Saturday, 25 September 2010

Two Before Silence

This is a last posting before a 'radio silence' of some six or seven days, unless I blog from a library. So come back from 1st October or thereabouts soon after.

I know I will miss commenting on the repercussions of Rowan Williams using the word "pass" as regards any personal hope of his that one day gay bishops can have partners, and that he didn't want to put his "thumbs on scales". No, but he does want to cause damage, by his Covenant and centralising Catholic agenda; and being neither one thing nor the other in this self-presentation he causes damage again by frustrating everybody. His "pass" was whether there could be a way to overcome his view that the scriptural and traditional approach does not give much ground for being "positive" about bishops having gay partners, and that the Church "doesn't know what to do." He must think he has met an impasse of applied theology. First of all, there are Anglican Churches, not a Church, and on their own many of them do know what to do. This is why it is his agenda that keeps causing damage.

I will also miss commenting on the result of the Labour Leadership, although I did watch it live and assumed from their faces that David Miliband had won. He was grinning and smiling, but perhaps it was laughing off or ironical smiling, whereas the weight of the future was dropping on to Ed Miliband. We knew that second preference votes might do the job, and it did: Ed Balls was on the Gordon Brown side of the party, and his second preference were enough to tip Ed (also on that side) over the winning line, but then that was the case for all of them, just. Another weakness has to be that trade unionists used a second vote (second if also individual Labour voters, but who'd vote if not Labour? - and then only 9% eligible did, thus individual votes having a huge impact for a full third of the electoral college) and it was these votes that pushed Ed Miliband just into first place.

I think he is sufficiently different to take a slightly different course, although his distinctiveness was an argument about the past. He has got to repeat those areas where the coalition government is progressive: in civil liberties and decentralisation to actual communities (not companies, enterprises - not capitalists, not quangos). Will Ed Miliband support electoral reform, so that he is more likely to lead a coalition next time than not?

I know some Liberal Democrats have switched to Labour already. I am a potential Labour voter, as I did in 1997. But despite partial anti-Tory reasoning I have not gone over yet. I am waiting to see what difference the Liberal Democrats make: Labour was not friendly to the unemployed and those who found themselves in difficulty, and neither is this government. I still have to say that Ian Duncan Smith, a Tory, might do better than many of them (bizarrely) - but his approach will cost more at least in the early days even if it saves later. The Treasury won't want it. The danger, a real worry, is intensifying the underclass that already exists, especially as the cuts must means some public squalor. One can imagine the councils no longer able to afford services like grass cutting along roads, for example, and then sacking all the workers, and then the unemployed being forced to cut the grass verges as being forced to do something. Over and again, there could be activity placed on the unemployed done by people once with jobs, and I bet the unemployed are given inappropriate tasks as well. If this is what happens: mass unemployment and forced unemployment labouring, then Labour will get my vote too, so long as it has an economic strategy to work, and as long as the unemployed are not its own knocking copy.

However, we don't know what will happen yet. I thought the Liberal Democrat conference was a good one, and that the coalition is workable, but I've yet to hear the Conservatives, and if the Liberal Democrats prop up their worst features then they will pay dearly. But at this stage Ed Miliband must not assume that he will simply walk in next election as Prime Minister, whether in or out of another coalition.

Back in a week.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Not a Coward

Changing Attitude points out a danger of one mirror-imperialistic attitude to reasonable religion coming from Africa, that nonsense of a faith once delivered to the saints (as if by some godly postman in one envelope) being sent back to we the objects of their mission. Indeed it is one threat, which is why a Covenant for Anglicanism that somehow amalgams that form of religion with Western developed religion won't work.

To my mind what makes this a threat is not that they believe in some fervent and overbearing manner, but that there is a presumption of superstition built in, that miracles are happening, that the text is all about them and links Africa to Israel (and all that). Some of these Africans are visible now on satellite TV stations, who rant and rave about people getting better, as if such can happen from a TV screen. It is no surprise to me that in some churches children might be regarded as having demons inside them with some pastor scaring the shit out of them by practising their Christian form of village witchcraft in London. Some of these authoritarian Anglican leaders are but a gnat's kneecap from such belief, indeed they preside over such belief in villages. In that there may be a reformation in the towns and cities, it often translates into the worst kind of fundamentalism, and then attracts in right wing American money.

The second threat (that relates to the Covenant) is that which comes from the Pope as seen in his recent visit. He has recanted slightly, in that he came with a view that Britain is turning into some sort of secularist state, and he hadn't bothered to see the difference between secularism and secularisation. For a so-called thinker, he does make some clottish simplifications. Nevertheless, when he talks about ecumenism as regards his Church and the functioning Anglican Church, the services of which might have impressed him a little for their grandeur, what he means is bringing these forms and its members into full Communion as with John Henry Newman and through these intended ordinariates. These are, for him, ecumenical progress: not some long winded negotiation process that just discusses the issues. In the end, he thinks the Roman Catholic Church is right. He is giving more to Eastern Orthodoxy; but he must still regard Anglicanism as having little but interesting elements and a history, such that now needs to be put into the box of the true Church.

Why it relates to the proposed Covenant is because Rowan Williams wants some of that ecclesiology internationally within the Anglican worldwide Church (as he sees it) so that the true Church can include the Anglican and it be up there with the big two. If Diarmaid McCulloch, reflecting on the Pope's visit, is right - that Anglicanism is of completely contradictory elements that the Pope might learn about - then that's not good enough for Rowan Williams, who wants the whole bound together in ever continuing processes of dialogue towards resolving differences on a principle of the slowest change determining the pace of everyone. Anyway, I noticed Rowan Williams's joke about the true humanism which he finds in Christianity.

The third threat, that includes two of the above, is satellite based evangelicalism. It may just be that it is over-reaching itself, as yet again God TV is desperate to raise money for self-maintenance. This does, however, process a lot of money, and it is all right wing, theologically nuts, pro-Israel, creationism. Some of them now copy Jewish ceremonies on the basis that if Jews return to Jerusalem then Jesus Christ will come back. Some of these nutters would like a war with Iran just to create the kind of world chaos they think will kick off armageddon. If these stations are not banging on about Israel they try to extort money on apparent biblical principles, telling people how with enough 'seeding' they might receive cheques in the post to cancel their debts. Personally, I prefer sending off my Readers Digest response in the No envelope. It costs nothing.

(By the way, when I move I won't have satellite TV, and I've realised that I won't miss much.)

