Monday, October 01, 2012

Church of England deadlock is a consequence of bureaucratisation


Despite attempts by the Church of England Communications Office to maintain an air of propriety and quash rumours of paralysis, it has rapidly become evident that the committee selected to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to reach agreement on who should lead the Church of England and become Primus inter pares to the 80-million strong Worldwide Anglican Communion.

After three days of prayer and feasting (not a typo), it is now known that officials narrowed the field to three candidates, but could not agree on which two names to pass to the Prime Minister, or the order of preference of those two for the Supreme Governor to bestow her blessing. The Communications Office simply told us: ‘The work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC's deliberations.’

A little terse, you may think, if not patronising and dismissive. You can’t ask 80 million Anglicans to pray fervently for the CNC, and then fob them off with a pompous sentence of secretive self-importance. Indeed, the lack of communication clarity only engenders speculation, which has gleaned that the CNC is deadlocked between the Bishop of Norwich Graham James; the Archbishop of York John Sentamu; and the Bishop of Durham Justin Welby.

And so the world mocks the Anglican paralysis, as members of other churches pontificate upon the superiority of selection by conclave (Roman Catholics), a blindfolded child (Copts) and the gathered church (Nonconformists). But consider...

His Grace has had an idea for appointing future Conservative prime ministers. Instead of enduring the expense and inconvenience of a plebiscite of the entire party membership, let us convene a committee of, say, around 16 – good men and true (and good women and true). Such a body needs to be chaired by someone competent, serious and respectable, for choosing a political leader is a weighty business. So let a semi-detached, interested body appoint the chairman directly. Being established and quasi-independent, and having once been considered the spiritual wing of the party, the Church of England would constitute such a body. And, since its leader occupies the historic Chair of St Augustine, let the Archbishop of Canterbury decide who shall chair this committee, which we shall call the Conservative Nominations Commission (CNC).

Let us imagine that a left-leaning, Gaurdian-reading Archbishop decides to appoint his trusty like-minded friend, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, formerly Bishop Richard of Oxford to the position of Chairman of the CNC. And since the position of British Prime Minister is of not inconsiderable importance to the entire Commonwealth of Nations – at least by virtue of his (or her) being the only Commonwealth head of government out of 54 to enjoy a weekly audience and free association with the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – it is necessary for this committee to include a representative of that international body. So, to represent ‘Conservatives Abroad’ in (say) Australia, Canada, Cyprus, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, etc., etc, His Grace suggests drafting in Andrew RT Davies AM, Conservative Leader in the Welsh Assembly.

Next, we need a couple of senior and experienced politicians, for only they really understand the pressures of the job and appreciate the fundamental qualities required of the candidate. Since we already have an ‘independent’ lefty in the Chair, we really need a couple of known and experienced conservatives – perhaps one from each ‘wing’ of the party. His Grace suggests Lord Tebbit of Chingford and Kenneth Clarke MP. They should get along just nicely.

Next, we need we need a further six representatives from interested bodies, like CCHQ, the Party Board, MEPs and the 1922. His Grace suggests Mr Grant Shapps MP, the Lord Feldman, Ms Emma Pidding, Mr Graham Brady MP, Mr Peter Bone MP and Mr Daniel Hannan MEP.

And finally we need six representatives from the local associations, because we must remember that the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party is also a constituency MP, with important parochial concerns and responsibilities. Some of these should be drawn from the Tory heartlands, and others from those Labour areas where the party never wins. His Grace suggests an association officer from three safe seats and three where there’s scarcely a Tory to be seen: Matthew Carrington (Kensington and Chelsea), Samantha Magnus (West Yorkshire CF), Cllr Robert McLean (Windsor), Neil Pearce (East Ham), Adam Marsden (Liverpool) and Joel James (Rhondda).

