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Reader response to the Lambeth Conference

[Episcopal News Service] Reader responses to Episcopal Life Media’s coverage of the Lambeth Conference follow.

Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding presidential address to the 2008 Lambeth Conference

I can see the apparent need the Archbishop has for developing a Covenant for the Anglican Communion. Covenants are only as good as those who agree to them. Are people who covenant to live together, outside of marriage, less honoring of their covenant than those who put it in writing?   Statistically, we humans are capable of both honoring and dishonoring our commitments, verbal or written. I think moratoriums from on high probably do less to move people into loving, respectful relationships than honesty and compassion shown in forgiveness and reconciliation, in lives lived honorably.

I think that as people with different experiences share those experiences with each other respectfully, those relationships will have a much better chance of developing healthily than by dictates or moratoriums. Truth will always prevail, the way truth is understood and lived into, is through our own experiences with others in their experiences. Add the Spirit's desire for us all to be one through love and forgiveness for ourselves and others, and the chances increase infinitely.
I think the best thing about Lambeth is that leaders of the churches from all over the globe who understand Christ Jesus as Savior and loving Reconciler, coming together to share time, words, food and Eucharist, is a gift to the Anglican Communion and to the church leaders who are invited to come together.  Invitation should never have been, nor should it ever again be withheld from any duly elected or selected bishop of any of the churches who understand themselves to be part of the Anglican Communion.

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Your remarks at the conclusion of Lambeth are encouraging and raise my hopes.  I, too, believe that we are journeying into a new expression of what it means to be Body of Christ alive and ministering in today's fragmented and polarized world. But I am troubled by the continuing fixation of the AC on the development of an invented "covenant" as a yardstick of our orthodoxy and acceptability as if we could encapsulate THE TRUTH like a fly in amber. The Covenant we already possess is that of our baptism, it seems to me. I doubt that that can be improved upon, and any "covenant" that serves as a litmus test of who’s "in" and who's "out" can hardly be an instrument of unity.  Are any specific efforts being made to develop avenues to ecclesial health and solidarity among us other than moving inexorably toward the Windsor Report's fixation on a covenant solution?

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Please continue to lead the way to a church that makes no distinction on the basis of gender or sexuality.

When Williams became Archbishop he seemed to be the right person to take the church in England forward into the 21st Century. Increasingly he has become burdened by the fear of division and so lost any credibility as a theologian who can go beyond tradition based on prejudice and accept the evidence from science and life that gender and sexuality are not valid barriers to a full life as Christians.

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Thank you, Bishop Katharine.  As usual, you give me hope for the church which we have loved for so long.  I disagree with most of my friends on various matters, but I love them still, and I am thankful that the leadership of the Church can rise above their differences and continue God's work joined at the heart.

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

The Holy Spirit leads only to righteous living.  He cannot be appealed as the influence where repentance for sin is not present, and where open sin is not recognized as such.

Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding presidential address to the 2008 Lambeth Conference

This historic milestone address and reflection by Archbishop Williams weaving together the very essence of a Christ-like pastoral and covenantal servanthood will surely bear fruit in a new and deeper understanding of what a faithful unity and fellowship in Christ Jesus means to each of us on our spiritual journey. This is also surely a clarion call for global collegiality in the godly vineyard entrusted to us, a partnership of bothers and sisters within the several affirming communities of faiths seeking discernment and guidance in meeting the urgent needs of the human family, a family created in the image and love of God. Our Lord called us to the imperatives contained in the Great (Matthean) Commission ... "Beginning in Jerusalem ..... and to the uttermost parts of the Earth."

Thanks be to God for the primates, for the bishops attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference, their spouses and families, the conference and Lambeth staff - and most certainly for the ecumenical and interfaith participating partners in this decennial far-reaching Lambeth process of collective, communal "indaba", and personal reflection, of sharing the compassionate concern and love for one another as lovingly expressed by Dr. Williams in his remarkable closing address--of a covenantal commitment, freely sought and accepted,  the seeking to build firm bridges, of a faithful dialogue leading to a discernment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, of the complex realities and difficult issues on which men and women, in good conscience may differ - as to their understanding, those that lie within the Holy Scriptures, of inherited tradition, of intellectual reason, and of applicable remedies to the same.

A brief history of the Lambeth Conference

Thank you for this summary article on Lambeth Conferences.

Reading of the current conference at Canterbury has aroused my interest in the history of the processes of the Anglican Communion.

I am very interested in protecting the individuality of The Episcopal Church in the United States.  It seems to have lost some clarity in the last 30 years.

