Lambeth Conference 2022
Lambeth Conference 2022: Daily updates
Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy and Bishop Jeremy James share their updates and highlights from the Lambeth Conference.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 1
Hello from a mercifully cooler United Kingdom. We write from the fifteenth Lambeth Conference which is now underway and continues until Monday week – 8 August.
This gathering of bishops from across our Anglican communion for the first time since 2008 is already capturing headlines around the world. You may have seen some of the coverage, relating to same-sex marriage and the text of Calls, including on the Lambeth Conference website. The Guardian editorial last Tuesday urged us not to miss the opportunity – a gathering that should be a cause for celebration.
As we immerse ourselves in the Conference, we want to share some of what we are experiencing here whenever we can. I’ll pass ‘the pen’ to Bishop Jeremy to paint the picture of how Lambeth started.
‘The leafy campus of the University of Kent lies only 3 kilometres from Canterbury. This vacation period makes it an ideal location for the fifteenth Lambeth Conference.
Most of the 1100 delegates (650 bishops, 450 spouses) arrived yesterday (25 July), helped by the efficient and welcoming registration. The Sudanese bishops had arrived at 2am the previous morning. Others were still arriving late on the night of 26 July. We gathered at 12 noon for the formal welcome by Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, welcoming the spouses.
The theme of the conference is ‘God’s Church for God’s World’. Many delegates have come from places of suffering, conflict and war, but we share a common humanity as children of the living God. This conference is an opportunity to hearing the Holy Spirit speak to us through each other.
Over dinner we were encouraged to mix and mingle with African, Japanese and Chinese cuisine on offer. During the evening Archbishop Kay was able to catch up with Bishop Rose Okeno of Butere Diocese in Western Kenya. Bishop Rose was born and grew up in Butere and was consecrated in September 2021. She is only the second woman bishop in Kenya.’
Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of encouragement and held us in their prayers – while you can stay abreast of the news from Lambeth on the official website, see video highlights, and follow the coverage on numerous sites and channels, we will try to share some of the ‘behind the scenes’ action from a personal perspective over the next important days of communion. Our next update will be after the Bishops’ and Spouses’ retreats where we are focussing on 1 Peter – what a good time to dwell on a message of hope in the Grace of Jesus Christ.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 2
From Archbishop Kay:
Both the bishops and spouses have spent today in retreat, the Bishops in the most beautiful and significant setting of Canterbury Cathedral and the Spouses in campus at Kent University.
Both had the text of 1 Peter from which speakers had drawn. For Spouses Dr Paula Gooder, well-known to us in Perth, spoke on 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The Bishops’ retreat addresses were given by Dr Isabelle Hamley on 1 Peter 1, The Revd Dr Paul Swarup on 1 Peter 2: 1-12 and Dr Esther Mombo on 1 Peter 2: 13-3: 22.
It has been a day in which the bishops have been set in our place as shepherds of the flock in the Cathedral which St Augustine established and which has come to be known as the heart of the Anglican Communion.
It was a great blessing to receive the teaching of these three wonderful teachers today and, for those of us from Perth, a great blessing to hear our sister Esther Mombo speak with her usual strength and truth of the issues which we face as we walk together as God’s Church for God’s world.
Esther’s home Diocese is Eldoret in Kenya and it is through our relationship with her that our partnership with Eldoret began. I am so sorry that Bishop Christopher was not here to hear Esther speak.
This is not the first time I have worshipped in Canterbury Cathedral and sat close to the Compass Rose etched into the floor of the Nave, a sign and symbol of the Anglican Communion. Do we have differences? Yes. Are we struggling, each in our own context as we seek to be God’s Church for God’s world? Yes. Are the big issues of climate change, war, sexual and gender violence, poverty and lack of opportunity for education and health care of principal importance in large parts of the Communion? Yes.
Our meeting, our listening, our praying together is already and blessedly God’s love at work in, between and through us.
Tomorrow, we return to the Cathedral to be fed and nourished again by God’s word, in prayer, in silence and in sharing with each other in this holy time.
From Bishop Jeremy:
The day began with a retreat split between the University (spouses) and Canterbury Cathedral (bishops).