So, the full membership of the Conservative Nominations Commission, convened to appoint the next Conservative Prime Minister:

Chairman
The Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Representing 'Conservatives Abroad' (esp. in the Commonwealth of Nations)
Andrew RT Davies AM, Conservative Leader in the Welsh Assembly

Representing the Conservative Party
The Rt Hon The Lord Tebbit of Chingford
The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP

Representatives of interested and associated Conservative Organisations
Mr Grant Shapps MP
The Lord Feldman
Ms Emma Pidding
Mr Graham Brady MP
Mr Peter Bone MP
Mr Daniel Hannan MEP

Representatives of local associations
Mr Matthew Carrington (Kensington and Chelsea)
Miss Samantha Magnus (West Yorkshire CF)
Cllr Robert McLean (Windsor)
Mr Neil Pearce (East Ham)
Mr Adam Marsden (Liverpool)
Cllr Joel James (Rhondda)

Consider how long it would take such a committee to agree a candidate for Conservative prime minister (ie, arrive at a 2/3 majority). Administrative bureaucracy is as hindering to the discernment of spiritual leadership as it is to the advance of political democracy. The insistence upon gender and social equality and economic diversity in representation can only be ensured through closed-status centralisation, and that can only be implemented through the strengthening of bureaucracy. If public opinion is to be minimised, we are left with the authority of officialdom. And where there is competing strong-willed bureaucratic specialisation tugging in opposing directions, the governed are left in limbo.

Bureaucracy is a virtually indestructible system of domination: we see it increasingly in the politics of the nation state as well as in supranational governance like the European Union and the United Nations. It works only for those who know how to make it work. When experienced officials are infiltrated by inexperience and parochial-interest – as is the case with the CNC (actual and imagined) – the creation of stable, reliable and precise authority is less and less feasible. And when the bureaucracy also controls the means of communication between the government and the governed, its superiority – spiritual and political – is made absolute.

Here are the Members of CNC. The composition is, in His Grace’s humble opinion, absurd. Reflect on the imagined deliberations of the equally-absurd Conservative Nominations Commission, and be patient with the Crown Nominations Commission. They need prayer; not derision.

Chairman
The Rt Hon the Lord Luce of Adur

Representing the Worldwide Anglican Communion
The Primate of The Church in Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan

Representing the House of Bishops
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham
The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome

Canterbury Diocese’s Vacancy-in-See Committee representatives
The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott
The Revd Canon Clare Edwards
The Revd Canon Mark Roberts
Mr Raymond Harris
Mrs Caroline Spencer
Mr David Kemp

General Synod representatives
Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith (London)
Professor Glynn Harrison (Bristol)
Mrs Mary Johnston (London)
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn (Southwark)
The Revd Canon Peter Spiers (Liverpool)
The Revd Canon Glyn Webster (York)

54 Comments:

Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Nice analogy Cranmer - if I may say so, yours is (unsurpisingly) the best analysis of the CNC I can find on the interwebs. Although I don't have access to the Times :)

Heartened to see the choice may have fallen down to Welby, Sentamu, or James - though the last one is a bit of a strange one: I thought he'd all but recused himself. Perhaps it was all just a bid for hyper-humility. And I thought that bit in the last episode of Rev was just comedy...

1 October 2012 at 11:57  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

Much better just to ask the Holy Father to appoint someone.

More efficient and you get the Holy Spirit involved as well.

Sorry, what has this got to do with the EU? Barroso was appointed by the Member States. They didn't set up a special committee to do it.

1 October 2012 at 12:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

Brilliantly done, Your Grace.

The Coptic selection technique would appear to have much to offer.

Does Lambeth Palace run to a dart-board?

1 October 2012 at 12:12  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Ha! You wouldn't get this in the Curia, no sirree. Last time the boys trouped into St Peter's to pick an new Capo, Ratzinger already had his beachtowel draped over the Papal Throne. Well, he IS German...

1 October 2012 at 13:46  
Blogger John Chater said...

Corrigan, shame on you. It was the Holy Spirit what done it guvnor - not a committee...

