The big items on the agenda today were:
a) the opening Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, and
b) the Integrity/Changing Attitude Eucharist on the Beverley Playing Field
An interesting topic of conversation around the "water coolers" was one of the songs sung at the Eucharist at the Cathedral -- they actually sang "All are Welcome"!
Ironic, because it was a ticketed Eucharist. Only Bishops, their spouses, conference stewards, conference volunteers who are ordained, and regular members of the Cathedral parish were allowed to attend.
Ironic also, because +Gene was not allowed to attend.
The rumor is that many attendees refused to sing that song because it was so untrue. I heard several people express their anger that it had even been chosen.
The Integrity/Changing Attitude Eucharist, however, was another event altogether. All people really were welcome. We had a little under 200 total in attendance, and more than 30 bishops, including +Gene Robinson and my own bishop, +Mark Beckwith!
We really had very little idea how many people to expect. This is the first time that there has been any such presence at the Lambeth Conference, so it really was something of a radical event.
It was difficult to get pictures without interrupting worship, but I did try. Here's a look...
Bishop Alexander (Atlanta), Bishop Singh (Rochester),
and Bishop Beckwith (Newark)
The Rev. Susan Russell, preacher
Another major story from the day is that +Gene will not be allowed to attend a meeting on Tuesday of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. There is time set aside in the conference for each House of Bishops to meet among themselves, and Lambeth Conference organizers have decided that +Gene being allowed to participate in his own House of Bishops meeting might make him appear "too official" in his participation. It's important to remember, however, that this decision was not made by any official of The Episcopal Church. Would it be fair to say that this was an incursion on the part of the Anglican Communion leaders into our province? Can we expect more of the same if there is to be an Anglican Covenant?
Big questions lie ahead....
Maybe Dave Walker (http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/category/lambeth-conference/) can draw a cartoon of all the other bishops singing "All Are Welcome" while Bishop Gene stands outside Canterbury Cathedral looking forlorn.