The theme of the Conference is God’s Church for God’s World. Taking the words of 1 Peter 1 and 2, the speakers provoked us with questions like: who is the Jesus whom you love? And who is God calling you and your community to be?
With an hour of quiet reflection, people began to feel energised as friendships began to be made, and the quietness supported those who wanted to be alone.
After lunch, we were reminded by Professor Esther Mombo of the old nursery rhyme: ‘There’s a hole in my bucket’ referring to the brokenness in the world today.
This begins with solidarity with each other as we Recognise, Repent, Redeem and Restore.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 3
From Bishop Jeremy:
Day 3 concluded the retreat with spouses on campus and bishops in the Cathedral.
The first speaker, Dr Pauli Ueti, reminded us of the suffering church (1 Peter 4) and encouraged us to discuss with the person sitting next to us, how we prayed for those we knew who were suffering, in any way. In the break I met the Melanesian bishop who, as an Army Chaplain in 2003 had received the bodies of the martyred Melanesian Brothers.
Professor Jenn Strawbridge then led us through 1 Peter 5 and spoke profoundly about anxiety as individuals, churches, nations in tension with the promise given to us ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you’. “Suffering is assumed for those who follow Christ. But 1 Peter does assure his readers that they can trust in God and God’s promises…because God’s love and care endure”.
The Conference photo took place in the afternoon.
In the evening, Archbishop Justin spoke of the lions that prowl in our world today, 1 Peter 5:8, beginning with climate change.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 4
From Bishop Jeremy:
Archbishop Stephen Cottrell of York spoke on Mission and Evangelism and the passage from 1 Peter to "give a reason for the Hope that is within us".
Cadburys make chocolate.
McDonalds make hamburgers.
Starbucks make coffee.
The Church makes disciples, not just converts, not just church-goers, but followers of Jesus Christ.
And what do disciples make?
Changing the kingdom of this worlds to the kingdom of God in Christ.
THY kingdom come.
THY will be done.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 5
From Bishop Jeremy:
The opening service at Canterbury Cathedral.
This was heaven:
Almost every nation on earth gathered to sing God's praises (microphones for those who wanted translation). Many local people, visitors. We were honoured to have present the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Anne Dekker.
The Cathedral full to bursting. The long nave with steps leading you up into the choir and then up again to where the Archbishop celebrated the Holy Communion.
We began with 'All people that on earth do dwell'.
The Revd Jacynthia Murphy from New Zealand praying in Maori, "in baptism you give us new birth into a living hope". A Shona (from Zimbabwe) setting for the hymn, Lord thy word abideth.
Readings: the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings (read in Panamanian), Peter proclaiming "serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received" (read in Cantonese), and Jesus washing his disciples' feet in John 13 (in Bangladeshi).
The second hymn: Bless the Lord, O my soul by Jonas Myron and Matt Redman.
The procession for the Gospel Alleluia sung by the Zinafe choir in Swahili began from the West door and made its way up the steps into the choir stalls, a glorious wave of sound embracing us.
The sermon was preached by Bishop Vincentia Kgabe of Lesotho.
Motet: Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est, Where charity and love are, God is there.
Before the Peace, Archbishop Justin presented a primatial cross to the Archbishop of Egypt whose Diocese has now become a Province (has at least three Dioceses within it).
Offertory hymn: 'Alleluia, sing to Jesus!'
The Eucharistic prayer began in French (remember a number of Africans countries speak French, just as there are those who speak Portuguese).
During the receiving Communion, the choir sang the Agnus Dei before Michael W Smith's ‘Holy, holy are you, Lord God Almighty’.
Archbishop Justin knelt before the Roman Catholic bishop who was part of the Ecumenical visitors and asked for his blessing. The Blessing was given in Swahili.
We went out to Charles Wesley's 'And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour's blood?'
Superb organisation by the Cathedral staff.
Image from the Lambeth Conference website
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 6
From Bishop Jeremy:
Today was Day 6, and it's hard to realise we are halfway through.
Communion this morning was taken by the Province of Central America, led in Portuguese and English by Archbishop Julio Murray and his team.
