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The ABC And The ABC Of The Anglican Communion

Rockefeller Centre NYC Atlas

Rockefeller Centre NYC Atlas

The Vortex

 Anyone who saw the Archbishop of Canterbury carry a wooden cross through the streets of Dover on Good Friday can be in little doubt that he feels genuine anguish at the agony the Anglican Communion perceives itself to be in, apparently incapable of resolution. On the one hand are the GAFCON countries, as convinced of the moral rectitude of their own position as any Pharisee; on the other are the rest of us, who find Galatians a better guide to Christianity than Leviticus.

On 4 April, somewhat unfortunately juxtaposed with his visit to The Episcopal Church, Archbishop Justin took part in a phone-in on LBC:

A subsequent report in the Daily Telegraph said:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested he is powerless to provide blessings for gay marriages because to do so would split the global Anglican Church.  In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation. Although indicating that he was sympathetic to calls for the Church to publicly honour gay relationships, the Archbishop says that it is “impossible” for some followers in Africa to support homosexuality. In the interview, the leader of the Anglican Church, which has 77 million followers globally, speaks movingly of the persecution faced by Christians in parts of the world. He indicates that the Church must not take a step that would cut off these groups, most of them in the third world, however much this angers parts of society in Britain…“I do believe passionately that unity is something we have to maintain,” the Archbishop said privately soon afterwards. “I may be wrong, but I also believe that to take a step that means that people who desperately need our help — and who we can help — can’t take it, feel in their own culture that it is impossible to be helped by us, is something that we can’t easily do.”
Interview in the Telegraph, 18 Apr 2014

Possibilities for Reconciliation

Church leaders, when faced with an intractable situation, are given to dumping the whole problem on God, and asking Him to to sort things out. Sometimes, though, one senses that God’s response is to decline to accept, and kindly but firmly return the problem to us. One reason may be that he wants us to come up with a third possibility, to think again. For one thing:

“If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family – anything you like – at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.”
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Send for a child of five

Imagine that you are faced with a set of impenetrably difficult assembly instructions from IKEA. What do you do? Well, for Groucho Marx the solution was:

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. 

A child of five might suggest the following:

The Anglican Communion is not a Church, it is a loose association of Christian churches which were set up by the Church of England in British colonies around the world two or three hundred years ago and which have since developed through the work of the Holy Spirit and according to the characteristics of the country in which they were implanted. Rather as the Queen has the courtesy title of ‘Head of the Commonwealth’, the Archbishop of Canterbury of the day is primus inter pares of all Anglican bishops. He is not the ‘head of the Anglican Church’, for there is no such thing.

What’s the problem? Each province is entitled, and has always been entitled, to interpret Christianity in the way that seems right in their own circumstances.

Er, that’s it.

Peaceful co-existence or mutually assured destruction

The Churches of the Anglican Communion are essentially faced with this choice. Either we try and follow Krushchev’s policy introduced in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the CPSU or those of us on the sidelines, powerless to halt our leaders from taking us into the vortex through their intransigence, are in little doubt that the alternative is mutually assured destruction. And all for the want of a child of five.

‘If It’s Not Pleasant, It Doesn’t Exist’

My grandmother never actually said this to me. But it was the leitmotiv of her life, thanks to which she lived to be 99 years old. I know half a dozen other nonagenarians, and they all have this in common: they do not dwell on the global economic downturn, global warming, or why that Mrs Jones down the road is such a bitch has a less than sunny disposition. They pour themselves another gin, play another rubber of bridge or go for a walk. They live without passion of any sort (well, they are in their nineties) but this includes love and hate. They are not passionately for or passionately against anything. They do not discuss politics, religion or sex, or indeed any other topic about which anyone might feel strongly. They do not show feelings in public (the mantra of this class is ‘No PDA’ – no Public Display of Affection).  To do so would be bad form. They do not weep in public, or ever evince any pain or self-pity. They offer no sympathy (beyond the most formal expression), and they shudder at the thought of sympathy being shown to them. By definition, they are not needy.

Of course, by the time my grandmother and her kind are in their nineties, they probably are needy, if only physically. For them this is the hardest part of old age, that they have to accept help from others and allow chinks to appear in their armour.

