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Anglican Communion News Service smears GAFCON and manipulates Archbishop of Canterbury

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that you could trust the news reports which emanate from the official Office of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. You’d hope, wouldn’t you, that the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) might issue factual statements of reliable and verifiable truth, as all good reporting should be, instead of tinted opinion with a tainted political agenda, as all journalism so often is.

A few days ago, the ACNS carried an account of the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury Cathedral, entitled: ‘Archbishop Welby “taken aback” by Las Vegas prayer criticism‘. It was shocking in its content – that, basically, conservative Anglican Primates were “put.. in a difficult spot” when Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church (currently under discipline for permitting same-sex marriage), had been asked to lead them in a prayer at Evensong following the Las Vegas shooting atrocity. Speaking at a press conference, the media spokesman for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross, who also speaks on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), was reported to have said that the GAFCON Primates were “forced to look like they are walking together when they are not walking together”.

So trustworthy and reliable was this report deemed to be that it circled the Worldwide Anglican Twittersphere and Blogosphere in 40 minutes: ‘Las Vegas shooting: Anglican Primates complain about having to pray together‘. Tweet after condemnatory tweet after incredulous Facebook post followed. What petty, narrow-minded, not to say bigoted and self-righteous pharisees these GAFCON Primates must be. And what a piece of uncharitable work the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross must be, totally devoid of grace, mercy or compassion.

At some point the next day (and certainly after this blog had published its comments on the matter) the Anglican Communion News Service issued a correction, or, rather, a clarification:

This article was amended on 4 October, to make clear that Canon Gross was not thought to be speaking on behalf of any Anglican primates and that his church, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is not part of the Anglican Communion or involved in the Primates’ Meeting.

Not thought to be…?

Didn’t they bother checking?

Setting aside the status of the ACNA, how can the official Press Officer @Gafconference & Director of Communications @The_ACNA speaking at an official press conference not be speaking on behalf GAFCON Primates, on whose behalf he speaks?

It is interesting, is it not, that while the ACNS was eager to correct the impression (which they certainly gave) that GAFCON Primates had objected to being ambushed by Bishop Michael Curry’s prayer, they were content to leave the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross hanging out for the crows and vultures to peck and pick at his Christian sincerity and character integrity. And so they did: “What a marvellous model of mission he must have. What a vision of visible unity he must possess. What an inspirational witness to the world his purity must be…”

For which comment this post is an unequivocal apology to the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross, and a sincere attempt to set the record straight.

And doing so must begin with the observation that the Anglican Communion News Service is not merely an Anglican news service, but a journalistic enterprise with a theo-political bent and a distinctly smeary mission to defame Anglicans whose moral worldview it doesn’t particularly like.

In fact, it is not beyond the wit of the ACNS to propagate Anglican Fake News to tarnish ACNA/GAFCON Primates (and other members) for holding their divisive orthodox Anglican views. The article ‘Archbishop Welby “taken aback” by Las Vegas prayer criticism‘ is a misleading story which has propagated a number of falsehoods. It appears that the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross was, in fact, set-up and has been unjustly accused.

Long before this Primates’ Meeting, the leaders of GAFCON recognised the difficulty (but necessity) of keeping church politics out of worship at such gatherings. For them, divisions in the Anglican Communion are perceived to be very serious indeed, and they are of the view that the Communion’s entire future demands honesty about this lack of unity. For others, the issues are secondary theological matters which do not affect the fundamental Anglican koinonia. At a Primates’ Meeting, notwithstanding some notable absentees, there is a temptation to convey a unity – “walking together” – which not all feel is remotely near the truth.

The agreement that was put in place at the 2016 Primates’ Meetings was that no act of worship would be publicised, precisely because such publicity could be improperly used (or at least be perceived to be used) for political gain. GAFCON Primates assumed that the same agreement would obtain in 2017, by which their members might come to Canterbury and worship without distraction (or fear of being ‘used’).

Unfortunately, pictures and reports about Bishop Michael Curry’s leading prayer dominated the front page of the ACNS website, publicising what should have remained a private moment among the Primates. This was perceived as a breach of trust. GAFCON Primates had no problem with his prayer, or any objection to praying with him: what they found difficult was the politicisation of the praying.

On Tuesday, GAFCON held one of their regularly scheduled press briefings which covered a range of topics. An ACNS representative, Gavin Drake, arrived at this press conference without accreditation, and without agreement. There was some discussion about whether he ought to be asked to follow agreed procedures and withdraw, but generosity of spirit was considered the nobler course of action, so he was permitted to stay. After all, neither the ACNA nor GAFCON have anything to hide.