I feel a bit sorry for Colin Coward and others like him, because they are right up against it. They are part of modern, reasonable, civilisation, trying to see if some of their religion's insights have relevance, and often finding that they do. It's as if they can't follow some traditional forms of worship and yet think with their brains and act according to who they are in an ethical fashion. Too many lunatics are taking over the asylum, and the pressure is on.

I recommend people should join the denominations that are closest to their own beliefs. Why should we expect institutions to span such huge religious differences? For him, joining something more compatible wouldn't be the Unitarians or Quakers, say, given his express Christian views, but perhaps something like the Metropolitan Community Church. He, and others, would say that classic Anglicanism is closest to his own outlook, but also that he has a mission to stretch to and include those who don't want to include him inside that Church. Well, that's a noble aim but the reasonable ones are being forced into corners. Anyway, it is society that ends up being pluralistic across such wide chasms. I do agree with the principle: my view of Unitarianism is that here are people of difference who choose to worship together, but then I'm no fool and such are not that much different. There are Pagans and Christians and Humanists and Easterns, and the odd Muslim too (our friend was away during Ramadan), but these folk are similar precisely because they would rather meet with others of different subjective experiences, and don't want to stay in packs, and don't think that their own stance requires being in the specialist institution making dogmatic claims.

I do think Christianity is in intellectual trouble, but the issue that confronts any individual is the institutional issue. I find high Anglicanism a fantasy cover, and high traditionalism a psychological issue, and evangelicalism simply rewrites history and science, and is a fantasy without a cover. The question is whether Anglicanism, and other declining denominations, can resist the threefold attack I've suggested is going on, and what some individuals are going to do about it. To those who stay, on principle: I say that they are very brave.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


I realised today that I have already attended my last regular service at Barton-on-Humber. So the chapter, opened in 2004 (regular attending) has come to an end.

My intention is not to join in with an Anglican community at the new place of residence. When I lived there before there were five and now there are four active churches in a team ministry there. One of them I used in my Ph.D as an example of an evangelical church, and I'd regard that place now pretty much at one end of the scale. I'm not sure about what is the most historic church, now the most eastern, the one in Sutton itself. A clue must be in a lack of emphasis on eucharistic celebration, and yet there seems to be little in the way of other clues. This is one of the most secular places in Britain, where there are vast numbers in surrounding housing estates between these churches of Sutton and Wawne, Bransholme and Sutton Park, and there was a small to pathetic attendance in each of them.

This raises a puzzle as to whether I am going to continue to comment on Anglican affairs when I am no longer active, in any sense. I might still attend the Barton In Depth group from time to time - that may attract a new incomer who wrote looking for something substantive for discussion (better keep up the level now I've stopped presenting!) - but that would be it. The Humber Bridge is a barrier and the times do not facilitate attendance.

I might writing a novel, and if I did something would have to cease, and it might be the blog. The website would continue. Keeping the blog just to make website announcements would not work, because it would cease to be visited. Perhaps the blog could be a novel - there is a story in it paused months back where the final part is still to take place and that might be the last entry of this blog as it is.

I'm not sure yet. Already I can make some comments on Benny's visit and his grinning host, but needs to pack are priority. And so these few minutes to make these comments are a gap themselves in all the necessaries going on.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Saying Bye Bye

The Unitarian church in Hull had a bus trip to Whitby, to see its church and the place. However, although I was down to go, worries about moving kept me awake and I wanted to be at home. So I didn't go. I was pleased that in addition to marking the change of season, and peace days, the visiting minister from Sheffield commented on the Pope's visit and listed what she found "disturbing", repeating the word a number of times. I thought that was rather good. Also, in that context she commented on the use of the text John 14:6 where, she said, words are put into the mouth of Jesus (New RSV):

6 Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me...

And she said she does not agree with that verse. This is what I like about the Unitarians. No sort of resting on where this verse originated and all the hermeneutics, so that the illusion is given of agreement when other forms of communal religious believing are accepted. Yes, the words are planted, but also a straight 'do not agree' - and that is also how I approach verses like that. I attended the evening Anglican service, a communion, kept largely silent and sat (I don't stand for the Gospel, nor do I stand or say the creed) and I altered a few sung words to the hymns.

In that place my farewell piece for the St. Mary's Parish magazine has been accepted, and the editor said she'd add an image of my iconic basket. Buying these once a year from Aldi, I sent the perfect image as had appeared on the website when they were available previously. So here is that little article and I'll add the basket here too.

I am leaving; I am only going as far as to live in Hull, but as we all know the Humber Bridge is a Humber Barrier. I will be living deep in Sutton-on-Hull, if only a street from where I lived between 1964 and 1985.

During my time coming to this church I formatted some archives of around 1972 and 1973 on to the church website when the local writing was convinced that the Humber Bridge would turn Barton into a suburb of Hull. It didn't happen like that, thanks to the tolls.

We moved to New Holland since 1994, which was a cheaper Hull substitute for my mother (as in less on the house but having to pay the bridge instead), but I have been coming to this church from about 2002. I started coming at first just in the evenings, often to turn up outside and find the service had been earlier and everyone had gone home. I did try the Anglican one 30 seconds from my front door, but the chap there once preached about the sinful people of New Holland. He was accurate (and some of my next door neighbours were atrocious), but he made all sorts of aspersions and theological assumptions I didn't want to hear. I have been four times I think, maybe three, and never been to Barrow even once. So I am a good example of a parish boundary crosser. And in 2004 I started coming more seriously after I gave up on the Unitarians.

I did give this Anglican approach a serious effort, including making a mention of seeking further ministry, and following it up later but then realising I could not make those "promises" that the new curate repeated a number of times. My postmodern attempt of doing Christianity had failed, and I just rediscovered my liberal theological position. I was also frustrated that I'd taken only one service within an Easter week, and tried some imaginative prayers, but felt the whole thing over constrained and clerical, which is all to do with the business of clergy being substitutes for a bishop not being present and all that hierarchy stuff. Despite an appreciation of symbolism, I have slid down the candle completely and prefer liberal equality.

So it was nearly two years ago now that I stopped taking communion. I went to the communion rail when Kathy started being a priest, but only to stand there to personally affirm her full ministry as a general concept. I refuse communion equally from male and female.

Nevertheless I must say how I will always appreciate the pastoral support given to me and Elena too as my mother's dementia increased and life became very difficult and stressful, and one learnt about betrayal within families. There were real moments there where I searched around for principles of proper behaviour, and drew on all that the church offered for support. That encountered reality is an unforgettable deposit, as indeed there are still consequences of all that happened back in 2006. This is where faith groups are so valuable: in human support and patterns of belief, and also in the wisdom of the available elders.