I sometimes think my kind of Anglican is like this. I have just learned that I am technically a liberal Anglo-Catholic – I have always thought of myself as plain old CofE but now see that there are many strands of worshippers who all self-identify as Church of England but whose worshipping style – and beliefs- are very different. Yesterday I attended (and will post about separately) a communion service led by a Charismatic Evangelical. My knee-jerk reaction was to wince at the emotional incontinence, but a part of me – normally severely repressed- also responded.

I think I could happily make the transition to The Episcopal Church (TEC) and feel at home. I was brought up to think that good manners are all-important, and TEC is above all the home of good manners: ‘After you’; ‘No, after you’. ‘No cake until you have had the bread and butter’. And so on.

But word reaches me that these good manners may stand in the way of common sense at the TEC General Convention to be held from July 5-12 in Indianapolis: agreeing with me that the current ‘sorry state of things entire’ of the Anglican Covenant is such that it definitely counts as unpleasant, and being unwilling to intrude on private grief,  some say it might be best not to discuss it all, and simply sweep it under the carpet.

Siren voices! Please, fellow Anglicans, do not listen to them! We have managed in the Church of England, diocesan synod by painful diocesan synod, to reject it. But the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion regards this as merely a little local difficulty. Is he burying his head in the sand like the man in the YouTube video which illustrates this post? That is a matter of opinion.

But my fellow members of the Church of England and I are looking for a lead on this from The Episcopal Church. Please do not let us down!







The Covenant: It’s Dead But It Won’t Lie Down!

Benny Hazlehurst has laid the Covenant to rest (without adding the now customary ‘And rise in glory’:)

There are those who are still trying to pretend that the Covenant is still alive, desperately trying to breathe life into its limp body, while claiming still to feel the faintest pulse.  They are mistaken. What is needed now is to recognise the will of the Synodical process, and express deep and sincere thanks to those who genuinely tried to find a way forward for the Anglican Communion in the form of a Covenant – and to let it now Rest in Peace. Having led hundreds of funerals since my ordination over 20 years ago, I know that the best funerals are those where the mourners gather to say a loving good bye – and the worst are those where the grievers meet in a kind of desperate denial. For the good intentions of those who tried to square this circle, the Anglican Covenant deserves a good funeral which will enable us all to move on and find new ways of living together as the living Anglican Body of Christ.

Bishop Alan has poured scorn on attempts to resuscitate the corpse (the Covenant – not the Church as a whole, which may actually be rejuvenated by events).

The Fulcrum website appears to recognise that the game is over, at least for now. First Andrew Goddard,

  It is also the case that General Synod cannot reconsider the Act during this Synod. It would be open to the new Synod, elected in 2015, to again request the dioceses to approve a draft Act of Synod adopting the covenant or consider an alternative way of the Church of England adopting it.  However, unless there are significant changes in the text of the covenant or strong evidence of a serious change of mind within the wider church (perhaps if most provinces do adopt it and we are a small minority refusing), both of these paths would appear unwise.

and then Bishop Graham Kings

…The Covenant was designed as a ‘web of mutuality’ across the Anglican Communion: a balance of provincial autonomy with world-wide interdependence and accountability. The Covenant sets out an orderly process towards the resolutions of conflicts to replace the chaotic, hastily arranged meetings of the past, which too often have led to a barrage of curses and contested statements. Tragically, last Saturday, the Covenant was voted down in three dioceses of the Church of England and now cannot be debated and voted on in General Synod next July. It needed over half of the 44 dioceses to vote for it positively. So far 23 dioceses have voted no, and 15 yes. Interestingly, the total number of votes, so far, is slightly over half in favour and, amongst the bishops, nearly 80% were in favour.


However, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, Canon Kenneth Kearon, put out a statement sounding remarkably like Michael Palin as the unfortunate salesman in the Monty Python dead parrot sketch:

In short, it is dead, but it won’t lie down!

On A Knife Edge

Vote For the Covenant!
Vote Against the Covenant!

Vote out of conviction
Vote with your best judgement
Vote for what’s best for the Church

But don’t be rail-roaded!
Don’t be bounced into a vote on the future of the Communion!
You were elected to bring your best judgement to the issues.

