Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury: Runners and Riders

Update: here's the all-woman shortlist.

With the shock news that Rowan Williams may retire at some stage, and possibly be replaced by someone else, I've been drawn to deep prayer and radical thinking. Perhaps it's time for a lay Archbishop, just in case we've been getting it wrong by appointing clergy all these years. So here are a few of the possibilities:

Tim Vine: easy to quote in the media, and would cheer everybody up.

Richard Dawkins: has professed his enjoyment of singing hymns, is regularly trying to tell clergy what to do, and must be secretly disappointed that the number of kids on Christian camps outnumbers Camp Quest by 1000 to 1. Time to join the winning side Richard.

Alan Sugar: with the introduction of clergy terms and conditions and capability procedures, not to mention the reductions in clergy numbers in many Dioceses, who better to weed out the wheat from the chaff?

Jeremy Paxman: a good way to put a stop to all the childish politicking and jockeying for position. Anglican Covenant? Gay ordination? Ordinariate? FCA? Cue incredulous expression, and a disdainful 'Yeeeeeeeessssssssss'.

Eddie Izzard: likes dressing in womens clothes, and can hold an audience. And totally gets how the Church of England works. Cake, or death? Original take on church history too.

Barack Obama: I hear he may be free from the end of next year. Bags of relevant experience, as he currently holds a job where he gets to talk a lot, but can't actually make anything happen, and gets to travel overseas a lot.

Bottle Top Bill and His Best Friend Corky: childrens characters, who spend most of their time chasing The Great Wild Woolly, a bad tempered and disobedient sheep. Again, plenty of relevant experience, and would reverse the long-term decline in childrens attendance.

Cheryl Cole: apparently some people struggle to understand what she's saying, so that will give us a bit of continuity. And the prospect of those eyes welling up with tears will deter many a potential argument in Synod.

Bear Grylls: since the CofE probably needs a lesson or two in survival. And he's done Alpha.

Tony Blair: we may not have much choice in this. Frustrated that his Faith Foundation isn't actually achieving anything, Blair will start buying out some of the smaller religious operations in the next few years: the URC, Bahai, Anglican Ordinariate, Jedi. ABof C is a stepping stone towards his ultimate goal, the Global Caliphate of the Permanent Tan.

there, I think that's a pretty decent field. A bit more background here, for those of you who think this is an actual news story.


  1. I heartily support your call for an Archbishop of Canterbury from the ranks of the laity. In fact I had already set up a website in anticipation of just such a day. However, I am a little disappointed that, as the self-proclaimed spokesman for Anglican laity worldwide, I have not made it to your short list. (Dread Possibility: Perhaps you have never heard of me?)

    Actually, I prefer power without responsibility ('the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages'). Would you therefore kindly throw my hat into the ring for the appointment of Grand Vizier, Panjandrum and Mikado, adviser to the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all the Primates. Many thanks - do award yourself a bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut!

  2. Amazed you haven't short-listed Sherlock. If anyone can drag an aged, stuffy, pompous, mysterious and self-important institution into the 21st century then surely it's him - we've all seen him do it!

  3. I would second Lay Anglicana for the role of ABC, but with conditions:

    1. All must bow reverentially when she enters or exits a room.

    2. All must stand when she kneels, and kneel when she stands.

    3. All of the Vestments must be tastefully edged with pink lace.

    4. All business will be conducted via @layanglicana on twitter. More serious stuff through her blog at Lay Anglicana.org.

    5. Visitations by the Arch Bishop, will only be arranged where 4 star facilities, including a separate Ladies Dressing Room and facilities are provided (the third bush around the corner of the church just won;t do).

    6. That Lambeth Palace will arrange for the Arch Bishop's flat to be assigned to someone else she will stay in the State Apartments.

    7. The Old Palace in Canterbury is to be totally refurbished in tasteful, Edwardian style, and all of the hangers on lodging there be moved out to camp on the Cathedral Green (@occupycanterbury).

    8. All prayer books are to have references to man and men to be amended to all, everyone, or other gender neutral phrase.

    9. The measure for women bishops it to be unopposed or else!

    10. The Anglican Covenant is to be revised to reflect a Gentlewomen's agreement that nothing will be done in future without tea and cake available, prepared by the Mothers Union.