Daily Accounts from the House of Bishops March 7-12 retreat meeting in in Navasota, Texas are available here.
The accounts are prepared by bishops who serve as briefing officers each day through an initiative of the House of Bishops Planning Committee and the Church Center Office of Public Affairs. The bishops' annual Lenten retreat meeting and its study sessions are closed to media and other visitors.
Daily Account from the House of Bishops for Monday, March 10
- The bishops began their day with Morning Prayer and small group Bible study.
- The Rev. Canon Philip Groves, facilitator for The Listening Process, addressed the gathering. He is charged with monitoring The Listening Process. He expressed his appreciation of the contributions of the Episcopal Church to The Listening Process over the years. He added that other Anglican provinces have a listening process and processes are "frequently going on very quietly."
He reviewed the resolution that "requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us."
Groves called for the need to reflect, communicate, and engage.
"The Church must be diverse because humanity is diverse; it must be one because Christ is one," he quoted from Andrews Walls in The Ephesian Movement.
"Communication won't heal divisions, but without communication, you can't hear the division," Groves said.
"Our church has always been enriched by people who know themselves to be attracted to people of their own gender both in their commitment to mission and in their contribution to the spirituality of all."
He asked the bishops to discuss in small groups The Listening Process in their own dioceses or parishes including major concerns and major joys.
Groves spoke about the concept of Ubuntu, a word from an African language that means: "I am because you are. You are because I am. Our lives are interconnected."
He urged getting to know each other and develop relationships at Lambeth. He also suggested that the bishops come to The Lambeth Conference without pre-judged statements. "Pre-judged statements stop conversation," he said.
Groves assured that resources are being prepared for the bishops, including a book for all bishops in Anglican Communion.
He answered questions from the bishops on a wide range of issues.
There will be a communiqué at the end, he said, that will be a report on The Lambeth Conference.
- The bishops gathered for Eucharist at 11:45 a.m.
- Following lunch, the bishops heard from Nomfundo Walaza, a layperson and a member of Joint Standing Committee of ACC who is the CEO of the Desmond Tutu Peace Center. She spoke about Millennium Development Goals (MDG) #3, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.
She called the MDGs "a noble attempt, a shared future for all people." She added, "Gains have been made, success is still possible, and much needs to be done."
She said that there is a marked difference as to what happens to women depending on the cultural context. She presented shattering statistics about the treatment of women.
She believes that responsible leadership is required. "We need leaders for the church. We need a safe church for women to be who they are."
Following the small group discussion in a Q&A session she addressed issues of trafficking of women and children. "We need a global organization of men who are enraged and say that this must stop," she said. "We have to get men to a point of rage."
- After a break, Bishops Ed Little of Northern Indiana, Bruce Caldwell of Wyoming and Tom Ely of Vermont presented a report about the participation of Bishop Gene Robinson at The Lambeth Conference. This was followed by a statement from Bishop Gene Robinson that he will not attend Lambeth. Many bishops then offered expressions of sadness and disappointment regarding the Archbishop's decision.
- The day concluded with the viewing of a DVD about the progress made in the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Ecuador.
The 2008 Spring Retreat of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is being held from Friday, March 7 to Wednesday, March 12 at Camp Allen, in Texas.
Media briefers for Monday, March 10, 2008
The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, Bishop of Arizona
The Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis