The appointment of the Revd. Arundel Boreang Alice as Website and Publicity Officer for Lambeth Walk Palace and this has led to speculation as to whether there is a shoe-in coming for the Archbishop of the North, John Sendmehome, to become the new Archbishop of England, replacing Rowan Tree who retires shortly.
At the same time questions exist as to the legitimacy of the current appointment system and method.
The Rev. ABA, as he likes to be known, used to work for John Sendmehome as his publicity guru. He has since been a staunch defender of his previous boss, using his own Wolves Hampton Expressions website. The question is whether this appointment does indicate who is to be the next ABE, or whether JS still is too old to qualify.
Some people regard JS as a lightweight self-publicist who is always telling jokes. Recently he opened a Footwear Convention in York and said, as part of his speech to the gathered business people, "Talking about drinks: do you know how to make a fruit cordial? Compliment his shoes." A few people laughed.
The issue arises as to the Appointments Commission, sometimes called by its detractors the Croney Appointments Commission, works, deep in the bowels of the Church in England. It is known to be highly secretive and uses secret handshakes and finger-twiddling signals to indicate progress to those in the know. Look out for bishops in cathedral services twiddling their fingers and scratching their cassocks to get an idea as to who is really the frontrunner in the race that no one really wants to win.
But this year there is a further concern about the legitimacy of the AC or CAC after a leak to stop the Rev. John Jeffrey becoming the bishop of Southwark Farm some years ago by deliberately revealing him as a front-running candidate. The Archbishop of the North then tried to pinpoint a liberal sympathiser Coleen Asleep as the leaker to damage John Jeffrey's chances, by saying that it would do "her candidate" no good at all. But after she died her diary came to light that showed how it was certainly ot her. An Inquiry into the leak was set up, chaired by Lord Fidgety, but was covered up as - it is said - he had pinpointed the Archbishop of England himself (or one of his staff acting with or without his permission) as the leaker. Indeed it is said that the inquiry was set up as a sop to critics at the time without ever having any intention to publish.
The problem is that this has all questioned the legitimacy and probity of the Appointments Commission until a name can be given as to who was the leaker - and so far no one is prepared to be declared as the leaker whether true or sacrificially. Recently John Jeffrey wrote to a Church newspaper questioning the legitimacy of the Appointments Commission, which opponents on John Sendmehome's side likened to having his day of revenge.
One argument in favour of John Sendmehome as the next Archbishop of England is that his appointment would keep the leaking enquiry closed.
Recently John Sendmehome called the Prime Minister a "second rate dictator" because the PM wants to extend civil marriage (only) to gay couples. JS said that, "We are pastors and he isn't even a pasty" Inventing history, JS continued, "Marriage was invented by the Church and people and you cannot overturn what is so embedded in what ordinary people can only understand. A man found his wife in bed with a woman and said, 'What are you doing?' and she immediately said to her same sex lover, 'There you are - I told you he didn't understand the first thing about sex.'" It is also thought that John Sendmehome wants to bring back the Covenant at the earliest opportunity and might want a streamlined decision making system (one that avoids the dioceses). However, despite these recent leanings and behaviour, and all the gossip, alleged revenge and speculation, African Churches - with their literalist and magical beliefs - have indicated that they would not be able to work with JS because he has 'gone native' in England and is too associated with the legacy of Rowan Tree.
Asked for a comment last night, Archbishop Sendmehome said he had "little to say at this sensitive time", but added, "I did have a large gay following but then I slipped down an alleyway and lost him." The telephone then went down because I couldn't be bothered to interview him any further.