FROM THE PRESIDENT:
It's been awhile since we sent out a "weekly witness" and while it'll be a while longer before we're back on a "regular" schedule I wanted to take a little break from vacation today to send out this update to note that there is indeed "Life After Lambeth" ... and to point to some of the good work going on even in the dead of summer.
So here goes:
On a personal note, thanks to all who sent cards, notes and prayers at the news of the passing of my mother, Betty Bundy Brown, who died on July 24th. My family and I felt so very supported by all your love and prayers. We had a wonderful celebration of her life in her hometown in Minnesota on August 12th. And I know one of the greatest tributes I can offer to her memory is to keep calling this church family of ours to live up to the family values she raised us to respect and honor in her own family: love, respect, tolerance and inclusion.
And there is still plenty of work to do on all of the above, as post-Lambeth reflections, post-mortems and critiques continue to come in.
Among the best was Jim Naughton's "The Archbishop's hands are tied, not ours."
His conclusion ...
"The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don't have to do the same."
... is one that will frame our message as we move forward toward General Convention 2009 and beyond.
Other articles, essays and blogs of note:
Mark Harris' "The Tasks at Hand ..."
I believe we need to work hard at being who we are, The Episcopal Church, called to try to be inclusive as that inclusion relates to justice and the redress of injustice. We must acknowledge that we are not particularly good at this call but we are working on it, and we are doing so because we believe it is part of the call to the whole people of God. We have a vocation in the midst of the general vocation of all Christian peoples. We will work at including all the churches, and more locally all the Christian people, we can into our common life as they are moved to join us.In that context the Anglican Communion will be for us our guests, welcomed to our table. We are in communion, for our part, with all the churches of the Anglican Communion.
At the same time, I believe we must work constantly and with transparency to be with others in such a way that they will say to us, “Welcome here.” Again this will not be easy. Colonialism and rank imperialism, both secular and ecclesial, is often just beneath the surface. The Episcopal Church needs to work at being commendable to others, so that we are welcome into the homes of many who at first may be suspicious of us and our intentions. In this context the Anglican Communion is wherever we too are welcome as guests at table and in homes.
Tobias Haller's "Crumbs"
The church has shown itself to be remarkably flexible in its interpretation and application of any number of biblical injunctions and restrictions, down through the years, some of them even involving sex and marriage. It is not an earth-shaking abandonment of the gospel — the claims of some notwithstanding — to consider the possibility of recognizing and blessing the relationships of faithful partners in life, who wish to commit themselves to each other under that blessing and in that bond for life.
Those of us engaged in this patient and earnest appeal, though we be ignored, rebuffed, and labeled as less than worthy, less than human even, will not cease from mental toil, nor from prayer, nor from giving thanks for the scraps thus far cast in our general direction, nor from pleading our case, nor from claiming our blessing, though we must wrestle until dawn, and be put out of joint on its account.
And Clare Herbert's reflections on our Lambeth Conference presence: "Beyond the Fringe"
What is hard but essential to try to describe is that we were Church alongside everyone else being Church. We were not there only to protest, or to throw stones or to plead our special case as somehow outside looking in. We were ourselves "inside” living the life of the Church ourselves. When we read in John's Gospel every day how those on the fringes of successful society, - the servants, the compromised, the ill, the broken - often understood who Jesus was before the rest of his followers did we feel we were in the right place, bearing witness to the overwhelming love of God which we had seen and known in our own lives and which we were dying to tell others about.
And here's my own "reflecting on Lambeth" sermon from Sunday, August 10th: Walking on Water [Video link/Text link]
Integrity Nat'l Board Meeting: September 2-4 (New Orleans)
Many Stories, One Voice: September 4-7 (New Orleans)
Inclusion Activism Workshop: September 12-13 (Minneapolis)
House of Bishops Meeting: September 17-19 (Salt Lake City)