I did find a role particularly in presenting to the In Depth Group some theological material (some based on my contemporary theology MA) but it increasingly convinced me of my own marginality regarding Anglican beliefs, and I was also asked to take a service at the Unitarians. They had moved on from my last encounters, and I'd also missed a whole ministry there (probably fortunately); but although nothing is problem free its creedless base simply suits best my way of thinking.

Then the opportunity arose to get rehoused, and the value of that (as a separated unable-bodied person with no offspring) was too great to miss. I'm not much of a poker player when it comes to solicitors and gambling my living place on the estate of my late mother, even though that action continues according to my new understanding of 'family'.

I am still friendly with Elena, who now appears fairly regularly in virtual form on the Internet. She tells me that with my move back to Sutton, my life has gone "full circle" as if it has come to its natural end. It is an interesting thought, though I hope something new might come from there. If forced to give up my car, New Holland becomes a trap anyway.

I will be coming over the bridge from Hull, because I still have some appointments on this side of the river. It's just that these won't take place on Sundays and probably later on if Wednesdays, so you might see me in the streets of Barton but, in the main, I'll be gone. So it is bye again to the Anglicans. In saying that I'd just like to thank everyone for their friendship since I made this church an adopted home.

Adrian Worsfold

Friday, 17 September 2010

Phone Line Blues

Moving house is a pain in the detail - like wanting to transfer a phone and broadband account. Ideally I'd keep everything the same, but then going to Hull means going to a unique owner of all the lines and hardware.

So to Talk Talk (ex-Tiscali) and I just went round and around operator after operator each asking my number, name, address, date of birth - some seven times in three separate diallings of my own. I dialled them first, and received the information that they can serve the Hull area. I got my first piece of variable cost information. Then I rang Kingston Communications, who were clear and straightforward, and honest (yes I can have another provider, it's just that none of them do it except for business customers as it is not worth their while). Right. So back to Talk Talk, who would do it, and well less than Hull it seemed, though Hull is less than what I pay now. (This raises an interesting question, like why I am paying more now?).

But I had to dial again, thus the third time, and here I went via five people all asking my name etc. and when finally I ended up where I'd been before, the charge jumped to well over £30 a month for the broadband alone - because they don't normally serve the area.

Bye bye and back to Kingston Communications who ran the thing through in a flash and gave me a new number, and no connection charge either. The chap was even self-critical about the charging systems being separate. I will jump from a maximum 1.1 to 12 megabits for receiving broadband via ADSL 2 equipment. The chap was interested in what I had at the moment.

I've since just done a speed test and it is just below and just over 1 megabits.

The new phone number and broadband activates on 1 October for Sutton-on-Hull, and I won't say what it is here, but it won't take a Sherlock Holmes to find it and it will be in the book.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Not 'The Truth' Anymore

The Pope makes his usual comments against aggressive secularism and he opposes relativity. Yet it is that very relativity that allows an optimistic outlook to him conducting a mass in a Glasgow park.

People sometimes forget just what a revolution was involved when John Knox (1510-72) moved from being a Catholic priest to a Protestant minister. At that time every church was a place of saintly superstition, magic, the supernatural, with fears of the afterlife given that life was so quick and even cheap. Money bought mass saying priests, and others just prayed to saints.

To go from that universe of meaning to pulling down statues and smashing windows and to rejecting a whole heavenly body of saints was one huge change. But what it left until very recently, and still divided in education, was a bitter sectarianism only one nudge of conflict away from that found in Northern Ireland. Scotland was divided into Catholic and a self-dividing Protestantism, both as "true" as they could be, with the Episcopal Church being a tiny odd non-State version of Anglicanism.

What first of all an Enlightened liberal State, and then postmodern relativity allows, is the spaces for these various clashes of beliefs to co-exist.

My postmodernism is of a moderate variety: it varies from high on the meter regarding religion and the arts, to low regarding scientific research and mathematical work. I'm aware of the great and small uncertainties in the latter two, and also the place of the market and institutions in guiding a lot of science (including, it should be said, the business of climate change), but research anchors forms of truth. There is no way that Catholicism or Protestantism holds similar strengths of truth, and in these as in the arts the best that can be hoped for are insights to truths, even I would say signals of transcendence rather than transcendence itself.

When Catholicism and the right wing of Protestantism makes claims to alternative science, such as bread and wine actually transubstantiating, or a some sort of alternative history of the origins and end of the world (whether literalist or somewhat symbolised but still structurally held) then they are up against a different language and truth game and open to being even ridiculed.

There are all kinds of sensible, interesting and approachable theologies by Catholic and Protestant theologians in modern times (think of David Tracy as a Catholic, for example - discovering life's meaning in texts, classics, traditions, revelations, symbols: risking an understanding in participation with many different other publics, in where we live, in what we study, and within institutions of faith and belief), but a lot of the ecclesiastical religion is presented as if still being in an alternative universe. That's what gives the secularists the grounds for an attack, and frankly I want to build an understanding of religious observance free of such an alternative universe than the predominant paradigms today.

That's what the Pope doesn't like: that the prominent paradigms are just that, and his Roman Catholicism isn't 'The Truth' any more. That's not to say religious insights from past traditions are not useful for one's personal orientations, or understandings of suffering and ethical responses. But they are truths around these to be argued, whether into the public space or private spaces.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Political and Economic Suicide

On the one hand, I am fortunate that have somewhere to go and live, but like many in my position I am beginning to wonder about what kind of life I'll be able to lead. Like many, there is something of a panic building that the government just elected is about to go completely mad.

My friend's mother suffers from Alzheimer's and it took that condition to ask a question looking at the TV screen at the news after the election (she probably can't ask this question any more): seeing Cameron and Clegg at the front door of 10 Downing Street she asked, "Are they twins?"

The trouble is that behind the twins, with Cameron benefiting and Clegg looking like a fall-guy, is that behind them and with them is the axeman George Osborne, who before the election gave every indication of absence of competence in both economic and political skills.

I voted for the Liberal Democrats partly because I am a liberal, but I also voted for them because I was to the left of an increasingly fantasised capitalistic Labour Party. Whilst there are some libertarian bits going into government policy, and potential for electoral and constitutional change (but watch out for the Conservative stab in the back), it increasingly looks like the Liberal Democrats are no more than a prop for a government that could not get itself elected under its own steam.

We've had a period under New Labour when we created a kind of fantasy public economy, much of it built around culture and public services. There is real value in these, and a real need, but they did not pay for themselves. They were paid for by debt, like a sort of Private Finance Initiative economy. Why did they do this? Because they could, and because the Chinese and Indians let us (amongst a few others). The Indians have moved on somewhat, but the Chinese state capitalist system forces a low currency and low wages - forced labour, basically - and produced and saved. Producing and saving allowed us to consume and borrow. The financial sector produced ever more complex and deceptive derivative products: the American sub-prime property market did not cause the collapse, but was the means to expose the imbalance in the world economy.