1 October 2012 at 14:03  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

Whoever they choose he has to be an improvement on the present incumbent.

1 October 2012 at 14:20  
Blogger Shaun Clarkson said...

"Does Lambeth Palace run to a dart-board?"

I believe it's traditionally stuck to the back of the Archbishop's shirt.

1 October 2012 at 14:28  
Blogger Berserker said...

The Religious Society of Friends don't elect anybody as head honcho. I'm not sure but are the Baptists similar?

Every church is reasonably independent.
They have a lot going for them and seem to me to rather Buddhist like with their non-violence and Inner Light.
Mind you, do they have Christmas Crackers or Easter Eggs? Enlighten anybody?

I like to see the man from York get the job.

1 October 2012 at 14:57  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr. Berserker @ 14:57 -- doubtless you'll get your wish (from York, of course; dear Jorvik). I say it's a foregone conclusion, despite the usual play of smoke and mirrors.

1 October 2012 at 15:10  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Names in a hat,Pray to God and let God guide the hamd that picks the new ABC out.

1 October 2012 at 15:27  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Meh.

The Churches of the Anglican Communion have been independent from the very start; the 1867 Lambeth Conference made that abundantly clear.

The Church of England, as an institution, gave up any pretence of being able to interpret the word of God for its followers in the mid to late 19th century, left them to get on with it themselves and gave them General Synod to squabble in. Evangelicals do what they think Scripture tells them, Anglo-Catholics do what they think Tradition tells them and Liberals do what they think modernity requires.

Since then, the most important qualification for ++Canterbury is that he believe nothing controversial enough to cause an outright schism - and even that doesn't seem to help anymore.

The CNC is 16 bald men fighting over a comb.

1 October 2012 at 16:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Mr Beserker:

The Baptists elect a General Secretary for the Baptist Union, which is a non-binding but subscription based union. He acts as a figurehead and chairman, but as the Baptists traditionally defer decision making to local congregations, it's very much broad-strokes rather than nitty-gritty detail. There's also an annually elected President of the Baptist Union Council, who along with the Vice and Elect Presidents comprise the executive of the Baptist Union Council, a little like the board of a company.

As it happens, the present General Secretary Rev Edwards is a thoroughly pleasant man of God, humble, sincere, and discerning. Precisely the kind of man that should be a Church leader.

1 October 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"...gave them General Synod to squabble in"

Oh the truth of this. I don't know if anyone's ever read through the records of a General Synod, but they make for the most depressing read - particularly if it's the House of Bishops, which tends to be woefully detached from either Scripture or reality, or the House of Laity, which tends to be divided in whether it's detached from Scripture or reality.

1 October 2012 at 16:52  
Blogger John Magee said...

@ Darter

Well said!

@ Corrigan

Our Roman Catholic Church and its Eastern Rites are not divided into three distinct groups with conflicting beliefs and opinions as is the C of E: High Church, Low Church, and no Church.

It's obvious that the present Archibishop of York, John Santanu who was born in Uganda, will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury as on any given Sunday the overwhelming majority of practicing Anglicans are in the 3rd world. Archbishop Santanu seems like a level headed traditionalist and might just be the man needed to add some steel to the jelly-like spine of the C of E today.

A bit of church one-upmanship is involved too. Canterbury wants to beat Rome by having a 3rd world cleric as the senior cleric in the C of E before Pope Benedict XVI dies and the Catholic Bishops elect one of their own from the 3rd world as the next Pope.

By the way, three Popes were from North Africa, their names are:
Pope Victor I 186-197 AD, Pope Militiades 311-314 AD, and Pope Gelasius 492 -496 AD.

If anyone is ever stymied for a name for a baby son consider the above names. The boy will grow up never forgiving you.

1 October 2012 at 18:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I really wanted it to be Christopher Cocksworth too. :(

1 October 2012 at 18:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hmmm. Can’t see Peter Mullen’s name anywhere. It should be there, shouldn’t it ?