Although they were not happy with the ACNS publicising the worship in Canterbury Cathedral, the GAFCON comms team had no intention of bringing the matter up. But the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross was asked directly by a Times journalist whether it was difficult for GAFCON to have the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church preside over worship at Evensong. Canon Gross, hearing that key word ‘preside’, said that it puts those Primates in a difficult spot because it can portray a false sense of unity. It was a straightforward answer to a direct question which simply reiterated the 2016 agreement. It was certainly not said with any animus, but was merely the re-stating of a fact. The conversation swiftly moved on.

Gavin Drake, who is also staffing the official Primates’ Meeting communications team, used their official press conference later that afternoon to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury about Canon Gross’s answer, giving Justin Welby an impression which was some distance from Canon Gross’s intention and meaning: the context was transported from the Primates’ 2016 agreement and the question of TEC’s bishop presiding at Evensong to an issue about the TEC’s bishop praying at Evensong about the Las Vegas atrocity. Mr Drake then turned the Archbishop’s “taken aback” reply into the next front-page story on the ACNS website. It was not accurate: it was a smear. It was fake news at its Anglican worst.

The Times journalist was perfectly free to ask a leading question: the task of the Christian press officer (and certainly of a Christian director of communications) is to respond factually and truthfully, mindful of the questioner’s motive. It appears that Gavin Drake took Canon Gross’s response, manipulated it, and planted it at another press conference for the Archbishop of Canterbury to condemn.

Indeed, the Archbishop could do nothing but condemn it.

If all he had to respond to was a terse oral extract from the ACNS report, he would be wholly justified in castigating Canon Gross for his grossly insensitive remarks.

But the purpose of putting the question to Justin Welby (presumably without warning) was to slander the ACNA and the GAFCON coalition of Primates. And to that end, it appears to have been successful. They have been universally scorned and derided (including on this blog).

It helps to know some of the relational history.

At the 2003 Primates’ Meeting, the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, and two others, refused to participate in a service of Holy Communion with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev’d Frank Griswold. The Very Rev’d George Conger broke that story for the Church of England Newspaper (which the ACNS said was a lie, but he had the account first-hand from Archbishop Akinola himself). That fissure in communion has evolved over the years so that the Primates as a collegial body have not worshipped together at the Eucharist since.

George Conger writes:

At the beginning, Archbishop Rowan Williams would hold communion services, which the conservatives would not attend. By the end of his tenure Williams gave up corporate Eucharists for daily Evensong services. Welby continued this practice – but for many years the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has not presided at one of these services due to the scandal his church’s actions have caused.

Hence the agreement in 2016 that acts of worship would not be publicised, so couldn’t be politicised.

When Canon Gross was asked by a journalist to comment on the matter of Bishop Michael Curry presiding at Evensong, the context was not linked to the Las Vegas shooting. Only later, in fact, was it learned that the Primates had asked Bishop Curry to lead them in prayer for Las Vegas, but he had not presided over anything, as Canon Gross had been led to believe.

When Gavin Drake (who, you must remember, is editor of the Anglican Communion News Service) put his question to the Archbishop of Canterbury (his ultimate boss), it was not a casual query to elicit grace and enlightenment, but a pointed attempt to score a hit against GAFCON. It was not only premeditated slander wholly lacking in Christian virtue and professional journalistic integrity, but an egregious manipulation to elicit outrage from the Archbishop of Canterbury who was asked to respond to a false accusation that GAFCON had said it was wrong for Bishop Curry to lead prayers in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

They had said no such thing.

The Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross had never said any such thing.

Apologies to him, once again, for simply trusting the ACNS story, which was, in fact, nothing but Anglican fake news.

  • Maalaistollo

    Brood of vipers.

  • Not suitable language for the Holy Father to use and he was criticised for it at the time, but maybe he was justified:

    “Writing fake news and stories about scandals is like being sexually aroused by excrement. And since people tend towards coprophagia, or eating faeces, then the media should avoid spreading it.”

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Urgh!

      • He’s right though, isn’t he? This crap is spread and we eat it up. Btw, the Pope did apologise for the language that some might find repellent.

        “I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into – no offence intended – the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true. And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”

        He also spoke of the danger of using the media to slander rivals. “The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted by slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics. They can be used as means of defamation. No one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful.”

        “Disinformation was the greatest potential harm the media could cause because it directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth.”