In this country the debt was private (consumers) and public, but here is the problem. Gordon Brown expanded the public economy and privatised it at the same time, so that the private economy became dependent upon public purchasing. The Conservatives and their prop are now going to axe so much of the public purchasing.

Now the idea is that something else, like exports, will replace this. The problem, as in the early 1980s, is that you don't open things by closing things down. When you close things down, you cause mass unemployment. If police, council workers, and the privatised public economy workers are made redundant, you get unemployment. At the same time, the government wants to spend less on welfare and wants to get people 'back to work' as if all that is needed is effort.

Bizarrely Ian Duncan Smith ended up with some good ideas regarding welfare, but they cost more initially, and allow the tax and benefits system to be hugely simplified. The Liberals once supported a negative income tax, and that's basically the idea that overcomes the poverty trap that Gordon Brown intensified. But a battle is taking place; it seems that the need for reform will fall victim to the apparent need to axe.

It doesn't add up. The solution of the axe could kill the patient, even though the patient is imbalanced and in bad health. The solution to the economic problem is international, and is because capitalism cannot handle a State regime that has discovered how to exploit it to its own growth led intentions. It wasn't that long ago that South East Asia had its own financial crisis, but money went its way, it grew its way out and has bitten the developed West on the backside. The reason the banks make so much money, and will, is because they do the trade of the imbalance - they make a profit because they need to do business patching up the imbalance.

If we in the UK lose the public led economy, we don't suddenly get back manufacturing, shipbuilding, metal bashing, coal mining and the rest. We end up with none of them. So much of technology industry is labour light, and technology industry can develop anywhere.

The government will have to do a U turn. If it doesn't, the consequences will be disastrous. It may be better if the Liberal Democrats pull the rug, if the rug isn't pulled against them.

It is right that a coalition should be a coalition, but it has to be one of some principle. There was never equidistance between the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to Labour. Whilst it was right to say that the party with the most votes gets first choice, the price had to be a high one and it has not been high enough. Also 'country' might come before 'party', but not if you are going to smash the country to pieces. That's not 'country' before party, but just a form of political and economic stupidity.

The solution is international. The Chinese have to have trade unions that count, a currency that floats, political competition, higher wages and social services that mean individuals don't have to save as they do for a rainy fortnight. The Communist Party has to come to see that it is ideologically pointless, and give way. Other regimes similarly have to give way. They all need proper welfare social systems, not the lurch to State directed capitalism.

In the meantime, which might be a very long time, you have to trip along a high wire. The best approach is to see that cheap money and all this quantitative easing without inflationary effect (at the moment) is a means to an end. But on its own it will do nothing much. Nor would handing out subsidised incomes just to cause demand - it goes on more imports. What is needed is actual physical work in the form of public programmes. This does not mean the fantasy economy of doing up buildings and having more museums. It means building houses, putting down new railways, creating new power plants - all the sorts of things that require industry, and having the industry set up and encouraged at the same time. It costs money, but it generates activity, and then there is money to be saved by treating terrorism as crime and not as war.

It won't be long now before grass grows high around our roads and the new swanky culture buildings and unoccupied offices start to fall down (unless the unemployed are forced to cut grass and paint buildings). Mass unemployment is around the corner. Let's see how this government handles the shit it is about to cause.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


The articles on Elizabeth Gaskell in the Church Times are now available to non-subscribers:
The first is by Ann Peart, who was Principal of Unitarian College Manchester (well after my short time there).

There is an assumption in the article as you read it that her father was a radical Unitarian minister but that she attended an ex-Presbyterian chapel that became Unitarian. Obviously there is a matter of timing and specifics to the locality here, but many Unitarian chapels were ex-Presbyterian and such didn't prevent their engagement with radicalism. They didn't have to have other denominational origins or be brand new in order to be radical. The moderation and even conservation in religion of many an ex-Presbyterian chapel (but hardly moderate when they set off) was often after the Unitarian denominationalist period and measured against that and all its controversy (regarding other denominations and trust funds and narrowness regarding the Bible). I write this recognising that I do so up against what Ann Peart wrote, and she does know what she writes about! My case is evident, however: note how, herself, Elizabeth Gaskell was clearly caught up commenting against that denominationalist and belief competition going on, against which she (like the romantics) was waiting for something more generalist, as was supplied later downwind from the Anglican Catholic Oxford Movement and Victorian Gothic.

Not Long Now

Now that the important document is signed and further preparations are being made, I can reveal that I will be leaving New Holland and returning to Sutton-on-Hull, living in a freshly restored bungalow. I will be living near my closest friends again.

I will have been in New Holland almost exactly sixteen years when I go. The house has been a good one, and the setting good too with a green in front and a field behind. When we came, I travelled on a motorbike and my mother drove the car - taking it over the Humber Bridge and back by mistake. The first week and more here was one of wind, made worse by the open aspect of New Holland along an estuary. It made my mother initially miserable, but it was only one variety of weather. She then set about improving the property and this continued. I was to learn to drive a car while here, and took over all the driving tasks. The idea was a trade off between cheap property and then travelling over the expensive Humber Bridge to Hull. At one point while here my mother, Elena (who came from Russia with the millennium) and I made a serious effort to get into the Hull property market, just missing out on a spacious property over there. My mother and I went to the Unitarians until a point arrived when we stopped; I have since resumed.

Quite early and for a time we were subjected to local anti-social behaviour but in the end we solved it by 'disappearing' locally, and in one sense Barton-on-Humber became the place of my shopping, and also via the church there I built up a good set of friends. The problem there was I'm on or off the edge of what they are supposed to believe, though I'm not alone in that.

Unfortunately in later years dementia set in with my mother, and also we did not keep up with the need to maintain an old property. Despite pleas, she was uninterested in necessary redecoration. There was later on just the chance of major improvement to the back and the garage, but when the deposit became the overpayment for the garage alone, the builder (who'd redone the porch with his sons) stole the money. This then coincided with a major family betrayal that will never be overcome, and it is why when I leave I shall send the keys to my solicitors. Whilst I engaged my solicitor in a double action, nevertheless I had said that I would seek alternative accommodation.

Had I been the inheritor of this property as my mother intended in 2002, once my sister's side received almost all from my father, I would have sued the so-called friendly builder who stole the thousands. But I leave that to the outcome of matters now going ahead.

