03 August 2008

So that's it?

After all the hoopla, having run up a huge deficit, and spending a couple of weeks talking and talking and talking, the results of the Lambeth Conference are summarized in this statement given today (August 3rd) by Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church:

"Many bishops came to this gathering in fear and trembling, expecting either a distasteful encounter between those of vastly different opinions, or the cold shoulder from those who disagree. The overwhelming reality has been just the opposite. We have prayed, cried, learned, and laughed together, and discovered something deeper about the body of Christ. We know more of the deeply faithful ministry of those in vastly differing contexts, and we have heard repeatedly of the life and death matters confronting vast swaths of the Communion: hunger, disease, lack of education and employment, climate change, war and violence. We have remembered that together we may be the largest network on the planet – able to respond to those life and death issues if we tend to the links, connections, and bonds between us. We have not resolved the differences among us, but have seen the deep need to maintain relationships, even in the face of significant disagreement and discomfort. The Anglican Communion is suffering the birth pangs of something new, which none of us can yet fully appreciate or understand, yet we know that the Spirit continues to work in our midst. At the same time patience is being urged from many quarters, that all may more fully know the leading of the Spirit. God is faithful. May we be faithful as well."

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

They discovered that they're a big network -- in fact, maybe "the largest network on the planet..." Well heck, so's the local Hair 'n' Nails Beauty Shoppe in most small Texas towns. The Presiding Bishop's statement puts me in the mind of Flannery O'Connor's response to someone when they said that the Holy Eucharist is a symbol: "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it."

A big network? To hell with it.