The Anglican communion looks like surviving after all the putative break-away conference convened Jerusalem this week, according to the consensus of the British media present. None of the 300 divines attending has actually broken away. In time-honoured Christian fashion, they started to fight among themselves. It seems the African bishops went just a little too far for some in failing to condemn the torture of gays in their own country.. What was really going on was a power play led by the Nigerian Abp Akinola to overthrow the dominant western and “colonialist” tradition and replace it with an African (and indeed a world majority) one.
It seems although he’s taken dog’s abuse, Abp Rowan Williams will survive to host a reduced but still unmistakably Anglican conference at Lambeth Palace next month.
Fierce rows over the profile of gays in society continue to wrack the church at home too. The B of London backed by fellow bishops, has “admonished” (lovely clerical verb, that) one of those priests who just adore controversy and attention, for conducting a service of blessing for a male gay couple. Using the beautiful and sexually explicit words from the old marriage service “with my body I thee worship” – goes too far for the middle -of-the -road establishment and crosses the line that Williams has drawn in the sand.
Abp Williams has emerged ahead on points in this latest round of the continuing struggle for the soul of the Anglican church. He can even wear as a badge of pride the condemnation of Mugabe in one of his last grotesque hustings today, for sneering at him for “supporting gays.”
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London