Showing posts with label Archbishop of Canterbury. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archbishop of Canterbury. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Thanks to Colin Coward at Changing Attitude for the transcript of an interview with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby by Sarah Julian for BBC Radio Nottingham.  The interviewer asked questions about the recent civil marriage of Church of England Canon Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington, which went against the rules laid out in "House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage".  The document states in bold type that despite the fact that same sex marriage is legal in England, Church of England clergy are not permitted to enter into civil marriages.
SJ  So what happens to Canon Pemberton?

ABC  “Well, the Bishop of Lincoln .. he’s actually in Lincoln Diocese .. the Bishop of Lincoln has commented on that and I’ve said all I’m going to say on that, really; I’ve commented on that a great deal recently and I don’t intend to add to it.”

SJ  We’ve not spoken to you here on BBC Radio Nottingham, though, and he actually does live in our diocese and does some work in our diocese so I’d appreciate if you could, you know, reiterate that, then …

ABC  “No, as I’ve said, I’ve said on nationally and it’s been in all the press and on the radio and, and I’m just not going to add to it.”

SJ  So you won’t repeat what you’ve said already?

ABC  “Er, no.

SJ  What will happen in future when more and more priests either do this or bless a gay wedding themselves?

ABC  “Well, the Church is heavily involved at the moment in discussions about policy, organised discussions which will take, er, involving loads and loads of people from all over the world and, er, all kinds of activities and that’s going to take quite a long time to do and as I say, I don’t want to preempt those discussion so I’m not going to comment further on that.”

SJ  But you must have an idea of what the Church should do in these instances ‘cus it’s already happening, you must have had a plan for what will happen to priests who do this.

ABC  “Well, that’s been announced publicly, it’s on the record, erm, but errrr, as I say, I’m not intending to add to what I’ve said previously.”

SJ  And if priests do break the rules, are they going to be kicked out of the Church of England?

ABC  “There’s processes for, errr, what happens and it’s very much down to local bishops and umm, yeah, that’s, err, you need to ask the relevant bishop about that.”

SJ  But you’re the head of the Church of England, they must come to you and ask you those questions, what do you tell them?

ABC  “Well, actually the Church of England doesn’t work that way, we don’t have an Anglican Pope, we operate on a collegial, collective basis and errrr, it’s very much shared, errr, decision making, and there was a paper published at the end of errr January on that.”

SJ  How do you think God feels about gay marriage?

ABC  “Well as I’ve said I’ve commented an awful lot about it, I’m not going to add further to what I’ve said already.”

SJ  But how do you feel about the current situation and the turmoil that this is in and how this looks to the rest of society?

ABC  “One of the things … there’s always disagreements in Church, there’s always been disagreements in Church, it’s, it’s varied over the centuries on different issues; there’s always been disagreement. One of the key things in the Church is that the Church is a family, it’s not an institution, it’s not a political party, erm, it.. it.. the way we operate is that we are bound together by the love of Christ, and in the way we disagree we have to express that love to each other.”

SJ  We have two women here in Nottinghamshire who we’ve spoken to, they are planning to get married, the two of them. One of them actually works for the Church and she wants to become a priest. She feels that she’s had to choose between getting married and her calling to the Church. Is there any hope for her, or how does that make you feel?

ABC  “Well, I can only repeat what I’ve said before, that we’re, there’s a lot of discussion going on, err, we’re listening very, very carefully to people, but I don’t want to preempt that by adding further to the numerous things I’ve said on all kinds of media, including the BBC before.”

SJ  But not here in Nottinghamshire, and these are Nottinghamshire people who …

ABC  “I rather suspect that the BBC does reach in Nottingham, not only through the local radio.”
Kudos to Sarah Julian for not letting the - err - ABC get away with his - err - avoidance tactics. Most interviewers do.  The ABC's responses are beyond pathetic.  What message does Justin send when he refuses even to repeat his own words?  Not everyone in England pays attention each time he speaks.  Is he embarrassed by his words?  If this is the best he can do, perhaps he might consider refusing to grant interviews.

