Thursday, July 17, 2008

Archbishop Daniel

Yes, I am watching the news from the Lambeth Conference. So far, I am guardedly hopeful about the conference. I hope soon to post a list of the websites and blogs I'm watching.

As I was cruising one of the sites, this photo caught my attention. The photo is captioned: Bishops on their way to board buses for Canterbury Cathedral, as they begin retreat today. ACNS/Gunn The bishop at the right is the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Daniel Deng Bul. I know him as "Archbishop Daniel." He came here to Missouri in early May, and it was my job (as Chair of our Companion Diocese Committee) to arrange/organize his visit in our diocese. To me, it felt much like a High State Visit.

Archbishop Daniel struck me as a man facing a huge job. By virtue of his office (as Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan) he is the leading Christian spokesman in Sudan – a land torn apart by war and facing challenges that I can barely comprehend.

His time here in the Diocese of Missouri was "interesting," to say the least. We're not overtly liberal like the dioceses of California or Massachusetts or New Jersey, but this is a diocese in which gay men and lesbians have an active role in the church. We have gay men and lesbians in the clergy. Our social events with him and the parishes he visited are unapologetically diverse. I don't know what he made of those visits, but he was gracious – even (or perhaps especially) when he preached in our most gay-friendly parish. I certainly know I am glad that our bishop had time to visit with him.

Folks like to draw a thick line between the Episcopal Church and the churches of the "Global South." But I met this man. I spent a lot of time with him. I have no doubt that he will argue for the Gospel. From what I heard in my time with him, that means feeding people who are starving in Sudan, bringing them water and education and health care, and building a healthy society in Sudan. Those are the priorities I heard from him. When it comes to the "issues du jour," I hope his view will be informed by the time he spent in Missouri, where many folks introduced themselves and their partners.

1 Comments:

Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

Hi, Lisa!

This is quite lovely. I hope you don't mind that I linked to this on my blog.

Laura

7/19/2008 10:38 AM  

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