Lay Anglicana, the unofficial voice of the laity throughout the Anglican Communion.
This is the place to share news and views from the pews.

Get involved ...

Category - "Archbishop Rowan":

Countdown To The Chains Of The Anglican Covenant

If the (well-intentioned) Archbishop of Canterbury were to have his way, the Anglican Covenant would, over the next few years, encircle the globe in chains.

However, there are unmistakable signs of rebellion, and it is beginning to look as if the select – extremely  select  –  group of signatories to the Covenant would fit on the head of a pin, leaving the great majority of Anglican Communion Provinces outside the inner circle of ‘true believers’.

In these circumstances, you might think the obvious course is to tear up the Covenant, while admitting that any document of 5,123 words and eleven A4 pages is unworkable as a worldwide definition of Anglicanism, quite apart from several unpalatable clauses in the small print. But what may be obvious to you and me appears not to be obvious to the powers that be.


Drinking in the last chance saloon

A nightmare* scenario is unfolding in England, home of the Anglican Communion. Although Provinces are not being asked to decide on the issue until 2015, Lambeth Palace is trying to ensure that General Synod votes on it as soon as possible (probably in 2012). Arms are being twisted to see to it that the Church of England signs on the dotted line, in the forlorn hope that the rest of the Communion will then follow suit.

This means that ordinary members of the Church of England (like me and perhaps you?), who are opposed to the provisions of the Covenant, need to make our voices heard as swiftly and as loudly as possible. You can try doing this through deanery synods, diocesan synods and so on. Or you could look for your diocesan representatives at General Synod for 2010-2015. But there is also another possibility.


Rousing the people of England as a whole

Unlike in other Provinces, the Church of England is the established Church: the Queen is Supreme Governor, some bishops sit in the House of Lords, and marriage by the Church of England is itself valid so far as the state is concerned, with no further licence required. The Church is part of the warp and weft of the fabric of our nation.

The population of England is about 52 million. Of these about 1.7 million attend church services once a month. So about 50 million people are therefore ‘passive’ church members, members of other denominations or faiths, agnostics or atheists.

Our task is to persuade as many as possible of these people that, although the day to day running of the Church of England may be a matter of indifference to them, because of the Church’s unique position its constitution forms part of the constitution of our nation.


What is the ‘British way of life’?

The political commentator, Sir Robin Day, wrote in his memoirs:

“in this country…our reasoning is tempered with humanity, moderated by fairness, based on truth, imbued with the Christian ethic, applied with commonsense, and upheld by law…there can be no place for absolutes, no place for theories which must be rigidly adhered to, no place for dogmas which must be defended to the death…there should be no principle which is too important to be reconsidered for the sake of others, no interest which cannot make some sacrifice for the common good. Equanimity is preferred to hysteria. Experience is a wiser guide than doctrine. Absolutes are alien to us…Such a constitution… can only work with the accompaniment of the conventions, traditions, customs, compromises, voluntary restraints and the national sense of fair play, all of which go to make up the Reasonable Society.”

Whereas Elizabeth I sought ‘not to make windows into men’s souls’, setting a precedent for the last 400 years of Anglicanism, the Church of which Elizabeth II is now supreme governor is seeking to do just that. The Queen is being asked, while monarch of a nation which now bans discrimination against homosexuals, to become supreme governor of a state Church which for the first time codifies such discrimination: she would then embody this dichotomy at the heart of our body politic.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of ‘the English way’

We are not asking for money but we do very much need your help to:

  • Write to as many people as possible to inform them of this threat, particularly
    • Journalists (newspapers, political weeklies)
    • Broadcasters (television and radio)
    • Academics (especially historians)
    • Members of both houses of parliament
    • Other members of ‘the chattering classes’.

    Will you

    • Tell everyone you meet – starting with your friends and relations
    • Give us ideas for campaigning, probably until July 2012
    • Offer IT/Social Media help: setting up and maintaining Facebook page? Twitter?

If you can help, please either respond in the comments section below or contact me at laurasykes{at}layanglicana{dot}org. Many thanks in advance!


Background on the Anglican Covenant

*There is no space here to explain why we describe the adoption of the Anglican Covenant as a nightmare scenario. You may like to explore further at these websites:

For those of you who prefer the visual approach, I strongly recommend the series of videos made by MrCatolick and available on YouTube. For example:

The Anglican Covenant 4 November 2010 2.54 minutes

Anglican Covenant tactics for General Synod 20 November 2010 1.54 minutes

Some thoughts on the Anglican Covenant 4 February 2011 7.08 minutes

He also provides a summary of his view of Anglican Covenant developments over the last year, seen from the point of view of someone who understands General Synod in and out.


