The Lambeth Conference Design Group, meeting one last time to review last summer’s gathering of Anglican bishops, was unanimous in its assessment that the 2008 conference was an overwhelming success, says the Rev. Ian Douglas, the group’s only U.S.-based Episcopal Church member.
And about the money:
Although a deficit of up to £1.2 million ($1.6 million) had been projected, Lambeth Conference manager Sue Parks told ENS that the final figures were not complete but that the Lambeth Conference Company — the body responsible for the conference’s finances and administration — was looking into ways to meet the shortfall. Parks said that the deficit was less than had been expected because some bishops boycotted the gathering and the budget had been compiled “in the hope that as many people as possible would attend.”
Douglas said that, although the design group received information on the finances, it wasn’t its fundamental responsibility to raise funds or manage the budget. He said that the group heard at its recently concluded meeting that the conference’s deficit wasn’t as much as £1.2 million and actually came in under budget to what had been projected.
The board and the council agreed in August to make up to £1.2 million available as an interest free loan to the Lambeth Conference Company “to enable the company to honor its commitments while fundraising efforts continued.”
Unfortunately the design team was unable to prevent Rowan Williams from undoing much of the good that had been done with his final presidential address and closing press conference at which he alienated, perhaps once and for all, those who cannot stomach his willingness to deny gay and lesbian Christians the full birthright of their baptisms. The lasting lesson of this Lambeth Conference may be that the structure of the Anglican Communion not necessary to sustain the relationships that currently exist between various members.