I like New Holland but it only works if you can afford a car. It is comparatively very cheap to buy property, and yet is 30 minutes almost equidistant between Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby with Barton a place of character nearby. This property and this setting, with its three double bedrooms and three living rooms, if maintained, would cost a fortune in most suburbs. It would cost considerably more if in the next villages. Manchester Square is a square of railway terraces from 1851, with one terrace listed, at this end of the line to the defunct ferry whereas Sheffield Square in Grimsby is long gone.

The problem we have had has been a succession of difficult neighbours on one side, only ended by the present very pleasant people. The previous neighbours were a living hell and contributed to my mother's decline. It also contributed to leaving my marriage distant and dysfunctional, if still friendly. A point arrived where I was fed up with New Holland and the strain was growing, only to be topped by a family betrayal that was breathtaking and required careful management thereafter. I even took my mother's funeral: after all, there had been, for good or ill, a continuous relationship until her dementia led to her mental losses and her behaviour changing.

So I am moving on, and in one sense moving back. There are some weeks to go, and then probably a short silent period before I'm fully online again and develop a new pattern of life.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Bizarre World of the Tiny

Every so often, partly (I admit) because I once thought there was a good idea being reborn in one of them, I keep a watch on the progress or otherwise of some Liberal Catholic Churches, bodies usually very tiny and associated with the episcopi vagantes tag.

I can't keep up with the latest changes, that go from a good idea to messing up to the bizarre. Bishop John Kersey, once of the Liberal Catholic and Apostolic Church, must have put in an incredible effort to develop the website of that little Church. Go back to before 2000 and there was the creation of British Liberal Free Church, later renamed the Society of the Divine Spirit, becoming the English Liberal Free Church, with the Society of Free Christians, all of which was based on the ideas of J. M. Lloyd Thomas, the Free Catholic Unitarian in the early twentieth century, the end point of the gothic revival in Unitarianism downwind from the Anglican Oxford Movement with some similar effects. The semi-detached Unitarian involved became detached from this creation, so that in the 2006 the Society of Free Christians in its Catholic side became the Religious Society of St. Simon and the English Liberal Free Church had rapid name changes from that to the Independent Old Catholic Church of the Utrecht Succession and then the Liberal Rite. A simple name at last, so to speak, in 2007, but incorporating the shadow remains of The Ancient Catholic Church in 2008 created the Liberal Catholic and Apostolic Church. This was a combination then of independent Catholic spiritualism and something that had become Liberal Catholic, trinitarian and somewhat Celtic, Druidic and even New Age in elements.

You'd think this might settle down and be developed, and it is only 2010. As far as I can tell, first John Kersey left his creation, and then (same location) did Andrew Linley. John Kersey was off creating another Church, this time a supposedly pre-Nicene orthodoxy one, though with a good, strong Gnostic aspect. This left the bishoped Adrian Glover, also known as Mar Trimlett, to run the show with Bishop Alistair Bate (once a Unitarian - used to lead at Glasgow), also known as Mar Alexei. In the Pentecost 2010 edition of The Catholic Liberalist Newsletter, a quarterly production, they announced that there would no longer be a Metropolitan, as was John Kersey, but there would be a Presiding Bishop, and rotated. Well, now, on 8th September 2010, all associated with the Companions of the Cross and Passion up in Edinburgh have ended their association with the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, and so the three are exclusively in this new creation called the Ecclesia Apostolica Divinorum Mysteriorum.

The Mars have become Taus. So in London there is The Most Revd. John Kersey, OCR, DD (Tau Eleutherius, Ep. Gn.) Metropolitan Primate of the Ecclesia Apostolica Divinorum Mysteriorum, Archbishop of Great Britain of The Apostolic Episcopal Church, also Bishop and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury, The Order of Corporate Reunion; and then also in London there is the Bishop in Anglia, Tau Andreas, the Most Revd. Professor Andrew Linley OCR, DD; whilst up in Edinburgh there is the Bishop in Caledonia, Tau Alexei, Ep. Gn., the Most Revd. Alistair Bate, CCP, OCR, DD.

One wonders what has happened to maintaining the tradition of Harold Nicholson, for example, the spiritualist-leaning independent Catholic.

The dynamic seems to be falling out, getting together and individuals tagging on to one creation and then another. Evolving a body isn't quite good enough. Presumably now the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church is in a bit of a mess. Alistair Bate's own website hasn't caught up with his own changes, which strikes me as rather odd. I know having a website is tricky when updating is necessary, but I would be quicker on the draw if I knew what I was about to do, unless I had reasons otherwise to hold back such information.

I used to think these folks carried at least some useful ideas amongst all the clutter. I also thought that at least Alistair Bate was developing some sort of a congregation once a month at the Theosophical Society. But they just end up feeding the critics, producing a fantasy nonsense of bizarre ecclesiastical titles and tiny transitional institutions that last a fleeting moment.

I know something about small Churches because I spend quite some time supporting one of them - the one with the actual and not imagined connection with Francis David of Transylvania, whatever the LCAC website claims. He expressly denied the Trinity and was very clearly Protestant low Church. Smallness itself isn't necessarily something to be criticised (though you do ask what strategies are available to grow) but surely one requirement is stability, because without stability you cannot build anything. You expect to evolve, to acquire and you might split, but not at breakneck speed.

I've updated my Where are the Liberal Catholics? page, which was only updated recently after a friendly email (sometimes I receive hostile emails after someone falls out with another and the 'jurisdiction' changes), but I can't really keep up with such rapid changes as these. It was just fortunate (or unfortunate) that I noticed these changes so rapidly after happening - but next week could be different.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Pope Interviewed

Radio Chadderbox gets an exclusive pre-visit interview in Rome.

Lara Crofter: Listeners will be pleased to know that I have been doing my homework and I am privileged to have been selected to conduct an interview with Cardinal Joshie Rapsinger-Adolphus, who is the first pope. In the spirit of accu-medical relationships, em, I also welcome a Church in England archbishop, of the North, John Sendmehome, partly because Rowanov Treetri said he was busy.

John Sendmehome: He said he didn't want to be offensive. So he asked me to come instead.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus I, (Joshua Allo-Allo Rapsinger): I am not zis person you mentioned. I am no longer a cardinal. I am Pope Benedictus-Adolphus, the first Pope with zis name, and I only use my former name when I write my books that are not necessarily the opinions of ze Pope, which is me.

Lara Crofter: And so you were a cardinal.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I voz, Cardinal Joshua Allo-Allo Rapsinger.