Previous posts on this blog are here, here, here, here and here.



The photograph is ‘the earth chained and isolated’ by Andresr via Shutterstock.




Archbishop Rowan’s Thoughts on Lay Ministry

The title to this post is a sort of music-hall joke. The answer to the question: ‘what are ++Rowan’s thoughts on lay ministry?’ is
‘but ++Rowan doesn’t have any thoughts on lay ministry, does he? Does he?’ Boom-boom.

You must judge for yourselves. You can read the whole text of his address to Synod of 9 July 2011 here.

The following extracts give a flavour of the speech (but please read it in its entirety before coming to any conclusions).

“Effective ministerial presence is essential if people are to be in touch with the faithfulness of God through the Church.  It is more than just the presence of the worshipping community, vital as that is: this community has to have its presence focused and personalised in a way that makes it accessible.  And that is a central aspect of the role of the ordained, both directly (as the identifiable face of the worshipping community) and indirectly, as the catalyst that prompts worshippers into service by the repetition of the news of the gospel… We are never likely to return to the mythological past beloved of some critics when every small parish had its resident full-time pastor.  But – to pick up ideas and experiments that are being explored at the moment – sometimes what matters is having a person (literally a ‘parson’) in each small community who is genuinely recognisable as the focus of the Church’s presence, ordained or not; so that the ordained minister is there as friend and support for a number of such ‘presences’, and trained to recognise their giftings.  But this is not just a matter of encouraging people to ‘do jobs’ for the Church.  It is also about the way an ordained person can keep alive and impart to others ways of giving thanks, drawing together the prayer and aspiration of a community.  So how far do we currently think about an ordained minister as someone who can as a real priority communicate what the worship of the Church really is and help others to animate it? The ordained minister as co-ordinator, as liturgist and trainer in liturgy, as well as teacher and inspirer in the more usual ways, the ordained person as celebrant of the community in a very full sense, and one who helps others learn how to celebrate in the name of the Church – this is surely one dimension of where we are being led today…”

The speech is 3447 words long. The archbishop uses the word ordained 14 times; ministry 4 times; ministerial twice; and lay and laity not at all. He makes two oblique references to the contribution of lay people to worship: he talks about ‘effective ministry (ordained or otherwise)‘ and this curious idea of identifying people of God, exceptionally holy and well-behaved people presumably, in each parish who are to serve as what the archbishop calls ‘presences‘ and I think I would call ‘teacher’s pets’.

Archbishop Rowan is a gifted orator, and it is clear from the twitter reactions to his speech that it was well-received overall. For the bishops and clergy present, I can see that ‘heart spoke unto heart’.  But what about his listeners from the House of Laity? What about other lay people, looking on? What about the LGBT community, as David Goss reminded us on twitter?

I see nothing here for any of us except a desert and waste land.

Luckily, my experience of God is more or less the opposite of what ++Rowan appears to have in mind as the ‘correct’ way for lay people to experience Him, and that is solely as demonstrated by the ordained. Kindly meant, no doubt, but if, after 60 years of Christian worship, I had to rely on the priesthood  to explain to me what was meant by Christianity, it wouldn’t say much for their effectiveness over a lifetime, now would it?

One priest who has shown, and continues to show me the way is the Revd Lesley Fellows. Here is an extract from a recent post of hers:

The church sometimes draws me towards God and sometimes away from God. Sometimes I wonder whether there is more darkness than light in the church. However, I find myself connected to God through the Eucharist and even if it is that one sacrament alone that the church offers as light, that still leaves me committed to the church for my spiritual refreshment, however infuriated I sometimes get.

Thank-you, Lesley. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

1. The photograph of Archbishop Rowan is via wikimedia under CCL. The photographer was ‘Brian.jpg’
2. My assertion that the Archbishop has no views on lay ministry, or at least no affirming ones, is based on previous searches of the speeches on his website and the fact that there is no mention of my tier of ministry on the main Church of England website, and scant reference to Licensed Lay Ministers. I would be very pleased to be proved wrong on this inference.

Summoning Up The Ghost of Elizabeth I

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Inspired by MrCatolick’s parallel with Henry VIII (), I conclude that what the Anglican world needs now is intervention by his daughter, Elizabeth I. It did not take much to summon her ghost – she had been waiting impatiently for just such an invitation. All of what follows in quotation typeface is from the actual words of Good Queen Bess in her lifetime.

