“David Porter is an ”˜Evangelical’…and just as Justin Welby is an ”˜Evangelical’. When they talk about reconciliation it’s a multi-part process and the first part of that sort of reconciliation is not between man and man, but between man and God, and once you are reconciled with God, once you are basically looking at things through the prism of holiness and godliness, you then move on to reconciliation with the people around you.
… we need to come back to what is the first significant staff appointment the Archbishop of Canterbury has made, it’s this guy, David Porter, to work on the Godly reconciliation of warring factions within the Communion. That is the agenda that Justin Welby is setting down as his priority at Lambeth Palace. And to me ”“ if it works, that’s wonderful ”“ if it doesn’t work it may be very well because that’s God’s will for the church at this time. But in any event that’s the focus, not mosquito nets, not carbon fasts, not global warming, reconciliation under Christ ”“ that’s a wonderful thing.”
Watch it all – With thanks to Kevin and Fr George at Anglican TV here who talk about Archbishop Welby and Reconciliation from 10 mins 40 seconds in to 21 mins in – and there is an unofficial transcript of the section below
ANGLICAN UNSCRIPTED EPISODE 65
Can Canterbury be relevant again:
Kevin: We’re going to talk about the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Last week was his first week in office and he arrived at Lambeth Palace probably in a chariot, I don’t know how the first week works ”“ they open up the doors and the staff welcomes him, it’s probably right out of Downton Abbey. And he comes in and they show him around ”“ he probably knows what it looks like but they show him around anyway, it’s his first day and he gets to sit at his desk for the first time and they show him his nice leather chair and the little lamp on the desk he can turn on and off and he hears off in the background a squeak, squeak, squeak, as a dolly comes in bringing an appointment book. We call it a calendar, they call it over there a diary and they put it on his desk and they open up the book and dust comes off and they open up to the first page and there’s thirty-five items for his first day in office. George ”“ what does our new Archbishop say?
George: ”˜No ”“ I’m not going to be house-broken’. This could have been straight out of the TV show, ”˜Yes Minister’ where Jim Hacker comes in and brand new cabinet minister – and Sir Humphrey the head of the civil service in that department gives him his appointments diary, and for the next six months Jim Hacker is kept busy doing busy work, so that he is out of the hair, out of the power and authority that should be exercised by the staff. Well that’s what Lambeth Palace, the Church House tried to do to Justin Welby. They tried to neuter him, tried to house-train him so that he would be kept busy while they did the important stuff. Justin Welby would be allowed to choose what color wallpaper he had in his office, but he really wouldn’t be allowed to decide what the priorities of his job would be – and Justin Welby said no.
Kevin: And that’s the interesting reality here is a busy minion staff can keep their boss busy enough so nothing changes. And basically nothing has changed since Carey and Rowan Williams because the staff has kept the boss so busy. There’s been no classical change in Anglicanism since Lambeth 1:10 because the minions at Church House says ”˜we don’t need any more of those decision-making things from our Primates or from Lambeth. We just need to keep things going at an even flow, no conflict like there’s nothing happening here ”“ walk away ”“ those flames are nothing.’ Justin Welby has from his first day stopped that.
He’s also done something brand new. Yesterday he appointed a new Reconciliation Minister called Canon David Porter, who is from Ireland. Now a quick backdrop of Ireland ”“ Northern Ireland used to live in great conflict in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and there was basically a war in north Ireland between the IRA and the Ulster Union, and some would say it’s been between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. Whatever it was between, it was a mess of people who were so involved in hating each other they forgot why they hated each other. And it ended up in shootings, bombings, assassinations, grenades thrown into school yards, grenades thrown at funerals. Here, watching in America you just couldn’t understand what was really going on, to the point where the people in Ireland really didn’t know what was going on.
People like David Porter, and who was that famous Anglican that was over there?
George Conger: Robert Eames
Kevin: helped these people draw to a peace. Now the peace wasn’t between Christians ”“ the peace was a man-level peace: I will not annihilate you if you don’t annihilate me ”“ that is how man agrees at peace. We’ve done that with Russia and China and other places ”“ the natural ”˜we won’t self-destruct assurance. That isn’t God level reconciliation. We’ve brought this man, David Porter in to Lambeth Palace to help deal with what we call the war of the Anglicans. The Anglican Communion is currently shattered and scattered because of heresy within the church. David Porter is going to be brought in to be a Minister of Reconciliation. Can he do that job George?