You may wonder about my excessive interest in the affairs of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and you may even call it an obsession if you like, but I have friends in England whose lives are already gravely and adversely affected by the words and direction of the leadership of the English church.  As a fellow Anglican, I care about them and all the others who pay the price for the delay of justice and equality for all members of the church, clergy and laity - the delay seemingly without end.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Archbishop Justin Welby's non-explanatory explanation of his commentary on LBC radio in England during his visit to Canada.  See my previous post, but only if you want to know more.
Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn't use the word “blame”— that's a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that's most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said...It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.
Many of us heard and understood what Justin said, but we want to know why. If he's going to lay a certain responsibility for violence in Africa on Americans (though he won't call it blame), he needs to provide a better explanation to Americans than what he's said thus far.
Q: So what exactly were you saying?

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world...And, this is not mere consequentialism; I'm not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn't take action. What I'm saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we're just a local church. There is no such thing.
There most certainly is such a thing as the local church within the Anglican Communion. Contrary to  Justin's words, there is no such entity as a global Anglican church.  The AC is rather a fellowship of churches or provinces with roots in Anglicanism. Each church is autonomous, with its own form of governance and canons.  Though he may wish to be, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not the Anglican pope. He doesn't even speak for everyone in the Church of England, much less for other churches in the AC.

H/T to Kurt Weisner at The Lead.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


CHRISTIANS are being killed in Africa as a consequence of liberal attitudes towards homosexuality in the United States and Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested on Friday.

Speaking on LBC radio about his opposition to same-sex marriage, he said: "I've stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."
Good grief! I find the archbishop's words astonishing. Is Justin Welby saying that Americans with "liberal attitudes" about gay sexuality are complicit in murder?
Clarifying his comments on the mass grave, he said: "What was said was that 'If we leave a Christian community in this area' - I am quoting them - 'we will all be made to become homosexual, so we are going to kill the Christians.' The mass grave had 369 bodies in it, and I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul - as does the suffering of gay people in this country."
A deep tragedy, indeed and a sight surely never to be forgotten.  Where was the mass grave?  Do the murderers speak truthfully about the reason for the mass killing?  Is it right to take the words of murderers on the reason for the killings and, on that basis, refuse justice and equality to the LGTB members of the Church of England?
"I was in the South Sudan a few weeks ago and the church leaders there were saying: 'Please do not change what you are doing because then we could not accept your help. And we need your help desperately.' And we have to listen to that."
I have news for the archbishop: Diocese to diocese and parish to parish relationships continue between Episcopal churches and African Anglican churches, despite the rants of homophobic African bishops about the practices of the Episcopal Church.  Policies of justice and equality for LGTB Episcopalians have been implemented, even as TEC and African churches continue to work together. The ABC seems to think "bash the Americans" is good church policy. I don't know. Maybe it works for him.
"What was said was that 'If we leave a Christian community in this area' - I am quoting them - 'we will all be made to become homosexual, so we are going to kill the Christians.' The mass grave had 369 bodies in it, and I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul - as does the suffering of gay people in this country."
Why not lay the blame squarely where it belongs, on the murderers and leaders who pass and implement draconian laws that cause great suffering and even death for LGTB people in their countries?  Why  blame Americans with "liberal attitudes"?
Asked whether he could imagine a day when two people of the same sex married in the Church of England, he said: "I look at the scriptures, I look at the teaching of the Church, I listen to Christians round the world, and I have real hestitations [sic] about that. "

He added, however: "I am incredibly uncomfortable about saying that. I really don't want to say no to people who love each other, but you have to have a sense of following what the teaching of the Church is. We can't just make sudden changes."
"Sudden changes?" Where has he been for the last 20 years?

More from Archbishop Welby on the broadcast, which runs for nearly an hour.
Rev Welby’s callers included former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe, who asked him whether the Church does or does not approve of homosexuality. The Archbishop told her drily: “How unsurprised I am by that question, I can't imagine.

“I just said the Church is quite clear that sex outside marriage is wrong, and marriage has been understood as a man and woman. That seems to be a fairly clear statement.

