Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Gathering Begins

Today the bishops arrived and we all gathered in the Big Top for welcomes and housekeeping details. Rowan Williams made a terrific speech, though, in which he said that the people who are not here are deeply missed. And he called on us all to work seriously at building relationships of love and respect. No photos with the blog today because they said no photos from inside the Big Top (and wouldn’t you know it those were my best pictures today!)

I met a friend who attended the last Lambeth Conference in 1998, who says that the atmosphere at this conference is in marked contrast to the atmosphere on the opening day last time. “Different, how?” I asked. To paraphrase the reply my friend said it is obvious in civility, peacefulness, a sense of prayerfulness and common purpose. That bodes well for the next three weeks!!!

Our Night Prayer service in the Prayer place was packed. People were sitting on the floor, the singing and prayers seemed especially fervent. All of our tweaking and fussing the past few days has paid off: the space is simply decorated, beautiful, and welcoming. The chaplains gathered on our knees on our prayer stools around the cross and sang the evening service.

Keep your prayers coming; together great things can be one, of this I am sure.

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