The lead the Archbishop of Canterbury gives

02 November 2006


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
Lyminge, Folkestone
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 homosexual persons.

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 out.

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 enquiry.
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

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