Prayer Bulletin 13

The much anticipated Second Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Conference was finally delivered on Tuesday evening.

In a powerful address, Rowan Williams appealed to the bishops at Lambeth:

'At the moment, we seem often to be threatening death to each other, not offering life,' he said. 'What some see as confused or reckless innovation in some provinces is felt as a body-blow to the integrity of mission and a matter of literal physical risk to Christians.

The reaction to this is in turn felt as an annihilating judgement on a whole local church, undermining its legitimacy and pouring scorn on its witness.

We need to speak life to each other; and that means change. I’ve made no secret of what I think that change should be - a Covenant that recognizes the need to grow towards each other (and also recognizes that not all may choose that way).

I find it hard at present to see another way forward that would avoid further disintegration. But whatever your views on this, at least ask the question: ‘Having heard the other person, the other group, as fully and fairly as I can, what generous initiative can I take to break through into a new and transformed relation of communion in Christ?’

The full text of his address is now available, at this link:

Tomorrow's bulletin will attempt to share responses and reactions to the Presidential Address.

Thank you for your continued prayers and partnership with us in Pray Lambeth. Feedback is welcome.

John Simons (on behalf of the team)

Wednesday's Agenda:

Statement of the Sudanese Bishops to the Lambeth Conference on the situation in Sudan

Presented by the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop and Primate of the Sudan.

We greet you all in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We, the Sudanese Bishops gathering at the Lambeth Conference, would like, on behalf of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) and the whole Sudanese people, to acknowledge and appreciate your prayers and support during the 21 years of war in Southern Sudan and in reaching the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/A) on 9th January 2005. The CPA provides the basis for a just and sustainable peace in the Sudan. We give thanks to God for the agreement and express our support for all efforts to ensure its full and timely implementation.

After 21 years of war, in which more than 2 million people lost their lives and more than 4 million people have become refugees or internally displaced, we are greatly encouraged at the new future offered by the CPA. However, we remain deeply concerned that the conflict in Darfur, in Western Sudan, continues unabated, and at the localized conflict in several places which threatens stability and the sustainability of peace.

Violations of the CPA include the destruction of the town of Abyei, in the oil-rich area on the border between Northern and Southern Sudan in May this year, which displaced over 90,000 people

Please click the 'More:' link for the full article..

Pray: that the suffering church in the Sudan will be delivered into more peaceful times and a greater harvest.


An Open Letter to the bishops gathering for the Lambeth Conference, by Dr Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, Toronto)

Millions of words seem to be being expended on the Lambeth Conference 2008, in the printed media, and on the Internet. The document referred to in this posting is a constructive and pastoral contribution, sent from Canada to all the bishops.

The letter begins: I write to you personally and openly. I hope that at least some of you will take my words to heart, not because they are mine (which, on their own, would not count for much), but because they represent the mind, I believe, of many in the Communion who are not as vocal in the councils and organs of communication within our church as some.

I write to urge you to prayerful action in the face of widespread concerns that the upcoming Lambeth Conference will prove not only wholly irrelevant to the needs of our common life, but perhaps also the last such conference that our Communion will engage. Yet, in large measure, God has placed these matters in your hands. Although I am not privy to the planning, the intentions, and the ordering of the Conference, there are clear signs that the Conference runs the risk of failing to face and respond faithfully to the needs of God’s people within our Communion and her churches.

Let me outline first what your Conference embodies, as I and many understand it; next, what dangers we are in that your gathering must somehow address; then, what I believe God is calling you to specifically; and finally how you might practically respond.

The full text is in the 'More:' hyperlink below if you wish to read it.

Pray: that the bishops will be helped by those who are concerned for them as people, not mouth-pieces for policies. Let them realise that they are appreciated for their pastoral care, hard work, frequent sacrifices. We pray, not for lighter loads, but stronger backs and larger hearts.


A Christian woman under the Taliban

BENITA Rumal Shah, wife of the Bishop of Peshawar, is an Indian married to a Pakistani, a woman living in the north-west frontier under the rule of the Taliban. Brought up as what she describes as a “free spirit” and having worked in the UK and Australia, she is now in a tiny minority of 100,000 Christians in a land which is her birthright.