Anyone who follows Paul Bagshaw’s ‘Not The Same Stream’ blog knows that he is normally the most restrained and sober of men. But this is an extract from his blog of yesterday, a clarion call in glorious technicolour to the people in the six dioceses who are to vote today and the remaining six who are to vote before the end of April.


Today is the turn of:


Because the voting tally so far is 20 against the Covenant, with only 12 for, it is tempting to project that the outcome of today will be in a similar proportion. Sadly, however, the laws of probability do not work like that.  The reason for this is that, pace the Bishop of Sherborne, the people of the Church of England are much more like marbles than they are like grapes: they do not live, move and have their being in neat, predictable ways.


In situations like this, people have always consulted oracles. The most famous one of ancient times was the one at Delphi, of which Heraclitus said ‘it neither reveals nor conceals but gives a sign’. Teenagers since Victorian times have consulted The Ladies’ Oracle, which has now been turned into an Android game. Between the two, many people who were looking for a sign from God to help them come to a decision used to open the Bible at random and light on a verse, equally randomly. This verse would then be read and re-read, looking for illumination.


I had thought these days that I was no longer susceptible to that sort of fatalistic approach to messages from God. Well, life (and God) still have the capacity to surprise. Have you seen the lectionary for tomorrow, the fifth Sunday of Lent? The first reading at the principal service, according to Visual Liturgy, is Jeremiah 31.31-34

31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt – a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

The bold emphasis is of course mine, and you may read the passage completely differently. But to me, the message from God could hardly be clearer:

There is no need for a written Covenant, because I will write it in your hearts.

Nor is there any need for you to teach your neighbour how to know me.

The End Of The Beginning?

It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

I hope I have remembered that remark by Winston Churchill correctly (no doubt you will let me know otherwise), but it is one of those that is engraved on the memories of the English people, even though I was not alive when he said it.


After tomorrow’s votes on the Anglican Covenant in five more dioceses, we are likely to be able to feel they we have reached the end of the beginning. These are the five: if you are from any of these, and get any news of the vote, the rest of us would be extremely grateful if you would tweet, facebook or similarly broadcast it via carrier pigeon as the rest of us will be on tenterhooks.

Chester: time not known

Ely: time not known

Liverpool: 9.30-12.45

Norwich: time not known

St Albans: 9.30


It is interesting to speculate what effect the resignation of  the Archbishop of Canterbury is likely to have on the outcome. On the one hand, people might feel that they owe him a ‘yes’ vote as evidence of their loyalty. On the other hand, they may feel that if he is not to remain in office during the period when it will need to be implemented, it is not necessary to follow his lead and they will be free to vote according to their own views.


Meanwhile, we are all of us, the Archbishop included, climbing Jacob’s ladder:

Yes to the Anglican Communion; No to the Anglican Covenant

A new voice has joined in the debate on the Anglican Covenant, the ‘yes to the covenant‘ website. They have a page giving reasons why people should support the Covenant, among which is:

 “The Covenant is ‘the only game in town’ if the Church of England is to remain in any meaningful sense apart [sic] of the third largest world church. There is no alternative.  So the Church of England’s choices are to adopt the Covenant, or to disappear from the world’s radar as a significant voice in the world.”


Do you know the feeling when some thought or memory is bubbling away in your subconscious but  refuses to surface? It niggles away, sometimes for weeks or months.I have finally had that ‘Eureka!’ moment of remembering what all the statements by the Pro-Covenanters remind me of.

John Knox , a Hebrew Jeremiah set down on Scottish soil, sought to destroy what he felt was idolatry and to purify Scotland’s religion in a relentless campaign of fiery oratory :

“The sword of justice is God’s, and if princes and rulers fail to use it, others may.”

John Lloyd writes: There’s an old saying, which Scots still exchange with each other, usually humorously: “Aweel, ye ken noo” – well, you know now. It harks back to when Scots life was dominated by the stern Presbyterianism engrained into it by Calvin’s disciple, John Knox: when…’the Kirk’ policed the morals of society with enthusiastic rigour. “Well ye ken noo” was the generic cry of the godly to the un-godly, faced with the prospect of the fires of hell, having ignored the warnings of the faithful in a life of dissipation. On the left is a portrayal of John Knox admonishing Mary Queen of Scots, who looks suitably chastened and uncharacteristically subdued.

