Friday, August 1, 2008

Sexuality Discussions Bring Lambeth Bishops To Frank Conversation

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury] Conversation marked by tears and
apologies, hand holding and embracing, was the order of the day July 31 as
bishops attending the Lambeth Conference formally addressed a portion of the
Anglican Communion's debate on human sexuality.

The pervading sense was that the mood at the current conference was
"dramatically different" from the tone of sexuality discussions at the 1998
Lambeth Conference during which "people were distressed at some of the
reactions to some of the things that were said," said Archbishop Phillip
Aspinall of Brisbane (
<> ), the primate of Australia and
principal spokesman for the bishops. He recalled that in 1998 "there were
occasions when bishops actually booed and hissed what other bishops said in
the gathering."

Aspinall said that his indaba group (a collection of 40 bishops from five
Bible study groups who have been meeting together since the beginning of the
conference) contained the "same degree of difference in the views held by
the bishops but at the end of the indaba group, bishops from different ends
of the spectrum on the issues actually embraced each other and thanked each
other for helping them understand better what was at stake in these issues."

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