Archive for March, 2012

ABC to Go

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently announced that he intends to leave his post at the end of this year to become master of a Cambridge college.

A rumor that Archbishop Rowan Williams would leave had been circulating for some time but the decision was still surprising. Most Archbishops have stayed at least into their late sixties, if not until the mandatory Church of England retirement age of 60; Williams is now 61.

It’s not surprising that few in the Anglican Communion will be heralding the Archbishop’s ten-year reign as a huge success. For the conservatives, Williams was too wishy-washy; for the liberals, he was too compromising. Saddest of all is the undeniable goodness and talent of Rowan Williams, the man. If he couldn’t dampen the fires of controversy, who could? Who can? —J. Douglas Ousley

Mainline Sidelined

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

When my first boss in the church was installed as rector of a large church on Fifth Avenue, a photo of the event appeared the next day in the New York Times. In 1972, no one thought much about this publicity; it was taken for granted that the Episcopal Church was important news.

Last Saturday, the new bishop co-adjutor of the Diocese of New York was installed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. As far as I know, the Times offered no coverage. One local television station referred to the new “bishop co-agitator,” but that was about it. Many commentators have noted the declining media attention paid to the mainline Protestant churches. Here is an example–all the more striking when the Cardinal Archbishop of New York recently received days of front page attention. —J. Douglas Ousley