Youth Stations

Just getting around to rifling through the goodie bag we were given at General Synod – and while we’re on the subject, as Mother K said, how can a goodie bag be goodie without any chocolate in it?  Also came across a meditation pack by the International Anglican Youth Network, given to me by C, which is the script of the meditations used at the Lambeth Conference 2008 designed to help Bishops reflect on their own role in Youth Ministry. And what a wonderful resource it is!

There are 12 meditations for each station and photos of how the ‘stations’ (tables) were set up. Some of them are specifically aimed at the Youth Question but many would be suitable for anyone.

Thanks C, and why don’t we do one at St Mark’s some time?

After Lambeth

Off to Haddington today for the After Lambeth conference led by Lissa Smith and her husband Bishop Brian. You know how when people show you their holiday photos and you have to feign interest? Well this time we got to see photos of the Lambeth Conference and they were actually quite interesting. Not half as interesting as +Brian’s first attempts at Powerpoint. Great job really.

I’d already heard +B talking about his experiences so it was great to hear Lissa’s observations on the Spouses Conference. There were tales of fear, prejudice, shock and great courage shown in following their spouses to places of danger. Loved the quote that ‘the man is the head of the family but the woman is the neck, holding it all together’.  We had a look at the Rape of Tamar story which had been one of the bible studies they had used. Wonder why it never comes up in the Lectionary on Sundays?

And we continue to wrestle with the nuances of the moratoria:

  • bishops in same sex relationships
  • blessings of those in same sex relationships
  • cross border incursions

For example, do these include those who are celibate or in civil partnerships?

And a question to consider:

How do these issues (Human Sexuality and Resolution 1.10; the Anglican Covenant’ and the Windsor Process), which our locality invites us to consider in a particular way, appear in the context of the global communion?

We need to listen to:

  • the voice of Scripture
  • the voice of Tradition
  • the values of our locality
  • the voice of our neighbour’s locality

We finished with a panel of people giving their responses and a plenary session. All in all, a good day.

Canterbury Tales

As our Bishops head off to the Lambeth Conference you might be interested in reading the tale of the one bishop who was not invited just because he’s gay. Bishop Gene Robinson has a blog, Canterbury Tales from the Fringe, which tells his story of being in the UK and being excluded and other stories. And no, its not bitter – it is full of joy and hope. Bookmark it here.

New Diocesan website

Edinburgh Diocese has launched a new website. You can find it here. It was designed by Justin who also does the SEC website. It’s nice to have that sort of design continuity. And what an improvement on the last one! This one fits on my screen, for a start.

You will also find on it the transcript from +Brian’s talk on pre-Lambeth which I attended last Monday. It was an excellent talk but there was a lot in it and I did think at the time that it really merited reading rather than listening. There’s a lot in it. Mother Kimberly has made an intelligent response over on her Blog which is also worth reading.

Bishop Gene Robinson is welcome in Scotland

You may have heard of Bishop Gene Robinson. He is a good and caring priest but that’s not why he is famous. Bishop Gene is famous (and ostracised) because he is a gay man in a loving and committed relationship. For those outwith church circles, like my children and their friends, this is not a big deal. “So what?” they say. But for some in the church it is a big deal and for his honesty he has been at the centre of a furore about sexuality and religion for some time now. And as a result of his honesty he has been not been invited to the forthcoming Lambeth Conference.

There have been gay priest and gay bishops for a long time in the church. But for many years the only way they could continue in their vocation was to live a lie. Times have changed and now more and more of these pastoral caring men and women have come out of their priestly closets. After all, living a lie can’t be good for your soul or the souls of those in your pastoral care, can it? In Scotland we are fortunate that most gay clergy are able to live open and full lives with the support of their bishops. This is not the case, however, in all of the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has not invited Bishop Gene to Lambeth and has forbidden any church in the CofE to even have him preach. Thankfully, in Scotland we are more enlightened. There will be two opportunities to hear Bishop Gene in August in Scotland. First, he will preach at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow on 3 August – check out Kelvin’s blog here for his announcement. And then he will be in conversation with Rev John Armes at the Festival of Spirituality and Peace on 4 August.

Our sincere prayers and thanks to the bishops and clergy who have made these invitations possible.

Synod and stuff

It was blowing a gale with horizontal rain as we gathered in surely the coldest Cathedral in Christendom on Saturday morning to kick off our Diocesan Synod. I was going to bring last year’s service sheet because we usually have the same hymns but this year it was all different – 2 new hymns and no choir. But it was shorter and in that temperature that had to be a good thing.

The Bishop gave a storming speech on trust, confidence and hope. He also encouraged us to talk things up, not cynically. Point taken Bishop.

We then spent some time in groups looking at the upcoming Lambeth Conference and what we thought ought to be on the Agenda. I suspect we are one of the most fortunate Dioceses in having Bishop Brian addressing this issue. Not only have we had two day conferences recently to discuss the matter but we were able to get our teeth into it again in a safe environment.

Sadly at this point I started to feel really ill. Honestly it was nothing to do with the topic – I just felt like I was going to faint. So after hearing a wonderful  motion put forward by two priests from differing view points. (I’ve pinched this from Raspberry Rabbit’s blog)

“The members of this Synod affirm that our experience is that we can hold together as brothers and sisters in the faith and that we do not wish to be forced apart. We acknowledge that there are sincerely held views which differ but we are determined not to be divided. We pray that God will call deeper truths out of our present experience. We commend the spirit of Waiting on God to the wider Anglican Communion.”

After accepting this unanimously we broke for lunch and I scuttled home and went to bed.