They are already here.....
They are not coming, even though one is an Archbishop and the other is half a Bishop.
Have ten years gone so soon? I remember the last Lambeth conference and the threat of schism and departure over our heads. I could tell it was on it's way when I drove through Cheetham Hill and I saw three very overseas looking Bishops crossing the pedestrian crossing by the halal food market, looking nonplussed, being shepherded by the wife of our Diocesan Bishop who is also the curate of that parish, which is very close to Bishopscourt. Confused yet? You should be! That's the idea, I think, to disorientate the Bishops so much they spend the fortnight of the Lambeth conference trying to find their glasses and have a sit down before being sent home with a sheaf of papers saying 'do better next time'.
Not really, although, Rowan, the idea was mine, so can I have a mention please? What is really happening of course is that all the visiting Bishops are being offered hospitality with our Bishops for a few days before today, when they will be installed at the campus of the University of Kent, which is near Canterbury, not Lambeth awaiting the beginning of sessions tomorrow. If they are anything like the rest of us, they will be hitting the bar anytime now. What they will not be hitting is Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, who is in Putney being privately heckled and they would not want to hit him anyway, because many of them are not there at all, on account of being scared of gay Americans. I assume. Or scared of Giles Fraser, which is more likely. Here you will find that the Guardian has it covered, see particularly Simon Hoggart down the page.
So most of the Bishops are there anyway. Akinola is not and nor is his Bishop Minns, who is not really a Bishop at all, as far as we are concerned as he was not consecrated under Canon law. Our own Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali is not there either, he who received a standing ovation at GAFCON without saying a thing and still thinks he is not a puppet. His Diocese is about twenty miles from the meeting, so he is representing his people by staying at home. Shame on you, Bishop. Those who have bothered to turn up will find two weeks of structured talking and listening, opportunities to develop their understanding of each other (I assume the non-attendees have enough understanding of the Human soul and it's relation to God in global contexts not to need to come, either that or they are just plain petrified of facing up to the future) and time to reflect on how God is best served through His Church at this time. Gene Robinson will be in the papers every day, even though he will do very little except continue under the misapprehension that the only relevant issue of our times is his relationship to his partner, who will probably be on Big Brother before the year is out.
Our blessed Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, whom this blog loves, will be facing up to the future square in the face, however and will take all the flak it cares to throw at them because they are, like the vast majority of Bishops, wanting the best for the people of God whilst being honest to God and themselves. It is an impossible task for human beings without the help of God, so can I enjoin all our readers to pray earnestly for them over the next two weeks that God's will be done, not the will of the loudest faction of Bishops.