Tuesday (Hildegard of Bingen)

Day One of the regular 2019 fall meeting of the House of Bishops. We began with Eucharist, at which the Presiding Bishop preached. As is his wont, he preached the gospel with some degree of fullness, so by the time he was finished, it was the departure hour for spouses who were signed up for a Mississippi River boat cruise. Brenda and I parted company at that point. The rest of the morning was devoted to table groups for “check in” time. This may sound like fluff, but it’s not. Bishops have no peers in their daily lives, so it’s important to have time to share with peers on those rare occasions when we are together what’s going on in our lives. The afternoon was devoted to presentations about (and brief plenary discussion of) next year’s Lambeth Conference. Many in the house remain annoyed at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision not to invite the spouses of bishops in same-sex relationships. Some are planning on attending in order to “make a witness.” Others are declining the invitation for the same reason. What they all seem not to realize is that the Archbishop’s decision, which seems unjustly harsh to them, is seen by most of the Anglican world as risibly lenient–hardly a meaningful “consequence” of TEC’s decision to alter the Church’s historic core doctrine around marriage–and a great many of them are staying away from Lambeth to make their witness to the integrity of the gospel. If I thought it would help all from the Global South to see their way clear to attending, I would counsel most of my TEC colleagues to stay away. Sadly, we may be beyond that point.

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