Anyway, one takes a keen interest in Sentamu’s chances. Normally, one would not consider the chances of an asylum seeker, preferring someone with more closer connections with the peoples of the British Isles. But he has had the good fortune to have been born black so anything is open to him, and woe betide anyone who would criticise his appointment. He’s also good. He might even be the best Christian of the lot, and spare us woman bishops, gay adoration, and refuse to appoint left wing senor clerics. Now that would be something. Good lord, a fellow is warming to him, can’t you tell !

And what about this, types…

If he became a Catholic during his tenure, it would be even better. And if he does, remember this chaps, he has had the good fortune, etc, and woe betide etc.

Saddle up, old man, and allow the Inspector to ride you to the finish…

1 October 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

What’s wrong with 40+ Anglican bishops locked in a room with just a kettle and box of teabags, plus a Domino pizza flyer ?

1 October 2012 at 18:40  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
The Desciples didn't seem to have much problem choosing a replacement for Judas. Is this a similar situation?

1 October 2012 at 19:19  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

DanJ0:

For the name and the headlines I take it? "Cocksworth gets to grips with homosexual issue"; "Cocksworth in women bishop scandal" etc. etc.

The Sun would have a field day - wonder if Sentamu would indulge himself...

Unrelated to his name, if Cocksworth gets in, it's the beginning of the end for the CofE.

1 October 2012 at 19:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Belfast, DanJ0 would like himself to be seen as an easy going secular liberal who is relaxed on organised religion. One hopes that the silent reader is as trusting of his position as the Inspector is...

1 October 2012 at 19:36  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Given all the curfuffle around women bishops, I am surprised to have heard no word of complaint over the fact that we only have 2 women on the entire panel. Granted, some places are not yet open to them as they are for bishops, but the rest is fair game and yet no complaints have made it to my ears!

1 October 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AIB: "For the name and the headlines I take it?"

Yes. Childish, I know, but I don't think I'd ever get bored of it.

1 October 2012 at 20:12  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Just thinking of the marx brothers- the Church of England is great institution, but who wants to be locked in one?

1 October 2012 at 21:20  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

DanJ0:

"Yes. Childish, I know, but I don't think I'd ever get bored of it."

Nor would I in fairness.

1 October 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I am sure that with the right amount of prayer, the Holy Spirit will move this cumbersome body to make the right choice.

1 October 2012 at 23:03  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

AiB - Re Cocksworth and the post, I don't see where you get that from. He is orthodox in all areas he needs to be and, from what my dad says of him (they met regularly when Cocksworth was head at Ridley Hall and acting on behalf of the college as patron for my dad's church, where he was church warden, during an interregnum), he's a pretty decent guy. Why would it be the end if he was appointed?

2 October 2012 at 01:01  
Blogger Naomi King said...

My vote is for Archbishop Sentamu. God bless him a righteous man.

2 October 2012 at 07:26  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Perhaps they should take up fasting.

2 October 2012 at 07:27  
Blogger Naomi King said...

A tragedy of all this is that our Anglican Parish Church members had no idea that this appointment committee was siting last week and there was no call from the leadership to pray for those in whose gift this appointment will be made nor were we invited to pray that God would guide their deliberations so that God was in the decision and His will was done. After all "Thine is the Kingdom the Power and the Glory" and let "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".

Has the Church of England given up praying as well as fasting ?

2 October 2012 at 07:36  
Blogger len said...

I think most Anglicans would agree(hopefully) that they do not need another' woolly headed 'intellectual as leader.

We are instructed to pray for our leaders and that is exactly what Anglicans should do.

Anglicans should avoid appointing someone as a leader on any basis other than our belief that God has chosen him or her for that role. This rules out leadership based on seniority, on level of scholarship, degrees earned, prestige in the community, personal friendship, etc.

