The following is an account of the House of Bishops for today from epiScope, the Episcopal Church communications blog. There is no provision for press attendance at this meeting:
The Bishops of the Episcopal Church gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a special session of the meeting of the House of Bishops.
Present were 128 bishops. Not present were 15 who could not attend for a variety of reasons, including the bishops of Texas who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Nine did not respond and were not present.
Following morning worship, the bishops met in small table groups to debrief the recent Lambeth Conference. The bishops were presented with two questions for discussion:
“What were we most grateful for; and what were we least grateful for?” The afternoon plenary focused on what lies ahead.
Bishops consistently expressed gratitude for the relationships developed during Bible Study, Indaba groups and informal conversations throughout the Lambeth Conference. Many reported that these relationships are continuing through email contact, and the establishment of companion relationships between dioceses around the world. The bishops expressed gratitude for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s leadership, especially during the retreat. Many expressed appreciation for the expansion of the world view they received.
Concerns expressed included the disjunction between the Lambeth Indaba Process and future decision-making. Many compared the deep and collegial conversation of the Indaba Process with the more contentious hearings held by the Windsor Continuation Group and the Covenant Design Group.
In the afternoon plenary, there was lively discussion as we looked forward to extending the Lambeth Conference experience. A wide range of topics was presented including: a cooperation on the environment; global warming; poverty reduction; and improved communication throughout the Communion. HOB also discussed inviting Primates and bishops to visit The Episcopal Church. In turn, some bishops expressed a desire to visit other parts of the Communion. Throughout the day, gratitude was expressed for existing and developing relationships, and their significant value to our mutual life in the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of Southern Ohio
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real
Bishop Gordon Scruton of Western Massachusetts
Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island
Media inquiries can be forwarded to:
Neva Rae Fox
Program Officer, Public Affairs
The Episcopal Church
UPDATE: 11:30 p.m.
Bishops blogging House of Bishops Meeting
Neff Powell, bishop of Southwest Virginia writes:
“In your Lambeth experience, for what are you most grateful?”
That was the question for our morning session. We answered this question in small groups of seven sitting at table. One wall of our room was filled with newsprint reporting the highlights of the table conversation. Among the many responses were these:
– The retreat with the Archbishop of Canterbury prior to the opening of the conference.
– The daily Bible study groups where we met with some bishops from around the world to study the great “I am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel according to St. John. There was always deep loving honesty.
– Spending honest time with people we have never met and with whom we sometimes have differences of culture and theology.
– The day in London when we marched in witness to show our support of the Millennium Development Goals, culminating with a stirring speech by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
– The Lord’s Prayer at each workshop occasion when everyone spoke in their own language was a Pentecost moment every time.
In the afternoon we had an open conversation about our Lambeth experience. Two of our bishops spoke to us through interpreters. Another witnessed the devastation caused by the recent hurricanes. Another reflected on how grateful he was for the translators at the Lambeth Conference.
The presence of these bishops and their voices at the microphones was a reminder that The Episcopal Church extends beyond the borders of the United States and that we have our own internal cultural differences and challenges. And for those challenges, I give thanks to God.