The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, brought greetings in person to the House of Deputies this afternoon. Archbishop Sentamu was born in Uganda and, in his words, was not expected to survive the night. He said: "If a little village boy could be sustained by Christ to become Archbishop of York, all I can say is that...Christ will sustain you."
If the Archbishop of Canterbury is the symbolic leader of the Anglican Communion, then the Archbishop of York is certainly an important and close second. His personal presence as well as his personal delivery of the message from the Archbishop of Canterbury were very welcome to me.
In the Archbishops talk with us, he acknowledged the weight that is on our shoulders these next few weeks and that this pressure is made greater by the speculation, vying for position and posturing that has come from many quarters around the world in the run up to this Convention. Knowing that the two Archbishops as well as the House of Bishops of the Church of England are praying for us and sending the kinds of messages we heard below, indicates to me that despite all the dire warnings, we are still part and parcel of the Anglican Communion and the fabric of our common life is less torn that we have often been told.
Here is the ABC's words to us:
Episcopal News Service
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
>From Columbus: Archbishop Rowan Williams sends message to Convention
[ENS] The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, Archbishop of York, read a message to the House of Bishops from the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and, after some personal reflections, read the same statement to the House of Deputies. Sentamu is one of the more than 60 international guests at General Convention.
The full text of Williams' statement follows:
Message for General Convention from the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Greetings to you all in Christ's name as you meet to pray and deliberate about the life and witness of your church and the demands of God's Kingdom. May God grant you discernment as you meet and listen to each other in patience and love.
As all those involved will be acutely aware, this General Convention takes place in a climate of intense and perhaps rather oppressive attention worldwide. At the meeting last week of the Bishops of the Church of England, we recognized the pressure under which you meet, and committed ourselves to praying more deeply and more constantly for all of you during these days. Please be assured of our loving concern for the Episcopal Church and our hopes that we in the Anglican Communion may learn again to walk with each other more trustfully.
The recommendations of the Windsor Report will be much in your minds and your deliberations, and I appreciate the work your Commissions and Committees have done in responding to the Windsor Process. I hope that the theological vision there set out in the Report of the ground and character of our communion in Christ will be clearly before you. We cannot survive as a Communion of churches without some common convictions about what it is to live and to make decisions as the Body of Christ; Windsor is not the end of the story, but it sets out a positive picture of what that might imply as together we strive to serve the mission of God.
We thank God for all that the Episcopal Church has contributed over the years to our fellowship and commend you to the One "who is able to establish you according to...the proclamation of Jesus Christ" (Rom.16.25).
Grace be with you all.