Down one side of the conferences are eight booths with different language interpreters, and we put on headphones to switch to our language. I sometimes just like to hear the different languages flow over me.
We moved on from yesterday's focus, Safe Church, to Anglican Identity. Bishop Anthony Poggo, from the Sudan and newly appointed as the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advisor for Anglican Communion Affairs, introduced the three speakers.
Archbishop Kay, Archbishop Maimbo of Tanzania, and Archbishop Hosam from Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Archbishop Kay used four words:
Reconciliation: Opening with Revd Lenore Parker's prayer from APBA, she spoke of the rich tapestry of Indigenous society in Australia, the blight of the Stolen Generation and the Church's part in it, and the path of costly reconciliation.
Redress: Referring to the 2013-17 public hearing of the RCICA and their church's terrible involvement. She referred to the recently released results of the 2021 Census with only 43% claiming they are Christian, while 40% said they had no religion. She spoke of the abuse of children and the hatred that today LGBTQI+ people suffer, applauding the International Women's network, the Mothers Union and the international Family Network.
Refugees: ++Kay said the Diocese had been praying for more children in our congregations and we had been blessed by many Sudanese families and their children. They come looking both backwards, because of the traumas they have endured, and forwards in Hope as they settle in a new country. The Sudanese have helped us grow as leaders and while we cannot be welfare providers creating a co-dependency, there is an opportunity to discuss the issues of purity codes and the shape of the family.
Relationships: Archbishop spoke of our 9-year Diocesan link with the Diocese of Eldoret in Kenya, and referred to the hoped-for link with the Diocese of Lomega in South Sudan, linked with to Perth because the new Bishop is a former Archdeacon of Perth.
.. and with thanks to Bishop Jeremy Greaves from Brisbane, for the wonderful picture above.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 7
From Bishop Jeremy:
The most important day of the conference as we looked at two conference Calls, one on Reconciliation and the other on Human Dignity.
For Reconciliation, the Archbishop of Mozambique spoken of the lions that prowl around us, as mentioned in 1 Peter. One of the lions, for a country that has had decades of conflict, is gender-based violence.
Sheran Harper, the International President of Mothers' Union, then spoke of how, in time of war, women and girls always suffer most. She had led Bible studies with 160 women in South Sudan using the examples of Mary Sumner, Esther, and the woman in Luke 8. The Sudanese women had talked about laying down their burdens as an integral part of their lives.
Finally, from the Diocese of Formosa in Argentina, church women had provided a game changer to a face-off with armed police. As they approached, the Police demanded to know “what they did they want”. The women replied, "We have come to pray for you, and for your jobs".
After a break, we reconvened to discuss the call for Human Dignity.
To begin with the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the bishops:
- Our brothers and sisters in Christ are never our enemies.
- This call is of the greatest importance.
- For some, the call will be a great relief; for others it will be hugely painful.
- We are all vulnerable and those who seek an inclusion of same-sex people into the life of the church, are also disciples of Christ, have committed this issue to deep prayer and long to see the church move together in unity.
- We are deeply divided, and this will not end soon.
- The scriptures witness to the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings because all are made in the image of God.
- Many people are watching and listening to this debate inside and outside the church.
- We are responsible for how we respond, and should speak frankly but in love.
- As Archbishop, I focus on unity. I will not exclude another church from the Communion.
- We should walk together to the maximum possible degree.
The Lambeth Call asked for the establishment of an Archbishop's Commission on Redemptive Action, to act for social protection measures across the Anglican Communion, and to extend the work of the Anglican Communion office to promote Human Dignity with Attention to Sexuality as well as Gender.
Photo: Andrew Baker for The Lambeth Conference
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 8
From Bishop Jeremy:
Today we set off earlier by coach for a visit to Lambeth Palace. The is the home of Archbishop Justin and Caroline Welby and their family, in London. It is situated on the south bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. As we entered the courtyard a choir greeted us.
The garden covers 10 acres, and originally goes back to 1197. The theme for the day was caring for God's creation and, in the first hour, we were invited to follow a prayer walk for the planet along a garden trail. The garden is cared for organically without chemical pesticides or weed killers.