“I'm not going to pull my punches on that. I think I'm right, you think I'm wrong. We differ.”
Where's the love in saying no to marriage or a blessing to two people of the same sex who love each other? Where's the love in saying to gay priests that they can never marry and must always remain celibate?

It seems to me that unless and until the office of Archbishop of Canterbury is separate from the office of "primus inter pares" of the Anglican Communion, LGTB members of the Church of England will continue to be held hostage without justice and equality because of homophobic attitudes of certain African bishops.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's statement on the vote to allow women bishops in the Church of England:
Today's overwhelming vote demonstrates the widespread desire of the Church of England to move ahead with ordaining women as bishops, and at the same time enabling those who disagree to flourish. There is some way to go, but we can be cautiously hopeful of good progress. The tone of the debate was strikingly warm and friendly, and a great debt of gratitude is owed to the Steering Committee for the draft legislation, and to those who facilitated the meetings so effectively. The more we learn to work together the more effective the church will be in meeting the huge challenges of spiritual renewal, and above all service to our communities, so as to both proclaim and demonstrate the reality of the love of Christ.
Am I alone in detecting a bit of dissonance in the archbishop's acknowledgement of "the widespread desire of the Church of England to move ahead with ordaining women as bishops" paired with "and at the same time enabling those who disagree to flourish"? His choice of the word "flourish" for those who disagree with the vote seems an odd choice of terminology. I expect I will never understand archbishopspeak.  The word mealy-mouthed comes to mind.  I don't know what Justin Welby is trying to say. By guarding his words so carefully, he ends up making no sense at all to me. Is a mandatory crash course in archbishopspeak (aka obfuscation) required after appointment as ABC?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Earlier I had thought of commenting on at least parts of  Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's speech yesterday in Parliament's House of Lords, in which he announces that he cannot support the bill that would allow civil marriage for couples of the same sex in England and Northern Ireland.  Since Colin Coward, in his post at "Changing Attitude", covers what I would say and more, only in far better words, I decided to let him have the floor. Colin is, after all, over there in England, and he is gay, so his response carries more weight than would mine.

Before I move out of the way, there is one point I'd like to make.  (Are you truly surprised that I could not maintain complete silence on the matter?) Justin says he is sorry about the church's treatment of the gay community: is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should. I must express my sadness and sorrow for that considerable failure.
Then he proceeds to insist that discriminatory treatment must continue with regard to marriage equality.  Does his apology for past actions inoculate the church from charges that it is still not serving the LGBT community as it should at the present time?  I don't think so.  Does Justin give a thought to the people he serves who will be most affected by the vote?  I am not gay, and I can only imagine the pain his words cause LGTB persons. 

On to a snippet from Colin, but please read his entire post.
Archbishop Justin’s solution to the intractable problems that introducing same-sex marriage would create is to add a new and valued institution alongside marriage for same gender relationships. Dear Archbishop, have you thought this through – have you asked those of us who are gay and represent many LGB&T Anglicans? How would you create a new and valued institution that is the equivalent of marriage but isn’t marriage.
Exactly, Archbishop.  Have you asked?

UPDATE: The Bill has now had its second Reading in the House of Lords. The Bill will now get to Committee stage where it will be scrutinised in detail and amendments may be proposed. The proposed amendments will then be discussed in a Third Reading. If the Bill passes that too, the next stage will be Royal Assent (a formality) before it becomes law.

Thanks to my friend Erika on Facebook.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


THE Archbishop of Canterbury will call on the government this week to make further concessions in the same-sex marriage bill to protect those with moral objections to gay and lesbian weddings.

In a significant intervention during a debate in the House of Lords, Justin Welby is expected to urge ministers to ensure that faith schools and teachers who do not wish to promote gay marriage in class will be able to refuse to do so without penalty.

