I had a great time at General Synod on Wednesday. Apart from meeting various people it was absolutely fascinating just to watch the general goings-on. I was there as a guest of a future client, and whilst I wasn’t directly doing any drawing I did make plenty of notes. The diagram above is a raw sketch (unlike my normal highly-polished diagrams).
One of the excitements of this particular Synod was the introduction of new electronic voting devices which I imagine are a bit like the ones they use on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ and other such shows. On Monday the Synod was given training and some practice votes were held. Alastair Cutting, whose Synod blog has lots of synodical happenings, has blogged about it:
A practise vote was set up on Monday – a ‘vote of the whole house’ that ‘This synod ask the Business Committee to acknowledge Valentine’s Day’ was passed by a significant majority of the whole Synod.
However a following motion, a ‘vote by houses’, that ‘Valentine’s Day be celebrated by each bishop buying chocolates for their diocesan representatives at Synod’, was passed by both of the lower houses, but the House of Bishops voted it down. Because ‘votes by houses’ require a majority in each house to be passed, it meant that bishops were let off the hook from buying their diocesan representatives chocolate for Valentine’s Day. But, woe betide any bishops who do not…!
Meanwhile, whilst I was observing I wa also being observed. Peter Ould, who was watching my every involuntary movement:
Finally, a big thank you to Dave Walker, who (even if you didn’t realise it) entertained me by being sat across the gallery from me and moving his head in slight motions every so often. I know you’re concentrating hard on cartoons and the like Dave, but you ain’t half amusing when you get a good idea!!!
Thanks Peter. I had no idea I did that, but now when I need an idea I will move my head in slight motions and see what happens.
Valentine sweethearts can tie the knot for free at a Chelmsford church. Romantic Rev Tim Ball, vicar of Holy Trinity Springfield, believes that marriage is best. So he’s waiving the cost of the service, the choir, the organist, the verger and the heating.
And the good news is that the offer will be available throughout the year.
“My church believes that marriage is best for couples, for children and for the community,” says big-hearted Tim.
“So we have put our money where our mouth is. We will pay all the costs of the service in the church. We are offering a free marriage service to parishioners because Holy Trinity is a good place to celebrate love and commitment.”
Presumably the organist, choir, verger and the man who turns the handle on the boiler have been consulted.
Before you all rush off to get married there I should make you aware of the small print. One of you has to live in the parish or you have to be ‘full and regular members’. Not full or regular, full and regular. It’s both/and, not either/or. There is also a marriage preparation evening which must be attended and an optional 8 week ‘bolt-on’ course all about ‘the basics of the Christian faith and what it means for today’.
In the unlikely event that you meet these criteria and happen to want to get married this year and happen to be a reader of this blog – what are you waiting for? Give the ‘Romantic Rev’ a call.
Update: I asked Rev Tim how they could afford to do it and he has kindly got back to me. Everyone is being paid as per usual. The church has made a decision to foot the bill. Here’s a section of his response:
These are our points for doing it. (I would say that we are doing it for people who live in our parish – it is not for the whole world.)
We want to say how important we think marriage is, best for couples, best for children, best for society.
We want to express our faith in generous giving – we don’t want to say we will ‘do it for Free’ – but that we will ‘pay for it’ because we have to pay the fees to the diocese, to the organist and for the verger etc, – so it is not just a case of not collecting the fee payable to the PCC.
We would like to highlight the fact that the Christian marriage service expresses a higher ideal of committed love than any other wedding service.
We hope we might encourage couples who aren’t married to consider it, or even to do it.
We want to put our money where our mouth is – in that sense it is sacrificial, we see it as an investment in the kind of society we would like to see as bearing the marks of the kingdom of God.
If like me you believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been treated remarkably unfairly by certain sections of the media in the last few days then why not, if you are on Facebook, join this group, entitled ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury is a good man’. Let’s see whether we can get it to really take off and send a message to the wider world.
The group was set up today and includes a number of General Synod members who would like to counteract the unkind sentiments expressed by a few of their number in the press. The aims are as follows:
Joining the group affirms that you believe:
1) The media has misinterpreted the spirit of what Dr Williams was talking about in his lecture
2) As an intellectual, and a spiritual leader, Dr Williams should feel free to express a carefully considered opinion.
3) That Dr Williams is one of the most gifted minds in Britain, and his views should be given careful consideration.
As it happens General Synod starts tomorrow in London. All being well I shall be going along on Wednesday for the afternoon session. I will be making observations.
See this post by ‘Cranmer’ in which he links to some examples of the sort of nastiness that needs to be counteracted by good people everywhere.
Meanwhile, The Times has an Exclusive (in bold letters). The story is that someone, somewhere is calling for the Archbishop to resign but wishes to remain anonymous. It is apparently a senior Church of England clergyman, presumably one who does not have the courage of his convictions.
