Things have been a little confused here today. Some of the people whom we were meeting in the vast open spaces of this huge convention centre looked – how shall we say – a little different. And then it became clear that we were sharing the centre with a large (sic) group of body-builders. Much recourse to ‘muscular Christianity’ and all that.
I saw a sermon receive a standing ovation at the Eucharist. I have heard Bishop Michael Curry preach twice before. It is extraordinary – pure African-American with the most subtle use of oratory. Today he was commemorating Harriet Beecher Stowe – author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin which inspired anti-slavery movements. He had hardly got going when he produced this wonderful alliteration – ‘she changed things by the power of her pen and the strength of her soul’
I’ve been trying to work out the complexities of what is going on here – the budget, the role of the Presiding Bishop, etc. I’ve been working with Canon Phil Groves of the Anglican Communion Office to develop support for the Anglican Communion Continuing Indaba Programme.
I took some time to look at the Exhibition Hall where there are over 1000 stands. Having checked out the clerical outfitters to see if they could provide a lightweight cope – for a lightweight bishop – I spent some time with the theological colleges. I found them immersed in the same issues as we are but, as always, a bit ahead. I made some really useful contacts,
And then I went for a meal with the Class of 2009 from the College for Bishops. This year group is the basis of my understanding of what is going on here, I’m part of the group – not a visitor or an outsider – because we travelled a fascinating road together, It was great to be with them again. But i can’t begin to eat meat in the quantities which American do. And tomorrow morning at 7 am – the programme is relentless so that any extras have to happen out of hours – I’m meeting Bishop Philip Duncan who was my ‘coaching bishop’ during the College for Bishops programme. We met regularly on Skype but haven’t met ‘in the flesh’ as it were.
And home overnight tomorrow