Life at the Lambeth Conference, day 2

My morning began with a celebration of the Eucharist at 7:15 a.m. And when I say celebration, I mean celebration. Again, the singing was glorious — drawing on music from a wide range of traditions and cultures. There’s a special hymnal for the Lambeth Conference, and I wish it would be available after the Conference. Lots of good stuff there. There was no sermon, but frankly there’s plenty of talking throughout the Conference, so I doubt if anyone missed it much.

My day consisted largely of wandering around on a few photo assignments. You can see some of the fruits of my efforts (and the efforts of the other two photographers) on the Lambeth flickr set. I’ll add a few pics in the next post. I had some time to chat briefly with a number of bishops. I think I spoke with bishops from the US, Canada, England, Mexico, Malaysia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Taiwan, and a few more places I can’t quite remember. You get the idea. Everyone seems relaxed and amiable.

The weather has been pleasantly cool here, and we got a few sprinkles through the day. It wasn’t enough to deter me from making the lovely 25 minute walk from my room to the city centre for my afternoon being “holy paparazzi” looking for photogenic bishops.

After my time in the city, I got a ride back to the University on one of the buses with some volunteers and stewards. These friendly people offer hospitality, guide us to the right place, and monitor the doors of the various venues. The stewards are especially interesting. They’re all young adults, each one seemingly bubbling with faith, intelligence, and good spirits. The three I spoke with were from England, Australia, and Brazil. They made me feel pretty great about some of our future church leaders, as we talked about matters of faith, church affairs, and the hopes of the Lambeth Conference.

The highlight of my evening was a session organized by my facebook friend, Bishop Alan Wilson, who keeps one of my favorite blogs. I encourage you to drop by. He has some terrific reflections on the addresses of the Archbishop of Canterbury from today’s retreat. Anyway, he organized a session for “blogging bishops” as they shared experiences, strategies, and tools for success. They are operating in a few paradigm of church communication, one in which transparency and honesty are valued more highly than protective and fearful impulses.

Tomorrow should be another fairly quiet day, as the bishops are on retreat again. Things will be quite busy next week, so I’m enjoying this less frenetic time as we all get our bearings.

Generally, the mood here is hopeful and…holy. This does not feel to me like a political gathering, in which forces are aligning themselves for a fierce battle. It feels more like a giant family reunion. I hope it stays that way.

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