July 23, 2008
Brazilians are not welcome!
This morning started especially early for me, because I had to be at the Big Top to get ready to be part of the Eucharistic celebration. Today was the Diocese of Cuba’s day to celebrate, and the bishop of Cuba invited me to help to distribute the bread. (As you know there are three bishops in Cuba, one diocesan and the two suffragans whose consecration I attended last summer. One of the suffragans is a woman who is married to the dean of the cathedral in Havana.) It was a very joyous celebration that managed to wake up everybody under that tent. It was fun to see the Archbishop of Canterbury clapping to the Cuban tune. I am sure that he would do much better with Mozart.
Our Bible study became quite animated in a different way when we began to discuss issues dealing with sexuality. One of the conservative bishops who is in my group started putting down the Americans, both church and government. There is no question that America is resented around the world for our presence in Iraq; the animosity in many countries towards the actions of our government exacerbates the already strained relationships in our Church.
The issue that brought forth our friendly discussion was evidently a mistaken understanding of what the conservatives think is our unjust reaction to the machinations of the bishop of Pittsburgh. The information this bishop got at a meeting of the Global South bishops at which Bishop Bob Duncan was present was that Duncan was probably going to be disciplined because he is a conservative. He omitted telling them that he is breaking the vows he made at his ordination and consecration. We were able to clarify that neither he nor anyone else gets disciplined in our church for beliefs, but in the case of Bishop Duncan he is bound to be disciplined for disregarding the promises he made when he was ordained deacon, then again as a priest and then as a bishop. We have in our hands more than enough evidence that he is trying to take possession of what is not for him to take. The evidence shows that he is following the path taken by Bishop John David Schofield from the Diocese of San Joaquin, who has also claimed what is not his to take. The Episcopal Church is trying now to recover the funds and property that the deposed bishop of San Joaquin illegally put in his own name and that of a dubious corporation he created in order to transfer funds and property.
Another thing that is quite interesting is how the misogynist and homophobic lobby are trying to give the impression that the Global South is of one mind, and that all churches in the region agree with the position of excluding the Episcopal Church. Take the case of the Brazilian Episcopal Church, which was preparing to attend the meeting of the Global South, but was uninvited, because the Church in Brazil, as well as the Mexican Episcopal Church, supports the American and Canadian churches.
The Plot against the Archbishop of Canterbury
Today to my amazement I realized that there are at least three bishops who have refused to receive communion from his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. One of them is the bishop of Argentina, Gregory Venables, Primate of the Province of the Southern Cone. I wonder if they are planning to overthrow centuries of tradition and get rid of the Archbishop, or if they are trying to revive the Donatist heresy.
As you can see our time here is becoming more interesting, so I am asking for you to continue praying. I am sorry that I have to share some of these things, but I want you to get an idea of how some individuals and groups are trying to manipulate the people and the press.
This afternoon we had the first hearing dealing with the Windsor Report. It is still too early to give a report, but the first voices were raised both in favor and against.
For the first time I got to visit the Marketplace, and rediscovered how expensive things are in the UK. Everything seems overpriced, and with our weak dollar you cannot buy anything.
Tonight Diana and I went to hear Bishop Gene Robinson’s presentation to the bishops. There were about 150 bishops from all over the Anglican Communion present to hear him give his testimony and describe his walk with Christ. He was very well received by all the bishops and spouses present.
Well, it is past 11 p.m. and I will go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow we have to wake up early again in order to go to London. The day will start with a march in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that will end at the Lambeth Palace. This palace has been the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury for centuries and will serve as a lunch venue for about 1,375 bishops and their spouses, plus many of the staff serving the Lambeth Conference. The final stop is at Buckingham Palace where we will have tea with the Queen and Prince Philip. I don’t know how many members of the Royal Family will be present, but I will let you know. This is going to be our third time meeting the Queen, and I can tell you that it is a wonderful experience.
Hat/tip: Tom Dennis