Welby, the head of the Church of England, is likely to reiterate the objections of the church to gays and lesbians being allowed to marry and his support for traditional marriage.
What about Justin Welby's pastoral duty to all the members of the Church of England?  What about Justin's earlier words of praise for gay relationships?  "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship."  And yet, he will say that the people in England "with moral objections" need to be protected from same-sex couples in "stunning" relationships being allowed to marry.  How likely is it that teachers in faith schools will be forced to promote gay marriage?  Such fear as is demonstrated in the concerns of Christian opponents of same-sex marriage, including Justin Welby, is quite troubling.   For heaven's sake, if you want protection against same-sex marriage, then don't marry a person of the same sex.

The link is to a teaser, as only subscribers to the Sunday Times are able to read the entire article.

Thanks to Ann for the link.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


IT IS hard to imagine a prime minister doing such a thing now, and even then it seemed rather surprising. In May 1988 Margaret Thatcher went to the General Assembly of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland and gave what would soon be called the Sermon on the Mound. It was an impassioned statement of a certain form of Christianity. The Conservative leader stressed individual salvation over social reform, the legitimacy of moneymaking when combined with altruism, and the “responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ”.

In religion, as in so much else, Mrs (later Lady) Thatcher was a bundle of paradoxes. She was the last British prime minister openly and emphatically to acknowledge the influence of Christianity on her thinking, in particular terms not fuzzy ones.

Precisely because she had such well-defined ideas, Mrs Thatcher was almost bound to have stormy relations with England’s established religion. In her time, the Archbishop of Canterbury was Robert Runcie (pictured above), an Oxford contemporary who irked her considerably. A decorated tank commander, he commemorated the Argentine dead at a service following the Falklands war; he produced “Faith in the City”, a left-wing tract on urban blight; and he chided the government for demonising its opponents. Mrs Thatcher preferred the chief rabbi, Immanuel Jakobovits, who shared her view that self-improvement, not subsidies, would relieve poverty.

She helped to ensure that Archbishop Runcie was succeeded by George Carey, an unpretentious evangelical who this week remembered her as a person of “uncomplicated but very strong faith”.
Thatcher's political philosophy, nurtured by her view of Christianity that little resembles the Gospel, put the baroness squarely on the side of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps and not looking to the government for support.  Her speech makes for quite an interesting read, and it's easy to see why she and Runcie did not get on, and why she wished to insure that he was not followed by another archbishop who would write "left-wing tracts" against war and sympathizing with the plight of the poor and unemployed.   Thatcher speaks of the Kingdom of God in her speech:
The New Testament is a record of the Incarnation, the teachings of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Again we have the emphasis on loving our neighbour as ourselves and to "Do-as-you-would-be-done-by".

I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain: a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life.

We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. "If a man will not work he shall not eat" wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.
Thatcher's view of the Kingdom of God sounds very like the prosperity gospel preached today.  All Christians are meant to be prosperous, and those who are poor - well it's their own doing.

Monday, March 25, 2013


He said this was because some felt the blessings were “logical, natural and compassionate”.

His comments come amid tensions within the Church over its opposition to the Government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
The newly enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has underlined his opposition to the plans.

He said: “At the moment the policy is, 'Don’t ask, don’t tell’. We all know that in many dioceses there are one or two places these gay blessings have been happening. It’s hypocrisy, although it is understandable.

He added: “It is very difficult when an institution is too frightened of its own shadow to engage with the real world.

“True leadership is about coping with reality. On the ground, parish churches often deal with these things really well.”
From across the pond, Alan's courageous words continue to inspire and bring the fresh air of clarity to the discussion of blessing same-sex partnerships in the Church of England.  We find no mincing of words, no muddying the waters, no wishy-washy attempts to straddle the gap, but rather an expression of simple pastoral care and compassion for gay couples and a plea for the church to end the hypocrisy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Included in the interview are statements by Justin Welby that I find troubling.  The partial transcript below is mine, and I don't vouch for every word as correct.  One word is missing, because, even after listening a number of times, I could not understand what the archbishop said, so I left a blank. A reader supplied the word.

After the question about the decreasing numbers of the English who attend church, the interviewer asks:
Question: Could the source of that be that the church seems so out of touch with the mainstream on a number of issues, especially sexuality?

