Thinking Anglicans

Youth Day at Lambeth Palace

Archbishop Rowan welcomed around 80 students aged 15-18 years to Lambeth Palace for a day of sharing and discussion, reflection and worship, and a barbecue lunch.

The theme of the day (‘Help, my friends think I’m mad!’) looked at what it means to be a Christian in an increasingly secular environment. In his opening remarks the Archbishop talked about science and faith, women bishops, and whether being a Christian means giving up on common sense.

The full transcript of his remarks is available here.

Reports of the day have appeared:

Telegraph Christians must confront their own ‘disgust’ over homosexuality, says Archbishop by John Bingham

Guardian Williams: Christians need to confront shame and disgust over homosexuality by Ben Quinn

The paragraphs relevant to the press coverage are these:

…Then there’s sex; a matter of constant interest to pretty well the whole human race, including not only issues about what you do sexually, but also about gender – about men and women. You’ll have noticed that in the Church of England at the moment we’re in the middle of what looks like a pretty complicated argument about women bishops. I’m speaking as somebody who really very much wants to see women bishops as soon as possible. Like most of you, I am used to a world in which men and women share in decision‑making and discussion without any big issue. I really long to see a time when bishops, as a group, can be like that and feel more like other groups. It is something I am very committed to. I share the frustration of a lot of people, that we’re tangled-up in trying to get the maximum support for it in the Church of England and every move in one direction makes other people move away. It’s like one of those terrible games you get in Christmas crackers sometimes where you have to get the little silver balls into holes – you always get two of them but then the other one goes off somewhere else.

That’s an area where we are in the middle of quite a lot of tangles. Same with same‑sex marriage, where once more we’re used to being alongside people who are gay; many of our friends may be – indeed we may be – wrestling with that issue ourselves, and the Church is scratching its head and trying to work out where it is on all that, and what to think about it. What’s frustrating is that we still have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that that just sends out a message of unwelcome, of lack of understanding, of lack of patience. So whatever we think about it, we need, as a Church, to be tackling what we feel about it…

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Peter AddenbrookeMarkBrunsonLapinbizarre/Roger MortimerMartin ReynoldsChris Smith Recent comment authors
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Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

And there you have it. He is looking for the solution which makes everybody happy and there s no such solution – only a principled and sensible choice which he failed to make.

rjb
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rjb

Apropos of RW’s recently-reported comments on Islam and the nation state (not yet covered by TA, but extensively remarked in the Observer), it might be worth passing on this post by Ben Myers, who claims that in fact Archbishop Rowan’s point was *the exact opposite* of what the Observer reported. I’m not familiar with the essay he mentions, but his argument sounds persuasive to me (and much less surprising than the reported claims given the Archbishop’s previously-expressed views on the subject). http://www.faith-theology.com/ If this is true, it just confirms my belief that the media has never really *got* Rowan Williams.… Read more »

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

While he and the Church scratch their heads , hundreds walk away. The sooner he goes the better.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

He’s back! Where has Rowan Williams been all this time? I guess facing those young people who will be The Church into the future, the Archbshop of Canterbury realises that there can be no more fudging on these important issues by the C. of E. I’m glad, personally, that ++Rowan is not waiting until he returns to academe before sloughing off the mantle of presumed Primus-inter-pares responsibility for the evidenced intransigence of the conservatives in the Church of England. He has it in him to yet redeem the years of his struggles with the House of Bishops and their need… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“[E]very move in one direction makes other people move away.”

Yes. That is the nature of politics.

And the challenge of leadership.

It was Dr. Williams’s job to figure out which moves would make the least number of people move away. He has failed at this.

Simon Sarmiento
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rjb
The reason TA has not highlighted what the Observer “reported” is because this “new” book is a collection of previously delivered addresses, and not something new. You should be able to find the essay mentioned on the Lambeth Palace website.

Fr John E. Harris-White
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Fr John E. Harris-White

Are we seeing in the ABC’s comments to these young people the resurgence of the old Rowan, who once spoke for the outsider with the news of the Inclusicve gospel. Just asking and wondering?
HAS HE DITCHED ALREADY HIS ‘ CIVIL SERVANTS ‘ AKA MINDERS.