        • not a machine

          well put Happy Jack I am a little puzzled myself by Lambeth house recently ,I don’t know what passes for good church organisation ,in either of our churches …

      • Chefofsinners

        You are right to poo-poo it, Mrs Proudie. This is the unacceptable faece of Catholicism.

        • “Think what you will, so make in your pants, hang it round your neck, then make a jelly of it and eat it like the vulgar sows and asses you are!”

          “If you are furious, you can do something in your pants and hang it around your necks.”

          “You say, “What comes out of our mouth must be kept!” I hear it – which mouth do you mean? The one from which the farts come? (You can keep that yourself!)”

          “I was frightened and thought I was dreaming, it was such a thunderclap, such a great horrid fart did you let go here! You certainly pressed with great might to let out such a thunderous fart – it is a wonder that it did not tear your hole and belly apart!”

          “Even if your writings were from an angel from heaven I would take this horrible document, and, after having used it as toilet paper, wipe its nose.”

          Martin Luther

          • dannybhoy

            Anal retentive?

          • Sssshhh …….

          • Len

            Quite poetic in a vulgar sort of way?. and very descriptive…’.A thunderous fart’…indeed.

          • You are a toad eater and a fawner.

          • Len

            Don’t hold back now…..

          • Chefofsinners

            Now I see where Francis is drawing his inspiration. It could be a rocky few years for you Romish types.

          • Many a true word ……….

    • Cressida de Nova

      There are so many better ways he could have expressed this sentiment with the same impact. I don’t think it is appropriate at all.It does not befit his high office.

      • He’s human. Jack would have said: “The media love spreading shit and we, the public, lick it up.” True, the Pope should have been more eloquent and mindful He is Christ’s Vicar. However, sometimes it’s best to just speak your mind.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Well no …in that position you have to be mindful and you must not indulge yourself by speaking your mind as you would down at the local barber shop.
          It’s OK to ditch the red shoes ( although I really did like those) but this is one step too far. Do you have a list of the Cardinals who voted for him? If you do I would like a copy. Thanks.

          • Jack doesn’t disagree. He’s not known for control of his tongue.
            No such list of Cardinals exists as it a secret ballot. However, the recently deceased English Cardinal, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, is reported to have orchestrated support for his election.

          • Cressida de Nova

            It would be interesting to know….they would be receiving a lot of mail (chuckles:)

          • Cressida de Nova

            Have you had your op yet?

          • Complications. Operation to free Jack’s throat and airways from scar tissue caused by his radiotherapy may have to be repeated. Concerns about Jack receiving another general anaesthetic so soon and surgeons being cautious.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Oh I am so sorry to hear that. Please take care of yourself and keep in touch.
            I’m off now. I’m scared that Anton might take me seriously and actually bombard me with a whole diatribe of chapter and verse in ancient Greek and Hebrew,… something I just could not cope with at the moment….:)

          • Anton

            Would you rather that I took you seriously or that I didn’t take you seriously?

          • dannybhoy

            Jack my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this worrying time. May you keep your heart right with Him who loves you and may He grant you a full recovery.
            (btw winding other people up and getting vexed does not exactly aid the healing process..)

          • This is true, Danny. Perhaps Jack should take some time off. But ….. If he retreated who would keep Carl Jacobs in line?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, but then would there be any fun in it for Carl without you..
            I think not.

          • Who’s Ms Piggy?

            STATLER: Boo!
            WALDORF: Boooo!
            S: That was the worst thing I’ve ever heard!
            W: It was terrible!
            S: Horrendous!
            W: Well it wasn’t that bad.
            S: Oh, yeah?
            W: Well, there were parts of it I liked!
            S: Well, I liked a lot of it.
            W: Yeah, it was GOOD actually.
            S: It was great!
            W: It was wonderful!
            S: Yeah, bravo!
            W: More!
            S: More!
            W: More!
            S: More!

          • dannybhoy

            Yeeup!
            That’s Carl and Jack alright, arguing and insulting each other
            ..and happy as pigs in muck..

          • It’s a cross Jack has to bear.

          • dannybhoy

            Mmmmm,
            Somehow I don’t think it’s a great burden..

          • carl jacobs

            Hey! I object! I most strenuously object!

            Sam the Eagle!

          • dannybhoy

            Nah, ‘fraid not Carl.
            Eagles are handsome, noble birds.

          • carl jacobs

            You have not watched enough of the Muppet Show if you can’t see the connection between me and Sam the Eagle.

          • carl jacobs

            And anyways, Jack strikes me as more of the Scooter type, anyways.