Lara Crofter: And you were then perfect for the Council of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: No I vos not. I vas Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, not perfect - though I was a good choice.

Lara Crofter: But you are perfect now.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: In certain conditions, on certain rulings, I am perfectly infallible, but this does not include when I write my books, necessarily.

Lara Crofter: It says here that both of you were dissidents against your former repressive regimes. You, Benedictus-Adolphus, joined the Hitler Youth, and then the Army, but deserted when the war was nearly over. You, John, were a dissident of Idi Amen.

John Sendmehome: Not Amen. Idi Amin.

Lara Crofter: Sorry. Adi Amin then. He thought he was the King of Scotland, didn't he, so you came to England.

John Sendmehome: Not quite that reasoning, no.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I vos fortunate that my father was anti-Nazi.

John Sendmehome: A man ran away from joining the army, and a nun said, "Hide under my robes." So he did and commented on her fine pair of legs. The Nun said, "Yes but don't look any higher, because I am dodging conscription too."

Lara Crofter: Pope Benedictus-Adolphus - can I call you Benny Adolph?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: No you may not. Remember zat my ministry is based on the rock of Peter.

Lara Crofter: Yeah, I like what Peter Gabriel sings too. Now your up and coming visit is costing the taxpayer a pretty penny. Why don't you stay away?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: Because I vant to see my flock and also orn ze British of the danger of relativism.

Lara Crofter: I thought Catholics were in favour of lots of children; I mean if you get lots of children you have lots of aunties and uncles, surely.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: By relativism I mean where one apparent truth is substitutable for another.

John Sendmehome: Here's a question for relativity: why do couples with children feel sorry about people who have no children, and couples with no children feel sorry for couples with children?

Lara Crofter: Recently the British government in a memo suggested that you should be asked to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage and launch a range of Benedict-branded condoms. Do you detect any sense of hostility in coming to visit this country?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I think it was an internal Foreign and Commonwealth Office role play, for which I have prayed forgiveness for the people involved, and no doubt such that is similar regarding that attitude is something that John Henry Newman can intercess for in ze future. I would point out that, over and over again, political figures have invited me to your country: even Gordon Brown when he was only Chancellor and, after all, your taxes are paying a large part towards my visit.

John Sendmehome: A child was told to pray to God if he wanted a bicycle, so he did but never got one. Then he went to church and heard people praying to say sorry. So he realised his mistake, nicked one and then prayed he was sorry.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: So let me say why I am coming. I am going to beatify John Henry Newman near where you used to make cars, and thus emphasise the place of your country in the Catholic tradition. Once some deacon in the United States said his backache was cured by a prayer to Newman, we were able to say he performed a miracle and my visit could go ahead.

Lara Crofter: Isn't that all a bit superstitious?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: It is supernatural, but the supernatural can be approached rationally, like looking for evidence that we need.

Lara Crofter: Don't we now prefer the reasoning of someone like Richard Dawkins, who wrote The Origin of Species?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I want to avoid him, in case he attempts to arrest me. He vont pay £25 to my Church to get in to ze event, so I should be all right there. Incidentally, I sink if he wrote The Origin of Species he would be very old now and incapable of arresting me. I am only 83 by comparison, and could run away faster.

Lara Crofter: Shouldn't you have retired by now: put your feet up like?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: Vee popes become incapable, die and only then are vee replaced. Unless ve die before vee become incapable, like my predecessor but one who lasted 33 days.

Lara Crofter: Jesus?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: Zat vas 33 years, probably.

Lara Crofter: You've ballsed up the paedophile business, haven't you? There is to be a 'Nope Pope' rally in Hyde Park, proceeds going to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I could send my own contribution. I am not implicated in any cover-up. My actions at the time of my responsibility to do something were not inadequate.

Lara Crofter: You face opposition from activists against paedophilia, gays, atheists, family planners, ecologists, Catholic women, some Anglicans, Christians in general and possibly even some Muslims given your comments. What if someone said, "Show me just what a Pope brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman"?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: It would be nonsense of course. We have introduced no innovations.

Lara Crofter: Mary; condoms; the pope?

John Sendmehome: Did you hear about the transvestite who wanted to have a good time: to eat, drink and be Mary?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: Condoms encourage the use of condoms, which if they do not work spread disease, whereas we recommend nothing is used and full access is given for the potential to get pregnant every time. The Europeans cannot maintain their populations.

Lara Crofter: There's no shortage of babies worldwide.

John Sendmehome: A couple named their children John, Paul, Sally, Carrie and Yung Ho after they read that every fifth child in the world is Chinese.

Lara Crofter: You think paedophilia and homosexuality are linked, but isn't forced celibacy and paedophilia more likely to be connected? Your English bishops denied the homophobic comments of your Cardinal Talkisio Baritone.

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: Let me change se subject. I vant and need a pure Church. Not like his, here. Not a muddle, or a lack of a centre. I vas very urried ven the condom generation grew in Tubingen, all around me. Vrightening. Zer vas too much liberalism and too much of se Marxism, too many ideas; ant also the Zecon Watican Gounzil was an important milestone, as you would zay, but it vas one I vanted to move on from. Yes I have. That vos vy I was first thought right for the Holy Office by my adored predecessor.

Lara Crofter: What, you looked after the documents, did some typing, answered the phone, went on the Vatican reception counter?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: The Holy Office is ze ol name of ze Congregation mentioned earlier.

John Sendmehome: Did you hear about the typist who lost all her fingers? She changed to doing shorthand.

Lara Crofter: Archbishop, you must be worried that this Pope here wants to recruit your high Catholic priests. Apparently they are going to become very ordinary.

John Sendmehome: And that would be quite a change for them. I know an Anglo-Catholic who is leaving: a member of his congregation thanked him for his teaching ministry saying, "Before you came, Father, we did not know as much about sin."

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I hope zer vill be plenty of sese people for us to ordain for the ordinariates directly under me, in that zese men are just the right kinds of thinking people we need. Zay can say their Anglican style mass, with Roman essentials too, although say haven't used their own in the past. Or we have a new older mass coming out zoon.

John Sendmehome: I'll stick with the joke book.

Lara Crofter: Common Worship?

John Sendmehome: And I'll do the jokes.

Lara Crofter: Was I joking?

Pope Benedictus-Adolphus: I in fact worry that your main books are zecular. I need to defend the Catholic and to bring it back into English culture. I vant to engage the debate, as I do in Germany. But I worry that Peter Tatchell will present a television documentary, and he is hardly Jurgen Habermas. I would debate vith Mr Tatchell, but I zhall be too busy - and he also might try to arrest me. But we cannot redeem ourselves by ourselves, and it needs me to be involved.