2 October 2012 at 07:45  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Youthpasta:

He's coy on many theological issues - I've a friend of a very liberal persuasion who is of a mind that he'll get everything he's looking for. That leaves me with two options: either he's that liberal, and keeping it sufficiently quiet - which would be like Rowan Williams - or he's capable of giving the impression that he's all things to all people - in which case we're in for more of the same for the incumbency. Either way, it would seem to be that Cocksworth is a continuation of the Williams legacy in some sense, and possibly both senses, neither of which would be much help.

The way I see it, we either need someone who'll bring the problems to a head - not by forcing others out, but by facing up to the reality that the different wings of the Church believe in a very different kind of God - or someone who'll wind down the powers of the CofE hierarchy and leave more things to the parish level. There's broadly two ways to run a church: like Rome, where it comes from on high, or like the Baptists where it works locally. Historically, there has been a third way, Cranmer's much lauded via media, but the reality is that it was always dependent on a strong second authority: that of the Crown. We have a Crown that is now totally inactive in its governorship, and not likely to become active any time soon. Hence the splitting road.

2 October 2012 at 09:59  
Blogger John Chater said...

Let us not forget that since 2007 the agreed convention in relation to episcopal appointments has been that the Prime Minister commends the name preferred by the Crown Nominations Commission to the Queen (or not).

So the Canon Giles Goddard it is then.

2 October 2012 at 12:57  
Blogger Jon said...

Harry Hill has clearly set down guidelines as to how they should select a winner. There's only one way to find out....

FIGHT!

2 October 2012 at 14:43  
Blogger Jon said...

Can I ask what you all think would happen if people didn't pray?

Do you think God would assume that no one cared and allow it to go to someone unworthy?

2 October 2012 at 14:50  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Whoever it is I wish they would come down on one side or the other. Either take a stand for the reformed Protestant faith and let the liberals leave to join the Metropolitan Community Church and the Quakers and the high churchers go to Rome, or else an out and out liberal to finish what Runcie started and remove any hope for Evangelicals so we can move on with a clear conscience.

Or will it be a case of 'more fudge, vicar?'

2 October 2012 at 16:30  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

That the Primate of The Church in Wales, the Most Rev'd Dr Barry Morgan, is 'Representing the Worldwide Anglican Communion' is absurd. The Church in Wales accounts for just 0.05% of Anglicans. In common with the majority of Anglicans worldwide many reject Dr Morgan's liberal views but he simply ignores them.

The 'Independent' Harries Review has unsurprisingly endorsed Dr Morgan's plan to keep all seven bishops in post as the Church in Wales which represents 1.3% of the population of Wales declines into oblivion at a rate of 4% a year.

Dr Morgan has a well earned reputation for representing himself.

2 October 2012 at 17:30  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

The Most Rev'd Dr Barry Morgan was described as "an extreme liberal" by our local vicar, who knows him well. He is apparently far far more liberal than Williams who he replaced. He is on recorded as looking forward to someday soon appoint a Gay Bishop in Wales.

That will boost the numbers....

He is the voice of TEC and ANC perhaps but not really the voice of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

THe Church in Wales in dire, but in many rural parts it is all that is left of a vibrant Christian community 100 or so years ago.

When I ask the question why the Chapels failed I get more or less the same answer. "They stopped preaching the Gospel".

Phil


2 October 2012 at 18:44  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

One more thing. perhaps we should look at Wales first before we go for disestablishment in the CofE. The Welsh Church just collapsed since disestablishment, but maybe not because of it.

Phil

2 October 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

Apparently they are meeting in the old wash house of Lambeth Palace. With Bishop Barry of Wales being the representative of the Anglican Communion a whole day of ablutions might not go amiss. Some of them are (so it is alleged) veering quite far from Holy Tradition and Sacramental Doctrine in their desire to appoint a man who will appease the whims and fancies of this World.

