Dangerous Durham

Colin Coward writes at Changing Attitude Part 1: The Dangerous Bishop of Durham:

The Bishop of Durham’s paper claiming to ‘unpack’ the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Reflections is dangerous for the Church of England, for LGBT people and for the worldwide Anglican Communion. People in the Changing Attitude network, gay and straight, are furious at his abuse and dishonesty.

The paper reveals a bishop with a megalomaniacal drive to impose his own solution unilaterally on the Communion.

Durham would like The Episcopal Church and partnered LGBT people evicted from the Communion right now. His stand is unprincipled. The bishop has partnered lesbian and gay clergy in his own diocese and knows full well that there are many partnered clergy in the Church of England. Instead of addressing what he says is the impossibility of the church recognising same-sex blessings, he diverts attention away from home and focuses his attack on The Episcopal Church.


The Bishop of Durham wants to short-circuit the Archbishop’s timetable. He wants a decision about who is in and out of the Communion to be made NOW, not postponed until the end of 2009 when Section 4 of the Covenant is finalised (para 19). ‘We do not need to wait until Section 4 is redrafted’ (Para 21(iii)). Interim structures are needed ‘now, not in six months, let alone six years’ (para. 21(iv)). The Archbishop of Canterbury should move unilaterally and ‘swiftly to implement what he himself has said’, ‘counting on support from bishops around his own Province’ (para 20).

Durham proposes using the Anaheim Statement as a rallying point for TEC dissidents. Signing Anaheim and Sections 1-3 of the Covenant could function as a ‘prerequisite for participation’ in representative Anglican functions and bodies. He wants to do away in one move, now, with the ACC, Primates Meeting and Lambeth Conference as at present constituted, ending TEC participation in the Instruments of Communion and all other bodies constituted under their auspices.

He claims: ‘These are only suggestions, designed to help those on the ground’. They are nothing of the sort, but rather very concrete and dogmatic proposals designed to pressurise the Archbishop of Canterbury into taking action of which Durham approves and which short-circuits the Archbishop’s own careful (but ultimately misguided) strategy.

Read more here.

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