    • HedgehogFive

      May I say that Pope Francis has hit the nail on the head, if that is physically possible. Were he writing this on Disqus, it would merit a thousand up-ticks.

      And this is a Huguenot Hedgehog speaking.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Isaiah 30:22

      וְטִמֵּאתֶם, אֶת-צִפּוּי פְּסִילֵי כַסְפֶּךָ, וְאֶת-אֲפֻדַּת, מַסֵּכַת זְהָבֶךָ; תִּזְרֵם כְּמוֹ דָוָה, צֵא תֹּאמַר לוֹ.

      Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

      (The Hebrew is not quite so explicit, but the word on question is frequently used in this context.)

      • Ray Sunshine

        As in Eglon’s encounter with the left-handed Ehud?

  • dannybhoy

    We are in the world but not of the world. The more the Church seeks to show/prove/plead its relevance to the secular world, the more dependent it becomes on the world, its ways and its values.
    18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world,[a] the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.the Church.
    We do not need a PR department, we do not need to be ‘on message’, street savvy etc etc., because as our Lord said in John 15,
    18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world,[a] the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.”

    • Dominic Stockford

      The CofE needs to spend the money of others, of course they need a PR department….

  • David

    Make no mistake about it but Satan is busy within the Church.
    The GAFCON Primates are principled leaders of their flocks and are determined to follow the Bible.

  • dannybhoy

    I’m going right off topic and I’m not apologising…
    Please look at these two items from Open Doors re the Church in Syria..
    From Syria..
    https://www.youtube.com/embed/blxN1MRe6Ko
    https://www.opendoorsuk.org/resources/magazine/september-2017
    on page 8 of the magazine you will see a picture of Father George who is a Catholic priest working to help families rebuild their homes.
    See, you won’t see this stuff in the msm or even the Anglican news services. You’ll only see it shared with Christians who care, who aren’t interested in the Church’s image or publicity sound bites or anything else calculated to show how ‘with it’ the Church is..

    • A good charity to support:
      https://acnuk.org/

      • dannybhoy

        Notice I included the Catholic priest?
        I originally had to ask Open Doors to do some research to find out whether he was kosher or not…
        There is some great work being done in many countries to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
        Next Saturday I shall be going to Birmingham for this event..
        https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/standing-strong/?ref=banner2

        • William Lewis

          I can vouch for the good work Open Doors are doing too. Some friends of mine went out to Iraq recently to help support our brothers and sisters there. The Christians there were also Catholics and very Christ centered. I guess when you have lost so much it concentrates the mind on what is important.
          It’s interesting that the only anger they showed was when discussing the West’s naivety in dealing with Islam.

          • dannybhoy

            I appreciate the literature put out by Open Doors, and my heart goes out to the Christians who have lost everything but their faith, I do pray regularly for the Middle East.

          • David

            Good lot Open Doors. I am a supporter.

  • Chefofsinners

    So Gavin has been playing ducks and drakes with the bishops. He seems to be a sticky-billed bird brain who needs his wings clipped.

  • Anglicanarchbishop Baijuann

    Archbishop Baiju Ansalam , Anglican Episcopal Communion giving his answers……. homosexual marriages is sin

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=205106236695588&id=100015886389639

  • Anton

    Thee worrying question is whether Drake is a front man for Welby.

    • And a nasty thought you should perhaps keep to yourself unless you have evidence.

      • Anton

        Gavin Ashenden recently aired some views on his blog that Welby was a liberal-theological wolf in evangelical sheep’s clothing, a hypothesis that I find convincing. I should very much like to know if he was involved in the appointment of Drake.

        • There you go again, Mr Captious.

          Captious:
          1 :marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections

          2 :calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument

          • Chefofsinners

            Catholics?

          • This is pure knavery with which the devil here deals. Tell me, you who are so pure, why are you here so filthy?
            Martin Luther

          • Chefofsinners

            Quoting Luther now? Progress indeed.

          • “Your words are so foolishly and ignorantly composed that I cannot believe you understand them.”

          • Chefofsinners

            eh? you’ve lost me…

          • Anton

            I am raising a question for due consideration. I am not asserting its answer. And by the way I don’t answer to you.

          • But you misrepresented Gavin Ashenden, thus lending it an air of credibility. You claimed it was his hypothesis and judged it credible. Was his article beyond you’re comprehension or, alternatively, was your interpretation captious?

