As we have compiled and distributed this prayer bulletin each day, we would like you to know that SOMA & Crosswinds Prayer Trust are much indebted to many people who have made up the team-work over Lambeth’s 21 days.
We have had our own SOMA Lambeth team on the ground at Canterbury, providing daily information (led by Stephen Dinsmore of SOMA UK). We have had a prayer team nearby, for the whole three weeks, listening to God, and praying for the bishops, led by Hilary Steynor. We also have a dedicated technical team in Singapore, servicing the website's database engine. More than 15,000 people, from all around the world, have visited www.praylambeth.org since Lambeth began (where the Prayer Briefings are all available).
In addition, the daily e-mail Bulletins sent to the In-Boxes of those who registered, seem to have gone to every continent and many nations. Many recipients of the e-mails are prayer organisations, who are in turn forwarding e-mails on to intercessors on their lists. Others are printing off the pdf’s and circulating printed copies of the Prayer Briefings within their churches. We have heard from overseas dioceses that are forwarding the Bulletins to every parish. So we shall never know how far, and to how many, these www.praylambeth.org missives have reached. We don’t need to know.
This will be the last Lambeth Bulletin (unless God says otherwise!). We were invited to tackle a similar Internet prayer project at Lambeth 1998 (at the invitation of +George Carey) and, at the finish, as we tottered off to get some sleep, said “Never again!”. As the saying goes, ‘never say never’!
The compilation, publishing and response to reader feedback, takes place in the West of England, at the Crosswinds base in Weston. We thank you for your prayers for those involved in this intercessory teamwork. I wish to record a special word of enormous thanks to my colleague Andy Page, the Operations Director of Crosswinds Prayer Trust. Andy travelled out to Singapore, spending many weeks away from his wife Helen and their three young children, designing and building the technology (alongside our Singaporean partners) to harness the Internet for this Lambeth prayer project. During the Conference, he has rarely been in bed before 2:00 - 3:00 am, ensuring that the Bulletins and SMS/TXT messages reached intercessors on time each day. Also a ‘thank you’ to my wife, Jenny Simons, who stayed up till all hours summarising the Bulletins into text messages, for those who have mobile phones but not Internet Access.
Crosswinds, like SOMA, is a servant ministry to the church - and YOU have been a key part of it, as we have sought to mobilise prayer for God’s will to be discerned and followed, at Canterbury, and beyond.
So we thank you for receiving these Bulletins, and for your intercessions and feedback. We have been glad to respond to Archbishop Rowan's encouragement that prayer should again be mobilised for Lambeth through the Internet. Like printing presses, the Internet can be used for good or ill. We know that this is but a tiny part of the worldwide prayer that has been focused on the bishops at Lambeth, but it has been a privilege to play a part.
The rest of this edition brings news of fresh pressure towards schism (or some lesser form of fragmentation of the Communion) as well as encouragements. Do make time to glance at the uplifting glimpses of the Spouses’ Conference. The men at Lambeth may have made heavy weather of the Indabas and acronyms - but their wives have been inspirational!
So please continue to pray for the bishops and spouses, as they set off to their homes today - perhaps never to meet again (in this world, anyway). May each one travel safely. Fleets of buses to Heathrow from 4:00 a.m.onwards!
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain’ Psalm 127:1
John Simons (on behalf of the team)
The Lambeth Conference isn’t just a story of Bishops and the ‘great and good’. One of the largest groups of people around on the campus have been the 300 volunteers from Canterbury Diocese – they are the ones with the yellow lanyards and/or sashes.
Their contribution will pass by unnoticed by the world’s media, who are looking for more acrimonious stories, but without it the Lambeth Conference would have been “an unholy mess” as one of the volunteer coordinators put it. They are the smiling faces on the Enquiry Desk, the ‘human signposts’ who make sure that delegates (and others) can find their way round the University campus, the people who keep the queues moving in the restaurants and many, many other duties.
Most of the 300 people took their diaries, drew a big ‘x’ across the three weeks of the Conference and said “What can I do?”. People like Rosemary, ‘The Woolie Lady’, who has been overseeing the packing and distribution of the results of a Diocesan appeal for warm clothing, in addition to her shifts as part of the Enquiry Desk team.
