In this photo and caption from Episcopal News Service, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, joins Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in procession before the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist at Salisbury Cathedral July 13.
They are at Salisbury's Cathedral Church of St. Mary , consecrated in 1258, which boasts the world's tallest medieval spire, in the southern English county of Wiltshire. Wow, a 750 year old church.
Jefferts Schori, in an interview with Episcopal News Service, said earlier about the conference:
ENS: What message do you plan to bring to the Lambeth Conference?
KJS: That the mission of God is far larger than anything we disagree about.
She may have been thinking that when she said last week that she would explain the actions of the American Church, specifically, regarding Gene Robinson, the gay Bishop from New Hampshire.
In another interview last week, she said,"Some people think that you can read the Bible without understanding the original context and simply take literally what you read. We will interpret - and it's an important part of faithful living. To assume there is only one way of reading is hubris."
Anyone who reads this blog will realize that I share the Presiding Bishop's feelings precisely. And, I am not even Episcopal! But I have followed the denomination and its bold moves to be inclusive closely.
Robinson was not invited to the conference, and he is OK with that. But he is in town, attending and speaking at events nearby. At St. Mary's Church, Putney, ( another St. Mary's) he preached yesterday in the face of protesters:
Listed in the church bulletin as a "quiet and reflective" service, it was noisier than usual, with a couple of dozen journalists, television camera operators and a packed church in attendance. Two demonstrators were also present, one carrying a placard outside the church and handing out leaflets saying the Bible prohibits homosexuality and one attempting in the church to shout down Robinson as he began his sermon.
Shouting "Repent! Repent!" the demonstrator was eventually drowned out by the congregation, which rose and sang -- with organ accompaniment -- the hymn "Thine be the glory, risen, conquering son." He was escorted out by ushers.
"Pray for that man," resumed Robinson, his voice shaking slightly. "Fear is a terrible thing. How sad that the Anglican Communion would threaten to tear itself apart over two men or two women who choose to make a Christian family together."
Noting that several times in the New Testament, the words "be not afraid" and "fear not" appear, Robinson said "the Anglican Communion is going to be fine. Will it change? Probably. Is it going to be easy? Probably not."
Here is a link to The Gene Pool the entire sermon, which is much more than the protest that you will witness. h/t to JaninSanFran for this.
Google led me to an article about a rugby player titled Robinson on the edge and I believe that description fits Gene Robinson both literally and figuratively. Not invited to the conference, but invited to and attending and preaching at events surrounding the venue, "Robinson on the edge" represents gays who have been on the edge for all of history.
Some would push the gays over the edge, others would reach out and pull them into the fold.
Read this, from the 365 widget to the left, and see how Robinson may be on the edge, but his reach will be inside the conference in a big way.
It will be interesting to follow the Conference, but like both Jefferts Schori and Robinson, I don't expect any the debate to end at Lambeth.