          • Anton

            Let me fill in some gaps for those who refuse to think. Gavin Ashenden hints that Welby might be a frontman for shadowy CoE liberals who may be the real power brokers. Ashenden says that Welby is a poor theologian but is good at holding sides together. Such a talent would be useful in keeping the CoE’s evangelicals quiet until their marginalisation is complete. And I don’t think that Christian theology is half as difficult as you and possibly Gavin Ashenden reckon. Welby, based on what he says when interviewed by secular or church-liberal types, is either himself a church liberal or a complete coward. And some of the things he has done in his life show considerable personal courage. Therefore…

          • Therefore ……

            ….. having highlighted Justin Welby’s qualities and character, you conclude he’s acting deliberately. Why? Because: Welby’s either (1) “a church liberal”; or (2) “a complete coward”

            As theology isn’t “half as difficult” as Jack and Gavin Ashenden might think, it’s a dastardly plot! Why? Because Welby’s not a coward, as evidenced by his past. Therefore, he’s serving purposefully as a frontman for “shadowy CoE liberals”, to keep “evangelicals quiet until their marginalisation is complete.” What other possibility can there be?

            Has Jack captured your argument accurately? You don’t see any great gapping holes in t?

          • carl jacobs

            One might need to shade the nuances a little differently, but it’s odds on that Anton is right. Welby is serving to TECify the CoE. Is he a Judas Goat? I don’t know. But he is without question leading the CoE to its destruction. Deliberately. With malice aforethought. He isn’t just herding cats.

            Explain it how you will. But that is certainly what you will need to explain.

          • “But he is without question leading the CoE to its destruction.”
            Someone has to be “leading it” when it inevitably happens. It was always just a question of time.

            “Deliberately. With malice aforethought.”
            You’re making the accusation. It’s you who needs to offer proof, not Jack.

          • carl jacobs

            Those two statements aren’t inconsistent.

          • No, perhaps not, but it is inconsistent with: “Yes, I would pray with the AoC. I think he is a weak vacillating coward. But he has never given me reason to doubt he is a Brother.”

            You consider him a Brother who you would pray with even though you believe he is deliberately and with malice aforethought opposing orthodoxy? Are you now ruling out “the possibility of gross ignorance and error”? Or that he’s honestly mistaken and now is working for “this man-centered religion of self-worship called Liberalism that you will “have no fellowship with that.”?

          • carl jacobs

            I believe he is a coward who values the survival of the Institution above the Truth. His entire tenure has born that out. I think he is actively trying to accommodate modernity because he fears an Established church cannot deviate too far from the culture it serves. In service to that fear, he is consciously seeking some way to reconcile the CoE with homosexuality and is willing to lose 20% of the church in the effort. In his mind he is trying to be all things things to all people, but objectively he is leading the CoE over a cliff. Consciously. He knows what he is doing. He knows why he is doing it.

            None of that means he isn’t a Christian. Believers can do bad cowardly things. You seem to agree with this concept at times – at least when you are talking about the Pope.

          • All AofC’s have to attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable because of the “via media”, and find ways to present the church as politically relevant because it is the established church. Sounds like he’s just being an Anglican to Jack. The cocktail of Lutheranism, Arminianism ,Catholicism and Calvinism in Anglicanism is just not tenable and was bound to unravel at some point.

          • carl jacobs

            Heal your own church, physician.

          • Completely different – one Deposit of Faith that is guarded and developed by a Magisterium and with a CDF to uphold it and a Papacy with final authority.

          • carl jacobs

            You are the one who introduced the gratuitous swipe at Protestants. I didn’t expand the discussion. You did.

            Completely different

            Of course it is.

          • Accept my description of Anglicanism – not Protestantism – wasn’t gratuitous. Your response was though. It actually offers an alternative understanding of Welby’s inability to achieve unity stopping short of accusing him of character failings and/or dishonest machinations.

            One of his tasks as AoC is to maintain the “via media”, internationally and at home. Oil cannot be mixed with water. He just doesn’t have the authority to lay down the law. Anglican bishops and priests, let alone the laity, have no sense of obedience to his office or to the church. Unlike the Pope, he can’t excommunicate bishops in America or Africa (he can’t even do this in England) or claim Divine guidance as a matter of doctrine. Hence we get nonsensical concepts like “latiitudinalism”, “hold in tension”, “good disagreement” and “mutual flourishing”.

            “Unity” – i.e. the truce between Anglican’s different factions and their alliances – is not Unity in Truth. It was lost in the early 1990’s with the ordination of women. The division was out in the open. The liberals won and there will be no amnesty.

          • Anton

            I never said that it’s proven in the way a mathematical theorem is. The point is that it is the sort of thing a good detective would follow up rather than throw out of the window. As such, it is worth bringing into the discussion. If you don’t think so, simply keep out of it.