2 October 2012 at 19:45  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Phil Roberts
"One more thing,perhaps we should look at Wales first before we go for disestablishment in the CofE."
Perhaps we should look at Ireland befoe we go for disestablishment.
The Church of Ireland didn't do too badly.

3 October 2012 at 04:47  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Manfarang:

Yes, I've been wondering whether it's fair to draw a comparison with the slightly smoother selection of the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland...

3 October 2012 at 08:59  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I think that a good candidate for ABC would be Canon Adnrew White, the Vicar of St George's Iraq- A man who has got personal hands on experience of working within the world wide Anglican Church, who has put his own neck on the line for his faith, rather than some ivory tower, liberal minded academic and no less representative of the Communion than that fellow, the Bishop of Wales.

3 October 2012 at 09:40  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

AiB - Cocksworth is definitely not a liberal. His past posts and my father's knowledge of him clearly show this. As to whether he is a potential fudger of issues, don't know for sure. However my dad could only speak highly of him during the interview and appointment process during the interregnum.

Got to say that I am with Mr Appleseed on the wish for thing to be clearer in what the CofE believes. Not necessarily to the extent that it chases all but a few away, but certainly so that it spoke clearer than at the moment.

3 October 2012 at 13:07  
Blogger Simon said...

Grow up!

It has taken more than 3 days to decide who will head the Anglican Communion. Big deal.

Personally, I am glad they are prepared to fail to agree, go away, and start again. That is a perfectly proper approach.

3 October 2012 at 15:09  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Youthpasta

Cocksworth is definitely not a liberal.

Yes he is....not a Williams perhaps, that is the best that can be said.

He will be a good person to oversee the decline of the CofE

Phil

3 October 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 October 2012 at 16:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Youthpasta (& Phil):

Having no personal correspondence, I'll bow to your experience. But it seems to me that this is the second option I describe: that he is a man who has charmed liberals (certainly they're associated, albeit not exclusively, with him in media analyses).

There are two inevitable outcomes to this: the most likely, and the one that dogged Williams throughout his incumbency, is that the liberals will be disappointed if he doesn't make a lesbian a bishop, outlaw celibate men from the church, and enforce Graham Kendrick songs in a revised liturgy. Conversely, the "conservative" wing (which really subdivides into 'Vangies and closet Papists) will want him to ban golden hotpants and smiling, or enforce golden hotpants as a new type of vestment and bring back ducking stools.

The second is that he ends up becoming a "believer", and like many before him, presides over the kinds of reform that a true liberal would never dare.

A candidate like Sentamu has an advantage in that liberals already know they'll hate him (thought they can't say so, or they'll be racist, the darlings) - or Chartres, who everyone knows everyone will hate. Welby at least has it going for him that anyone who doesn't read the Times will hate him. The minute people know they'll hate a leader they give up fussing and start packing - but there's always room for them to be surprised.

Of course, none of that is ever much consolation to the ordinary parishioner who fervently hopes for a plain man of God - but the CofE hierarchy hasn't ever really been about her, anyway, and besides, he carries on as she must, building the Kingdom one small deed at a time. In years to come, it's the small parishes of five who've kept the flowers fresh and the altar shining who'll lament most the fallout at the top of the CofE. The liberals will be happy once it goes, because they'll always have their liberalism when God finally fades from sight, and the conservatives will be happy to be proven right that they were always out to get 'em. And maybe then England's Church will finally breath a sigh of relief, and get on with its work.

3 October 2012 at 16:08  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah Mr Belfast,

The Bishop of London would be a good choice. And he doesn't agree with all of this women Vicar nonsense.

3 October 2012 at 21:32  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I quite like Chartres - I disagree with him with regards to women called to ministry (though I remain ambivalent as to women priests), but I've always got the impression that he'd be capable of handling such disagreements sensitively. Certainly he was much better at handling the Occupy movement than some other officials.