Fr John

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

This thread raises some interesting topics. Rowan Williams is a staunch advocate of the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people (whatever that means) at all levels of British society and within the Church. His personal views have not changed as this report demonstrates. When he was Archbishop of Wales he frequently ordained partnered gay people despite the fact that the declared, official, or at least historical position of the bishops here in Wales, dating from the time of the Higton fiasco, was anti gay. He argued publicly when challenged in support of Jeffrey John’s position as explained in Permanent,… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

This address to the young seems to me to be using an opportunity to send out a wider message that recently he and York and the bishops have made a mess of things on women bishops and on gay marriage, but there is no suggestion that another chance to act would be any different. He seems to regard it as inevitable that an simpler ethical choice that he would prefer is impossible as he decides to do the bureaucratic work of confusion-causing. He doesn’t seem to realise that he could actually make a difference: that he is in a position… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

The backlash over Jeffrey’s treatment was ruinous. The liberal press joined the conservative opposition and rubbished/misread/ignored everything Rowan subsequently said. There was an attempt to blame it all on “advisors” and it was certainly true that Jeremy Harris was telling people Jeffrey would not be a bishop a long time before Jeffrey was told. All this has to be set in the context of Rowan’s public position on the Iraq war – which as TA contributor Jonathan Jennings will remember too well was whipping up a whirlwind as this report from a few months later shows http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1444514/BBC-defends-decision-to-cut-Today-interview-with-Williams.html And all this… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

And just as Rowan backed off supporting gay people’s “full inclusion” in the hope of keeping them and the Anglican Communion alive. So he has steered a devilishly dangerous course over the women bishops issue in an attempt to keep the CofE from fragmenting along the lines of TEC. For while Gene was for many the last straw, a sizeable number who could not support women’s ordination were seeing their continued position within TEC moving from “honoured” through “tolerated” to “outlawed”. We are seeing the same responses to the present General Synod proposals argued out in threads here at TA.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Remember, none of this stand-off in the Anglican Communion began with Archbishop Rowan Williams. It was already in train (and escalating) under the covert leadership of the soon-to-be Gafcon Primates. All, of course, during Rowan’s predecessor, George Carey’s watch. Rowan can hardly be blamed for his reluctance to preside over the severance of the Gafcon Provinces – whose vociferous opposition to homosexuality has tarnished the eirenic features of Anglicansim around the world. As Primus-inter-pares, he was not the ‘Top-Dog’ such as the Gafcon Primates are used to in their own situation of governance. The fact that the rest of us… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“It’s difficult for us in the west to imagine how blasé global south bishops were about the routine mutilation torture and murder of gay people in their cultures. … they (Primates) didn’t even have a shared vocabulary to begin discussing homosexuality.” So, let’s speak THEIR language. I think most Global South bishops would be familiar w/ fire&brimstone: TELL THEM that the Divine Judge will send them “where the fire never quencheth, and the worm dieth not” UNLESS they start speaking up in defense of the Imago-Dei-Made-LGBT! God is not mocked, and these genocide-complicit bishops ARE mocking God. Preach the Gospel!… Read more »

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

I’m sick and tired of Rowan’s flip flopping on full inclusion of all gay people and women in all positions within the Church. Words can either heal or deeply wound people who are EXCLUDED. I do not see a great deal of backbone in Rowan’s history as Archbishop of Canterbury. There is a huge disconnect here and there is a very big “back story” behind Rowan Williams playing politics with real human beings lives. He has failed as a leader. I am deeply disappointed in his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. He has not always taken the high road and… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

If that’s the “old” Williams, it’s really no better than the “new” Williams! A lot of hot air and prevaricating and rationalizing. If he thought his actions would help gays and lesbians, no matter what part of the world they live in, then he has absolutely no ability to grasp reality at all. Gays are going to be killed in places like Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda no matter what, and the idea – which is bewildering, absolutely, breath-takingly, insanely bewildering – that joining in the rejection somehow helps “preserve” them is beyond belief. The AC has never had that sort… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Mark,I think the promised deaths were just indiscriminate killings of Christians by “angry mobs” – not specifically gay people.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I have been asked what precisely I mean when I say: “Jeffrey was told nothing – other than his resignation was required and when he almost immediately tried to retract that resignation – he was outmanoeuvred by the Lambeth staff. “ I certainly believe that Jeremy Harris wanted to push through with this, but it was not without Rowan’s knowledge, he was the main player throughout. Stephen Bates records that Rowan was told by his staff that Jeffrey had withdrawn his resignation and he replied ‘It makes no difference’ and went ahead anyway. Just in case I gave the impression… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
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Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

Smoothing the path to a Cambridge afterlife?

MarkBrunson
Guest

The same applies in those countries to Christians, I’m afraid. It certainly won’t help them to paying-the-danegeld/negotiating-with-terrorists agenda. It doesn’t matter whom they are threatening to kill, the result is the same, the conditions are the same, and the utter, unbelievable insanity of the position adopted and its reasons for being adopted are the same.

You want to accomplish something, then make an effort to at least get goodwill from a secular arm that *can do something*. The stupidity remains the same regardless of the target of the threat.

Peter Addenbrooke
Guest
Peter Addenbrooke

Morning prayer includes prayer for the church – so using the CofE website for that office I also turned to TA for info. Discovering +Rowan’s words to those young people made me aware again of how much he is willing and able to invite, engage and converse with the next generation. I, and I hope we, shall miss him and access to what he says when he moves out of this role.