The Volunteers’ motto has been “How can I help you?” and the staff on the Enquiry Desk are just as likely to be asked where a Bishop can get their glasses fixed as anything about the conference programme!
Spare a thought for them as they have all said that they will miss the work when the Conference is over and without them the admin wouldn’t have run so smoothly.
Praise: Thank You Lord for the spirit of willing servant-hood displayed by these men and women. May they be refreshed and restored, as others serve their needs.
Spouses' Conference - Called to be Peacemakers
Those who told the story from the Solomon Isles were from the Franciscan Brothers, the Melanesian Brothers, the Sisters of Melanesia and the Sisters of the Church. The Melanesian Brothers take three year renewable vows, not life vows, and they pray seven times a day.
Taking turns to speak, the members of the Chaplaincy Team who were from Melanesia went on to describe that the Solomon Islands had been a happy place but that trouble began when an extremist group became increasing angered by the land owning and prosperity of an immigrant group from Malaita.
Trouble started in 1999 and there were soon 20,000 refugees.
The Brothers began to wonder what they could do and started to ban anyone coming onto their property if they were carrying weapons. They also renewed their commitment as Brothers who came from the two different groups and continued to live and work together. No one trusted the police and the community increasingly turned to the Brothers and Sisters for help.
Gradually the Brothers became convinced that they should do more than just ban weapons and a group of twenty went to live in the ‘no man’s land’ between the warring tribes. They were allowed to cross enemy lines and tried to bring a message of peace.
The Sisters visited them and bought food. Eventually using their truck to ferry the injured and the dead, not one of the community were killed or hit by a bullet at this time.
Finally, peace was made and there were three days of celebration but the Brothers soon learned that violence never stops when weapons remain in young people’s hands.
After much prayer the Brothers began to help with disarming the nation. A radio advertisement was aired and the calls began to come in and the number of weapons that the Brothers collected increased dramatically. People came to them saying ‘I want to change, pray for me’.
Sadly, though, people began to suggest that the Brothers had taken sides with the Government and one of the Brothers, Nathaniel Sado, was taken hostage. Six more Brothers went to search for him and none of them returned. The Revd Richard Carter, the Chaplain to the Brothers, who was telling the story, said that the community prayed and held a constant vigil for their lost Brothers.
Finally, other Governments became involved and in August 2003 the Brothers discovered that their missing Brothers had all been tortured and accused of being spies and executed.
Richard Carter said, ‘Events like these happen to real people’ and named each of the seven who had died and told the group a little about each of them. They were: Richard Lindsay, Francis Tofi, Tony Sirihi, Patteson, Ini Pavatabatu and Alfred Hill.
He went on to spell out the learnings that the community had made through this terrible event and to speak of it as a turning point for the islands. The whole community stopped, he said, and the funerals which he had to organise had caused everyone to move towards peace.
Following this - and a standing ovation by the spouses - the Riding Lights Theatre Group presented a dramatic interpretation of the Good Samaritan.
Praise: Thank You Lord, that you can turn misery into joy; victims into peace-makers; funerals into newness of community life.
Will there be schism? Senior Church of England bishops ask Rowan Williams for an 'orderly separation'
Senior church of England bishops have challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury to declare a split in the Anglican Communion for the sake of orthodox Christianity.
They said that the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, would fail to avert a schism because liberals were determined to press ahead with their pro-gay agenda.
Instead, they called on Dr Williams to acknowledge that there were now two distinct Churches and negotiate an “orderly separation” to preserve a traditional identity for Anglicanism.
Liberals warned that such an action could lead to civil war in the Church.
The comments from the bishops of Winchester and Exeter, came as bishops at the Lambeth Conference released their final briefing paper on plans to solve the crisis over homosexuality.
Among the key proposals, they suggest a new framework that could censure rebellious Churches and a central “pastoral forum” to settle disputes.
However, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, said that the Archbishop’s plan to maintain unity lacked a sense of urgency and was unlikely to work.
“The Lambeth Conference is required to do something rather than live down to the worst expectations of the bishops who stayed away,” he said.
“We need to negotiate a separation in the Communion sooner rather than later, to leave the strongest possibility of remaining in some kind of fellowship.”
