From Robin Saunders
Sir, - I was sorry to read the Revd Dr Giles Fraser's comments about the
Archbishop of Canterbury ("The Church needs some sort of leadership",
Comment, 31 March). Dr Fraser said that in the Church of England "genuine
leadership is desperately, desperately needed."
So often - and this is a case in point - when people talk of the need for
leadership, what they mean is that the Archbishop should lead the Church in the
path of their own particular party in the Church.
Dr Fraser should not seek to dwarf and shrivel the Archbishop into being
merely the leader of a sect.
29 Bedingfield Way
Kent CT18 8JH
From Mr Hamish Preston
Sir, - In his column last week, the Revd Dr Giles Fraser bewailed the lack
of leadership shown by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and suggested that he is
prone to giving way to bully boys, as in "the Jeffrey John disaster".
It seems to me that Dr Williams has displayed extraordinary Christian
qualities in the furore over "gay bishops", shouldering the thankless task of
standing betwen the warring parties, refusing to side with either of them,
despite his own personal views, and consistently calling on them to listen to
each other and, while they are about it, to listen, too, to the voice of
In acting thus, the Archbishop is surely demonstrating the agonising
realities of serious Christian peacemaking. I read into this situation that Dr
Williams reasons that it is up to Christian communities to demonstrate to
others how to settle differences without resorting to blows, and that it has
fallen to him, personally, as head of the Anglican Church to lead the way. Does
Dr Fraser not see this as leadership?
One sort of leadership the Archbishop refuses to give, as reported in his
recent interview with The Guardian, is the "Vicar to the Nation" type
of pronouncement that much of the media continually lusts after. Dr Williams
does "pronouce", but in a different key. He refuses to talk in headlines, but
what he says can be highly charged.
For instance, you reported (
News, 24 June 2005) that "the Archbishop warned of the dangers of passing
judgement, of looking to others to repent, of a 'deadly lack of
self-knowledge'. . ." These are sharp words. If Dr Fraser were to be similarly
accused, I doubt whether he would criticise his accuser for failing to speak
As a fully paid-up member of Inclusive Church, which Dr Fraser leads, I
would like to hear what sort of leadership he thinks the Archbishop should be
providing. This is not a rhetorical, belligerent question, but a genuine
42 Oaklands, Hamilton Road
Reading RG1 5RN
From Mr John Capel
Sir, - In his weekly column, the Revd Dr Giles Fraser tells us much about
himself and the dynamics of the Anglican Communion. Now we learn he is able to
phone Lambeth Palace and be assured, "Trust us," when he feels his full party
agenda might be at risk.
Those who travel in the slow lane on the four wheels of scripture, creeds,
sacraments, and historic episcopate have loving concern for riders on the two
wheels of private judgement and popular opinion. They speed and weave with such
reckless confidence. We pray they get there safely.
Dr Fraser may well obtain a mitre, but those whose trust is not placed so
locally and temporally just hope that he gets his crown of life.
Maryport House, Usk
Monmouthshire NP15 1AF