          • Stick to the point.

            Now it’s a hunch a “good detective” would follow up on? Gavin Ashendon didn’t put it forward – you did.

            Before you set hares running about a person’s reputation on a public blog you should have more than a hunch and not attempt to give your speculation credibility by hiding behind a misrepresentation of another writers more circumspect and nuanced opinion.

            “Gavin Ashenden recently aired some views on his blog that Welby might be a liberal-theological wolf in evangelical sheep’s clothing,” (no, he didn’t) “a hypothesis that I find convincing” (because you’re inclined to captiousness).

          • Anton

            Stick to the point.

            Did you miss this above: I don’t answer to you.

            I can bear being considered captious by you.

        • “Gavin Ashenden recently aired some views on his blog that Welby might be a liberal-theological wolf in evangelical sheep’s clothing, a hypothesis that I find convincing.”

          Well, no, he didn’t. He actually suggested Welby might be a “one trick pony”, who’s okay at mediation and reconciliation but little else and was chosen for this reason by some “semi-visible centre of influence”:

          “In fact, if one was of a slightly conspiratorial cast of mind, one might consider for a moment the possibility that he was plucked out of obscurity, and chosen by the semi-visible centres of influence who run the Church of England’s appointments system, precisely because he did not show much propensity for theological analysis or spiritual discernment. There was so much less risk that such a man might deviate from the (pre-prepared) programme.”

          He may or may not be correct. But “wolf in sheep’s clothing”? Jack thinks not.

        • David

          Excellent Ashenden article.

  • Don Benson

    Thank you, Your Grace, for setting the record straight. I have to say I’m not the least surprised at the manipulation. Normally I would never repeat one of my own comments, but on this occasion I shall make an exception and copy exactly what I said 2 days ago because this lack of integrity at the heart of our Anglican Communion is completely unacceptable:

    It’s easy enough to dive in with excoriating judgement when headlines put a truly embarrassing spotlight on the dirty linen of a church in schism. However, the explanation for this pretty unhealthy situation lies in a history of manipulation and dishonesty which culminated in events following the 2016 primates’ gathering. Those who are unaware of the misleading spin, the artful timing, and the subsequent reneging on agreement may not understand why there’s good reason that trust no longer exists and suspicion is everywhere.

    And it’s not unreasonable to note that, once again, those whose prime concern is that faithfulness to Biblical standards are upheld and that agreement in good faith is honoured somehow end up looking like the baddies. Were they set up for this or was it just the worst of unfortunate timing and a less than gracious comment? We’ll probably never know, but what we can say for sure is that God cannot be honoured by an Anglican Communion that does not have integrity – starting at the top and spreading out to all its members.

  • Ray Sunshine

    GAFCON, ACNA and Andrew Gross have all emerged creditably from the episode, after all, which is just as well, while the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) has been shown up not only as a purveyor of fake news but – even more damagingly – as an unsuccessful, bungling, amateurish, wannabe purveyor of fake news. If he hasn’t done so already, Archbishop Welby needs to hand ACNS its P45 with immediate effect.

  • Why am I not surprised. Evil communications corrupt good manners; bad theology, bad morality.

  • carl jacobs

    So if you are a GAFCON Primate, the lesson is “Don’t trust Canterbury”. In fact the lesson should be “Don’t participate in meetings with Canterbury”. Quite frankly they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. No good can come from Canterbury’s schemes. Why facilitate them?

    • Ever served in the United States Foreign Service, Carl?

      • carl jacobs

        Ummm … No.

        The best diplomat I know is a fully-armed Phaser bank.

        ~One of my heroes.

        • Chefofsinners

          Donald Trump?

        • The Donald’s too?

          • carl jacobs

            The Buffoon is not fit to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Original Series of Star Trek.

          • Stargate SG1 rules!

          • carl jacobs

            Is that a Comic book?

          • Hi

            Science fiction tv show about the US air force exploring the galaxy via a stargate hidden in the Cheyenne mountain of Colorado. The villains are aliens who take humans as hosts and claim they’re gods from Earth mythology, especially Egypt. Cunningly enough most of the alien planets look like Canada.

          • Don’t forget the Ori and their religion Origin.

          • Hi

            Yeah ! Go Samantha Carter :astrophysicist and colonel of the USAF!

  • carl jacobs

    File this under “The Ecclesial Empire Strikes Back”. Its purpose of course was to launch a preemptive strike against the nascent conservative Anglican alternative in England. External effects were collateral damage. The imperative was to discredit the Missionary Bishop and by extension his work.