Bishop Scott-Joynt said that he was concerned that traditional Churches in Africa would break away unless the Lambeth Conference delivers a clear definition of what Anglicanism represents in the final report. About 250 bishops have boycotted the conference and undermined the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury by setting up a movement that could appeal to bishops disillusioned with an unsatisfactory outcome to the summit.
“The most unhealthy thing would be to allow the debate to continue for a long time,” said Bishop Scott-Joynt. “We would have only ourselves to blame if more of the provinces go their own way.”
His fears were echoed by the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, the Bishop of Exeter, who accused America’s Episcopal Church, which consecrated Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop, of being selfish and establishing a rival Church.
He said: “The vast majority want to take steps towards restoring Communion, but a smaller group base the language of Communion on feelings — what it means to me, what can I get from it.”
Bishop Langrish said that there was an “inexorable logic” that there should be one core Communion with the more liberal Churches pushed to the margins.
He added: “A major question is how we move towards that point — the highest degree of fellowship whilst allowing for an orderly separation.”
However, such a split would not only affect the Anglican Communion, but would threaten the unity of the Church of England, which is also bitterly divided.
The Rev Giles Goddard, the chairman of Inclusive Church, a liberal lobbying group, accused the bishops of trying to derail the report.
“The traditionalists are in the minority and an increasing number in the Church of England would side with the American Church now,” he said. “The people in the pew wonder what all the fuss is about.”
Bishop Scott-Joynt cast doubt on plans for an Anglican Covenant, or rule book of beliefs, which Dr Williams hopes will bind the Communion together behind a shared set of tenets.
“My greatest worry about the covenant is who’ll still be around to use it,” he said.
The final report from the bishops said that the Covenant would be “costly and self-limiting”, but that there is an “overall willingness” for it to happen.
They added that “there have been positive effects in parts of Canada, the US and England when homosexual people are accepted as God’s children, and are treated with dignity”.
Pray: that in the counsel of many, wise decisions will be made (Prov 15:22)
More: CLICK HERE
Global South Anglican leaders affirm Covenant Process
We the undersigned Primates, Archbishops and Bishops and our Episcopal colleagues from all over the Communion are gathered together at the Lambeth Conference 2008 to seek the face of God, to hear His Word afresh and to be renewed by His Spirit for discipleship and obedience to Christ—Lord of the Church and Light of the world, and the mission of God. In the midst of the current critical crisis in the Communion we strive faithfully and honourably to ensure the Communion remains and continues steadfast in and to the faith once delivered to the saints. In this, the Holy Scripture – which, as the testimony to God’s work given by the Spirit of God is the written Word of God – is the final authority for Christian belief, teaching, life and conduct. Authentic traditions of doctrine and practice acknowledge its supremacy. It underpins all bonds of affection, expressions of fellowship and shaping of structures in the Communion
We fully affirm the Windsor process in the Anglican Covenant Design Group proposals and the Windsor Continuation Group presentations. We urge the official endorsement of the proposed Anglican Covenant by ACC 14 in May 2009. We further urge this Lambeth Conference to give clear endorsement and immediate implementation of the interim proposals of the Windsor Continuation Group on the swift formation of the Pastoral Forum with the terms of reference as set out: in particular, “the Pastoral Forum should be empowered to act in the Anglican Communion in a rapid manner to emerging threats to its life, especially through the ministry of its Chair, who should work alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury in the exercise of his ministry. The Forum would be responsible for addressing those anomalies of pastoral care arising in the Communion against the recommendations of the Windsor Report. It could also offer guidance on what response and any diminished standing within the Communion might be appropriate where any of the three moratoria are broken.”
(for full text, follow 'More' link below)
The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest (Indian Ocean)
The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi)
The Most Revd Dr. Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle (Congo)
The Most Revd Archbishop John Chew (Southeast Asia)
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar)
The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania)
The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak (Sudan)
The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem & The Middle East)
The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi (West Africa)
The Most Revd John Wilson Gladstone (South India)
The Rt Revd Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania)
Pray: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Pray that the bishops, as they return to their dioceses and provinces, will desire to seek Your will, and not to impose their own.
Spouses' Conference - What's it like to be married to a bishop?
