No winners, no loosers!

After two weeks of an intense program, the Lambeth Conference is waiting for a final period when all the discussions, plenaries, groups and indabas can point more accurately referrals we can expect will raise for the future of the Communion.
These referrals by multiform models will become its response both to internal and external audiences. As the Archbishop said at the opening address, this audience is so vast and anxious!
My experience these days here assures to me that the result of this Conference will frustrate those who are expecting a complete debacle of the Anglican Communion.
I was so impressed how some media representatives and GAFCON's spokespersons infiltrated at the Conference were working in provoke this terrible result.
The end of the Communion does not benefit anyone.
This Conference invited people to hear more than to talk. And this is the great goal that until now the gathering is achieving. It is so evident in testimonials given by bishops and spouses. Words as trust, deepening hearings, integrity in speeches, and very close sense of kind feelings are so repeatedly spoken and written.
Sometimes people are fast in prejudice without know accurately their enemies! I heard from Archbishop of Sudan an answer to a press media that represents the best example of what I'm saying: I never meet him personally! This was a response to the question: had you meet Gene Robinson before?
This is the mainly reason to some people fight sometimes with their own shadows. They have enemies that never had meet before. When we meet and hear each other we can find ways to not condemn others.
Many things could still happen in this Conference until its end, but surely many hearts were disarmed by frankly and trusty conversations. Those who not came by prejudice or fear loose the opportunity to be heard and listen to others. They preferred to continue struggling with their own shadows. Our hope is that still there is time to approach to the table!

Clouds over Lambeth?




Since it started, the Conference has been an example of a quiet meeting involving successive sessions of celebration, reflection, sharing and hearing.
The heavy clouds for now are only those of the undecided British summer .
In a press news release, the Archbishop Rowan Williams reaffirmed his sadness with the absence of those who decided to boycott the conference. He expressed that the group who choiced stay away are loosing the opportunity to talk and to hear.
As a witness of the Conference I'm experiencing that beyond clouded sky we have beauty in Kent! Flowers, trees, birds and rabbits are crossing our ways within the campus.
The atmosphere seems that there is a strong communion between the more than 600 bishops who are joining the Conference. This is not guarantee that all are agreeing in everything, but all are agreeing in the indaba method.
Until Sunday the nature of the Conference will be more introspective with the five addresses that the Archbishop will deliver for his colleagues. I heard from a Brazilian bishop that he is so impressed with the atmosphere of communion. In this way, I can see that the previous opinion reveals that hope is surpassing fears.
I think this is a natural consequence of a rude statement that came from GAFCON. If the conservatives are convinced that their statement will cause more confusion, they underestimated the results. We can see more agreement than disagreement here in these days.
Surely the Conference will change for a more rooted discussions in actual thematics - some of them divisives - but certainly people who are here are expecting dialogs and not monologues!

Lambeth at the doors: a place for hear God's voice

"I'm going with hope and apprehension !"

That phrase was said to me by one of our bishops who are on the way to the Lambeth Conference. It is a summary of the very real feeling of all bishops who will attend the first Conference of the 21st century, whose agenda will be marked by the pursuit of a better equipment for the mission. Every effort was made by the Design Group toward better facilitate the coexistence, the study and sharing of experiences among participants, thereby avoiding the character of plenary discussions and votes on divisive theological disputes.

Of course, present issues such as sexuality, environment, women in the episcopate, bioethics, among others will not be left aside. Facing this agenda is part of the challenge that the Church has to interact within the global society. What we hope in this Conference is a change of method and the spirit in which the reflection and the dialogue will be developed .
Certainly, Canterbury is not a place to find victory or defeat. There is not a place for express power and influence. There will not be a place to see who else occupies the spotlight.
We all, in every Province and every diocese around the world, are praying for our bishops. And wishing some very important attitudes from them: firstly, they must listen to the voice of the Spirit. Secondly, they must listen to the world and their pastoral needs. And thirdly they must listen to their own hearts in the presence of God. None of them is demanded to anticipate what each of them interprets about God's will. Canterbury must be a place for hear God's voice!
Usually, bishops tend to be very fast speakers. The charge demands. Statements, guidelines, opinions about everything are demanded from who have the role of supervision. This is part of episcopal ministry. That pressure, however can lead to a difficulty to hear. And therein lies greatest risk to the Church and for society. The risk to be talking about what is not being asked.
This conference is an opportunity to listen much more than to talk. Our prayers for all bishops who will be seeking the strengthening of their offices. Our hope is that the Anglican Communion do not need to become a map where you can see who is more or less orthodox. Our wish is that the Anglican Communion continues to be a beautiful mosaic of colors, sounds, smells and great humility to listen what God is trying to say us about his unconditional love for the humankind!

