Thursday (St Gregory of Rome)

This was the third and final day of the reconfigured spring meeting of the House of Bishops. The presenter was the Revd Jennifer Strawbridge, an American who teaching New Testament in the UK. She was tasked by the Archbishop of Canterbury to convene broadly-representative task force of biblical scholars from across the communion and beyond to prepare Bible study resource for the Lambeth Conference, and her presentation was a sort of sneak preview of the fruit of her labor: The First Letter of Peter: A Global Commentary.  I was particularly pleased that the Archbishop chose I Peter as the focus for scriptural engagement at the conference, as it is some of my favorite material in the New Testament. Our table discussion groups were supposed to discuss some questions posed by the presenter, but we instead found ourselves mostly talking about our responses to the rapidly-evolving public health situation. It’s a vexing situation, and, before the end of the afternoon, I found myself issuing another pastoral statement, and, this evening, a clarifying email to the clergy. There’s a wide divergence of response among bishops in the Episcopal Church. I’m not going to judge any of my colleagues, even though I’m making a very different call than they are. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m right. Time will tell. What we can all agree on is the imperative of praying earnestly for a rapid end to this plague.

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