There is a great deal of press interest in Lambeth, which seems to be demanding some type of action--whether it is a resolution that solves all that ails the Anglican Communion, a fire storm over gay Bishops, or at least some some typical anglican fudge. In other words, the press (and truth be told, many of the faithful) are watching the Lambeth Conference as if it were some political assembly--which it was seemingly in 1998.
But that is not what Lambeth is designed to be this year. As my own Bishop explains, the days are being spent in Bible Study, meditation, and small group discussions. For example, here is how he describes the first day:
We have just finished our first long day. It began with worship together in the "Big Top" at 7:15 AM. After breakfast, we had our first small group Bible study.
There are about six in my group,from England, Australia, the West Indies, and my colleague from Hawaii. Then all the bishops got on buses and for the short trip to Canterbury Cathedral.
We sat "collegiate style" on each side of the nave, and Rowan Williams spoke to us about our ministry as bishops. Each of two meditations was followed by a time for silent reflection in the cathedral. It was closed to the public for this "retreat" so in between being prayerful and still, I wandered around and looked at the building undisturbed. The retreat lasted until about 4 when we finished with Evensong.
It seems to me that the Archbishop of Canterbury has wisely decided that it is time for the Bishops to act like clergy, not politicians.
I find that refreshing.