It was announced today that arrangements for CONCON (the Not-the-Altemative-not-the-Altemative Lambeth Conference, as it is being called) are well under way. The Conference, of over 1000 church leaders and 450 bishops, will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, in early July. The venue — the recently completed Buckingham Palace Hotel — is a twice life-size replica of the original in London, England. ‘It allows us’, said conference organizer, Canon Nigel Fearon, ‘to major on one of the most popular events of all Lambeth Conferences, the Buckingham Palace Tea Party. In Las Vegas, of course, the part of the Queen will be played by Dame Helen Mirren.’
Every opportunity has been taken to include all the most popular features of Lambeth Conferences past. A shopping mall of clerical outfitters has been erected close to the convention hotel, and in the conference Marketplace there will be a wide range of souvenirs (everything from Rowan Williams teddy bears to specially engraved sherry decanters) and a small but vociferous group of the now-traditional homosexual demonstrators.
There will be no boring lectures or presentations at this Conference,’ claims Fearon. This will be a conflict-free zone. The delegates will meet in small discussion groups which we are calling ‘entutus’. Entutu is the Zulu word after which the well-known Nobel Laureate is named. It means a gathering of people who couldn’t care less about major theological issues, but who just want to be friends. This is the true spirit of the Communion and the true spirit of CONCON. People are coming together to celebrate just being together. There will be no adversarial politics of the kind which have marred Conferences in the past.’
In his post-Easter message to bishops throughout the Anglican World, the Archbishop of Glastonbury stressed the irenic nature of the event. ‘I am issuing a general invitation to CONCON,’ he wrote, ‘this conference is all-inclusive. I will dis-invite nobody, but if you care passionately about the issues which are dividing the Communion, please think carefully about whether or not you should dis-invite yourself. We want no party poopers at what I am convinced will be a Spirit-filled occasion which will give Ruth Gledhill absolutely nothing to write home about.’