Princes have big ears which hear far and near, and word has reached me that all is not well in my realm. As the first Defender of the Faith who was a sincere Protestant, with no considerations of personal advantage,  I shall desire you all, my lords…to be assistant to me that I, with my ruling, and you with your service, may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth...
There is one thing higher than Royalty: and that is religion, which causes us to leave the world, and seek God…There is nothing about which I am more anxious than my country,  and the Anglican Communion, and for its sake I am willing to die ten deaths, if that be possible.

The Anglican Covenant
There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles… Where minds differ and opinions swerve there is scant a friend in that company…My mind was never to invade my neighbours… I do consider a multitude doth make rather discord and confusion than good counsel…You lawyers are so nice and precise in shifting and scanning every word and letter that many times you stand more upon form than matter, upon syllables than the sense of the law…

Moving from an Exclusive Church to an Inclusive Church
Know that I wish you from henceforth to follow the example of your monarch, and many monarchs before her, in knowing that each court must have its queanes as well as its Queen for, as ye should surely know, all are equally loved by God…I have no desire to make windows into mens souls, still less their nether regions. I am greatly displeased at the sanctimonious hypocrisy that has recently arisen in my Church in this land of England… Those who appear the most sanctified are the worstI would rather go to any extreme than suffer anything that is unworthy of my reputation, or of that of my crown..and I wish you to follow the example of the Americas, where… it is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes.. The past cannot be curedGod forgive you, but I never can.

Anglican Mission In England
The stone often recoils on the head of the thrower...You, who were fully strong enough to bear the suffering of our well-beloved American cousins, will shortly endure a similar stone-throwing yourself.
Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested…There is an Italian proverb which saith, From my enemy let me defend myself; but from a pretensed friend Lord deliver me.
We are of the nature of the lion, and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts ourselves; we trust you have a plan?

The Elevation of Women to the Episcopate
I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too
Is it that you fear to admit the distaff side to your ranks because you know many share my heart and stomach, as well as my learning and my devotion to God? It is a natural virtue incident to our sex to be pitiful of those that are afflicted,
and I am sure that my sisters in Christ will find it in their hearts to pity you for your pettiness, but mindful as I am of the need for gifted bishops, I cannot allow it to continue. Let this my discipline stand you in good stead of sorer strokes, never to tempt too far a Prince’s patience.

The Ministry of the Laity
I regret the unhappiness of princes who are slaves to forms and fettered by caution...
It is as clear as the day to even the meanest intelligence in the land that the hoi polloi are no longer of lesser education than the clerks in the pulpit. Knowing of the scant numbers of clerks, action is needed this day to allow the people to read Morning and Evening Prayer.
One man with a head on his shoulders is worth a dozen without Verily, I do fear that without such action, the churches themselves are in real danger:… A fool too late bewares when all the peril is past.

Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind. ... It is true that the world was made in six days, but it was by God, to whose power the infirmity of men is not to be compared.
I will allow you fourteen days in which to accomplish all the tasks I have set you this day.
If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all….. Proud Prelate, you know what you were before I made you what you are. If you do not immediately comply with my request, I will unfrock you, by God!

The illustration is a portrait of Elizabeth I at the time of the Armada via wikimedia under CCL.

‘It Is Not Necessary To Change. Survival Is Not Mandatory’

If all the words that have been written about the Anglican Covenant were laid end to end, they would surely circle the earth several times over. And we seem no nearer getting the hierarchy to consider whether it is, after all, possible that the Communion is being led down a blind alley, cul de sac, impasse or dead end.

The powers that be refuse absolutely to consider how insanitary it is never to change their minds. Presumably they change their socks and underpants at regular intervals; now we have to find a way of persuading them that their minds need frequent laundering also (particularly considering their obsession with ‘who does what and with which and to whom’).

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition, an international group, was launched on 3 November 2010,
 “the date the commemoration of the sixteenth century theologian Richard Hooker. “Hooker taught us that God’s gifts of scripture, tradition and reason will guide us to new insights in every age,” according to the Canadian priest and canon law expert, the Revd. Canon Alan Perry. “The proposed Anglican Covenant would freeze Anglican theology and Anglican polity at a particular moment. Anglican polity rejected control by foreign bishops nearly 500 years ago. The proposed Anglican Covenant reinstates it.”

