From the Bishop of Wakefield and others
Sir, - The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill,
is right to highlight the unique opportunity that now exists,
through the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission
(ARCIC), to "work for the common good together" (
Comment, 22 March).
In Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby, we have leaders with
attributes and priorities that are attuned to the most urgent needs
of our times; but coming together must be about the practical as
well as the doctrinal, and cannot simply be lefttoARCIC III.
Pope Francis has spoken of "the generous activity of Christians
who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless,
and all the marginalised, thus striving to make society more humane
and more just". Archbishop Welby reminded us in his inaugural
sermon that "In England alone, the Churches together run
innumerable food banks, shelter the homeless, educate a million
children, offer debt counselling, comfort the bereaved, and far,
The recently launched Together for the Common Good programme
(www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk)will be exploring how UK
Christians have worked together for social justice, and, more
importantly, how we can co-operate most effectively now in times of
increasing economic hardship and growing inequality.
Itis inspired by the ground-breaking partnership in the gospel
of two great Christian leadersin Liverpool, Bishop David Sheppard
and Archbishop Derek Worlock. T4CG will be seeking to follow the
strong and welcome lead given to us last week by the Bishop of Rome
and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Stephen Wakefield, Hilary Russell,Tim Livesey, Peter
McGrail,Jenny Sinclair, Nicholas Sagovsky
Together for the Common Good
c/o Bishop's Lodge
Wakefield WF2 6JL
From the Revd Gareth Miller
Sir, - I cannot help drawing com- parisons between the events
in Rome the Tuesday before last and those in Canterbury on the
While admiring the new Pope's emphasis on simplicity, I felt
that the inaugural mass was rather under-whelming and disappointing
in several respects.
I have attended in person, or seen on TV, many of these
occasions in my time, and I felt it was very much "more of the
same" - a predictable mass; the participants almost exclusively
white and male - the principal ones well over 70; the music very
good, but again predictable and unimaginative; token gestures
towards other cultures; ecumenical spectators, but no ecumenical
participants; the homily moving and well-crafted, but hardly
The Pope himself, undoubtedly a holy and unaffected man, is 76
and, by all accounts, conservative in almost every respect. And I'm
not so sure about the novelty of his coming from Latin America:
By contrast, the events at Canterbury were far more Catholic:
more colourful, much more imaginative, hugely more representative
of the worldwide character of the Church, and of the whole spectrum
of humanity. Although the Church of England and the Anglican
Communion still have some way to go, it was refreshing to see such
a mix of male and female, young and old, and black and white with
leading parts to play.
And the sermon was uplifting, encouraging, and challenging - and
from a man of 57, who is young in mind and spirit, and demonstrates
an openness and willingness to engage that seem alien to the ethos
I say this with absolutely no ill will towards Rome. I have huge
sympathies with the Roman Catholic Church, and have many happy
associations with it. I hope to be proved wrong, but I fear that
this election may have been an opportunity missed.
Chelwood, Market Street
Charlbury, Oxon OX7 3PL
From Mr Charlie Bell
Sir, - While I, together with many worldwide Anglicans, am
delighted that we have such a fine priest in many ways as our new
Archbishop of Canterbury, I am thoroughly disappointed that he
remains in the old tradition of the Church of England in his
attitude to gays.
His words on the issue would have been radical in the 1980s; but
now they just seem ludicrous. The Church is used to being 30 years
behind (hardly the vanguard of Christ), and on this issue it would
be better that they were honest and not all things to all
Anyone with any friends under the age of 30 would realise that
the Church is utterly out of step with even a basic understanding
of human sexuality in the modern world.
It is quite clear that the church hierarchy is not brave enough
to upset many Anglicans around the world and welcome gay Christians
with open arms, despite their lukewarm words. I would rather be
opposed outright by clergy than given platitudes about gay couples
they know who seem to have normal relationships.
If the hierarchy wants to continue to stay in the past, all well
and good, but please don't pretend anything to the contrary is
going on when we are told that our love is fine, but anything more
than gentle petting is an outrage to God.
Cambridge, CB3 9ET
From Mr J. Longstaff
Sir, - Archbishop Justin Welby is to be applauded for
reminding his audience in Canterbury Cathedral, especially the
political leaders, how much this nation owes to its Christian
heritage and the commitment of faithful individuals who brought
about many beneficial changes to the nation's practices.
Their response to the call of Christ and applying the teaching
of the Bible was often despite opposition of the politicians and
the prevailing attitudes in society.
Let us pray that our current political leaders, who seek to
establish a loving, caring, just, and fair society will harken to
the wisdom of the new Archbishop in encouraging people to listen to
Christ's call and get out of their comfortable situations to do the
will of God.
4A The Green
Essex IG8 0NF