We have had a spate of attempts recently to crank up the guilt amongst those who would oppose the Covenant, partly at least because we do not believe it would have the beneficial effect that its proponents believe. Here is Bishop Gregory Cameron:

“The Bottom Line: Do we value the Communion?  Do we care enough to work together with our sister Churches?  Do we think that it is possible to describe what holds us together as Anglicans?  A “yes” to these questions is surely a “yes” to the Covenant.  A “No” to the Covenant says:  We can’t say what it means to be an Anglican, we want to be able to ignore our sister Churches when it suits us, and we won’t mind if up to half the Communion walks away.”


All three statements, the yes-to-the-covenant’s ‘only game in town’, John Knox’s ‘sword of justice’ and Bishop Gregory’s ‘ bottom line’ have one thing in common. They are examples of  False Dichotomy:

Definition: In false dichotomy, the arguer sets up the situation so it looks like there are only two choices. The arguer then eliminates one of the choices, so it seems that we are left with only one option: the one the arguer wanted us to pick in the first place. But often there are really many different options, not just two—and if we thought about them all, we might not be so quick to pick the one the arguer recommends.

Example: “Caldwell Hall is in bad shape. Either we tear it down and put up a new building, or we continue to risk students’ safety. Obviously we shouldn’t risk anyone’s safety, so we must tear the building down.” The argument neglects to mention the possibility that we might repair the building or find some way to protect students from the risks in question—for example, if only a few rooms are in bad shape, perhaps we shouldn’t hold classes in those rooms.


The first time I came across this alarming form of reasoning, which is difficult to answer because it is so sweeping, was in the novel of existential angst by Albert Camus, La Peste (The Plague), which was perhaps the equivalent for British teenagers of J D Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ in the 1960s. The priest, Father Paneloux, gives two sermons. The first is very much in John Knox Calvinist mode. The second asks the following:

“My brothers, a time of testing has come for us all. We must believe everything or deny everything. And who among you, I ask, would dare to deny everything?”

What happened to ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief’?


So what does the Covenant really say, should you vote yes or should you vote no? Alan Perry (a Canadian archdeacon with a background in canon law, in case you do not already know his blog) has written tirelessly about every conceivable aspect of all four sections of the Covenant. Here he writes on ‘A Tale of Two Covenants’. And here he writes about the frequent problem that those who are in favour of the Covenant often seem to read into its text provisions which sound attractive but are not actually in the printed text.

The Revd Tobias Haller, an American priest, has also blogged at length about the Covenant, here on possible alternatives. He concludes: ‘the proposed Anglican Covenant is not the way forward for the Anglican Communion, either as a Communion, or for the sake of its members, or for our ecumenical relationships.’

Finally, in the words of Kelvin Holdsworth of the diocese of Glasgow and Galloway:

‘We don’t want the Covenant. We do want the Communion.’


The main illustration is of course the logo of the Anglican Communion. The stained glass portrayal of John Knox comes from the Covenant Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, California. And the photograph of Albert Camus was taken in 1957 and made available through a CCL.

More Exciting Than Quidditch?

What are your plans for this Saturday? If you like to follow sport, you have a choice of watching  football (Coventry v Birmingham), golf (Florida), rugby union (Wales v Italy), swimming (Olympic trials) or tennis (Mexico). And I believe there are several games of quidditch around our universities.

But I have another suggestion. The most exciting spectator sport on offer this Saturday, 10 March 2012, is the Pro Anglican Covenant v Anti Anglican Covenant encounter being played out in another six diocesan synods across the land. These are exceptional times we live in – it has been said (rather rudely) that a deanery synod is a collection of people waiting to go home, and I have not heard that diocesan synods are any more gripping. But, if you have any imagination at all, this contest should have you on the edge of your seats with excitement.