But he would be hated by an enormous number of people, and it's very difficult to see the State Church appointing (via Cameron) someone who was not only against SSM but women priests. Lord alone knows what would happen. I suspect it would be quite interesting, actually. It would certainly hasten calls for disestablishment by the usual suspects, but I might almost believe that Chartres would have the balls to lead the charge of disestablishing the CofE from the modern state.

As it is, the composition of the panel, and the nature of our beloved leader makes a compromise candidate more likely, and so when the CofE is disestablished, it will not be because it has dared to stand up for Christ, but because our political masters have decreed the time has come.

3 October 2012 at 21:41  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

AiB - Whilst I am not sure I agree with most of what you said regarding Cocksworth, your last para (quoted below) rings despairingly true:
"As it is, the composition of the panel, and the nature of our beloved leader makes a compromise candidate more likely, and so when the CofE is disestablished, it will not be because it has dared to stand up for Christ, but because our political masters have decreed the time has come."

Surely it is the biggest problem with having an established church. Whilst having connections in government can influence the way things happen, the loss in independence of thought for how the church goes forward is too high a price if we seek to proclaim the gospel.

3 October 2012 at 22:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB

Why are you blaming the politicians and not the 'leaders' of the Church of England?

I think I'm correct is saying that in modern times only one recommended candidate for Archbishop has been declined by a Prime Minister - and that was Magaret Thatcher.

The problem is the division in the church, inbuilt into its 'via media' and (lack of) governance. Doctrinal ambiguity and an absence of a leader for a 'community' is a recipe for chaos.

3 October 2012 at 22:47  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

I wasn't blaming politicians, I was blaming the hierarchy of the CofE - which in its tricameral parliament is uncannily like politicians (even going so far as to resemble their debating techniques from time to time). Perhaps that explains the confusion?

I'd dispute the via media as the cause of dissension though. Via media worked perfectly fine - and it staved off the full attentions of some of the more gung-ho archbishops of the past who would have happily gone much further in eradicating some of the more Anglo-Catholic elements as well as liturgical and eucharistic elements of Anglican patrimony. It worked best when there was a monarch equally active: two points of authority, never precisely balanced or anything like that, but nevertheless able to maintain enough tension between them for the middle way to flourish.

If one felt unhappy with the British princes of the Church, one could appeal as a good and trusting citizen to the Crown.

In fact, I'd say that that kind of relationship has its roots long before the Reformation - it's pretty much the model of Church governance that emerged following the Norman invasion. Kings of England had insisted against Papal advice of their right to make appointments long before Henry VIII came along. But it's also been a central part of the English Church that there is common appeal from parishioners as subjects to the Crown. That's why the via media no longer works very well: the Crown is silent.

4 October 2012 at 10:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

Can I ask what you all think would happen if people didn't pray?

Do you think God would assume that no one cared and allow it to go to someone unworthy?


God ordains both the means (prayer) and the ends (the answer). Your question implies a contingency that simply does not exist.

carl

7 October 2012 at 06:00  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Archbishop Sentamu is who we need to lead the Church of England. The Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali answered at the Conservative Party Conference, when asked what we should pray regarding the appointment of the new Archbishop, "Britain needs a spiritual leader who will call the Nation to cleave again to the Rock of Christ and who will accomplish moral and spiritual renewal."

Wise words indeed.

As our LORD calls us to pray and fast to drive out evil spirits, I guess that Holy Bible believing Christians should be doing just that, fasting and seeking God's face in prayer to drive out the evil in this land with Jesus's power and authority.

God bless and guide this appointment procedure as it is vital to the spiritual, moral and cultural health of this Nation.

By the way, Bishop Nazir-Ali gave an excellent talk on "Is there a Moral Future for Britain ?". At the Cornerstone Finge event on Tuesday afternoon at Fringe in Birmingham (Conservative Party Conference 2012). Does anyone know whether it was recorded and how to get a copy ?

12 October 2012 at 14:19  

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