OFF TO ENGLAND AND THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE
Later today, I leave for England and the Lambeth Conference. I am writing to you to 1) ask for your prayers, 2) to let you know how you can keep up with the goings-on in England, and my reflections on them, and 3) to assure you that I will be taking you in my heart everywhere I go.
First, pray for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the bonds of affection that bind us together might be strengthened and that God’s will might be discerned as we struggle to be the Church in the 21st century. Pray especially for the Episcopal Church’s bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, that we might greet our brother and sister bishops with grace and hospitality and be ready to learn what they have to teach us.
Then, please pray for me. Because the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to exclude me from the Lambeth Conference, I will need to be intentional about creating opportunities for interacting with bishops and spouses from around the Anglican Communion. Pray that God might open up those opportunities for conversation and open my heart for mutual learning.
Because of controversy surrounding my attendance, and the incessant press coverage which will undoubtedly insert itself, pray that God might keep me grounded in the Spirit of love, forgiveness and compassion.
Because of threats against my life that have already begun, pray that God might keep me (and those who have been hired to protect me) safe, and return me home to you.
During this whole time, I’ll be praying with the Franciscan brothers and sisters at Greyfriars, in Canterbury. Join me in giving thanks for their hospitality and witness.
SPECIFIC DATES ON WHICH TO PRAY:
Some of you have asked for particular dates and particular events for which I would desire your prayers:
Thursday, July 10: I will be speaking at the Modern Churchperson’s Union conference (along with former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the Primate of Wales, and several African bishops).
Sunday, July 13: I will be preaching at St. Mary’s, Putney (just across the Thames from London, in the Diocese of Southwark). This will be the only time I’m allowed to preach while in England.
Monday, July 14: British premiere of the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” in Queen Elizabeth Hall, at the South Bank Centre for the Arts. I will be appearing with Daniel Karslake, the filmmaker, and Shakespearean actor (and Lord of the Rings star) Sir Ian McKellen. This event will be a fund-raiser for AIDS work in Africa.
Wednesdays, July 23 and 30: American bishops will be hosting two “Come meet our brother bishop Gene” evenings, open only to bishops and spouses. I will be “introduced” by several clergy and lay leaders from NH in a little DVD we’ve made for the event. Then I’ll have a chance to engage bishops from around the Communion and tell them about the work of the Gospel here in NH.
August 3-6, I’ll be preaching and speaking in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, as guest of the Church that gave us bishops some 200+ years ago.
KEEPING UP WITH MY GOINGS-ON
I will be writing a daily blog called Canterbury Tales from the Fringe:
I will also be doing a daily VIDEO blog for Claiming the Blessing, called The Lambeth Gene Pool:
As I leave for Lambeth, know that I am so grateful for all your love and support. This promises to be a demanding and difficult time, but I go with the knowledge that we are living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in New Hampshire, in the spirit of infinite respect and radical hospitality. Thank you, my dear and beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, for your love and for your prayers.
What do you think?