Response: The Church of England holds very firmly and continues to hold the view that marriage is a lifelong union of one man and one woman.  At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human is the essential dignity of the human being, and so we have to be very clear about homophobia.  You don't by muddling these ideas.  You don't suddenly provide the answer to dwindling congregations.  There's a very big difference between the ideals that we hold to that are essential to us and also pastoral practice.  In pastoral practice, you work with people as they are, as you hope they work with you, as you are yourself, and we are all conscious of our failings.  Anyone who goes around saying, I'm so ideal that I've got it absolutely right, and we can throw out those people we disagree with is completely out of order.  That's just not the way it works.
I confess my first reaction was, "And they let you get away with this?"  In the two questions and answers that I so laboriously transcribed, Justin seems to be doing what he said mustn't be done, namely muddling ideas.  To accept the idea that a straight person can have a marriage, but an LBGT person cannot, is homophobia, at least as I see it.  Why must the church hold "very firmly that marriage is a lifelong union of one man and one woman"?  Because of tradition?  The church changed its practice about a number of traditions.  To name only two: slavery and divorce.

Is it because of the few verses in the Scriptures that appear to refer to same-sexuality?  Surely Justin knows that the case against same-sex paetnerships and same-sex marriage in the Bible is quite weak.  None of the passages refer to faithful, loving, committed relationships of two persons of the same sex. Don't take my word for it; read Tobias Haller's book titled Reasonable and Holy.  Jesus never mentions same-sexuality in the Gospels, but he explicitly condemns divorce.  I'm mystified about what the church would allow in the way of pastoral practice.  It would seem very much like turning a blind eye, which Justin denied when the interviewer mentioned it.
Question: Do you worry sometimes that the concept of equality is beginning to displace Christian values?

Response: Equality as an aim and end in itself is something of a myth because people are not equal; they're different, and if we try to make them equal, we take away the extraordinary richness and diversity of human beings in all kinds of ways, and that's a huge mistake to make.  How you treat people can be equal without saying that you'll all be the same.
Balderdash!  Actually, a stronger word, not suitable for polite company, came to mind.  Justin Welby knows full well that those of us who advocate for equality for LGTB persons do not intend to "take away the extraordinary richness and diversity of human beings".  Why would he say such a thing?  We advocate for exactly what the archbishop says he wants: equal treatment under the law and in the church.

Since I had limited energy for transcribing, I picked out the archbishop's answers that troubled me most, but I believe the interview is a poor performance that sheds little light on Justin's admittedly evolving views on same-sexuality.  Unless he wishes to spend a good deal of his time answering questions about the issue, he must do better.

From the BBC.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

At the invitation of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori will attend the enthronement celebration on March 21 at Canterbury Cathedral.

“I look forward to joining with other primates of the Anglican Communion for the investiture of the next Archbishop of Canterbury,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “It is a particular delight to welcome Justin Welby in this role, as we have come to know him over the last several years, both in The Episcopal Church and among the primates.  He enters this role at a time of opportunity and challenge, when many people hope for continued growth and maturation within the Communion.”

During the trip, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will attend the Anglican Communion Primates Standing Committee, of which she is an elected member.

Archbishop Welby is the former bishop of Durham.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is considered one of the four instruments of Communion of the Anglican Communion; the others are the Lambeth Conferences, the Primates Meetings and the Anglican Consultative Council.
Inquiring Episcopalian minds want to know...about the mitre, that is.

UPDATE: My question in the headline is moot.  The Primates who attend the enthronement ceremony wear the rochet and chimere.

Rowan Williams' enthronement
Thanks to Lapin at Facebook for the photo, which is from the ACNS.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The good news:
Parliament took a historic step towards embracing full equality for gay people when MPs voted on Tuesday overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage at the end of a charged Commons debate that exposed the deep rift over David Cameron's modernising agenda at the heart of the Conservative party.