Let us recap the current state of play (since we seem to be stuck in sporting metaphors). Voting on whether the Church of England should or should not adopt the Anglican Covenant has been rolling out in the dioceses since 12 March 2011 when (we hope prophetically) Wakefield rejected it. Since then, a further 20 dioceses have voted. The tally is currently 13 against the Covenant, 8 in favour.

I think it is probably fair to say that the results so far have been a great surprise to everyone. The Church of England hierarchy has certainly been taken aback by the strength of feeling in the country against it. The Archbishop of Canterbury saw fit to upload a video on 5 March in which his usual charm is nowhere to be seen. This feels like being reprimanded in the headmaster’s study:

In contrast, on 6 March Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch offered the following succinct summary of the arguments:

If I didn’t know better, I would say that the tone of Archbishop Rowan’s video indicates that he is running scared. I am reminded of  Mrs Thatcher’s taunt in 1983:

The Right Hon. Gentleman is afraid of an election is he?… Afraid? Frightened? Frit? Couldn’t take it? Couldn’t stand it?  *

The significance is that if a simple majority of dioceses reject the Covenant, it will not be returned to York General Synod in July, as had been intended. There are 44 dioceses, which means that 23 dioceses must therefore vote in favour for it to continue. It cannot be brought forward again until July 2015, the end of the present quinquennium. Benny Hazlehurst has just blogged  about the voting so far throughout the Communion (as well as highlighting some of the arguments so far in England).

The dioceses voting on Saturday, then, are:

Ripon and Leeds 9.00 – 1.00

Bath and Wells 9.30 a.m.

Southwark  10.00 all day

Carlisle  10.30 a.m.

Coventry (not known)

Worcester (not known)

Results will be posted on Facebook at the No Anglican Covenant page, on Thinking Anglicans, and will be tweeted by Lesley Crawley (@RevdLesley) and me (@layanglicana). And then we go through it all over again on Saturday 17th with Norwich, Liverpool, St Albans, Chester and Ely.


This has been a David and Goliath struggle. The whole weight of the Church of England has been brought to bear on influencing the result, resorting to such tactics as ensuring that the only briefing material sent to dioceses was, so far as the hierarchy was able to do so, in favour of the Covenant. If David does indeed succeed in defeating Goliath, it will be thanks to the bravery of the clergy who stood firm for what they knew to be right despite jeopardising their positions. The story of the struggle needs one of the romantic poets of the nineteenth century to do it justice, Macaulay perhaps?

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
‘To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods


*”Prime Minister’s Question Time, House of Commons (19 April, 1983). The use of ‘frit’, an unusual Lincolnshire dialect abbreviation of ‘frightened’ which Mrs Thatcher evidently recalled from childhood, was missed by MPs in a noisy chamber but heard very distinctly on the audio feed from the chamber” (Wikipedia)


The illustration is by iQoncept  via Shutterstock.

Should Anglicans Be Grapes Or Marbles?

This is the question posed by Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, in his address yesterday, 18 February, to Salisbury Diocesan Synod proposing the adoption of the Anglican Communion Covenant:

Do we wish to continue to have an organic Communion, like a bunch of grapes, or a disconnected Federation, like a bag of marbles?


Bishop Graham appears to think that the answer to this question is self-evident. But I’m not so sure. Even the use of the magic advertising slogan word ‘organic’ does not persuade me, nor would it persuade any other red-blooded Englishman or Englishwoman, to want to be part of a bunch of grapes. What would a human being that was part of such an ‘organic’ group look like? Well, the North Koreans are probably the best people to answer that one:

Would I rather be a marble? Infinitely! What would a  group of human beings that were part of a ‘disconnected Federation, like a bag of marbles’ look like? Luckily I don’t have to find a picture to explain that one. Look out of your window, walk down your street, go into a shop or, yes, a church. And what you will see are marbles. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, thin ones, patterned ones, plain ones – do I need to go on?

Surely, if Anglicanism offers the world anything, it is the opportunity to be part of a group of people which does NOT impose a homogeneous way of life, but welcomes all parts of God’s creation to work together for the coming of the kingdom of heaven.

Marbles of the world, let us unite!


◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

The photographs of the grapes are by peresanz,  the marbles are by Olga Popova, both via Shutterstock

The Tipping Point?


