Br. Jon Bankert had a puppet theatre with “Imagination is Evidence of the Divine” inscribed on the proscenium. It is engraved on my memory, and I use it as a helpful criterion as I seek to serve God and proclaim the Gospel. So I have been looking around for signs of imagination here at Lambeth.
Most significantly for the Conference as a whole, I think the indaba process is a perfect example of the use of imagination. As the design group tells it, they wanted to take people into a fresh place of relating and doing the work of the conference in a way that allows the voices of all the bishops to be heard, not just the former high school debating champions. People in African communities come together for “indaba” when their community faces a crises of some kind. The only big difference between some rural African community and Lambeth is that in
Saturday The Episcopal Church led Evensong. It was an explosion of imagination: the bishops and their spouses formed a choir. The Bishop of Chicago played the drums, other bishops sang jazz and R and B Gospel solos. Confronted with the first chapter of Genesis as the reading for “The Environment” Bishop Cathy Roskam and Bishop Michael Curry read it in parts, and interpreter for the deaf provided a mesmerizing translation which had the Melanesians on the edge of their seats; the first lesson was greeted with applause. When was the last time that ever happened in Church? Watching the five minute DVD during the Evensong which highlighted the life and Ministry of The Episcopal Church, I was struck by the enormous vitality and breadth of experience and love for all kinds of people evident in the DVD. It showed men and women sharing in leadership,;black and white and Asian, Hispanic and Native American were shown baptizing, feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, and singing their hearts out, in churches majestic and humble. The sound track was terrific. I had a strong feeling of homesickness and deep pride. One Melanesian Brotherhood Brother said to me: “This is amazing, brother.” I replied, “This is my Church; now you see there are others like me!” (they say I am very ‘different’). TEC made a sweet pitcher of lemonade out of what could have been a pretty sour, tense situation. We are getting some pretty heavy criticism and are the focus of negative remarks I hear everyday. But the Bishops imagined it differently. They laughed, sang and celebrated a Gospel life in American harmonies.
Following the Evensong I went to the Inclusive Church Network Holy Eucharist. My friend the Archbishop of Mexico, Carlos Touche Porter celebrated, and the Rev. Canon Lucy Winkett from