The 225-vote majority, greeted with rare applause in the public gallery, was marred for the prime minister, who suffered a humiliating rebuff when more than half of the Conservative parliamentary party declined to support the government on an issue he has personally invested in.
The Church of England lags behind the secular government and the people of the country in its response to "Equal Civil Marriage". 
The Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable ―all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Such a move would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history.
Note that the church's response is to civil marriage.  If, as is likely, the bill passes in the House of Lords and goes to the PM, no authority will force any church or clergy to officiate at same-sex marriages, but churches that wish to do so may move forward.  In fact, as an added protection, the law would ban the Church of England and the Church in Wales from performing same-sex marriages.

The statement that "the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman" is "enshrined in human institutions throughout history" is nonsense.  Throughout history, marriage has had many different expressions, even in the Scriptures.

The further explanation of the church's position includes the following:
The Church‟s understanding of marriage

1. In common with almost all other Churches, the Church of England holds, as a matter of  doctrine and derived from the teaching of Christ himself, that marriage in general – and not just the marriage of Christians – is, in its nature, a lifelong union of one man with one woman.
As Molly Ivins would say, "You can't make this stuff up!"  The church allows divorce.  Maybe the explanation should be corrected to only one man and one woman at a time.  I favor the acceptance by the church of divorce and remarriage in certain circumstances for pastoral reasons, but to use the teaching of Jesus on marriage as a "lifelong union of one man with one woman" in order to condemn same-sex marriage, about which Jesus never said a word, is less than honest and not at all pastoral.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby weighed in with his opinion:
Speaking about the vote, the 57-year-old archbishop said: "I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this.

"We have made many statements about this and I stick with that."
What else could he say?  I guess...  Archbishop Justin said earlier, he will "listen to the voice of the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking."  One can only hope he has not given up on the plan.  The position of Archbishop of Canterbury is a bully pulpit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Sources have confirmed that the Eton-educated bishop will be announced as successor to Dr Rowan Williams as early as Friday, after the Crown Nominations Commission put his name forward to Downing Street. 

It marks a meteoric rise for the former oil executive who has been a bishop for only a year, but insiders described Welby as "the outstanding candidate".
The bookies and Ruth Gledhill were right.

Bishop Welby supports women bishops, but so far as I can discern, he probably does not favor either same-sex marriage or gay bishops.

In a pastoral letter to his diocese on the issue he wrote how he was "committed to and believes in the ordination of women as bishops".

He has been less forthright about his views on homosexuality. While he has rigorously defended the Church's right to oppose single-sex marriages, he has also been keen to accommodate opposing views expressed from a position of deeply held faith.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Ruth Gledhill in the Times says:
Speculation grew tonight that the Bishop of Durham Justin Welby is about to be unveiled as the next Archbishop of Canterbury after a leading bookmaker suspended betting on the race.
Well, if the bookies and Ruth don't know, who does?

H/T to Ann Fontaine at The Lead.

Just a little something to take your mind off the election. Whew! I need a break.

Monday, October 1, 2012


He is, we are often told, the moral voice of the nation. A man (sadly it still has to be a man) who has the heady task of leading Britain’s Anglicans, speaking as the nation’s conscience and herding the 77 million cats that make up the Anglican Communion in the rest of the world, many of whom would rather stone a gay man than embrace him.
No easy task. So it must be important to make sure the candidates for the Archbishop of Canterbury are at the top of their game and picked in the most representative and transparent way possible, right? Wrong.

The method for choosing Dr Rowan Williams’ replacement is as arcane and archaic as it was in the time of Henry VIII. A secretive committee meets at a secretive location to discuss a never-made-public list. Two names are given to the Prime Minister who hands them over to the Queen. You can’t apply for the job and anyone who suggests too publicly that they want it, usually doesn’t get it.
In his column in The Independent Jerome Taylor explores not only the process of choosing the Archbishop of Canterbury but also the implications of the choice not only for the Church of England but for the Anglican Communion.  The process seems strange to us in the Episcopal Church, for we elect our Presiding Bishop in a more democratic and less secretive process.