The NACC convenor, the Revd Lesley Fellows, wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury explaining why the NACC and its supporters are opposed to the Covenant. After a delay of three months, she got the equivalent of ‘the bug letter’ from the Revd Canon Joanna Udal, the Archbishop’s Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs.

There have been articles in the press, and the Church Times of 18 March 2011 was devoted to it. Many of us have blogged about it, and I’m sure we have all prayed about it. Some are more exasperated than others, but few can match the exquisite courtesy of Tobias Haller. Overall, I am very proud to be associated with such a reasoning, courteous group of people. We have covered every angle, and have put our arguments most persuasively.

But it seems to be of no avail. I sense battle-fatigue setting in, and no wonder. What can we do next?

Well, perhaps we should go for some form of direct action? I did consider modelling myself on the suffragettes, but admit to being too much of a coward to relish the prospect being trampled to death at Ascot or force-fed in Wandsworth gaol. I thought of chaining myself to ‘the railings’ at Lambeth Palace, but unfortunately there are no railings, only a high and solid wall. I could chain myself to the gates, but would have to run backwards and forwards every time they opened or shut, which would be hard work in this heat and rather undignified.

Thanks to our own Church Mouse, we now know that the Archbishop is defended by a team of Ninja nuns, so unfortunately my chances of emulating the girl in the cartoon above must be considered poor to nil.

Another suggestion: we get a ghetto-blaster and put the following song on perpetual repeat outside the walls of Lambeth Palace until we get a change of heart:

My considered solution is as follows. We brainwash both Archbishops with Fortune Cookies. The plan is as follows:

  1. We order a large number of fortune cookies, with the mottoes below enclosed.
  2. We recruit anti-Covenanteers from amongst the domestic (and possibly office) archiepiscopal retainers.
  3. Said retainers hide these at regular intervals in the biscuit tin, sock drawer, bathroom cabinet etc. 

Well, all right, all right. I’m sure you can come up with a better plan. The comment box below would be a good place to offer your ideas for better plans or – failing that – better mottoes for the fortune cookies.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. ~Confucius

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place. ~Washington Irving

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

Life is its own journey, presupposes its own change and movement, and one tries to arrest them at one’s eternal peril. ~Laurens van der Post

Growth is the only evidence of life. ~John Henry Newman, Apologia pro vita sua, 1864

The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one. ~William H. Seward

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. ~William Blake

You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish. ~Author Unknown

Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow. ~Glen Beaman

We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
~W.H. Auden

Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history. ~Joan Wallach Scott

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. ~Ellen Glasgow

Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves! ~Andre Gide

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists. ~Japanese Proverb

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me. ~Author Unknown

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly. ~Francis Bacon

1. The headline quote (It is not necessary to change…) is from W. Edwards Demers, the American management guru.
2. The illustration/cartoon is from and is covered by a Creative Commons Licence
3. The You-Tube video is ‘Change Your Mind’ (3.38 minutes) by the ‘All-American Rejects’

A Role Model for Archbishop Rowan?

Archbishop Rowan has been in hot water again, and there has been some questioning of his role in British politics. Serendipitously, this coincided with the publication of Daniel Gover’s report for Theos on the politics of Archbishops of Canterbury:

A recent review of the office, published in 2001 and led by the former Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, identified six distinct roles: Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury; Metropolitan for the Southern Province of the Church of England (giving him authority over 30 dioceses mostly in the south of England); Primate of All England (making him the most senior bishop in the Church of England); leader of the Anglican Communion (a loose affiliation of Anglican churches worldwide with approximately 77 million adherents); an ecumenical figure in relation to other Christian churches; and a Christian leader with interfaith responsibilities. (p14)

Many of the commentaries have defended the ABC’s right, as Primate of All England, to express his views, whether or not they agree with those views, as indeed would I. I would only add that he might consider whether to emulate the monarch in aiming to advise, encourage, and warn in his dealings with government. There is plenty of advice and warning in what ++Rowan says, but a little encouragement also might not come amiss.