‘When we were facing a difficult time in Soweto, my husband said that he thought that the children and I should leave. But, I told him that if something happened to him I didn’t want to hear about it by hearsay. So, we sent the children to family in a village outside of the township and I stayed with my husband’. Thus Timeya Seoka, the wife of the Bishop of Pretoria, explained some of their experiences in South Africa.
She had previously spoken of not being able to move with her husband when he was called by the Church to work in Johannesburg, as it was at a time when black people were not allowed freedom of movement in South Africa. She said that, after applying, they were lucky that she was granted the right to move and live with him but that many others were not so lucky. She wondered, she said, if this was the cause of some of the difficulties that there were in her country now.
Timeya was speaking at the Plenary Session of the Spouses Conference in a session on Married Life chaired by Melinda Whalon, from Paris, and in which Lily Lia from Taiwan and Lou Scott Joynt from Winchester, England, also spoke.
Lily Lai spoke of married life in Taiwan and the expectation that wives would live with and look after their in-laws and how many save a little from the housekeeping in order to help their own families. She spoke movingly of the decisions which many have to make between being educated and pursuing a profession and getting married with all the responsibilities that this brings. When Lily had become a Christian, the path which she identifies as leading her to her husband, she had lost contact with her own family completely. On her marriage, too, she had had to move and give up much to follow her husband.
Lou Scott Joynt said that her husband holds up his two hands and says that he wears two rings, one of marriage and one of being a bishop – each representing full-time, whole-life commitments.
All three speakers agreed that, despite the sacrifices that they had made and the difficulties of balancing marriage to a bishop, a career and family time, they all loved and thanked God for their husbands and their lives with them.
Pray: We give praise to You, Lord for all your sons and daughters - but especially for the loyalty and commitment of bishops wives, who serve You in challenging places and amid real dangers.
Spouses' Conference - Arms of Love Baby Home (Burundi)
Mathilde Nkwirikiye Ntahoturi from Burundi shared the story of her work with orphaned and abandoned babies informally at the Spouses’ Conference
Mathilde, who is a lawyer and is married to the Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, said that her heart was touched by the plight of the many motherless children aged 0-5. Many have been orphaned through HIV/AIDS, while others have been abandoned in tragic circumstances.
Mathilde had become involved through her work as a lawyer trying to trace the families for children displaced as a result of the civil war.
She said that she had been called to this particular field of work through her experience of finding a foster mother for a little girl she called Bela (which means beautiful). When Bela’s foster mother subsequently died from HIV/AIDS Mathilde went on to find adoptive parents for her - because she couldn’t bear Bela to be abandoned yet again.
“My heart was touched,” she said. “I told this to my Bible Study group and we were all in tears. We brought this problem to God in prayer. We felt we needed to do something for these babies.”
Today Mathilde runs the “Arms of Love Baby Home” where abandoned babies can be cared for while foster families are found for them. “I like making this connection between these babies who need love and the foster mothers who have love to give,” she says.
She also runs the Twizere (‘Let’s Have Hope’) Community Project to resource the grandparents and aunts caring for orphaned children. She points out that the babies of HIV positive mothers are often HIV negative themselves, provided that they are not breastfed. She sees the role of the Church here as vital: “We are the only organisation working with children telling HIV positive mothers not to breastfeed,” she says. She is campaigning for the Burundian government to subsidise milk formula for HIV positive mothers.
Another project - the Second Chance Class - is about educating young girls and teaching them practical skills so that they feel valued.
Now, whenever Mathilde travels around the diocese with her husband, people bring abandoned babies to her. She has become widely recognised as a woman who knows how to get things done.
“I feel that God is around and in control,” she says, with a broad smile. “We will keep praying for these babies.”
Pray: Thank You Lord for this compassionate initiative.
Spouses' Conference 'I am the Vine, you are the branches' (John 15)
One of the earlier Bulletins described a very imaginative and creative project, in which all the spouses were invited to participate.
Materials were provided for each one to design their own distinctive part of the Vine.
At the end of the Conference, each spouse would receive a memento in the form of a bookmark, with a photo of the Vine. This would be a special and unique reminder of their fellowship as bishops' wives, soon to be scattered all over the world, and yet continuing to be one in Christ.
Here is a photo of the finished 'Vine'
Lord, You are the Vine, these your daughters are the branches.