If you would like this unnamed senior Church of England clergyman to resign please write in anonymously , or get someone else to do it for you.
The new Church of England ‘Olympic Tsar’ was licenced yesterday at St Paul’s Cathedral. He is shown here with a three handed bishop: one hand adjusting the microphone, one hand engaged in a service sheet tug of war and one hand holding the great big book.
I wanted some information on tsars and what they do, so I looked it up. ‘A male monarch or emperor, especially one of the emperors who ruled Russia until the revolution of 1917′ apparently, but it can also be ‘a person having great power; an autocrat’ or ‘an appointed official having special powers to regulate or supervise an activity’.
Looking at Google News it appears that there are drug tsars, flood tsars, food tsars, design tsars, trash tsars, tourism tsars, canal tsars and dementia tsars. These are either in existence or being called for by someone or other somewhere or other.
If any tsars are reading please write in and tell us what you are a tsar of and how being a tsar is different to being a non-tsar.
The C of E Olympic tsar, by the way, will do the following:
Duncan’s role is to work on behalf of the Church of England with the ‘More than Gold’ structure and with LOCOG and the LDA. The aim is to help mobilise the churches of London and the nation to serve and witness to the Olympic movement in producing the best possible games and ensuring a positive legacy for East London.
If anyone would like to explain what this means then feel free to write in as well.
You might remember, by the way, that I posted about this post in December 2006, along with this cartoon which I plan to repost each and every time the Olympics is mentioned anywhere by anyone:
You might remember the story of Tom Ambrose, the Cambridge Vicar who has been appearing before a tribunal to see whether there has been pastoral breakdown in his parish (here are some Church Times reports from last year to remind you: 1, 2).
I have little inside information, but it really does appear from the outside as if justice has not been done. John Pettigrew, an ex-blogger whose opinion I trust who was at the Tribunal, and he says this in Ruth’s comments:
Yes, Tom has lost. Personally, I have little idea why. He’s not always a sensible man, but he is not the monster he’s being painted as. And it is certainly the case that there is no breakdown between “the parish” and the priest. There is a breakdown between certain members of the PCC and the priest, and quite a bit of collateral damage scattered around. At the Tribunal itself, I had the distinct impression that the prosecuting lawyer was simply trying to score points and to unsettle witnesses, rather than the proceedings being a tribunal seeking facts.
The view of most of the “ordinary” parishioners at Trumpington (i.e. those outside the circles of politics that bedevil the parish) seems to be that this has been a power play from the moment Tom arrived in the parish. Neither side is guilt-free, but I am perfectly clear in my own mind where the causes lie, and they’re not with Tom. To dismiss him would be a manifest injustice.
I recommend reading the whole post if you’re interested in more background.
This is the Trumpington church website. I suspect John has something to do with it as he is good with that sort of thing.
Those who pray might like to remember Tom and his wife Gill at this present time.
Update: Reports like this one from HR zone really irritate me:
They’ve lost the quotes around the word ‘bully’ (as used by the Times) from the headline, thereby telling the reader that the vicar in question is guilty
The other side of the story isn’t reported, and there is no link to enable the reader to hear the other side of the story.
Today I went to the launch of the Lambeth Conference at Lambeth Palace.
I arrived wearing a suit and sensible shoes. I was ushered into the presence of the gatekeeper (we’ll call him ‘Saint Peter’) where a book was opened and an A4 sheet was perused, but alas, my name was not found on the list. I was sent into a purgatorial waiting room where I chatted to one or two others whose names were found not to be on the scroll.
Eventually we were summoned forth and escorted to the press conference where there was coffee and mingling time. I sat near the back as I am not a journalist, which is fair enough really. My pictures are therefore not brilliant, but not bad considering they were taken on my mobile phone.
There were various speeches introducing the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. I’ll provide links at the end. This photo is Archbishop Rowan Williams (and a man in the way).
This is Jane Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife, and Margaret Sentamu, wife of the Archbishop of York. They are introducing the spouses conference. Unfortunately this is the best shot I have as it was very dark.
There were then questions, before the bishops went outside to assemble for photographs. There were a lot of bishops, as the delegates from a ‘So, you’re a new bishop‘ course for new bishops were present.
The press taking pictures of the bishops. A few of them were talking at the back.
A closer-up shot showing the various styles of dress.
Afterwards there was a bit of time for mingling to resume. It was good to meet Ruth Gledhill and Joanna Sugden from the Times and also Simon of Thinking Anglicans. And then, as if that wasn’t enough I had the privilege of being taken to briefly meet the Archbishop of Canterbury himself in another bit of the palace. My role at the Lambeth Conference wasn’t mentioned in the press conference of course as I am but a tiny cog in the workings, so it was really good to be introduced.
I really must do some drawing practice.
