The BBC reports the Lambeth Conference march of witness, and finishes the report with an appeal for photographs:
But that’s impossible! Imagine taking photos of a procession of bishops without endangering yourself or others!
Simply can’t be done. Leave it to the professionals.
The secret plan to get bishops talking to each other is still working:
Despite the worst efforts of some, the tent of Dave still stands:
Some bishops walk everywhere, and some bishops don’t:
Some bishops enjoy strolling with their spouses:
Honoured to sit at the same table as 25% of the “GAFFECON 8”
The fringe entertainment has yet really begun at the conference (despite the World’s Greatest Living Ecclesiastical Conference Cartoonist’s attempts at liturgical dancing and pigeon killing). The fringe will begin with the conference moving out of retreat next week.
In the meantime, here is a person and a trick that the conference organizers have missed. What a lost opportunity!
Brother Cesare and the Brother Metal Band
With the bishops retreating to the cathedral, today the campus of UKC was curiously deserted, inhabited only by the bishop’s wives (I would say “spouse”, being a good Guardian-reading liberal, but I didn’t see anyone who wasn’t a wife!):
There were wives from the sub continent:
There were wives from Africa:
Wives from Melanesia (who were in England for the first time, and having a ball learning about all sorts of new things):
… and wives from Canada:
(who thought, when I went up to ask if I could take their photograph, that they were about to be told off for being noisy! Canadians, eh? Noisy and conscientious!)
(That’s not sunshine outside the tent, but snow, brought in especially to make them feel at home).
There was a wonderfully calm feeling to the conference today, and as I wandered around I fantasied about today being the real Lambeth conference.
What would it be like if the Spouses Conference was the real business of the Anglican Communion?
What if all the bishops were like these women: looking out to make friends, learn new things, have a ball?
Thank you to all those of you who called by these parts yesterday, following the link from my good friend Simon (Anglican who Thinks) Sarmiento. The unexpected publicity pushed up my traffic from its usual:
to a fantastical:
(which all goes to show, there’s nowt so queer as folk, especially those who like to look at pictures of bishops in their (un)natural habitat).
There will be more in the following days, sheering exposes of “Signs of Life at Lambeth”™, but in the meantime, may I humbly present for your consideration, the following link to Amazon.co.uk:
(the bastards have discounted the book further since I grabbed the screen-cap, so if you buy now you’ll get even more of a bargain price!)
Well they’ve only gone and done it.
The pile of bishops arrived today, finding themselves, bewildered, in the University of Kent’s equivalent to Heathrow Terminal 5:
Once meeted, they were greeted (with “difficult” bishops being identified by specially trained volunteers)
The volunteers had to deal with refugee quantities of luggage:
(Not every bishop can afford those lightweight, collapsible mitres).
To find their way around the campus a system of Aramaic insignia has been devised (based upon textual variations in the Dead Sea Scrolls) — very clear as I’m sure you’d agree:
The “World’s Greatest Living Ecclesiastical Conference Cartoonist” will soon be plying his wares from this des res:
Some bishops have already found themselves, curiously, at home:
Others were being “inculturated” into the fine English tradition of queuing:
Some bishops’ wives (or perhaps she is a bishop herself?) remembered that there is a garden party at Buckingham Palace coming up:
The rumours have been confirmed. There really is a pile (synod? congregation? crook? fudge?) of bishops descending upon the quiet and respectable parish of St Stephen’s Canterbury, and it’s happening imminently.
Today we had a meeting of all the volunteers from the diocese who are happy to act as “human sign posts” for the bishops who will insist on getting lost on the campus of UKC (although the thought did strike me that if they were capable of kayaking down the rivers of Guinea Island to get to the dirt road, to drive in the land rover to the jungle airstrip, to fly in the two seater plane to the rail head, to travel on the wood-fired steam train to the nearest settlement, to catch the ferry to the nearest international airport, to fly on the scheduled airline to London Heathrow AND still manage to find their way on the hell that is SE England’s public transport network to the remotest university campus in the Home Counties… if they can manage all that, then they might not need the aid of “human sign posts” to find their way to the bloody great circus tent in which the plenary sessions are being held! — but that’s just me— I haven’t organised one of these conferences before, and I’m sure that piles / synods/ congregations / crooks of bishops are perfectly capable of getting lost like sheep between breakfast and morning prayer.)
Anyway, the volunteer sign posts enjoyed a leisurely lunch in Rutherford College, and because there were only 250 of us (and not the 1300 bishops, spouse, translators, secretariat, there will be from Wednesday) we were able to get through the lunch service in a little under two and an half hours. I am sure that things will slow down a little (be spoilt?) when all those bishops turn up later in the week.
The Rutherford Dining Hall, with a wonderful view of the Mother Ship beyond (designed to concentrate the minds of impressionable people of the episcopal persuasion).
Those of you who have followed the link (to the left) to the church where I am allowed more than three minutes, will have discovered that my parish incorporates the campus of the University of Kent at Canterbury. Something seems to be happening at UKC; all sorts of activity is going on, at a time of the year when we should be enjoying the peaceful absence of students.
Normally well-informed sources tell me that “the bishops are coming! the bishops are coming!” This can’t possibly be correct. Hundreds of bishops from all over the world descending upon a poor rector’s parish? This is boundary crossing of the most egregious kind! And nobody has asked my opinion on the matter, let alone my permission!
If the Anglican Communion has really descended into the worst kind of transgressions in this way, then I, for one, am prepared to document it. Stay tuned to 3 Minute Theologian over the coming three weeks and see if these episcopal rumours are true. Find out what cross-border incursions actually look like (when togged up to an impossible degree)!
In the meantime, this is what the calm before the storm looks like:
A circus tent has appeared in the car park of Rutherford College. Allegedly this is where the bishops are supposed to be meeting. In a circus tent? Surely not!
A labyrinth is being built overlooking the Cathedral– difficult bishops will be shown into the labyrinth, without the directions on how to get out.
The Senate House of the University, in which we find…
…the Conference “Prayer Space”.
(Not yet finished because a carpenter needs to come to install 800 bishops’ thrones).
Keep your eyes posted here for more “Signs of Life at Lambeth”™.