Bishop Tom Wright(Durham, England): Lambeth and paving the way to Anglican unity
July 30th, 2008 Posted in Lambeth Conference |
From Christianity Today
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, offers some reflections on the Lambeth Conference so far and how he thinks the Anglican Communion can move forward after the three weeks of prayer and discussion draw to an end on Sunday.
CT: You must have had some kind of expectation before you came to Lambeth of what it was going to be like. Have those expectations been fulfilled?
TW: I did have various mental pictures of what it was going to be like before I came and I keep on being surprised now because it has not been at all like I expected. I am not quite sure now what it was that I was expecting. It is wild and wacky and there is so much going that I have only heard about three days after they happened by reading them on somebody’s blog or whatever.
CT: Some conservatives were anxious in coming to Lambeth and some here have actually said they don’t feel any hope towards the future of the Anglican Communion. Do you share those feelings?
TW: I always tell my staff at home to distinguish between feelings and thinking because your feelings will come and go if you are tired or in a meeting perhaps and then you will feel like all hope is lost. You have to go back and pray and think.
The situation is still extremely complex. The Archbishop of Canterbury said when he invited us all that if you accept this invitation you are accepting to work with the Windsor Report and the Covenant process. The Archbishop reiterated that on Sunday afternoon and has reiterated it publicly several times.
If the Windsor Report is properly followed through and if the Covenant process actually gets somewhere where it is designed to get then things can happen which will give hope to a lot of people who are at present in danger of losing hope. I say that in general terms because I am not in charge of the process, I’m not on the group for taking forward either of those things. So I am not entirely sure what will happen with either of them and to put it devoutly I am not sure how the Holy Spirit will lead those who are working on those things.
CT: So you are open to the Covenant?
TW: Yes, sure. We have to be. In the last few Lambeths, many people believed they were working in a parliamentary style process with big sessions and big debates that would polarise people instantly and that isn’t necessarily the right way of doing Christian decision making. So the Archbishop has taken the risk – and it is a risk - of abandoning that model and saying let’s pray together, work together and be together in all sorts of contexts and we will see what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in the midst of that.
It is a risk because it would have been “safer” to have had a parliamentary structure that you could have managed and got a desired outcome. This week is crucial and that is what we are all working towards.
CT: The Archbishop is largely positive about the indaba groups and the word on the ground is that they have opened up conversations that might not have otherwise have been opened. Is that your experience?
TW: That is certainly true but there are 15 or 16 indaba groups and I am hearing different reports from the groups. One or two have had explosions and people have lost their temper. That hasn’t happened in my group because we have got a very good facilitator who is listening carefully and making things happen and reading the group and helping us forward to do things differently.