be done, and no one should jump to any early conclusions!
As for what DID come out--There is above all a renewed scene of connectedness in mission. As one bishop said, "We are the product of the conference." This new level of trust and respect and unity in Christ will serve us well in the years ahead. For me personally, I've also made several very close prayer partners who will be friends for life. I've also got a briefcase full of ideas for how we can work with our world wide partners on poverty and environmental issues.
We concluded the Conference tonight with a final Eucharist in the Cathedral. It was a dark and rainy night outside, but brilliantly lit inside. Towards the end of the service a group from the Melanesian Brotherhood (a religious order of both men and women) commemorated the deaths of 6 of their members who were recently killed when they try to separate two warring factions in their country. The order knelt before the Archbishop and then, chanting together, bore the names of their comrades to the very front of the cathedral--the Chapel of the Martyrs of Today. Their singing got fainter and fainter as they moved to the far end of this vast cathedral. We in the nave read aloud the Great Commission, sang a hymn, and went out the great west door. While the dead were carried to glory, we were sent into the world.
Thanks to all of you who have been reading this blog--we leave early tomorrow for Phoenix, and I will be signing off. I hope to be able to talk to many of you about Lambeth in the months to come--Trinity Church has given us a nice video to bring along! We will be glad to be back home, but grateful for this once in a life time experience.
I am grateful to be your bishop and thankful for all your prayers.