Women Bishops: Looking for the future!

"We want to take hold of our future and we are gripped, paralyzed, by our past"

In his sermon yesterday, before an audience divided and shaken by the last debates at the CofE's General Synod, the Archbishop Rowan Williams told about future and past. I brought the above phrase to reflect about the tension that in this special moment of our Communion is putting bodies in different sides.
Within Church of England the debate is now around women episcopate. One of the most moving moments I lived was in 1994, at Bristol Cathedral, when the first 32 females priests were ordained in the church of England. I told in that time to BBC reporter, outside the Cathedral after the ceremony I was so happy and my comprehension were that Church of England was giving a magnificent step to be authentically inclusive. I was in that time studying at Selly Oak, Birmingham.
Normally debates on the issue of women ministry had been so hard trough times. Brazil was the first South America Church to approve women ordination to all three orders, in 1984. It was a very difficult process. Many people were so scandalized by the idea os a woman preside at the altar. Despite we have not yet a woman bishop - the legal permission exist since 24 years ago - we had candidates that were submitted to diocesan and synodical votes. About 20% of our clergy today is female.
We need to look forward to make advances in a comprehension of equality within the Church. Many people are so linked with a past of consecrated 'culture'. They remember to me as the Lot's wife that lost herself in becoming so bounded to what she left behind.
Many people are making this same way: bounded in a perspective of fear and traditionalism. The Church of England has the opportunity to experience what is still a reality: women are contributing for the people's growth and maturity!
England has historically a very prominent female role: remember Elizabeth I - her role in establish the bases of an inclusive church - and others courageous women who ruled this nation.
I pray for Church of England do not fail the occasion to have them leading the Church. Look for the future!

Confessing or Practicing?

 

I remember from  my lessons in History of the Church  the impact caused in England by the so-called millennial petition movement made by non - conformist in the beginning of James I reign. At that time the non-conformist wanted to reform the church and transform it into an arm of continental Calvinist Protestantism.
The response gave by the king to petitioners at Hampton Court is now in my mind: I know very well you!

The king, of course was referring to those more radical puritans. Later, in his writings on his famous work Basilicon Doron he said that the puritans were sediciosos, who had no respect for authorities.


I see some parallels between contemporary puritans of James I and the movement today called FOCA - Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Obviously the first fruit of GAFCON Conference!


They want to build an Anglicanism under a puritan framework and likeness their self understanding  of orthodoxy, ignoring our tradition and disrespecting violently all the institutions that historically were built for a effective church's witness. The disrepectful mention on the Archbishop of Canterbury is only a little signal that reveals where they want to go!


They hold the truth of everything and on everything. They are self-called reformers. They feel to be the truly church. All others need to repent and step back to what that are proposing.


At least, they are needing spiritual healing. Nobody self-centered can consider itself as a model of spirituality. Neither Archbishops, bishops, clergy or individuals beings.
Looking at the various statements that are made by the so-called liberals, I see none of them proudly to consider the truth as something they have closed in their hands.


The truth is always a search. There is no port where the truth arrived definitely. The truth is born in the wave of the Spirit that moves always challenging our own convictions. The truth is not an idea: it is fundamentally a praxis. Right confession of right comprehension on metaphysical  dogmas is not sufficient to guarantee anything! Remember: The word was made flesh!
At the place of a FOCA I think we can propose another alternative: AWA - Anglicans who act!

The slogan for this group must be: Acting under the God's love to a World loved by Him!