Pat Ashworth writes on the Church Times blog about this.
…Our morning press briefings bristle with tension and frustration. The Church House communications team are brilliant: they go the extra mile for us every time and are taking all the flak for whatever higher authority has decreed that we cannot have a list of the 670 bishops who are said to be present. Lawyers and privacy laws have been mentioned. Today we are told there will be a list, but that bishops can decline to be on it. So our readers worldwide – whose Church this is – cannot know whether their bishop turned up or not…
…It’s the story of our lives, speaking to somebody afterwards, if they’ll speak to you at all. It’s second-hand reporting. It just won’t do. None of the bishops’ seminar options, the ‘self-select sessions’, are open to us. I look at the range of issues and am desperate to sit at the feet at some of the renowned people from all over the globe who are leading them.
Here is everything that matters, everything the Church should be engaging with. What wouldn’t I give to go to The Deadly Co-epidemic of Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS, chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town? Or The Consequences of Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa? I want to know about the Church’s role in peace building and conflict resolution. The mission challenges posed by eastern spiritualities. Christian responsibility in relation to the Holy Land. And the rest.
I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth. I want to see the flashpoints, hear the burning things I hope the bishops want to say from their own contexts. I don’t want someone else to tell me what was said. The conference is heavily in debt and there’s all the more need for us to know it is doing its work. The only result of keeping the media at arm’s length like this will be the headlines that everyone’s expecting and nobody wants.
Let me repeat that last sentence:
The only result of keeping the media at arm’s length like this will be the headlines that everyone’s expecting and nobody wants.