Many of those in the pews share my perception (until now) of the Church of England as a monolith not unlike Kafka’s castle:

The narrator, K, arrives in a village governed by a mysterious bureaucracy that resides in a nearby castle.  An official named Klamm tells K he will inform the Council Chairman of K’s arrival. This Council Chairman then tells K. that, through a mix up in communication between the castle and the village, his presence was requested by mistake, but offers K instead the position of caretaker. Meanwhile, K, unfamiliar with the customs, bureaucracy and processes of the village, continues to attempt to reach Klamm, which the villagers regard as strongly taboo. The villagers hold the officials and the castle in the highest regard, justifying their actions even though they appear not to know what the officials do.  Assumptions and justifications concerning the officials and their dealings are set out in lengthy monologues by the villagers. Everyone has their own explanation for the actions of any particular official, but these are all founded on assumptions and gossip. Actions by the officials are often impenetrable and contradictory, but the villagers continue to praise the officials who, in their eyes, can do no wrong. The castle is the ultimate bureaucracy with copious amounts of paperwork that the bureaucracy maintains is “flawless”. This flawlessness is, of course, an illusion; it was a flaw in the paperwork that erroneously brought K to the village… The castle’s occupants appear to be all adult men…

In the case of the Church, it is the chancel steps which divide ‘castle’ and ‘village’. The castle-dwellers, with all the advantages of possessing the hill-top known to combatants of old, let loose well-aimed arrows at those in favour of women bishops, the autistic,  members of the LGBT community and others in unproductive marriages (presumably including the childless).


But this may all be about to change? Like a butterfly beating its wings in the Amazonian jungle,  scattered and puny efforts by  hundreds and thousands of individuals seeking a rainbow Church, in which all of God’s creation is welcomed into a loving, inclusive Body of  Christ may, just may, be about to bear fruit. As we look back in years to come, I think Bishop Nick Holtam’s interview will stand out as the moment that the tide finally turned. Also important, however, in the same week (just before General Synod) was  a group of clergy in the Diocese of London signing a letter calling for the Church of England to reverse its ban on civil partnership ceremonies being held in churches.


I won’t quote Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem ‘say not the struggle naught availeth‘ yet again (though it may tempt you to follow the link if I tell you the lines are spoken by Paul Scofield with ‘Nimrod’ in the background). Instead, I offer a short extract from the lyrical description of the end of winter and the reign of the White Witch  in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’:

Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller…soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs…then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away altogether. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down on to the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree-tops. Soon there were more wonderful things happening…he noticed a dozen crocuses growing round the foot of an old tree – gold and purple and white. Then came a sound even more delicious than the sound of the water. Close beside the path they were following a bird suddenly chirped from the branch of a tree…’This is no thaw’, said the dwarf, suddenly stopping. This is Spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan‘s doing.’


If we are to have a Spring in the Anglican Church, it will not be like the October Revolution of 1917: I foresee no storming of Lambeth Palace, its residents may be relieved to hear. The nature of the revolution (and, if it comes, it will be a revolution, not a mere revolt) is more akin to the wisdom of the Eastern book, the I Ching: The overlapping hexagrams 39 and 55 read:

“An obstruction that lasts only for a time is useful for self-development. That is the value of adversity…the obstruction is overcome not by pressing forward into danger, nor by idly keeping still, but by retreating, yielding…water on the top of a mountain cannot flow down in accordance with its nature, because rocks hinder it. It must stand still. This causes it to increase, and the inner accumulation finally becomes so great that it overflows the barriers. The way of overcoming obstacles lies in turning inward and raising one’s own being to a higher level.”


I pay tribute to my fellow-campaigners, who have almost universally had the spiritual strength not to storm the barricades, but to retreat and yield until the water should reach a higher level. But has that moment finally come? Is it premature to dream of singing in unison Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy‘ (which needs liberating from its EU national anthem status to an expression of heavenly ecstasy as intended)? Will Hyde Park be big enough to contain us all for a big sing, do you think?

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them…

Maybe it takes a child to make us all pull together.
One, two, three: ‘All for one, one for all…’
That’s all.

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