Friday, 24 April 2009

Up the Purple Pole

What does it tell us about today's Church of England that, by mysterious processes (and not elections as in The Episcopal Church) Rev. Canon Graham Kings has been elevated to Bishop of Wessex - oops, Sherborne, a rather attractive part of the world, though it does move him out of London.

Probably less that we might think, then, being up and a bit away, but clearly Graham Kings represents exactly the direction that the current Archbishop would like to take both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. There is no doubt from reading any of his and Fulcrum's output that this 'Open Evangelical' group is right behind the direction of the once 'Affirming Catholic' Archbishop.

I wouldn't translate that into "a safe pair of hands", though it might look that way given some of the academic and similar priests I can think of that might also be elevated up the purple pole. There are no safe pairs of hands at a time that this Covenant is hanging about and is becoming more controversial by the Ephraim Radner paced minute with people smelling an adoption based stitch-up via the looseness of definitions for Churches.

Fulcrum connects with the Anglican Communion Institute, a sort of inside evangelical track to change The Episcopal Church into a direction other than that in which it is going. That inside track is different from GAFCON, but there is no doubt Graham Kings wants GAFCON back on board (whereas for many they now represent a price too high, having so defined themselves). Given that The Episcopal Church is very unlikely to go in such a different direction than it has, the latest wheeze is to reignite the idea that its dioceses are independent in order that they can selectively sign on to this coming Covenant, a notion that would never be allowed in the ecclesiastical bureaucracy of the Church of England and many another Church. Kings's promotion suggests that, whereas the Scottish and Welsh may well desire to join in the direction of The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England is digging itself into some sort of centrist conservatism - though, of course, one purple leaf doesn't suggest an Autumn coming before the Winter. Clearly, though, his votes can be counted upon in the House of Bishops, for when this Covenant in its last draft plus corrections comes for approval or rejection.

Anyway, best of wishes regarding the promotion. He does listen and he is open to argument, so let's hope that at least continues down there in sleepy Sherborne.

There is a traditional ruritanial visit to its private school by the Abbey that at the start gives a flavour of the town. An aerial display shows the school quadrangle and abbey below. It's not the centre of things, like London, but is a pleasant place to wear purple and wander around in the sunshine.

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