Bishop Robert Gepert of Western Michigan Reflects on Lambeth 2008

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While I and a number of others are not in favor of an Anglican Covenant, I believe it is something that is going to happen. Therefore The Episcopal Church needs to be fully part of the conversation which forms it. -- A "document" will be the result of the indaba group conversations, but this should not be interpreted as the last word. There are voices yet to be heard. Each Province of the Anglican Communion will have an opportunity to respond to the document. This will take time.

Many were looking for a definitive outcome of the Lambeth Conference. "What will you tell the people back home?" was a question frequently asked by the press and by visitors to the Conference. I believe the answer to that question has less to do with the issues we wrestled with than with what evolved during the process of Lambeth 2008. My answer is that we moved closer to God, we grounded ourselves in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we realized more fully the importance of a worldwide Anglican Communion. We focused on the spiritual, rather than the political. Those who came to Lambeth with heightened expectations will be disappointed. Under the leadership of Archbishop Williams, we avoided the cultural aspect of creating winners and losers. We agreed that we are Church in different contexts, and we agreed to continue our journey together. I believe Lambeth has been a huge success. It is a beginning, not an end. Our trust in one another is greatly improved and "we" are the outcome of the Conference.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsLambeth 2008

Posted August 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. wvparson wrote:

One of the periphal but nevertheless important problems TEC faces is caused by something as simple as geography.  Isolation only enforces ideas of American particularity in either its liberal or conservative forms.

The bishop doesn’t like the concept of covenant but now realizes that a Covenant is going to be adopted. He understands this because he has no met overseas bishops on equal terms, not as polite or needy guests visiting the US.

It seems obvious that some way has to be devised to bring bishops together more often, perhaps not all of them at once but some of them often.

August 27, 12:59 pm | [comment link]
2. the snarkster wrote:

While I and a number of others are not in favor of an Anglican Covenant, I believe it is something that is going to happen. Therefore The Episcopal Church needs to be fully part of the conversation which forms it.

The only “covenant” TECusaCorp will ever sign on to is one that says simply: We sincerely agree to sincerely disagree.

the snarkster®

August 27, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
3. Choir Stall wrote:

“What will you tell the people back home?”
Who knows. BUT what SHOULD be told is how the House of Bishops is overly larded with frauds, and that because of that TEC is losing its stranglehold on the Anglican Communion. It’s time to move with the Communion or get out of the way.

August 27, 1:38 pm | [comment link]
4. Statmann wrote:

The covenant is hardly big news back home in Western Michigan. The cathedral was sold in 2007, a former bishop resigned his ministry in 2008, Plate & Pledge is flat, and membership is falling. Oh, and in 2006 there were 230 infant baptisms and 292 burials.  Statmann

August 27, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
5. Little Cabbage wrote:

The people back home SHOULD be told that you, bishop, and the other purple-shirted wonders of TEC REFUSE POINT BLANK to hold each other accountable—a la the two bishops of California who publicly announced they will not observe the requested moratorium on homosexual ‘marriages’.  However, you will overlook this bedrock issue, as almost all TEC bishops have done when reporting to the folks who pay their salaries and benefits (including a free trip to England for yourself and spouse).

August 27, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
6. midwestnorwegian wrote:

Hey Gepert - how’s life without your crematoria-shaped cathedral?

August 27, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
7. wvparson wrote:

#6 It’s sold to a charismatic group.

August 27, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
8. Choir Stall wrote:

“We agreed that we are a Church in different contexts…”
Yes, and the good bishop’s context?
Allowing the dean of his cathedral to labor away as a GBLT activist and globe-trot while her cathedral was languishing. What would have happened if Ms. Black had funneled that energy into her day job and had trotted in circles of generosity? The cathedral would still be an institution.
Those who polish casket handles shouldn’t say much to anybody about their “context”.

August 28, 9:45 am | [comment link]
9. Harvey wrote:

No runs, no hits, errors - a lot.  50 years of wandering in the wilderness and we are still in the deep woods.  But I will credit Bishop Gephert for getting rid of costly none used real estate and trying to balance the books.  However he is still faced with a declining Diocesan membership.  The last numbers I heard - of + 70 parishes in the Diocese 17 of them have no priests and I don’t believe the money is available to pay them their salaries and benefits.  And things still do not look too promising.

August 28, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
10. Statmann wrote:

#9 Harvey. My latest available data would indicate only 56 parishes/missions of which 42 have Plate & Pledge of less than $150,000. I would be surprised that only 17 do not have full-time clergy. Clearly, the parishes/missions are having tough times but don’t be too quick to conclude that the bishop’s office is feeling the same level of pain. Recall that the diocese just sold the cathedral for a cool $1,300,000. This is true for many bishops: close down missions (that are losing money for the diocese), sell the property, and the bishop’s office is better off than before. This is how many dioceses will survive for a long time even as they lose members and congregations.      Statmann

August 28, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
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