Friday, July 18, 2008

An open wound

From Ruth Gledhill, a poignant piece on her impressions of Lambeth and the absence of the Global South:

We still awaiting precise figures but at present, it seems about 650 bishops and archbishops have registered. The absence of the other 230 is like an open wound running in the side of the conference. Many bishops are wondering how they can claim collegiality if a quarter of their number are not present. The Archbishop of Canterbury invoked their presence in spirit when he was leading the retreat at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday. Strangely, they are almost more present in their absence than if they were physically here. They are missed, even the most extreme among them, and the sense of grief among their brother and sisters is palpable. (That is to say nothing in the press room, as they were great for stories last time.) Dr Williams spoke about this directly, as Rachel Zoll reported. It is terribly shocking to be here, at Lambeth in Canterbury, without so many of the bishops from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and elsewhere, all places with strong, historic links to Britain and to the Church of England. The Queen, who is hosting the bishops at a garden party at Buckingham Palace a week today, the 24th, will surely notice their absence. She loves her Commonwealth.

Read it all. You know, I can understand what she's saying here, but another part of me says, "So what? Everyone knew what was going to happen when the Archbishop of Canterbury completely ignored the Dar-es-Salaam Communiqué - and now those attending Lambeth are upset about some bishops not coming? Crocodile tears, as far as I'm concerned. GAFCON is looking better and better every day."

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