Sunday, 27 July 2008

Clear and Prophetic Direction?

We have been told that there are to be no resolutions at this Lambeth Conference. Discussions on sexuality will not be brought forward despite considering this, but this still leaves three open hearings on and church authority and sexuality. However, we know the conservative and doctrinal and international Law thrust of the Windsor Continuation Group (which has still more to pronounce), and now it seems there will be statements of clear and prophetic direction to the Communion according to one bishop blogger, and an "all supposed to come together" according to one writing home. So taking the last one first, from the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright:

+Rowan said, when he invited us all fourteen months ago, that the point of the Conference was to take forward the work of the Windsor Report on the one hand and the Covenant proposals, which nest within Windsor, on the other. We are having 'hearings' and other sessions on aspects of these, which should then eventually dovetail with the 'Indaba' group processes (they report to a central secretariat which will try to pull their insights together). I spoke at a 'self-select group' yesterday on the Windsor/Covenant theme and was subjected to a barrage of anxious and fearful American comments, including two who were objecting that the Covenant seemed to be 'anxious and fearful'. That's the sort of double-edged conversation you tend to have from time to time... There is another 'hearing' on Monday to take forward the Windsor process, and we are waiting for that quite eagerly to see what the group who have been working on it will come up with. It's all supposed to come together towards the end of the week.

Here is Bishop David Walker's take on final statements, if spending Sunday away:

The group of 15 or so listeners (one from each indaba) has now been chosen. These bishops will produce the draft documents that will eventually be processed by the conference into something that Rowan told us after Evensong today should not be a record of what was said but provide clear and prophetic direction to the communion.

Meanwhile there is a visual record of all bishops attending, thanks to the Bishop of Grimsby's blogging output on this photo taking day (my own nearest).

The effect of leaving authority and sexuality to the end is not just that other subjects were considered properly, it also raises authority and sexuality to a waited for boiling point and to give it the status of the end of the Lambeth narrative plot. This could be quite dangerous, because if time runs out as the heat rises, then Balkanisation of the Anglican Communion is almost inevitable.

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