I posted a couple of pieces last month in which I claimed that the primate's meeting in Dublin was all about the primates of the Communion strengthening their position as the pseudo-cardinals of Anglicanism. I don't think I received one comment on either posts, most of my blogging colleagues were intent on talking the meeting up as a success for other reasons. So, it is good to see that ace Guardian commentator, Savitri Hensmen, has come to the same conclusion, albeit with a far politer tone than I managed.

Check out her article on the subject at COMMENT IS FREE. Here's a taster:

The primates' meeting is now regarded as one of the instruments of communion uniting Anglicans internationally. Yet it is relatively new – when I was a child, there was no such thing. That was a time when ordinary people's views were valued in church and society. The 1968 Lambeth Conference recommended "that no major issue in the life of the church should be decided without the full participation of the laity in discussion and in decision". In other churches, too, it was recognised that not only bishops but also ordinary churchgoers and parish priests trying to live out God's love in their neighbourhoods, as well as scholars and scientists, might have valuable insights.



  1. Is Uganda representative of the desires and beliefs of the Global South? If so, I suspect TEC will be sitting on an ice floe in another 20 years. Yes, we bumbled on, including people who are hated by much of the world, and now, as co-founders of the Anglican Communion, we are found to be out of touch. The tragedy in all this is that western society is gradually moving toward acceptance, no matter how grudging, of the rights of gays and other differently sexed people. To bow to the wishes of the Global South and the arch-conservatives would put off for a century any consideration of a better place in the church for these folks. Except that society is moving that way, and the churches that teach hate and exclusion for LGBTs will very likely fade into smaller sects as the older members die off. This is a boomers’ fight that most younger church members don’t care about.

  2. The obvious attempts at limiting or eliminating the voice of the laity is especially disturbing, as the primates and bishops appear to be forming a “college of cardinals” as the article says. This can lead to no good, as the sclerosis will set in even more acutely, and nothing new will be done til all agree. And how long will that take? In the case of LGBT peoples’ rights, none of us reading this blog will be living by the time the conservatives agree to move on including them fully. Feh…..

  3. I don’t know why churches have such a tendency to develop authoritarian structures, but it’s undoubtedly there. You can understand why we might have inherited such things; democracy as we know it is a recent invention, after all. But it doesn’t seem to have take root in the church yet!

  4. At this point, I care less and less about formal connection with the official Anglican Communion. Relationships? Yes, I care very much about relationships with other Anglican churches, dioceses, and parishes. I understand that politics is part of church governance, but the politics of the Anglican Communion are wearying and depressing. Just thinking about the process makes me want to use swear words.

    Where is the Gospel in all of it?

    At the time of the Primates’ Meeting, I was already sick of it all, and I didn’t much give a shit who attended and who didn’t. I wrote very little, mainly quotes, one statement from a primate who would not attend, a prayer for the meeting, our Presiding Bishop’s statement after the meeting, and maybe a quote from Rowan, again with little or no commentary. I didn’t validate what you wrote probably for the same reason, that I was weary and sick of the whole sorry mess.

    Congratulations that Savi validates what you said at the time. Those of us on the inclusive, progressive blogging side will have many opportunities to say, “I told you so,” after the failures that we warned about come to be, but that will have to serve as our satisfaction.

    Still, taking a break does not mean giving up, because, with MLK, I believe that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

  5. So many people feel like that, but if we give up and leave them to get on with it, we create a situation where they can do whatever they like, and believe me, they will. I’ve seen churches die out when some idiot was allowed to do what they liked, and decided they didn’t want new members. They might threaten their wretched little empire, after all!

    In my own circuit, it got to the point where one member of the circuit clique was coming to my church taking services, and refusing to speak to the steward responsible for the service, because we hadn’t appointed the person their thought we should.