George: Well in many ways the situation is just as bad verbally as it was in Northern Ireland. Last month Katherine Jefferts Schori went to Charleston and called Mark Lawrence and the conservatives in that diocese terrorists and murderers, authoritarian thugs who had taken over the church unlawfully. And you and I get emails and see comments all the time by conservatives calling Katherine Jefferts Schori a witch and a heretic. That level of vitriol seems next to impossible to reconcile and the way that the Anglican Communion has been trying to do it through the Indaba process, through a psychological approach with small groups and what not, it’s basically a waste of time; that’s what it’s shown to be ”“ the Panel of Reference, the Indaba, all these different groups have produced absolutely nothing.
Now what is different about this time around? Well, I am excited, I am encouraged because, it’s a dirty word Kevin for some people, but I am about to say it, so you may need to bleep this out, but David Porter is an ”˜Evangelical’
Kevin: Oh, my ears, George
George: and just as Justin Welby is an ”˜Evangelical’. When they talk about reconciliation it’s a multi-part process and the first part of that sort of reconciliation is not between man and man, but between man and God, and once you are reconciled with God, once you are basically looking at things through the prism of holiness and godliness, you then move on to reconciliation with the people around you. And that is what has been able to effect change in Northern Ireland. So in that way Martin McGuiness and Jerry Adams is part of the same government as Ian Paisley, and it’s working and they are happy, those are IRA leaders and the Ulster Unionist leaders. Is it possible that Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bob Duncan could be brought to the same table and work in peace and harmony like the IRA and the Democratic Ulster Unionist Party. If it worked in Northern Ireland it could very well work in South Carolina ”“ I don’t know.
Kevin Kallsen: It’s different. This isn’t Indaba ”“ this is taking a direct charge of a situation and putting a man in charge of ”“ this isn’t the Panel of Reference, this isn’t all the things that were tried before, this is something new. Now the destination may be the same, we may still have a fractured Communion at the end because they cannot reconcile, and this may reveal that there is no reconciliation possible, but we have a person who can help in identifying whether or not there is a possibility of reconciliation. If, you know, ten years from now the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada are no longer part of the Communion well this is something to help get us there
George: and Kevin when – we need to come back to what is the first significant staff appointment the Archbishop of Canterbury has made, it’s this guy, David Porter, to work on the Godly reconciliation of warring factions within the Communion. That is the agenda that Justin Welby is setting down as his priority at Lambeth Palace. And to me ”“ if it works, that’s wonderful ”“ if it doesn’t work it may be very well because that’s God’s will for the church at this time. But in any event that’s the focus, not mosquito nets, not carbon fasts, not global warming, reconciliation under Christ ”“ that’s a wonderful thing.
Kevin: Another thing an Archbishop usually does in first week in office is sit down with the BBC or ITV or somebody for his interview ”“ but they don’t sit down with Christian press, we don’t see that from archbishops of Canterbury very often
George: Not with the last one, the one before we did, Rowan Williams never
Kevin: And for whatever reason I didn’t get to interview him. You got to interview him once, right?
George: 2005 ”“ and never again after that
Kevin: ”˜they ask hard questions ”“ we are not going to have that’
Well this British interviewer for ITV sat down with Justin Welby. He thought he had the perfect candidate: a European liberal, business background, hates banks and financial institutions, obviously this was going to be a great conversation that will play forever in interviewdom and he sits down and says Justin Welby ”“ I am being ”“ this isn’t quite verbatim but ”“ sits down and says Archbishop Welby, you’re the new Archbishop of Canterbury and there has been conflict in the Communion over same-sex marriages and gay bishops and women clergy. Can you as the Archbishop of Canterbury in England, in Britain, help save us from those evil Anglicans around the world and let them know that, you know, that this is OK stuff? George, what does Justin say?
George: ”˜No, no, first off it’s not OK ”“ the Church of England, I Justin Welby do not agree with the government’s position on gay marriage and the changes it is making. ”˜And secondly’ you have to remember, Justin Welby said, ”˜that I am Primate of All England and Archbishop of Canterbury as Archbishop and Primus Inter Pares, first among equals, and I will not subordinate the Anglican Communion to British Politics. I’m not going to force everybody to be English’ ”“ which was what the Welshman, Rowan Williams wanted to do. This is a tremendous change. He is reasserting the independence of the Church, he is reasserting the authority of the Archbishop’s office as an archbishop for the Communion as opposed to a local chairman of the board.
Kevin: so for the first week in office, I’m going to give you know, Archbishop Justin Welby a Ten, you know, he did very well for the first week. I look forward to nothing but good things in the second week. The reality is we don’t know what it is going to look like when he finally resigns a decade down the line, whether he has had a real effect on the Anglican Communion or not. However based on what I’ve observed from the first week, I can’t complain. George, how about you?
George: A for effort
Kevin: A for effort