Her language is light years away from anything dry and doctrinal. It is naturally holy language. Her uncle came as a bishop to Lambeth in 1948, the first diocesan bishop from what is now the Church of North India, and composed a hymn “in which he said that we are like an incense stick that burns at its own cost, and what does it do? It gives fragrance all around.

She describes it as “not a land where there isn’t any God. There is God, but it is the manifestation of Jesus Christ and his love and his compassion and his tenderness that took us to a land where it is harsh, rugged and very judgemental and cruel, maybe at times even to their own people.”

They would like to annihilate the Christians, she acknowledges, but this is their land. Christians here do the most menial jobs as sweepers, street cleaners and cleaners in Muslim houses. Graduates and the professionally qualified cannot get government jobs but are employed in all too limited numbers in the Christian hospitals, schools and colleges that are not run for profit but “as institutions where people can get the love and care of God. The hospital is full. People come back – “those who have been to us stick to us and by word of mouth bring other people as well. We are running quite happily for these to serve them. We are here for diakonia, for service.”

Women almost don’t exist, she says, and as a bishop’s wife she doesn’t have much standing. She adds mischievously, “But of course I make sure I am in when government officials come and my husband is entertaining them. I just walk in or by chance I’m there. I do my bit to influence them and talk to them and they quite accept that while making their faces and sort of questioning.”

Coming to Pakistan was like “throwing me into the deep blue sea. But floating in the sea, I felt I could survive because of faith, the common bond between us, anchored in His love and grace.”

“We should be like that incense stick, burning ourselves, working and living for God so that others may experience the love of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, tenderness and forgiveness, and reconcile all of us together in his love. That is what we are doing. The fragrance goes up and lives around and the stick at the end burns out and finishes.

“But the ashes remain at the feet of our Lord. We believe that’s how we are being used there; that at the end, we will meet our Father and will be there with him in his presence. And our fragrance, what little we could do for that time in that space of the world, may God take it as our offering to him.

Pray: for all Christians, leaders and followers, who are persecuted for their faith in Christ, especially any known to us.


Remember God’s phone number

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I’ll answer you and show you many amazing powerful things that you don’t know”!

Pray: that the bishops will spend more time listening to God together - so that they can better talk to each other, rather than at each other.


At that time, Jesus said: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”. Matt 11:25

This passage came to mind today as I read the ‘The Appendix to the Anglican Covenant: Framework procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements’ a lyrical document which may not have been quite what Jesus had in mind.

However, with parts of the Anglican Communion being in such a litigious frame of mind, perhaps this is the kind of prose that ecclesiastical legalities will bestow upon a grateful Church. Anyway, here is a taster, to get you into the mood:

2.1. If a Church (X) proposes to act or acts in any way that another Church (Y) or an Instrument of Communion (Z) claims to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, then X Church, Y Church and Z instrument shall engage in informal conversation, as an act of communion, to try to resolve the matter.

2.2. The Anglican Consultative Council shall be disqualified from making a claim under 2.1, on the basis that it may later make a decision as to the relinquishment on the force and meaning of the Covenant purpose under paragraph 8, but it shall not be disqualified from entering into informal conversation under 2.1..

3.5. The Archbishop of Canterbury, having considered the Assessors` recommendation, and within one month if its receipt, shall either: (a) as an Instrument of Communion, issue a request to any Church involved; (b) refer the matter to another Instrument of Communion; (c) refer the matter to a Commission of the Communion for evaluation; or (d) send the matter for mediation.

Unfortunately, not all church members can yet cope with this prose. I came across one distressed Internet posting, expressing a plea this week, with which many will empathise: “There is just one question I would like to ask Rowan Williams. Given the actions of TEC, their statements since and especially in the Indaba groups here at Lambeth, do you still maintain TEC has substantially complied with the WR, DES, etc by their passage of B033 at GC2006?”

Does this remind you of the Song of Songs? Or 1 Cor 6? Answers on a postcard (to Lambeth Palace) by July 2018.

Pray: Lord, thank you for simplicity of words and transparency of heart in obedience to your word. Help the bishops at this time to unify around your revealed purposes for their worldwide ministries. Deliver them Lord from a litigious spirit. Lord, You can fix it, if they will face it. We ask this for the good of your church and the honour of your Name.



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