A Community of Celebration

In addition to the daily Bible studies, the daily Eucharist at 7:15 a.m. is a highlight of the Lambeth Conference for me. It is well attended and contains a brief “reflection” or homily on the Gospel we will be studying later in the Bible study groups.

There is a common outline of the Eucharist, following, I believe, the contemporary Church of England Common Praise and using rather familiar settings for the Kyrie, Sanctus, etc. But each day is different in that the Presider and other leaders are from the various Provinces of the Anglican Communion. And so we have Scripture read and prayers offered in the languages of Provinces from Canada to Brazil, from Japan to the Indian Ocean from Myanmar to Sudan. We say the Lord’s Prayer each day in the “pentecostal tongues” of our own languages, and it is beautiful. 

I think the attempt is to convey that, though we are no longer bound together by one Book of Common Prayer (if we ever were!),  there is a distinctive “Shape of the Liturgy” for Anglicans which is recognizable and comfortable even when “incarnated” in various culture and languages. For me, at least, this has worked pretty well. I still note a lack of women in worship leadership (so far, only one woman bishop — from Cuba — has “concelebrated” with her male diocesan) and only once has a deacon appeared at the Table. Surely we can do better than that!

It is encouraging to see how far renewal has spread in our worship around the globe. I serve as Bishop Visitor to the Community of Celebration (the old “Fisherfolk”) in Aliquippa, PA and I think they would be proud to see how the kind of blended and liturgically-sensitive mix of contemporary and traditional hymnody, guitars and drums and keyboard and flute and a small team of lead voices are so easily done these days.

Back in the 1960’s, at the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, I doubt that Graham and Betty Pulkingham and the others would ever have believed that this kind of praise could be “normative” worship at a Lambeth Conference of Bishops!

Praise the Lord!

6 Responses to “A Community of Celebration”

  1. Norah Bolton Says:

    You might be interested to know that a real deacon was intended to be part of the Canadian celebration – my friend Maylanne Maybee who works for the Canadian National Church. When she got to the airport on Sunday evening to fly in, she was informed that the flight was postponed until the next day – and she could not make the connection to Canterbury in time. So at least the intention was there.

    Best regards
    Norah Bolton

  2. ecubishop Says:

    That’s good news, I guess. But surely, with a little planning, deacons from around the UK could have been scheduled on a daily basis thus completing the Eucharistic celebration with what, for many of us, has become normative — with all four kinds of ministers in the holy, catholic Church represented.

  3. Linda in Iowa Says:

    Keep nudging them!

    If one only looked at the pictures and read the reports about Lambeth, it would be easy to believe that the Anglican Communion contains nothing but bishops! (much as we love you….)


    Linda in Iowa

  4. ecubishop Says:

    Well, it is the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, Linda!

    But I take your point. When folks say that we speak for the “Anglican Communion” there is an assumption that bishops “bring their dioceses with them” and accurately reflect the “consensus fidelium” back home.

    I think that can be severely questioned and it is one reason that US bishops continue to remind the Conference that, though we may be “episcopally led” we are “synodically governed”. And, for us, synods include all God’s people — lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons!

    But, I have to tell you — it is a hard sell around here!

    Continue to pray for us…

  5. obadiah slope Says:

    Gafcon had laity, priests and deacons. It shows in the photos, Linda. It may be a good model to look at.

  6. ecubishop Says:

    Yes, well many of us supported the idea of an Anglican Congress to be held in tandem with Lambeth, but…to no avail.

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