With respect to the Anglican Communion, perhaps it's time to open the office of Primus inter pares to primates of other member churches in the Communion for a term of a set number of years, lasting not as long as the present Archbishop of Canterbury served in the role.  Such an arrangement would relieve the archbishop of the onerous duty of playing the added role of leader of the Communion for his (for now) entire term of office.

And now perhaps I should move on to another subject.  I have to say that to focus for a spell on the selection of the Archbishop of Canterbury was a welcome relief to the seemingly everlasting campaign season here in the US.  On to the debates!

UPDATE: I should have noted that the position of Archbishop of Canterbury is not restricted to an Englishman, but the candidate must be a citizen of one of the countries in the Commonweath of Great Britain who swear allegiance to the Queen the Commonwealth monarchies.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


The panel choosing the next archbishop of Canterbury is rumoured to be deadlocked after meeting in secrecy for three days last week.

The lack of a clear winner so far has led to speculation that the original frontrunner, the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has divided the Crown Nominations Commission, and that he may even be out of the race.

Reports indicated that the 16-strong panel may also have ruled out the bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.

It is understood the panel will be holding a further session, indicating it has been unable to agree on a candidate.

Other frontrunners in contention are the bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, and the bishop of Norwich, Graham James.
Thinking Anglicans has many more links to articles on the Crown Nominations Commission's efforts to complete the task of choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

From the comments at Thinking Anglicans;
If stalemate or deadlock really has resulted at the last meeting of the CNC - then why not have a period of interregnum in order to reflect thoughtfully and prayerfully on who should succeed the saintly Rowan? After all - in a bid to economise many dioceses seems to positively encourage long interregnums in parishes - often of two years or more - in order to save on stipends. That is unless the benefice becomes a "House for Duty" parish - as the number of these former livings seem to grow by the week in the advert columns of the Church Times. Now, there's a thought - why not a "Palace (or two) for Duty" for the next ABC?
Heh heh.  

Friday, September 28, 2012


It is reported that the Crown Nominations Commission cannot agree on a candidate for Archbishop of Canterbury.  See The Lead, headlined Times source on ABC nomination: "A decision is not imminent".

According to Ruth Gledhill in the Times:
The body responsible for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to agree who should be the successor to Dr Rowan Williams.

Despite a three day session, aided by prayers invoked on Twitter with the hashtage #prayforthecnc, the 16-member committee has been unable to decide on who should take on the job that the present incumbent today implied was “impossible”.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The body responsible for choosing Rowan Williams's successor as archbishop of Canterbury will meet on Wednesday amid great secrecy and speculation that an Old Etonian former oil executive may become the 105th man to sit on the throne of St Augustine.

As the 16 voting members of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) gather at a secret location for a final two-day meeting, Justin Welby, the bishop of Durham, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to take over when Williams stands down at the end of the year.
That choosing the man (for now) to lead the Church of England, to perform whatever other duties are assigned to the head of the established church in England, and to serve as Primus inter pares of the churches of the Anglican Communion is in the hands of 19 people, 15 men and 4 women (3 non-voting members), on the CNC in secret proceedings in a secret place seems strange to most members of the Episcopal Church in the US, where our presiding bishop and all bishops are chosen in a more open and democratic process.

At one time, the concern of Episcopalians in the US about which person was chosen as ABC was for the sake of our sisters and brothers in England, but ++Rowan Williams changed all that with his interference in the governance of our church and his attempt to impose the odious Anglican Covenant on all the churches in the Anglican Communion.

Prayer for the Crown Nominations Commission

A Prayer to be used for the Crown Nominations Commission on the 26th and 27th September 2012 as they consider the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury

