Today has been the final day of the Lambeth Conference. I am here in my room at the university in Canterbury, but tomorrow morning it will be time to pack up and go home. If you’d like to know about the official ‘anglican goings-on’ bits of the day then see my post on the Church Times blog. It is short, but it has the important links.
Today has been, for me at least, an even more surreal day than yesterday. In summary, I got to present a second cartoon to the Archbishop of Canterbury, on this occasion in the big top in front of the whole Lambeth Conference at the end of the final plenary session. I am, as you can see, making this cartoon-giving to the Archbishop a daily habit (he will be dreading tomorrow, just in case that wretched cartoonist shows up again with yet another canvas that he has to do something with). This time the cartoon was The bishops of the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The handover was in itself a comedy moment – I was stationed on the stage with my cartoon wrapped in a black bin liner whilst the bishop in charge of the final thankyous thanked the Archbishop for all he has done at the conference. At this point an Important Person of the Anglican Communion said ‘go’, the head of Important Things at Lambeth Palace said ‘go’, so I started my walk across the stage towards the bishop at the lectern. However, the lectern bishop decides that he is not ready for me to arrive in his domain, so waves me away. I must emphasise that all of this is happening in front of the entire Lambeth Conference. I stand mid stage, unannounced, looking like a badly-timed rabbit in the spotlights.
[Photo: ACNS / Scott Gunn]
I turn to one of the organisers of the spouses conference who is standing nearby and ask for advice. She agrees that I am in a bit of a predicament. Everyone then sits down (the point at which the above photo is taken). After what seems like a short to medium term eternity (though no doubt it was probably only a few seconds) the lectern bishop ushers me forward and I hand over the cartoon canvas. The image was projected up onto the screens (thanks to Brian at the Church Times who sent me a good quality high res version) and people seemed to like it.
[Photo: ACNS / Scott Gunn]
I’d say more about this and things in general, but I am exhausted. Tonight was the closing Eucharist at the Cathedral, which was magnificent for all sorts of reasons, followed by food in the grounds of the cathedral. Unfortunately it was pelting down with rain, which meant that everyone got quite wet, especially idiot cartoonists who did not take a coat. The cathedral people opened up one of their halls for us to eat in, which was great as a party atmosphere began to develop. I have pictures of the dancing (including one fairly well-known Archbishop) but I will not be posting them, not least because they are rubbish as pictures. I must confess to having undertaken a small amount of dancing myself, after a posse of stewards demanded it. And great fun it was too.
Thanks to everyone for your kind comments after the last photograph of a cartoon handover. And continued thanks for all the other kindness of various sorts.
[Updated Sunday morning to add photographs]