    All they have done is enhance his credibility. Geniuses at work.

    • Possibly …. but by who? You’ve implicating Justin Welby (below), claiming this was orchestrated and deliberate. Is this reasonable and fair?

      • carl jacobs

        The “why” seems obvious. That it was deliberate is incontrovertible. The “who” is unknown. Is Welby behind this? I don’t know. I doubt it. Seems too poorly thought out as if it was a target of opportunity thoughtlessly seized. Has someone’s head been put on a stick yet? That will say a lot if and when it happens.

        • So when you say “Canterbury’s schemes” you’re not using the word in a corporate sense and actually mean: “Some unknown person or persons within Canterbury”?

          As one of your countryman said: “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”

          Gavin Drake appears to be a muckraker, like many journalists today. They serve some purpose. His Director for Communications, Adrian Butcher, should hold him to account.

          • carl jacobs

            No when I said “Canterbury’s schemes” I was referring Justin Welby and his machinations to sacrifice orthodoxy for the sake of institutional unity. This Primate’s meeting was not a benign neutral event. It was intended to serve the institutional interests of the CoE and the Communion bureaucracy. I think GAFCON should have stayed away.

            I was not referring to a Journalism hit piece, however. I doubt Welby had anything to do with that. It’s just too amateurish.

          • “I was referring Justin Welby and his machinations to sacrifice orthodoxy for the sake of institutional unity.”

            Not sure “sacrifice” is the correct word, Carl, but Jack takes your point. Perhaps he’s just out of his depth in endeavouring to secure peace in impossible circumstances. His task is equivalent to attempting to herd feral cats.

          • Chefofsinners

            Come on, Jack. Avoiding mixed metaphors isn’t rocket surgery.

          • Just hold your horses ’till the cows come home, you wolf in cheap clothing.

          • carl jacobs

            Cheap? Chef isn’t cheap. He’s …thrifty.

          • Chefofsinners

            I am actually the largest single donor to the Archbishop Cranmer blog. Er, via the swear box.

            Actually, Cranmer old thing, if you’re still awake, a swear box might have legs as a fundraising ploy.

          • He’s as cheap as hamburgers.

          • Pubcrawler

            More a mixed simile, I’d say. Like.

          • Hmmm ….

          • He’s attempting to herd feral cats with a non-existent shepherd’s crook
            Better?

    • Sarky

      More like ‘the farce awakens’!

      • Chefofsinners

        His photo (top of page) suggests ‘The Phantom Menace’, but ‘Attack of the Clowns’ seems more like it.

      • Hi

        Or rogue one?

  • ACNS Editorial Values:

    Service
    ACNS is a service for the whole of the Anglican Communion. Primarily it exists to enable Member Churches to share their life and work with one other (and also with the media). It is also a service through which the Instruments of Communion can communicate information (recommendations, resolutions, decisions, outcomes, etc.) to the rest of the Communion.

    The Director for Communications, based at the Anglican Communion Office, acts as ACNS’s Managing Editor. He and his staff work to the best of their ability to source and post news and information that support Communion Provinces in their efforts to undertake their collective part in God’s mission.

    Reflecting Christ in the Communion
    There is much to celebrate about our Anglican Communion at every level. Sadly the secular media in particular is eager to spotlight occasions when Anglicans disagree. Therefore ACNS’s primary role is to shine a light on Christ in the Communion, i.e. to highlight the best of Communion life and work and to celebrate our Bonds of Affection. This is not to ignore difficult issues, but rather the aim of ACNS is to provide members with a fuller, more complete picture of our worldwide family.

    To this end, as our Anglican Communion is about so much more than simply financial support, ACNS also tries to avoid posting fundraising appeals unless there is a very strong news story behind it demonstrating the best of Communion life.

    Avoiding harm and offence
    We balance our duty to act as a communication channel of the whole Anglican Communion with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from harm and avoid unjustifiable offence. While we endeavour to publish any relevant content sent by Member Churches, we reserve the right not to post anything that would put people at risk or that would reduce ACNS to a vehicle for maliciously criticising individuals, dioceses, Provinces or the Instruments of Communion.

    http://www.anglicannews.org/about-us.aspx

    • David

      Like most organisations containing leftists and progressives don’t be disappointed when the “balance” is skewed heavily to one world / theological view. Remember the BBC claims to be “balanced” ! !