OK, some links. This is the official page with the text of the presentations by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs Jane Williams:
Today has been a long day, and I’m aware that I haven’t said anything about the content of the press conference and the questions that followed. I hope to do more of that sort of thing over the coming days and weeks, but in the meantime I’ll continue to post links to other people’s reports in this post.
Before Christmas I said that I had one or two announcements to make. Well, here is one of them.
The Anglican Communion Office have invited me to take on the role of ‘Cartoonist in residence’ at the forthcoming Lambeth Conference and I have said ‘yes’. My role will be to draw events at the conference as they develop. These drawings will then be displayed by various means including the internet. I will have a visible presence (unlike my usual non-visible sort) around the conference campus and will get to go to some of the meetings. We haven’t decided upon all of the details of all of these things yet.
Some background information: The Lambeth Conference happens every ten years, and about 800 bishops are invited. The 2008 conference is from the 16th July to the 4th August 2008 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, although the various bishops will be in the UK by at least the 10th of July when the ‘hospitality’ part starts. This is when different English, Scottish or Welsh dioceses host the delegates and, one imagines, provide them with sandwiches. There is then a retreat at Canterbury Cathedral before the programme on the University campus begins. The Spouses’ Conference runs alongside the one for Bishops and is for spouses.
I am very excited by this prospect. I am most definitely pro-Lambeth and pro-Archbishop-Rowan, and so it is a great privilege to be asked to be involved. I will be practicing my drawing between now and then and may even get some new pens. It is certainly a rather daunting prospect, but hopefully I’ll be OK. A planned new easel will be a help.
As you’ll remember I made a comment back in September about the ‘Marketplace’ at the conference and how brilliant it would be to have a stall. Well, I am pleased to say that I will indeed have a stall, though I will be asking other people to run it most of the time. I am fortunate in having one or two people who have agreed to help me, though I may need to recruit one or two more. I have not decided exactly what the stall it will have on it yet. One or two books perhaps. I may set aside a little colouring table for bishops and others to use between meetings.
I will of course have more to say about this over the coming months. Such posts will be gathered together here on the blog in a specially convened ‘Lambeth 08‘ category. Something will probably be said officially by the Lambeth organisers at some point, but in the meantime I am free to talk about it.
Additional information for visitors
These are some of the other Anglican events that I have done drawings about:
I’ve been playing around with the ‘site to bring Anglican bloggers together in perfect harmony’ idea.
I have to say I liked Joe’s idea in the comments the other day:
It would be quite interesting to have just to have a single page at Anglicanblogs.com which was a tagcloud of current tags on the anglican member blogs.
Unfortunately having spent a bit of time playing around I can’t quite work out how one would do such a thing. One would need a feed containing lots of different blogs for a start. I’ve tried various methods, such as combining feeds on Yahoo ‘Pipes’, but the number of feeds you can combine is limited to 5 and it just doesn’t seem to work very well.
On the Anglicanblogs.com domain I clicked a few buttons in the hosting panel and all of a sudden I have a ‘Joomla’ website. All very good but
(a) I don’t have time to build a website using Joomla, and
(b) Using a content management system like Joomla involves an admin putting the content together, whereas I think the way to go is a site where everyone puts the content together.
The site is at anglican.ning.com, though at the moment it is invitation only because where you can have a play around with it. I’m not sure whether Ning is the right system to use though, so I’d like a few people to test it for a day or two. Please send me a quick e-mail at dave at cartoonchurch if you’d like to have an invite to test it (or a note in the comments is fine thinking about it). You could also take a look at the Anglimergent site (site for cool Anglicans) to see the kind of things Ning does.
As I see it there are pluses and minuses of using Ning. To start with the negative aspects:
Disadvantages of Ning
It is another ‘social network’ site. Will people who don’t want to join Facebook want to join this one?
I can’t seem to get rid of a thing that says ‘Dave Walker created this social network on Ning’ on every page complete with my picture. Not what is required.
Advantages of Ning
As and when the technology becomes available to do some sort of ‘tag cloud’ idea we could include it on the front page using a plugin whathaveyou.
It means that people can add their own information rather than having a central person compile some sort of ‘directory’.
Once people have joined the site and added their blog and perhaps joined a geographical group there would be no need for continued involvement in terms of adding friends, joining in with discussions and all that sort of thing. It would work on a ‘blog directory’ level as well as a social network.
There is a forum area including a thread to recommend other people’s blogs so that it isn’t all about self promotion.
None of the hassle of making a new site.
I’ve no idea whether this is a good way to go about things. One fairly important thing is that this isn’t a site about me. If we decide to go with it it would be good to have some other people doing the adminning for instance.
It could also be that there is some technical genius out there who could come up with a better way of dong things. If so please do say so fairly soon.
Let me know what you think.
Update: Miffy feels that one more site might be one more site too many. I’m sure others feel that way – feel free to say so.