Lara Crofter: Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have run out of time. We shall just have to see what your visit brings, seeing as you are still coming. And thank you Archbishop for your contributions.

John Sendmehome: Know what happened when the Pope went to Mount Olive? Popeye swallowed some spinach and gave him a right belter.

Lara Crofter: I think we'll have to edit that last bit out, Archbishop.

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Project

I am now on a Worship Sub-Committee at Hull Unitarian Church and we met first time on 5 September after the morning service.

One of the aspects of a democratic as well as liberal church, and one entirely lay run, is that we have to take responsibility and do everything. At the moment I prepare and provide music according to the running order, using resources that produce, from behind the organist's curtain, a music delivery, placed on to one CD, now both almost as good as and sometimes better in total than when there was an organist. Once a set of high speakers works for the music as well as the remote microphone the result will be even better.

Nevertheless, unlike with the Anglican Church, it takes people a very long time to produce an actual service, and we get a variety of people to take services including ourselves in the congregation. Well one answer is in that comparison. Having set up two 'emergency liturgies' of internal variety, but one that is more humanist and one more traditional in feel (but still for contemporary minds), I am going to press on with producing more original material liturgies, roughly on Pagan and Eastern lines, and then some theological themes to services, then some seasonal and communion type services, and at the back some varieties to the varieties (but I want a minimum of page dodging - I wouldn't want something like the Church of England Common Worship). There are Unitarian Universalist source materials, but I want to do original and copyright free material. If this works, then we can produce some A4 and A5 stapled worship books or otherwise contained and perhaps even sell them to other churches.

Tee most recent example of this happening was the late 1970s, I believe, with Unitarian Orders of Worship which Upper Chapel Sheffield produced and continue to use, though it contains permission-given copyright material. It is fairly eclectic and I'm hoping to produce something more narrow for each service and so disciplined. When I attended Upper Chapel, it used to go through the services in order, and have opportunities for 'free' services as well as those in the evening. I would hope Hull would be the same, but hopefully still with plenty of services that didn't use such a book.

It is an oddity of making Prayer Book revisions, and in Unitarianism wanting to express the language roughly corresponding to belief, that there are many churches in the Church of England that can carry on using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (St. Mary's Barton does for Evensongs) whereas the 1932 Orders of Worship once distributed throughout Unitarian churches is pretty unusable. Still, there is an opportunity there to make what is unusable usable again, via a greater simplicity and directness of language, and some theological revision in a humanist and practical this-worldly direction (even for a traditional feel).

The important thing is that the production so to speak should be high quality, and then, if the shop window is arranged to look good, people are then not disappointed as to what follows.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Unitarian God-Talk

Just a link - some Unitarians talking about God very recently from the rural delights of the Peak District where the Unitarians have a retreat/ tourist centre. Asked at the In Depth Group whether I believe in (the existence of) God I said not really but it's a possibility.

Relevant to link to this Channel 4 News discussion; McGrath as a reasonable evangelical (though I'm with the other fellow).

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Appointment Method

Radio Chadderbox goes to the far south of its transmission area.

Interviewer: In the Church in England, you are the Chairman or is it now Chair of the Appointments Committee.

Appointments Committee Chair: Chair, with three legs: scripture, tradition, reason. Ha ha.

Interviewer: In the new spirit of Anglican Glasnost, can you tell us the reasoning behind the appointment of the new bishop of the Isle of Ely, Stevie Llandudno?

Chair: Yup. We thought we needed a big chap. If he meets you, he is likely to be taller than you and has some presence. During his upbringing people will have called him names and he'll have had to have grown some thickness of skin, the ability to avoid conflict and so on. He also wears specs. He hopes to use his height to advantage, by riding on horseback through the flat fens and being seen from miles around, just like one of his ancestors. It will ensure approachability, man and horse too, if you give him a lump of sugar.

Interviewer: Right. Anything else?

Chair: At the interview we asked him to roll up his sleeve, and we saw five little studs that continuously pierce the skin and ooze puss and blood and these remind him who he is, as he is the suffragan bishop of Sheeptown already.

Interviewer: What's that all about then?

Chair: He was made bishop before, down south.

Interviewer: No, the studs and not healing the wounds they cause.

Chair: They are the five marks of mission. The top one is to proclaim, the second is the grab new believers, the third is loving service, the fourth is to change unjust structures of society if he can, and the fifth is to sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Interviewer: Not exactly small tasks then, for one man, to transform society and renew the earth. Was that it then that decided it? Presumably lots of bishops pierce their skin in this way, or in some other places.

Chair: Well no, because the Isle of Ely has a certain liberal reputation. We think about continuity. However, we seem to be running out of suitable candidates these days and so we picked the next best thing, a Catholic and bit of an arm waver - but, don't worry, an Affirming sort of Catholic. The last chap was a bit of a sociologist, but they are even rarer.

Interviewer: Good wife and family?

Chair: We use the steering wheel and heavily emphasise the family.

Interviewer: At least he didn't go to public school.

Chair: No. A grammar school, as they were, but no problem: he ended up teaching in public school and he did go to Oxford. So no real deviation there. Plus he was trained in Cambridge at our broadest and most academic of seminaries - so a good well trodden route upwards. And done a bit with the old Muscular Christianity sports, except in this case stretching up a bit. Didn't quite make the Harlem Globetrotters, but then people from Oxbridge don't. Just in case, he did do a bit of the old rugger. Get in there, sort of thing, as well as dribble around them.

Interviewer: Is he anything of a theologian?

Chair: Well, Rowanov Treetri taught him, so he should be quite flexible in making the history-like look like history down in the detail. But he can theologise about the silver screen. Done a bit of mental health too, the mystery of the mind.

Interviewer: Did you pay attention to his interests?

Chair: Certainly. The clincher, in fact. He's a good reader. His literary pastime is crime, mystery, suspense, like about shadowy people killing other people and sometimes finding out who did it. Nasty people really, obsessives and dark personalities, and plenty of paranoia. Likes the odd red herring laid out, and a twist in the tale, a good cover up, conspiracy and the machinations of people in close proximity. So he should make a very good diocesan bishop.

Interviewer: Thank you for that insight.

He Interviewed

Radio Chadderbox employs a specialist reporter...

Interviewer: Thank you for being interviewed today, Rowanov Treetri. And you were recently at the African bishops' conference, with a collection of southern Primate figures like Henry Oromombibi and Nicky Okoh and Ernest Ian, and then Dunkin' Bob, as he likes to be known, with the big eyebrows.

Rowanov Treetri: My beard, his eyebrows.