  • Inspector General

    Well, we need to acquire Gavin Drake and haul him before our court of inquiry…

    “Call Gavin Drake. Before sentence is announced, what have you to say for yourself, sir!”

    Meanwhile, we’ll proceed with…

    The Blessing of the Horsewhip

    Lord, we ask that you that you look favourably upon thine weapon of retribution, and that in its earthly work, it so pleases thy almighty presence. Amen

    • Len

      Ah the old horsewhip, where would we be without it?.

    • carl jacobs

      When you are bad, you are very bad. But when you are good, you are spectacular.

      • Translation: when you agree with him, he’s right; when you don’t, he’s wrong.

        • carl jacobs

          I was referring to the quality of his humor. “The Blessing of the Horsewhip” is hilarious.

          • Which rather proves Jack’s point.

          • carl jacobs

            It would only prove your point if the quality of the humor was dependent upon agreeing with humorist. Which is manifestly not true.

          • Monty Python The Life of Brian.

          • carl jacobs

            A movie I despise. I cannot convey in words the extent of my contempt for that movie. But there are many genuinely funny scenes in it. The Bird Cage also comes to mind. At a more pedestrian level, Jay Leno’s monologue on the Tonight Show was scrupulously bipartisan. Some episodes of South Park. There are lots of examples.

          • Ergo, the quality of humour is also determined by subject matter and agreeing with the humorist.

            Jack refused to allow any of South Park to be viewed in his home. For some reason, his father held the same line on Star Trek.

    • Hi Inspector

      Who exactly are you wanting to horse whip, I’m confused!?

      • Len

        Anyone available?

  • Len

    Satan seems to be giving the church many distractions to subvert the Church’s real function which is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Martin

    The fact that two national churches in the Anglican communion have departed from Christian orthodoxy in a spectacular way to become heretical is not, I would have thought, a matter of politics but of theology. Equally if the primates of GAFCON were not uncomfortable at the prayer of the heretic Michael Curry they jolly well should have been.

  • You learned you craft from Star Trek? Was this at West Point?

  • Chefofsinners

    Is there life in the Church of England?
    It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

    • Hi

      That was bones , not Scottie!

      • Chefofsinners

        Sorry. “She cannae take any more! She’s breaking up…”

  • Anton

    A brief change of subject… President Trump has just rescinded the Obama edict which forced employers to provide free contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees through health insurance plans. That included Catholic organisations, which object to the lot, and protestant organisations, which object to some of these, others outside marriage (marriage was not one of Obama’s criteria), and anyway did not see why employers should involve themselves in their employees’ private lives.

    Well done Donald Trump!

    • Sarky

      I hate the hypocrisy of the trump administration. Anti abortionist Tim Murphey just had to resign for asking his mistress to get an abortion.
      This latest plan stinks of misogyny.

      • Brian

        The hypocrisy here was Murphy’s, not Trump’s, and Murphy at least did the decent thing by resigning. I wish British MPs were as consistent. Do you understand how the US govt works? A member of Congress is not part of the administration. It’s called the Separation of Powers.

      • Anton

        Recognise anybody in the ring between 6.00 and 6.30 just before Tyson became undisputed champ?

  • Simon Platt

    This is very confusing. Is there available a simple explanation of these various groups and their acronyms?

    (A sincere question, not a polemic point.)

    • betteroffoutofit

      You might read HG again — he follows the convention, as here: “You’d hope, wouldn’t you, that the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) might issue factual statements . . .”

      • Simon Platt

        Not quite what I meant, sorry. I understand that ANCS stands for Anglican Communion News Service, but what is that, and what are the various other organisations? And somebody earlier made a distinction between Anglicans and Episcopalians. What is that? Et cetera. A beginners’ guide to these distinctions would be helpful.

        • Wolf N. Paul

          As far as I can tell the ACNS is part of the official Office of the Anglican Communion, an administrative and co-ordinating body.
          With reference to the situation in North America, Episcopalian would refer to The Episcopal Church (TEC or formerly ECUSA), the US member church of the Anglican Communion, while Anglican would refer to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which was formed in response to the revisionism/heresy of TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada.
          GAFCON is the Global Anglican Future Conference, with GAFCON Primates being the primates (presiding bishops) of GAFCON member churches including both Anglican Communion members and ACNA.
          Some GAFCON primates stayed away from the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury but others attended.

  • russedav

    This seems to be further evidence (not that any is really needed) of further 2 Thessalonians 2:7 withdrawal: “For the mystery of lawlessness already works: only there is one that restrains now [=the Holy Spirit], until he is taken out of the way.” God save us from ourselves.