We had a fabulous service this morning in St Mary’s. The place was full of people, good preaching, gorgeous music (Haydn’s Little Organ Mass with organ, full choir and strings) and a glorious time was had by all. We ran out of service books and consecrated hosts (again).
At the end of the service, I made the following announcement:
“I have been giving much thought as to how we should mark the Lambeth Conference this summer. All the duly consecrated bishops of the Anglican Communion have been invited to Canterbury for a conference with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Well, all bar one – the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, the first bishop to acknowledge that he is living in a gay relationship will not be there as he has not been invited.
I have been invited several time to go to Lambeth, to campaign and wave banners and speak and generally campaign. I have decided not to do this. We must simply be who we are.
However, that has left me wondering how we can mark this Conference at St Mary’s. My response to this consists of 4 events:
Firstly, Bishop Idris has kindly agreed to meet with members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) group which meet here at this Cathedral.
Secondly, The Most Rev Fred Hiltz, the Primate of All Canada has agreed to come and to preach here at St Mary’s on the Sunday before the Lambeth Conference (13 July 2008).
Thirdly, on the same day, those bishops who will be enjoying the hospitality of the Diocese will be invited here for Evensong. This will be an opportunity to greet them, pray with them and send them on their way to Lambeth with all our best wishes and goodwill.
Finally, it seems to me to be desirable to have someone at the end of the conference to come and preach to us. But who would the best person to have be? After all, all the bishops of Communion will be busy with Rowan Williams in Canterbury at the Conference. Well, all bar one. I’m delighted to announce that the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire has agreed to come and celebrate the Eucharist and to preach the gospel on 3 August 2008 at 1030 here in St Mary’s.
I have met Bishop Gene, prayed with him and heard him preach. He is well worth hearing and I invite you all to bring your friends along on that Sunday to hear him.
Further details will be announced in due course.”