Monday, August 4, 2008

All are Welcome

I've been catching up on news of the Lambeth Conference - the gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion that happens once every 10 years at Canterbury Cathedral, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I've been reading a blog called Lambeth Journal, kept by a number of bishops - a sort of American inside view of the conference. The reflections are descriptive and personal. Check it out.

I did have a moment of combined anger and irony while reading my friend Neff Powell's reflections on the Opening Eucharist. He shared the words of a hymn that was sung during the opening Eucharist. I learned this hymn in Northern Michigan; Michelle and I used it as the processional for our service of commitment. Part of it goes like this:

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children
tell how hearts learn to forgive;
built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

The anger and irony? All were not welcome at Lambeth. My new bishop, +Gene Robinson, was not invited. All are not welcome in the church. A number of bishops stated that glbt people "don't exist" in their countries. Ongoing conversation about the place of women and glbt people in the church continued. Sadly, I feel less welcome in the church after Lambeth. And yet, +Gene's witness to the world, on behalf of all glbt folk, has been a real plus. You can read +Gene's blog here.

In the end, I keep reminding myself that the church is an institution made up of flawed human beings, who try, and fail, and try again, to get it right. It has been so since the beginning. All that we can do is try to live faithfully, study scripture, love God and one love one another.

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