There will be a Lambeth Call tomorrow on the Environment and Sustainable Development. Ironically, the garden lawns were bleached brown and with little pollen for the bees as there has been so little rain in the last eight months.
After a delicious lunch, we gathered to witness the planting of a symbolic tree, which will be part of what is known as the Communion Forest. It is hoped that each Diocese will plant a tree to make tangible our shared commitment to the Anglican Fifth Mark of Mission.
The day ended with a delightful cruise down the Thames to Greenwich where the buses waited to take us home. We passed the Cutty Sark that used to bring wool from Australia to Britain, holding the fastest journey for 10 years between 1870-80.
Photo: Ian Walton for The Lambeth Conference
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 9
Suffering is mentioned more times in 1 Peter than anywhere else in the New Testament. This writing is about the suffering of Christ. It is part of being a Christian. The tendency, as Archbishop Justin said in his Bible study on 1 Peter 4, is to think that all suffering is good for you, that it is redemptive. It is not. Peter challenges this and the view that equates all suffering with Christ’s suffering. Instead, he is writing to a small group of Christians increasingly nervous of their beliefs and enduring suffering in the Name of Christ.
In these Bible studies, we have had video clips of interviews with Anglicans around the Communion. The Archdeacon of Iraq said, “suffering is our daily bread and the air we breathe forever”. Other comments - suffering is waiting for the authorities to make decisions about our future; seeing people in acute poverty; having your application to build a church turned down again for no other reason that we are Christian; suffering is war, loss of hope. Sometimes the church has exported suffering in its going along with the slave trade and colonialisation.
We fight suffering with mutual love and hospitality. Hospitality makes us vulnerable, and Peter tells us, as it were, to import suffering and be hospitable to it. We are to share with our enemies.
Bishop Guili (Chelmsford,UK) grew up in Tehran, Iran, where her father was the last Anglican Bishop. Her brother was murdered, her father had an attempted assassination and she, her sister, her parents and CMS missionary Jean Waddell, were evacuated by the British government in 1975.
Is it possible, she asked, to dialogue with those who persecute you? Dialogue is possible if there is mutual respect, but what if there is none? Then we are like the suffering Christ, praying for our persecutors. She pleaded to the wider Church, ALWAYS remember your brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted.
While some countries speak of the freedom of religion the Lambeth Call in Interfaith Relations was also for the freedom of conversion.
After lunch we discussed Christian Unity. Christian Unity - the task of Ecumenism.
Revd Anne Burghardt (Pictured) is the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.
Anne spoke of how prayer is the heart of our ecumenical work. She quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) who wrote: "The future of the church will be in prayer and in action".
She rejected the view that Unity must mean we must all be physically joined together, maintaining that "unity does not mean visible unity but koinonia" (the New Testament word for fellowship). One Spirit, one mind, one Christ. As General Secretary of the LWF she gave thanks for both the Porvoo Common Statement signed in 1996 between Anglicans in Europe and Lutheran leaders which established full Communion relations, together with the Waterloo Declaration reached in 2001 reached between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada.
We are called to a common mission, and we share our living traditions while keeping our different theological accents. We love Jesus, we service Jesus, we share Jesus. We evangelise not for the sake of the church, but for the sake of God's world, for whom Christ died and we are called to live out our baptismal vocation in God's world. We are, as the Conference theme states, God's Church for God's World.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated, Prayer and Action both transforms and transfigures, and so leads us to a new hermeneutic. We should not be afraid of pluralism or post-modernism providing we keep Christ at the centre of our theological reflection. The post-modernist world has much to share, and the church is called to engage a critique of all systems that claim to be self-contained, but which need deconstructing.
The Lambeth Call included: To build strong, close relationships with the other Churches in our Provinces, and to speak out for and on behalf of brothers and sisters who are persecuted: for when one part of the body suffers all suffer with it.
Photo: Richard Washbrooke for The Lambeth Conference.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 10
From Bishop Jeremy:
Each morning and evening our worship here has been led by different Provinces in the Communion. For those who like their details, a Province can only exist if there are three Dioceses. So, it was with great joy that, at the opening service in the Cathedral last week, Archbishop Justin presented a primatial Cross to the new Province of Alexandria, Egypt, and to its Primate, Archbishop Samy Fawzy.