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Thank you for your summation of Lambeth.  It calmed my reaction to the hostility I expected from several in attendance.  It reassures me to go forth with a more positive attitude toward those who do not accept the progress we as a church have made.  It thrills me to realize how far we have come since you were a teenager and my mother was just retired from a factory job way "beneath" her law degree!

Your accomplishments as Presiding Bishop illustrate our potential for growing beyond so many static barriers to growth. 

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

I do not pretend to understand the complex nature of your present job. I am thankful you are representing me and our Church in the United States. In church this morning we were told that one of the hymns that the bishops sang was "All are Welcome". Many in the congregation found that very hypocritical since we have been praying for the well being of Bishop Robinson. Jesus would have included everyone--no matter what. To exclude a person from the great body seems decidedly un-Christian and indefensible.  Why, I was asked by many a lay person, is this able to happen? It does make most of what happened seem lacing in honesty or meaning.  It makes all the worship activities and Bible study important for each Bishop present but does not put forth a loving or compassionate front. There is no good reason I can think of to exclude anyone who rightfully belongs to the gathering of Bishops. We may have some unity but are really not unified at all. I have been praying for you since you became Presiding Bishop.  I will continue to do so.

Bishop Gene Robinson says he is at Canterbury as a witness

As a former Anglican, now Archbishop of the Old Roman Catholic Church, Latin Rite, Canada, the U.S., South America, and Pakistan, I am absolutely distressed by the actions of some of the member bishops of the Anglican Communion in their refusal to invite, permit, or allow, a duly and consecrated bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, an integral part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, to take up his rightful place as a member of the Lambeth Conference. Shame, shame, shame on those b,ishops. No offence to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, but I quite agree with Bishop Robinson that his tea party with those who are afflicted with AIDS and who are HIV-positive was perhaps the greater blessing.

Bishop Robinson, take heart, as you have obviously already done, but do continue to carry the torch. You are not alone; and may God and the Holy Virgin Mother of God richly bless your episcopal ministry, both in your own Diocese of New Hampshire, amongst your people who love you so much, but also remembering that you have the support of thousands of people in many Countries, by those who are gay and those who are not gay.

Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding presidential address to the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Dear Archbishop Williams: The Lambeth Covenant is in direct opposition to the Baptismal Covenant in the American Book of Common Prayer that states that Baptism is about the full inclusion of all baptized people into the life and sacraments of the Church. Does the Lambeth Covenant call for a moratorium on polygamy and the indiscriminant sexual activities that make HIV/AIDS the endemic disaster that is killing my Anglican sisters and brothers in Africa and around the world? Same-sex unions and gay bishops aren't going to infect or kill anyone.

Reader Responses to the Lambeth Conference

It is about choice.  We all have within ourselves the individual responsibility to make choices based on our desires.  If I choose to violate the laws and/or the mores of my society, I and I alone am responsible for my choices. It is my choice: it is not that I am absolved of the consequences making that choice.

Bishop Gene Robinson says he is at Canterbury as a witness

I will not sit in judgment on this man, however GOD will! He has used his office to make a fool out of himself and sell his homosexual ideas to the world. Think of all the confused children of the world.

Presiding Bishop's statement at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

As a gay Episcopalian in Wilmington, NC, I’m not sure I can take the sign seriously in front of my parish  "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.”

Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding presidential address to the 2008 Lambeth Conference

A nice sentiment from the Archbishop of Canterbury, but it seems, as it has seemed with so many of the public utterances of the Lambeth Conference, that LGBT Christians who are persecuted do not even merit a mention when we talk about the oppressed and persecuted.  We can name the woman in Zambia, the scavenger in India and so forth, but not the lesbian in the United States or the gay man in Nigeria.  When will we realize, as a Church, that this is as much a matter of justice as all the things the good Archbishop listed in his litany of offenses to God's vision of human dignity?  All the structural changes in the world will matter not at all if we don't understand that the ONLY structure we should be working for is the commonwealth of God's justice.

Bishop Gene Robinson says he is at Canterbury as a witness

As one who is canonically a resident of NH but living and licensed in SW FL, I found Bishop Robinson's blogs indispensable to understand the full sweep of what was happening in and around Canterbury. I did not, however, hear anything about the issue of polity in the varying and different settings in which Anglicanism is practiced.

The reference made to this issue for the ECUSA is found in the opening paragraph to the BCP and says it all for us. Would that others be willing to acknowledge its validity and the fact that until it was adopted and published there was no "Anglican Communion."

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