Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Conversion of St Paul

Same structure to the day as yesterday. Same Bible study leader, again with a little more of an agenda than I was comfortable with. (Truth to tell, I'm not comfortable with any agenda; the text itself should set the agenda.) After a break, we heard a presentation about and were led in a discussion of power, authority, and influence as they impact mission, both on a global communion-wide level, and within provinces and dioceses. There were certainly some valuable nuggets in this, but, I must confess, I was fighting off sleep much of the time. After lunch (which is at 1, and dinner at 7, both an hour later than my American inner clock is accustomed to), we heard from four non-bishops--two lay and two clergy--on precisely what they think of bishops and what they look for in their bishops. In short: hold power lightly, lead by influence rather than coercion, be available. These remarks, and the ensuing discussion, were probably the best part of the formal conference program yet.

During the free time between the conclusion of the afternoon session and Evensong (no boys tonight, just men, but there are a couple of wickedly good contra-tenors who almost make up for the loss), I again stepped outside the cathedral close, this time in the company of a couple of colleagues. When we walked into a nearby liturgical supply store--a very small one, I should add--we found six others of our group already there. It was very crowded, and I'm not sure what the shopkeeper made of her afternoon. I advised my Brazilian colleague in the purchase of a zuchetto. I think he overpaid, but he seemed happy with the acquisition.

Over dinner, there was an animated discussion with bishops from Brazil, England, Sri Lanka, Canada, and Japan across a whole range of issues, from the Anglican Covenant, to the sexuality controversies, to the convoluted politics of the Church of England with respect to the legislation that will enable the appointment of women as bishops, such that those who would really prefer that there be no women bishops might vote in favor of the legislation and those who want there to be women bishops may vote against it. Still trying to wrap my mind around that one.

Add North India to the list of provinces represented.

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