Each Province leading the Eucharist and Evening prayer has been encouraged to present a seven- minute DVD explaining their life and ministry, in place of a homily. For me, this has been an open window into the life of the wider church that I have never seen. Today the Eucharist was led by the Church in Pakistan. The DVD began, we live in a time of suffering, we have done so for many years, and we will continue to do so for many years to come. Churches in Australia, even outback ones, tend to be situated on street corners or other visible places, with name boards and contact telephone numbers. But, in Pakistan, the churches are proclaimed by a simple cross, sometimes painted red, on the front door, in a quiet road, or alley, One bishop from India in our Bible study said: the Government has asked the church, are you Christian first, or Indian? And when we reply we are Christians first, they reply, how can you prove you are loyal to our nation?
These are situations and questions that Australians never have to face or answer.
Every attempt has been made here to ensure that everyone understands everything. Down the side of the conference there are nine translation booths. We put on our headsets and switch to the number for our language and off we go. They are: Korean, Burmese, Swahili, Juba Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
The Lambeth Call on Discipleship was held on Friday (5 August) afternoon. In each of the Calls, we have had the opportunity to discuss the statements in our table groups. Each Call has an introduction, a declaration and then specific requests (the Calls). Not surprisingly the Calls on this were based on the words that introduce the Five Marks of Mission. These were picked up by Archbishop Justin in his last address to us on Sunday.
TELL: We cannot give what we haven't got. It's important to use simple courses to introduce the Christian faith to people and enliven people. Are people attending church services that are so boring that they feel going to church is about fulfilling their duty?
TEACH: Richard Hooker's (1554-1600) writing that formed a theological basis for the Anglican Church highlighted the need for the Primacy of Scripture, the use of Reason and the value of Tradition. But these aspects were to encourage us to ENGAGE with the world, not flee from it. In the book of Deuteronomy, the youngest child of a Jewish family asks of the Sabbath "why do we do this?" Because God rescued His people out of Egypt. In other words, remembering God's actions are so important. What we forget opens the way for error.
TEND: During COVID, the Archbishop offered to assist the Hospital Chaplain at the local hospital near Lambeth Palace, which is in central London. The Chaplain gratefully accepted and, for 18 months, he went in once a week. He commented that, through the Hospital Chaplains across the UK, it was noticed that the church was there in the hard places. The UK has recently passed their 200,000th death from COVID.
TRANSFORM: The bishop is called as the leader of the church is called to confront corruption. In South American, African and Asian countries, the bishop can be looked to by all as the moral focus of the society.
TREASURE: We are called to safeguard the integrity of creation in this Climate Emergency. Churches are also responding to the waves of refugees sweeping across Europe. Some may say this is the church getting involved in politics, but it is in fact the church getting involved in God. Colossians 1:22 makes it clear that this is for all living things: "This is the gospel you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven..."
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 11
From Bishop Jeremy:
We have had several significant ecumenical speakers during this last 10 days. The most senior has been Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who is from the Philippines, and currently working in Rome as the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelisation. He had been asked to speak on the Decade Ahead.
We are a Pilgrim church, designed for going outwards. We are exiles and travellers, with Christians across the world caught up in slavery, war, persecution, and environmental catastrophe. And when we reach a new place, as refugees will tell you, it does not always get better.
Refugees can be blamed for the ills of society, and the question that humanity is asked is: will these people find hospitality and compassion anywhere? That is part of the Church's calling.
This question and others raise the significant question: HOW DO WE RELATE TO THE OTHER? The answer surely is, we will build a common home where our strength is our diversity.
Yet we must remain aware. The Cardinal spoken of 'inter-generational otherness' and spoke humorously of how, in the same family, some encourage others to eat a healthy, balanced food which their others think is Yuk!
The digital age is redefining relationship. Recently, after a church service, he had been speaking to some young people and one asked if they take a selfie with him. They then declared, now you're my friend. He thought to himself: but I've only just met you! Facebook friends OK but what is really a friend?