But it is in his role as ‘Leader’ of the Anglican Communion in particular where I suggest it might behove him to take our monarch as an example. This is what the website of the Anglican Communion says about the role of the leader:

‘The Archbishops of Canterbury are seen by the Anglican Communion of churches as their spiritual leader. He is primus inter pares, first among equals of the other Primates (Chief Archbishops, Presiding Bishops) of the various provinces…The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Focus for Unity for the three Instruments of Communion of the Anglican Communion, and is therefore a unique focus for Anglican unity. He… chairs the meeting of Primates, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council…The Primates of the Anglican Communion are the chief Archbishops, Presiding Bishops, Chief Pastors of the various Provinces of the global church. Their churches are autonomous yet inter-dependent in their relationships with each other. The Archbishop of Canterbury chairs their meetings, which are held at varying intervals at various places in the Anglican World. The primates have no authority as a “body” and their own national churches determine how their ministry is carried out in their own context. The customs and responsibilities vary from Province to Province…The Lambeth Conference of bishops meets every 10 years solely at the personal invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1867 Lambeth Palace hosted the first meeting but as the numbers grew the conference moved to Canterbury… ‘Towards an Understanding of the Purpose and Scope of the Primates’ Meeting’ produced by those Primates present in Dublin in January 2011′

It is worth comparing this with the role of the British monarch as ‘head’ of the Commonwealth. According to the official website of the British monarchy:

This is an important symbolic and unifying role. As Head, The Queen personally reinforces the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world. One of the ways of strengthening these connections is through regular Commonwealth visits..The Queen keeps in touch with Commonwealth developments through regular contact with the Commonwealth Secretary General and his Secretariat. This is the Commonwealth’s central organisation…Her Majesty also has regular meetings with Heads of Government from Commonwealth countries…Modern communications technology allows The Queen to speak to every part of the Commonwealth through her annual Christmas and Commonwealth Day messages… to the peoples of the Commonwealth as a whole. They are unique in that they are delivered on The Queen’s own responsibility, drafted without ministerial advice. Every two years a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) is held, at locations throughout the Commonwealth.The Queen is normally present in the host country, during which she has a series of private meetings with the Commonwealth countries’ leaders…In all these different ways The Queen, though not part of the machinery of government in the Commonwealth, acts as a personal link and human symbol of the Commonwealth as an international organisation.

It wouldn’t take a genius to re-write this as a job description for the leader of the Anglican Communion, with which there are many similarities. One of the differences is the recognition of the significance of what Hindus call ‘darshan‘ or ‘auspicious viewing’. One of the functions of the leader should simply be to show himself, and to try and spread a little sweetness and light.

But I have left the best until last:

The Queen often attends the Commonwealth Games, a major sporting occasion which brings together young people from all over the world in friendly competition.

This is creative genius! Why don’t we have an ‘Anglican Games’, perhaps run along the lines of a school sports day? Instead of spanking the Yanks, why don’t we teach them how to play cricket? In exchange, they can teach us how to play baseball. And we can have indaba after indaba discussing the finer points of football (what shape is the ball? Do you kick it or pick it up?) What about three-legged races with Anglo-Catholics tied at the ankle to Evangelicals? Egg and spoon races for those involved in ‘Children’s Ministry’? High Jump for curates? Sack races for vergers? Obstacle races for Archdeacons? Diocesan Relays? If it is objected that most of the bishops are too old for football or baseball, what about competitive whist or cribbage? The possibilities are limitless.If ‘jaw, jaw is better than ‘war, war‘, what about ‘More, More’!

Let us make God ‘smile, his work to see‘.

Note. The illustration portrays HM Queen Elizabeth II at the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on Nov. 27, 2009, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.  (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

Archbishop Rowan: Yellowbelly or a Martyr in the Making?

Archbishop Rowan has been nicknamed ‘Archbishop Yellowbelly’, presumably because he was thought to be a liberal at the time of his enthronement on 27 February 2003, an opinion confirmed by his announcement on 20 May 2003 of Jeffrey John as the new Bishop of Reading. When a number of conservative Anglican leaders said they would leave the Anglican Communion if the consecration went ahead, Archbishop Rowan asked Dr. John to withdraw his acceptance of the post, which John duly did on 6 July 2003.

It seems worth going over this old ground to remind ourselves of the dates. Do the facts really indicate that he is ‘yellow’, in other words a coward? In my view they do not: I think the explanation may be more worrying.

