Seen by many as a reformer when he became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, Rowan Williams has had to make hard choices between liberalism and authority in striving to hold together the Anglican Communion.
"The Archbishop of Canterbury is fighting to hold the Church of England together. At the General Synod in York, he won a battle, but the row goes on". The author considers the facts of the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John, and his subsequent resignation, as Suffragan Bishop of Reading. He refers to the larger question of homosexuality within the Communion, mentioning the blessing of same sex unions in the diocese of New Westminster and the election of Canon Gene Robinson in New Hampshire. "In all this, the question of why is is homosexuality that should rack the Church is intriguing. It is the issue on which the evangelicals have rallied to their standard in a way they did not on any of the previously abandoned heights of orthodoxy, from slavery to borrowing money at interest to divorce. The answer seems to be that the issue is an easily explicable one to their followers, who are convinced of the scriptural and theological objections to homosexuality, and one which can therefore by guaranteed to secure a majority on one side of the argument. It is, in other words, an atavistic political tool". "The tactics in the row are interesting too. They are ones of threat: alternative oversight, withholding funding, schism. Some the Church of England has brought upon itself: alternative episcopal oversight was introduced a decade back to help reconcile churches which could not accept women's ordination without, perhaps, recognising that the principal of episcopal authority had thereby been comprehensively breached". "This is a Church where unity is currently prized more than integrity. Can it hold together a worldwide Communion -- more a confederation -- of 70 million people, some of whom believe that polygamy is acceptable but homosexuality is beyond the pale, and some of whom believe the reverse ? Should it even try to do so ?" "This is not a happy Church. And Catholic observers should not feel smug. It is a debate that is coming to the Catholic Church too".
See also "Anglican Tug-O--War" on p. 3.
See also "Dr. Williams seeks to hold his fractured Church together", pp. 28-29.
Analysis of the "Nationwide Initiative in Evangelism (NIE)" which was attempted in Great Britain from 1978-1982 with few results. Moves on to link this effort with current Catholic initiatives around evangelism and the "origin" of the Decade of Evangelism.
"The leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches in England and Wales, joined forces last week to question the moral legitimacy of Britain talking up arms against Iraq. The joint statement by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, came after a private meeting they held on Thursday last week". See text of "Archbishops' joint statement on Iraq" on page 34.