Thinking Anglicans

“The Government must decentralise to survive Covid”

Update: The Telegraph article is now available on the Archbishop’s website.

The Telegraph has published an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London today.

The Government must decentralise to survive Covid
Getting through the winter will only be sustainable if we resource, train and empower local parishes

When the covid pandemic began and lockdown took force across the country – shuttering shops and pubs, closing schools and barring places of worship – much of what we saw, heard and experienced was dictated and driven by “the centre”. Ministers and officials commanded our attention and determined the daily details of our lives. Few of us have experienced the sheer power of government like that in our lifetimes.

It makes sense to look instinctively for central direction in such an acute crisis, and we’re indebted to the roles many played in doing so, especially those who organised the NHS to cope with the increased demand. Within the Church there are lessons to be learnt about the role and importance of central guidance and its crucial interplay with government rules that exist for the benefit of all…

So here’s our challenge for the next phase of this complex, painful and hugely challenging time: let’s place our trust in the local, and make sure it is resourced, trained, informed and empowered. Some places will get things wrong – but that is true of central leadership too…

The Telegraph also has this news item: Exclusive: ‘Rule of six’ is damaging, Justin Welby tells Boris Johnson

Unfortunately these articles are behind a paywall, but there are freely available reports elsewhere.

Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury warns ‘rule of six’ is damaging family life and demands ministers stop making ‘centralised’ coronavirus rules and leave it to local ‘decision makers’

Independent Archbishop of Canterbury warns of ‘sheer power of government’ and says coronavirus rules must be decentralised

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Paul
Paul
4 days ago

The Archbishop of Canterbury calls for “flexibility and localism” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. These words come from the same Archbishop of Canterbury who ordered the locking of all churches, an even forbade his own clergy entering them. How hypocritical!

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
4 days ago

Is this the same archbishop who has presided over a process of stripping parishes of their autonomy under the guise of ‘Reform & Renewal’? Senior clergy with a ‘local’ title but all working out of the diocesan offices? Onerous safeguarding requirements imposed upon hard pressed parish clergy and parish officers when most of the Church’s particularly egregious safeguarding scandals have been much higher up the organisation’s structure? A house of bishops with no academic theologians and perhaps as a consequence no independent thinkers or voices? Physician heal thyself?

Charles Read
4 days ago

Don’t spoil a good rant by inaccuracy – the House of Bishops has several members with theology PhDs and who have taught theology at university level.

Ranger
Ranger
3 days ago
Reply to  Charles Read

Really? Taught theology at university level? Perhaps you are thinking of Coventry and Oxford, who have both been theological college principals and so have technically taught ‘at university level’, but I can’t think of anyone in the House of Bishops who has held a university post in Theology or who would be correctly described as an ‘academic theologian’ in the university sense.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
3 days ago
Reply to  Charles Read

Charles I’ll readily concede many of the bishops have PhDs or professional doctorates, at least one in epidemiology; but could you give me some examples of those who have taught theology at postgraduate level and had their work extensively published please?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 days ago

Interesting that the archbishop is decrying the centralization of the response to the pandemic in your country while on my side of the pond we’re decrying the way our central government pushed all responsibility to the states, creating a patchwork of 50 or more different responses that has resulted in recurring “hot spots” and one of the highest infection rates among developed nations.

R White
R White
3 days ago

Complete this sentence from the Archbishop’s message: “let’s place our trust in the lo…”.

It is, of course, “Let’s place our trust in the local”

Kate
Kate
2 days ago

“So here’s our challenge for the next phase of this complex, painful and hugely challenging time: let’s place our trust in the local, and make sure it is resourced, trained, informed and empowered. Some places will get things wrong – but that is true of central leadership too…” What might that look like,? Maybe this? “Quakers don’t use traditional religious structures or paid ministers. We share responsibility for what we do because everyone has a valuable contribution to make. ” https://www.quaker.org.uk/about-quakers/our-faith In truth, Justin Welby no more believes in localisation than does Boris Johnson. A more mature point would have… Read more »

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