Civil servants are advised to wait six months in a new post before taking any precipitate action. This is the path of caution which one would expect a new archbishop to follow, certainly if he were a coward. Doubtless the new archbishop made several minor decisions in his first three months in office, but none of these was ever likely to hit the headlines.When he decided to proceed with the appointment of Jeffrey John as a suffragan bishop, it is simply not credible that he was not fully aware in advance that this appointment was unlikely to be well-received by, for example, the African primates. Knowing this, he went ahead. We must presume this was because his personal conscience told him this was the right thing to do, a desirable and indeed necessary next step for the Church of England. One can almost hear him humming:

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Nor for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.
Not forever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be,
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.
Not forever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

In the weeks between May and July, one imagines telephone calls, emails and visitations warning the ABC that this one precipitate action, taken on the basis of his own personal views, would destroy the Anglican Communion, which was not his personal fiefdom: having accepted the leadership of ‘the whole world’, he had a duty to follow the conservative majority in order to maintain unity.

At that point, no doubt after much soul-searching, Archbishop Rowan seems to have decided that God had not appointed him ABC in order to preside over the disintegration of the Anglican Communion, whose unity should be the over-riding factor. It is then that I think he switched on the auto-pilot.

I fear that he has decided that he must hold to the allotted course, come what may, even if it results in his own personal martyrdom.

There is an undeniable nobility in this: the only problem is that many others will be joined to his martyrdom in what is beginning to bear all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy.

Is Archbishop Rowan fatally dependent on his sat nav?

Everyone has heard silly stories, some surely apocryphal, of drivers being led astray by their sat navs, with varying results from getting stuck in narrow country lanes to driving off piers into the sea. In my own experience, friends staying with us in Hampshire from the Middle East needed to take their son to Leicester to put him into university. I insisted on map-reading for the outward journey, which they thought quaintly stubborn; the journey took one and a half hours. We would return, they announced, via sat nav (or GPS, to our cousins across the pond). As they had programmed ‘using motorways’, the sat nav decided to return via the M1 and the journey took nearly three hours.

I am wondering whether ++Rowan (and his advisors) are similarly fatally fixated on their sat nav. One can imagine the archbishop settling down in 2008 to plan the march towards the worldwide adoption of the Covenant. He would have punched all data then available into the massive central processing unit that is undoubtedly his brain, hit the enter button and then produced the route he intended to take to his simplistic panacea for all the ills that beset the Anglican Communion.

He does not appear to have noticed that the parameters have changed. Roadworks have started along the way, there have been diversions, and some roads have been turned into cul-de-sacs or, as the French really say, ‘voies sans issue’. More seriously, some of his original data was also corrupted.

And yet, like Mr Magoo, he carries on regardless. Helpless onlookers do their best to prevent him from falling into the ditch, but he marches forward saying ‘I can do no other’.

Archbishop Rowan, this is a petition.

Please, please stop, look and listen. Remember the law of unintended consequences. Only proceed further with great caution!

We echo the heartfelt words of  Oliver Cromwell  to the 1650 general assembly of the Church of Scotland and “beseech you in the bowels of Christ [to] think it possible you may be mistaken.”


Postscript: If you enjoyed this, you may also like the story on  Lay Anglicana, which was hijacked by Archbishop Rowan on page 2

Old King Rown (and, you guessed it, the Anglican Covenant)

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Thurifers three.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ asked the Thurifers.
‘Where, oh where can they be?’
There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Curates three.
‘We need a vacancy!’ moaned the Curates.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ asked the Thurifers.
‘Where, oh where can they be?’
There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Vicars three.
‘We’ll be bolshie if we want!’, said the Vicars.
‘We need a vacancy!’ moaned the Curates.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ said the Thurifers.
‘Where, oh where can they be?’
There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Bishops three.
‘Toe the party line!’, cried the Bishops.
‘We’ll be bolshie if we want’, said the Vicars.
‘We need a vacancy!’ moaned the Curates.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ asked the Thurifers.
‘Where, oh where can they be?’
There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Synods three.
‘Now to square the laity’, said the Synods.
‘Toe the party line!’, cried the Bishops.
‘We’ll be bolshie if we want’, said the Vicars.
‘We need a vacancy!’ moaned the Curates.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ asked the Thurifers.
‘Where, oh where can they be?’
There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

Old King Rown was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his crook and he called for his cope

And he called for his Primates three. 
‘Time to spank the Yanks!’, said the Primates.
‘If that’s what you want?’, said our Cantuar.
‘Now to square the laity’, said the Synods.
‘Toe the party line!’, cried the Bishops.
‘We’ll be bolshie if we want’, said the Vicars.
‘We need a vacancy!’ moaned the Curates.
‘Where are the acolytes?’ asked the Thurifers.
‘And the poor old laity?’ (sung slowly, and with feeling, please)

There’s none so fair as can compare to the good old C of E!

We rely on donations to keep this website running.