Almighty God,

you have given your Holy Spirit to the Church
to lead us into all truth:
bless with the Spirit's grace and presence
the members of the Crown Nominations Commission.
Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love,
that they may seek your will, manifest your glory
and prepare the way of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Although he's fourth in line behind Christopher Cocksworth, Graham James, and John Sentamu, Giles Fraser likes Bishop of Durham Justin Welby for Archbishop of Canterbury.
Paddy Power has him as 6:1 to be the next archbishop of Canterbury. But Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is having none of it. He really doesn't want the job. "Lets be clear, I'm one of the thicker bishops in the Church of England," he tells me. I'm not taken in by this disarming self-deprecation – something for which Old Etonians like him are not especially noted. No, there is nothing remotely thick about Bishop Welby. 
Ah well, I don't know whether Bishop Welby is thick or not, so I'll take Giles' word for it that he's not.  For the sake of my English friends, I hope and pray for a wise choice by the Crown Nominations Commission.  For the sake of the Anglican Communion, too, although I hope the leaders of the Episcopal Church will never again be as obsequious to another Archbishop of Canterbury as they have been at times to Archbishop Rowan.  I also nurse a small hope that the next ABC might like the members of the Episcopal Church just a little and have the occasional kind word for us, unlike Rowan Williams who seemed so often to scorn, scold, and lecture.
"I have tried to avoid saying anything," he admits at the end of the interview. Well, I'm not sure he succeeded. On many levels he seems like a central-casting Church of England bishop. On the subject of women bishops he speaks of the need to square the circle, reconciling those who think it a theological necessity and those who think it a theological impossibility. How do you do this? "Well, you just look at the circle and say it's a circle with sharp bits on it."
On the question of women bishops, Bishop Welby surely succeeded in not saying anything to me, for I have no idea what he means by his "circle with sharp bits on it".  Still, he'd have Giles Fraser's vote, if he had a vote, which should count for something.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Bosco Peters at Liturgy:
Recently all clergy received instructions from our diocesan office to read a letter aloud in every church building. This is a very rare event in our diocesan life. In this case the letter was doubly unusual. It is a letter from The Revd Canon Dr Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, asking for input into the process of seeking the next Archbishop of Canterbury, a process led by the Crown Nominations Commission of the Church of England.

Now I’m all for consultation, and I think this is kind of sweet (but please pewsitter number 3 out of 5 at Waikikamukau, don’t be naive enough to spend energy on preparing a submission thinking that this will influence the decision-making processes in the rooms and lavatories where the Crown Nominations Commission meets). But the real reason I was surprised was best articulated by an insightful friend of mine.

The subliminal message of “international consultation” for the Archbishop of Canterbury is an attempt to shift ecclesiology towards Anglicanism being a worldwide church. This is the ecclesiology undergirding the “Anglican Covenant”.
The title of the post is "The Archbishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction in this realm"Bosco is spot on.  The archbishop hath no jurisdiction beyond his realm of the Church of England.  What the Secretary General of the ACO seems to be attempting is the putting-the-facts-on-the-ground strategy.  We are all one church, and all the provinces in the communion will have the opportunity to weigh in and offer opinions on who should be chosen as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.  Say it often enough, and it will be so.  Balderdash!

The post at Liturgy is well worth reading in it's entirety, as Bosco reveals the scene behind the smoke and mirrors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


From the Guardian:
A leading member of the Church of England who believes some gay people can be counselled to suppress or possibly change their sexual orientation is helping to select the next archbishop of Canterbury.

Glynn Harrison, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Bristol University, is on the Crown Nominations Commission, which will recommend a successor to Rowan Williams, to be approved by the prime minister and the Queen. His role on the 16-strong commission has alarmed some liberal Anglicans who fear it could deepen divisions over homosexuality in a church riven by the issues of holding gay civil ceremonies in churches and the consecration of gay bishops.

In a statement through the church, Harrison stated that he did not believe in a "gay cure" and had himself never offered formal counselling or therapy.
A non-denial denial, methinks.

I assume Professor Glynn Harrison' presence on the commission is to provide 'balance' as the Faux News cable channel provides 'fair and balanced news'.  Sometimes there are not two rational sides in a situation to present to provide balance, and when that is the case, then why search out a phony balance?

From the American Psychological Association:
Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects. This information is designed to provide accurate information for those who want to better understand sexual orientation and the impact of prejudice and discrimination on those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
The church should be leading the way advocating for the removal of the stigma attached to LGTB sexual orientation, rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into the way of justice and equality by secular institutions. 
 H/T to Simon Sarmiento at Thinking Anglicans.