Interviewer: You pals?

Rowanov Treetri: We get on well enough on meeting together, as we should.

Interviewer: There's a lovely photograph of you with your arms up and him swaying side to side. You like a bit of the old charismatic stuff?

Rowanov Treetri: Seeing as I have remade my public theological personality over a number of years since my appointment, it is perhaps only consistent that I should also remake my public worshipping personality too, so that in the office of Archbishop I can adapt to all different kinds of worship that takes place around the world.

Interviewer: They got you where they wanted you, didn't they?

Rowanov Treetri: I think I went of my own free will.

Interviewer: No, but you were forced to share a platform with Dunkin' Bob, and that gave the GAFCON crowd a nice little victory.

Rowanov Treetri: I confess that I hardly understand these terms. We don't have victories except after self-sacrifices.

Interviewer: Well, your sermon to them understood that they were supposed to treat all people with respect, as shepherds and sheep dogs, dealing with all the sheep. You were, between the lines, and hardly, but not upfront, preaching against their homophobia.

Rowanov Treetri: Somebody might have interfered with my sermon if I did. No no, I so left it to their imaginations what I was talking about - that no one need have noticed, I think.

Interviewer: So it wasn't quid pro quo was it? They were explicit in your sharing with Dunkin' Bob, whereas you hardly mentioned their need to be more inclusive, if indeed that's what you meant.

Rowanov Treetri: If indeed that's what I meant. Quid pro quo is thus like an eye for an eye. I did not say that, I am sure. I said what I said with intended care and measure.

Interviewer: Dunkin' Bob says: "...the only future for Anglicanism, is the kind of confessional Anglicanism as represented in the Jerusalem Declaration." Do you agree?

Rowanov Treetri: We all confess the creeds, we have further historical articles and documents, and the threefold ministry, bishops and synods; so we all confess these. And earlier I confessed that I didn't know some terminology. So we can confess what we don't know as well as what we do know, and also we confess collectively and confess individually and these might be different role performances.

Interviewer: He says, "as represented in the Jerusalem Declaration."

Rowanov Treetri: Yes, and there is a great deal to be said for it, as I have said before.

Interviewer: Do you agree with Duncan that the meeting wasn't best driven in its content? It was all too social, not Jesus enough.

Rowanov Treetri: Arguably the Millennium Development Goals and various social solutions are incarnate.

Interviewer: He said, "where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force."

Rowanov Treetri: It is of course a point of view, but there was - that word again - confession too in the practical aspects we were discussing that involves all the people we shepherd and sheep dog. The Africans are bound to discuss poverty, conflict, lack of health care, HIV and AIDS, environmental issues, economic malaise, government corruption and such issues even if there are other obsessive topics or a desire to be more specialised. But you could say, for example, that in such a situation Jesus was a back seat driver with long arms and legs that went under the front seat on to the pedals.

Interviewer: But the bishops were more focussed and spiritual, and in so being also fully accepted Dunkin' Bob.

Rowanov Treetri: We would expect bishops, would we not, to be like bishops, I would think. I said in my sermon that we cannot choose whom we meet, and this would include me meeting some of them.

Interviewer: Do you agree that Central Africa and Southern Africa were right to call the Anglican Church of North America as "illegitimate".

Rowanov Treetri: I recall the circumstances of the birth of Our Lord.

Interviewer: Yes well Dunkin' Bob sees in them - Central Africa and Southern Africa - the same incoherence that he sees in the Church in England. He thinks a non-confessional Anglicanism does not cohere.

Rowanov Treetri: We have long had different tendencies in the Church in England, in training colleges, in parishes, in individuals; there has always been a mixture of coherence and incoherence, often coherence out of the incoherence. Making Anglicanism confessional historically is a means by which we see both emerging incoherence at the cost of such initial definite coherence, and so balancing the two has always been important.

Interviewer: Did you talk to him?

Rowanov Treetri: And Nara, his wife, who is to him as the Church is to Christ. We spoke about our families. He told me about the challenges of his ministry and I told him that I am the Archbishop of Anglicanism.

Interviewer: He thinks you are the same since 2002.

Rowanov Treetri: He thinks I am consistent: I know that much.

Interviewer: It was a back-handed faint praise compliment.

Rowanov Treetri: And much to be welcomed among the kind of comments I receive these days.

Interviewer: There is a complicated rejection of colonialism still going on, isn't there, but one wonders if Anglican Average and GAFCON and Dunkin' Bob are another form of colonialism, pushing an agenda on to Africa.

Rowanov Treetri: There is potentially a bouquet of barbed wire, of something of the past that goes round and around. You watch the world going round and around, as the song has it. Ooh, give me freedom and light, give me reason and right, All I need's a little time to get by, Turn my face to the wind, hear the nightingale sing, And wonder at the stars in the sky... So many things I don't know, so many ways I won't go, So many secrets that will never be found....

Interviewer: Do you agree with Central Africa and Southern Africa that to discard the relationships with The Episcopal Church would be wrong - the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation and not throwing stones in your own glasshoused swimming pool; the virtue of tolerance and living with rich diversity. It's not about being used as a pawn in battles, the colonialism thing again.

Rowanov Treetri: I do notice a great deal of difficulty they seem to have with the English language, in their statements, that causes some unclarity of meaning. My view is that we should take time and be patient, and keep taking time and be patient, and have the structures that raise the issues and take time and be patient, and use arguments from both sides as the situation seems fit while we are being patient.

Interviewer: And they are right, are they, these two, that individual provinces should decide positions?

Rowanov Treetri: Yes but in the context of a Covenant and procedure that allows us all to be more like a Church worldwide because we all share bishops and yet where there are features of the ongoing discussion and patience that assist us to understand the positions of the provinces which, of course, retain autonomy.

Interviewer: What - well do you agree then with Ernest Ian that teachings of homosexuality are irrelevant to the needs of Africans?

Rowanov Treetri: I don't know what the teachings of homosexuality are. I have spoken before of a "lifestyle choice" for which I was much criticised and while there could be a culture of homosexuality perhaps there are many and they are not exactly of homosexuality but it is just an aspect. In any case we have our own teachings and I was applying these to suggest that there are lots of people, and we do not choose who we are to encounter and shepherd, as I have said.

Interviewer: If they want shepherding by you at all.

Rowanov Treetri: Or sheep dogging.

Interviewer: Yes you could put it like that. Should Africans love their culture when they would contrast that with Anglicans not subsuming to culture?

Rowanov Treetri: You raise a fine distinction for a long discussion. Have I answered your questions now?

Interviewer: I'm not sure but thank you Archbishop.