The Lambeth Conference 2008 has begun!
We arrived Wednesday(16th) at the University of Kent at Canterbury for the official registration although many have been hovering incognito for days before hand and settling in.
Parishioners - old and young - from the Diocese of Canterbury wearing yellow sashes are acting as human signposts and hundreds of young people and young adults are here as stewards from all over the Anglican/Episcopal world.
The two and a half hour queue to check in was a pleasure. It confounded the media hype: most have come, bishops in large numbers from all over the world. Queuing is the order of the first days (quite normal until the Conference ‘beds in’ one bishop at his third Lambeth told me)
Dominating the campus skyline (as you look from below in the city of Canterbury) is a Big Top - not a circus (we hope) - which is where we meet for plenary sessions of both the Bishops’ and the Spouses’ Conferences and for worship.
Today started early: matins at 6.30 a.m. and the Eucharist at 7.15 a.m. followed by breakfast and our Bible Study. The Groups are named after saints - I am in ‘Saint Bernard’. We are eight in each group as we study the Gospel of Saint John together. ‘Saint Bernard’ Bible Study group is made up of the Bishops of Botswana, Edinburgh, Brisbane, Easton, Croydon, Saskatoon, Plymouth and Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
We spent the rest of the day and the following day in Canterbury Cathedral (via Starbucks) on retreat. We have the Cathedral and its surroundings to ourselves: stunning and inspiring (not just the Cathedral, but the Archbishop of Canterbury also).