We have different understandings of space, the concept of time, family, and heroes, for example.
Jesus brought God's culture to these understandings:
- He changed the understating of space, what was clean and unclean and brought them to sit at the same table. he healed lepers and bathed his disciples’ feet.
- Time: it is my Father who determines time (kairos) not our endless driven timing (chronos).
- Family: it is not just blood relatives who are part of Jesus's family.
- Heroes: Jesus' heroes were a repentant criminal, the Syro-Phoenician woman, a Samaritan and a Centurion. All part of the Other.
And, Jesus was seen as a threat and crucified outside the city walls. The Other Incarnate.
The question God asks each one of is: what is our purpose in life?
He finished with a story:
At a youth rally he had signed a t-shirt for a young man.
A year later he had met the young man at another youth rally. To his amazement, and slight disgust, the young man said he had not washed the t-shirt for a year but had kept it under this pillow.
But then the young man said, "I have not seen my father (who was working away from home) for 18 months. You are my family".
We, the church, are the home for people who are searching: refugees, the lost, the weary, those who have given up hope. Are we ready to welcome them?
As we approach the end of the Conference, so we come to the final Lambeth Calls. The one of Science and Faith is shaped, in part, by what the world currently faces and by 1 Peter 4:10, calling us to be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" and to "serve one another with whatever gift each of you have received". Science and Faith work together.
The Calls on the Environment and Sustainable Development were approved with one delegate observing that, in Botswana, the Government gives churches a tree to plant. Here, the Communion Forest is this Conference's symbolic act of sustaining and renewing the earth.
So, we come to the Statements of Support. They are principally for churches, communities and countries that are facing crisis. Archbishop Hosam of Jerusalem moved that "a two-state solution to the aspirations for self-determination of the Palestinians people in the West Bank and Gaza, and the end of occupation, remains the best hope for a just and peaceful resolution to all peoples in the region".
Bishop Robert Innes, the Bishop for Europe, moved a statement of support for Ukraine: "we recognise Ukraine's endeavours to defend itself against armed aggression and its requests to the international community for military assistance...notably, we support the WCC (World Council of Churches) proposal for " a 'Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace' led by Secretary General which will send a delegation to Kyiv and Moscow to meet with the leadership of the churches in both places with a view to promoting a negotiated peace".
Statements of support for Christians in Afghanistan, the people of Myanmar/Burma, the Church in Pakistan, Sudan and South Sudan, Sri Lanka. The Primate of Canada, Linda Nicholls, moved a statement of support for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world: "we commit to the work of decolonising for the purpose of dehumanising". Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, USA, spoke of the deep grief felt across the Communion in response to the continued news of mass shootings in the United States. Archbishop Justin concluded with a Refugee and Migration Crisis Statement, stating we "reaffirm our commitment to the treatment of refugees and migrants as made in the image of God and therefore deserving of equal dignity".
Photo: Neil Turner for The Lambeth Conference.
From the Lambeth Conference – Day 12
From Bishop Jeremy:
In the morning Archbishop Justin and Caroline Welby thanked the large number people who have worked towards making this Conference a success. Committees that have been meeting for five years, individuals and teams, all are honoured.
Our Bible study groups meet for the last time. David from Myanmar, Timothy from South India, Jeff and Jonathan from Connecticut and South Dakota respectively, Luke from South Africa and Keith from Argyll and the Islands. We share what are our three take home points from the Conference. When it comes to me, I say: The suffering church; meeting old friends and making new ones; the gift and privilege of worshipping and being together as representatives of the Communion.
Coaches take us down the steep hill to Canterbury. Tourists stop, open-mouthed as a sea of purple and colours pour down the narrow streets and into the Cathedral Close.
The service begins but with a different tenor than before. A massive earthquake has rocked the Northern Philippines and the Bishop for that area, present with us, has heard that his mother has died. The readings are from Genesis 15 and Abram's plea to God, "O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" To Luke 12 and Jesus saying, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom". The Archbishop preaches that God takes our fears and transforms them. We sing the stunning Anders Nyberg song, from South Africa, Ewe, thina. Ewe, thina - we walk his way. We walk his way.
The Conference is over.