Fourth Report from Lambeth by Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Monday afternoon I spoke during the hearing before the Windsor Continuation Group. There were 300 or more bishops in a stuffy sweltering hot room. I was one of the first at the microphone—feeling that we on the conserving end of the church were caught off guard at the first hearing. The thrust of my argument was that there was a profound amnesia among some of my fellow bishops in The Episcopal Church regarding the prior resolutions of Lambeth Conferences and I recounted some of these resolutions from 1968, ’78, ’88, and ’98. That to suggest these resolutions now were not relevant to our life in TEC was specious— a failure to face the facts and even more sadly, an obstacle to the global mission of the Anglican Communion. A failure to face the facts because a majority of the Bishops of TEC voted for these resolutions that established the ACC and the Primates Meeting (and their enhanced role in mediating crisis), and that even a quick review of the math will show that even a majority of TEC Bishops voted for Resolution 110 itself. To suddenly now take refuge in our provincial polity and resist the Instruments of Unity as they attempt to mend the bonds of affection—strained and broken by the actions of TEC—is bad enough. But more grievous still, to resist the covenant is to thwart the Anglican Communion’s appointment with a God-given destiny. Such retreat into provincialism is the wrong response to this present crisis….To embrace the covenant will not only strengthen the bonds of affection, it will further our mission in Jesus Christ—helping us to live respectfully and responsibly with one another. It brings the inspiration that comes from a godly responsibility freely embraced…. Well I won’t give my entire speech but you get the drift of it. What such speeches accomplish beyond getting certain thoughts registered with the Windsor Continuation Process, and getting something off one’s chest, who knows....

There are those who do not want us to make any resolutions whatsoever at this Lambeth. There are also those of us who think that to leave this Conference with no resolution on this crisis before the Anglican Communion will be worse than if we had never come. By the time you get this ENewsletter our Friday Sessions will be mostly over and we will have only Saturday to do whatever hard work we can do to bring some clarity on these matters that affect us all, causing some 250 bishops out of conscience, and representing millions of Anglicans, not even to attend.

The Archbishop has urged us all to grant one another a generous love. A noble thought that few would argue with. Please forgive me, however, if I raise the concern that we may not have left at this Lambeth 2008 such a generous amount of time to exercise such generous love as is necessary to mend the fabric that has been torn. Yet still I trust that our times, as is our love, are in His hands.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsLambeth 2008Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* South Carolina

Posted July 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Jeffersonian wrote:

There are also those of us who think that to leave this Conference with no resolution on this crisis before the Anglican Communion will be worse than if we had never come.

Your Bishop gets it, Dr. Harmon.

July 31, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
2. desertpadre wrote:

I am certainly happy that my friend +Mark Lawrence is speaking out, but I have a question about so many people putting so much hope in the so-called covenant. The last version of it that I read had been absolutely gutted by the committee, and made its provisions optional, even to its signatories. How can it have any force?

July 31, 8:38 pm | [comment link]
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