Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lambeth Lament

This letter, from my bishop, the Rt Rev Richard Ellena, to our Diocese of Nelson, has also been published on Stand Firm and Titus One Nine:

Hello Everyone

We are now in the last couple of days of Lambeth and I am feeling deeply sad.

I don’t know why at the moment – everything I came here hoping for looks set to be agreed to:

It is very likely that the Windsor Continuation Group report will be approved – which means that a moratoria on gay bishops will continue etc….

And it seems likely that a Covenant process will be endorsed and a draft agreed to.

All this seems good to me and yet I can’t help this overwhelming sadness.

Because I am more convinced than ever that none of this will help us. Those who have stayed away will not agree to it and will continue their ministry in the States. And TEC will continue to bleat that they won’t follow the moratoria while these Africans continue to ignore it.

I believe (at this stage – and there are still two days to go) that this has been the most expensive exercise in futility that I have ever been to.

The Indaba groups have been a joke. I can’t believe that no zulu has stood up and taken us to account for our abuse of this process. ‘Indaba’ is supposed to be very similar to the process our Maori use when they go onto a marae to achieve a consensus. We, on the other hand, arrived in our indaba groups only to be divided off into even smaller groups with little tasks to do – little questions to answer.

It feels as though this is a process to divide and conquer

The Bible study groups have been very good in relationship building – I have met some very special people from within TEC and I hope to keep in touch with some of them. But I’m tired of every study being reduced to the buzz-word around here – ‘What does it say in your context?’ Every second sentence you hear seems to start with the phrase – ‘Well, in my context.’ This is an abuse of the hermeneutical process.

The draft Conference statement that will be released is so full of generalizations it says absolutely nothing. I am deeply dismayed at the spinelessness of the Communion.

So what is good.

I have appreciated networking with some pretty amazing people.

I am so full of respect for Bishops Bill Love and Mark Lawrence (from within TEC) who are not afraid to stand up and call sin, ‘Sin!’

I have the deepest admiration from the Bishops from the Sudan who came to let their voice be heard and have been treated with the most disgusting abuse from a woman Bishop from New York who labeled them ‘wife-beaters!’

I am ready to come home – with little energy for pursuing the Covenant – but will do so because this is my church!!!

But I will be actively building relationships with the Global South which looks as if it will expand and grow beyond this Lambeth to include evangelical Bishops from all around the world.

With much love


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