Friday, May 1, 2009

Great Beginnings

Well, the adventure has begun! The trip here was uneventful, and we’ve landed in a hotel that has all the comforts of home and then some. One surprise delight was walking down a long narrow hallway towards Customs at the airport and being greeted by a huge billboard sign welcoming the Anglican Consultative Council members…with a very much larger than life face of the Archbishop of Canterbury!

The trip through Kingston from the airport made me realize just how rare luxury is for many many people in this city. Shanties of crumbling cement and corrugated steel roofs seemed to be very present. Only when I looked up at the mountains above Kingston did I see the larger newer homes of wealthy citizens. The beauty is in the peoples’ faces (although some in the doorways of the shanties looked very down and beaten by life) and in the array of flowers. For a flower-deprived Canadian, these are a generous gift.

We checked in just as the Joint Standing Committee was breaking up after its third day of meetings, so were welcomed by the Chair of the ACC, Bishop John Paterson, and then Rowan Williams himself. Good timing!

Gathering for drinks and talk at 7, with dinner following, was a chance to meet some new people and to renew connections with several others. It was good to reconnect with our American friends, two of whom had been with us through the turmoil of the Nottingham ACC meeting when we were not able to participate. We went through a lot together so feel a special kinship. Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General, who many of you met at the General Synod last in 2007, did an official welcome, as did John Paterson and Rowan Williams.

In Nottingham, at this stage, there was heavy tension, hushed tones, and a sense of awkwardness all round. This time, the din of chatter was high, there was a vibrancy that was almost palpable and people were roaming around trying to meet others and make connections. Augurs well.

More tomorrow.

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