Make them very fruitful for your glory, wherever they serve You.
Keep them mindful of one another.
Spouses' Conference - The Front Line is not with the men only..
‘It’s never women who start wars – but women and children are always the first victims’
Lives in war torn parts of Africa are being transformed thanks to the hard work of the Anglican Church, the Spouses Conference heard yesterday.
In a session called ‘Equipping God’s church: Empowering ourselves and others for service’, they heard stories from across the continent of imaginative and life- changing social projects spearheaded by the spouses and their co-workers.
Mugisa Isingoma, from Boga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, talked about the vital work of the Mothers’ Union in helping widows, the victims of rape and other forms of violence. They found, she said, that teaching girls literacy helped transform their life chances.
‘God is helping all of us, even the poor,’ she said. ‘His goodness extends to all of us, and that is why we need to show them love. Together we can take note of their needs. They have assets and gifts and we are there to help them. And we are very encouraged by the results.’
Alice Chung Po Chuen, whose husband is the Bishop of Antsiranana in Madagascar, told the audience how, when her husband was appointed, she left her job in product development in a knitwear factory in Mauritius. She now lived in Madagascar – the fourth largest island in the world – which was a land of huge contrasts.
‘I was shocked by the prevailing poverty,’ she said. Their own home was very cut off from any other cities and the infrastructure was extremely poor. ‘God showed me I couldn’t remain insensitive to people’s needs,’ she said.
With the support of the Mothers’ Union in London, she had set up ‘The Ruth Project’, an income generating project for women. Based from the Cathedral, the women of the Ruth project produced embroidered cotton table cloths and pillow cases. ‘God gave us the resources,’ she said.
The Ruth Project had given women opportunities to support themselves, she said. It also offered an opportunity for literacy classes, and to attend to the women’s spiritual needs. ‘I praise God as I find much joy and fulfilment.’
The final story from Africa came from Mathilde Ntahoturi, the wife of the Archbishop of Burundi, who gave an account of her work caring for children orphaned by civil unrest and HIV/AIDS. This had grown out of her work as a lawyer – and now she ran a number of social care projects, working through the Mothers’ Union.
‘It’s never women who start wars – but women and children are always the first victims,’ she said.
She also said how important literacy was, especially for girls. ‘I must tell you my dream,’ she said. ‘I have a dream where all women would be literate. Young girls who are soon to be mothers need to understand, so that they can fight AIDS, so that they can be confident in [dealing with] domestic violence.’
Pray: for the opportunity Bishops' wives have to mobilise care for the poor and the victimised.
Holy, Hard-Hitting and Hilarious Snippets from Canterbury
Opportunity was give for a cross-section of young students, who had served as volunteers at the Conference, to address the bishops and ask and answer questions.
Pray: Thank You Lord that the Conference made young people welcome. They are the church of today, not just tomorrow. Inspire them to serve You and to help to solve the mounting demands of a lost and hungry world.
Keeping you updated..
In terms of regular updating, this is the last daily email. If there are any really major developments affecting the Anglican communion in the months ahead, we may send an occasional Prayer Bulletin email.
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May we take this opportunity to introduce you to Prayer Alert?!
Prayer Alert is a weekly digest of Prayer News with links to more information on the web and suggested Prayer pointers. It is circulated by email and through the website at www.prayer-alert.net each Friday and is perfectly timed for planning up to date and relevant prayers for church on Sunday!
The Crosswinds team partners in producing Prayer Alert which is published under the banner of the Prayer Forum of the British Isles & Ireland.
Crosswinds are deploying the technology behind the Pray Lambeth website plus much more, to create an innovative internet based secure Christian prayer portal. For more information about the service, which will be of great usefulness to any organisation that values prayer - Click Here
'I am very pleased SOMA, along with Crosswinds, have organised this prayer initiative during the Lambeth Conference.
The Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Revd Rowan Williams
It is an important time for us in the Anglican Communion and this group of people who commit to pray for us during our meetings will play a significant role behind the scenes.
My thanks to all who have helped set up www.praylambeth.org.'
Every ten years, Anglican bishops from around the world meet to share, pray and have fellowship, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
If you would like to participate, please add this page to your favourites and consider signing up for the email briefings.