If you are concerned about The Lambeth Conference, don't worry so much. This is what my Bishop has to say:
"All over the world, bishops of the Anglican Communion are preparing for the Lambeth Conference of bishops, which will be held in Canterbury, England, from July 16-August 4. The conference is held every 10 years at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. International media are focusing on the disputes among Anglicans rising from New Hampshire's gay bishop and different and often colliding theological emphases.
But on the practical level, many bishops and their spouses are trying to figure out how to pack for a long trip and what to wear, especially on July 24, when the Queen entertains the bishops and their spouses at a garden party at Buckingham Palace. The instructions for dress at the palace is "national dress (where appropriate) or day dress."
Well, he does go on to briefly mention colonialism, a very brief history of the Conference, and how the small group process might work. But he finishes the article (which is to be published in our local newspaper soon) by stating that
"Some things endure: most wives of bishops, if not in "national dress," will continue to wear fancy hats to the Queen's garden party."
This attempt at light-heartedness speaks volumes about my Bishop's heavy heart. The past few years must have been more than just a little difficult, what with the law suits for the churches in northern Virginia, and the venom which has been hurled at him personally. But I think this light-hearted sham it is a very bad sign. He remains unable, it seems, to "name the baby." --to say what is really wrong, or what we really should be doing.
So, if he can't name the baby, can I? Am I able to name what is at stake? Here, I'll try:
1) The Gospel imperative to Love one another.
2) A Biblical imagination. Not literalism.
3) The reality of ministry emanating from the Laity. (BCP p855: From the Catechism: "Q. Who are the ministers of the Church? A. The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons." That the laity come first is no mistake; without the Laity, there is nothing, no holy orders, nothing.)
4) The Baptismal imperative to strive for justice, peace and the dignity of every human being.
5) Local expressions of faithfulness. Autonomy.
These are the things I would hope my Bishop would pack for Lambeth. These are some of the things I hope he defends in faith.
Besides, what is "national dress" for a guy from Virginia? And if his wife is to wear a fancy hat, she better buy it in London.
Appropriately trimmed in light purple....
Pray for our Bishops. Pray for the Church.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 515 Ordination: Bishop)