Comments: CofE appoints new Communications Director

When I think that we can now get ad hominem attacks against critics and a bullying tone of righteous self-regard seven days a week from our country’s established church, all I can say is ‘WOW!’

Posted by rjb at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 12:09pm BST

With Arun Arora having worked for John Sentamu twice in the past ( and having so recently defended him in the press - which I'm sure did no harm at interview ) won't it be lovely that they will be re-united when Archbishop Sentamu is translated to Canterbury.
Even as I write I suspect that Church House Communications are writing a press statement for the CNC " senior lay evangelical" leaker (who ever he may be ! ) in readiness for his eventual outing ( every pun intended - lets see how he likes it )
Sorry if this all sounds cycnical, but....

Posted by Salopian at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:01pm BST

Good grief. I thought the British were big on ¨appearances¨...guess not. (aren´t C of E members getting tired of being railroaded by the ABs self-serving-run-riot ¨management¨ style?)

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:39pm BST

my, my, MY. This certainly didn't take long. Lambeth hasn't changed hands yet, but it would seem that the sea-change is well underway.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:44pm BST

What a pity that rjb and salopian accord themselves the right to be cynical about Arun Arora's appointment, the established church and its Communications Unit. Prayes for all three might be a more suitable response from Christians.

Posted by John Barton at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:43pm BST

Does suggest that the church "secretariat" has learned nothing from the Covenant debacle. And, in passing, I get a feeling that complaints about "leakers" on the Nominations Committee will be ignored. Check the comments on Arora's "Why Sentamu was right" piece, tho'. By no means all of his readers drank the Koolaid.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 5:06pm BST

If this is meant to signal some sort of preference for the idea of translating Sentamu, it seems to me like it might backfire, since it comes across as bad form.

Posted by Nathan at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 6:25pm BST

Arun's appointment is brilliant news; he is a first class communicator, knows the field well and, above all he is prepared to think big, bold and to take risks; and most of them come off too.

Delighted to see it.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 6:45pm BST

Accuasations of racism should not be a cover to protect from criticism either. At the same time as the Leveson Inquiry was making serious criticisms of The News of the World, Sentamu was writing in its replacement to put the past behind us and buy the Sun 7 days a week. The other questions are about his behaviour, highlighted by the Colin Slee memo.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 7:29pm BST

I hope that Arun Arora will permit honest opinions about John Sentamu? Or would all comment be deemed to be racist? He has many qualities - not least as a warm and generous human being who is a gifted communicator 'off the cuff' and in person. His prepared speeches and sermons are less gifted. But in his early years as a Bishop he was known to be very robust, but also very quick to make friends when people stood up to him and told him to stop being a bit of a bully. For all his strengths and weaknesses, in the end he is a remarkable Christian leader who deserves to be a strong contender.

Posted by Neil at Monday, 16 April 2012 at 10:09pm BST

'... permit honest opinions about John Sentamu ...'

I think you've missed the point entirely about the role of the Director of Communications. There are no mechanisms by which discussion can be 'permitted' or 'not permitted', partly because the Church of England is not like that, partly because at every level a huge degree of independence is built into the structure (or was until common tenure); but mostly because it's a stupid and repellent notion that no professional communicator would countenance.

And as for Sentamu writing for the Sun, I don't mind that he took the risk and engaged with one of the largest newspaper readerships around. Maybe it didn't quite come off; but if you want to restrict what the church says to two or three 'acceptable' newspapers you'll end up talking to a smaller and smaller circle of the like-minded. Not a good strategy for mission.

Besides which, Leveson is a long way from finished and I think judgement should be reserved until all the facts are known.

Sentamu is the most publicly identified Archbishop of York since at least (I would guess) Michael Ramsey, which in an age when people just don't notice the church, counts for something.

At the end of the day, the Sun readership, like the Radio 2 audience is far closer to the bulk of the population than the broadsheets' readers and the Radio 4 audience & the church as a whole shouldn't neglect either.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 10:52am BST

Jonathan J: "There are no mechanisms by which discussion can be 'permitted' or 'not permitted', partly because the Church of England is not like that..."

Well, up to a point: it seems to me that the CofE has become adept at not permitting discussion of contentious topics. Hence the current total lack of coherence when it comes to homosexuality.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 1:18pm BST

JJ - I think you have missed the point. I was not referring to official mechanisms and the new role of AA, but very simply that I hope he will realise that it is perfectly permissable to have negative opinions about +JS that are nothing whatsoever to do with racism, but rather with perceived flaws. We all have flaws. One of +JS's has, in the past, to have been 'robust' in his treatment of colleagues. And I am using diplomatic language here. His wonderful human qualities however, by far outweigh any weaknesses.
I'm not suggesting there should be any official discussion about such opinions. Just that AA admit (to himself) that people have a right to their opinions.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 5:12pm BST

Fr Mark:

to quote sir Humphrey

'that would be to mistake lethargy for strategy...'

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 9:38pm BST

Fr Mark, for all its (our?) many faults, you can hardly accuse the CofE of preventing discussion of contentious topics. Failing to reach resolution, yes, but we talk - and talk, and talk, arguably the issue is that we spend too much time talking and never get around to doing anything.

And as for the notion that homosexuality doesn't get discussed - that feels like some parallel universe version of the CofE (where presumably the issue would be whether heterosexuals and men can be bishops).

Posted by Stuart at Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 7:02am BST

Neil - point taken.

And honest opinions can always, I hope, be honestly challenged.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 7:36am BST

If Archbishop Sentamu chooses to promote the Son in the Sun isn't that a good thing - especially as numerous charities benefit from his journalistic contributions and the Good News of the Gospel reaches a much wider audience than any sermon preached from the pulpit?

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 8:27am BST

Stuart: I think the most pressing issue for the CofE in regard to homosexuality would be how it can formulate proper pastoral policy for those of its members, lay as much (or more than) clergy, who are gay, particularly in the light of the (now already old) civil partnership legislation and soon-to-be-expected equal mariage legislation. It seems to me that bishops, synods etc have been doing their best to sweep these people under the carpet for a long time now, merely in the the hope of thus appeasing angry Evangelicals and avoiding rows.

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 1:20pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.