Given that bongo drums were the defining sound of his multicultural enthronement ceremony, I am not entirely surprised to learn that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has declined to involve himself with the Royal College of Organists.
Still, it represents a break with tradition that stretches back as long as anyone can remember ”” the august body was established in 1864 ”” and sets Welby apart from other leading Church figures who are proud to serve it. “It used to be taken as read that archbishops would want to take a position with us, and certainly Rowan Williams, as a former choir boy, proved to be a doughty champion of organists,” whispers my disgruntled man at their office in Pall Mall. “This has proved to be profoundly dispiriting snub at a time when membership is running low.”
The Queen is the patron of the college. The Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, the Free Churches Moderator, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Lord Mayor of London all currently serve as vice patrons.