Beginning tomorrow leaders of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion will gather in Canterbury in an attempt to prevent the break up of the worldwide Anglican communion over the issue of human sexuality.

But for Andrew Brown, the deal is already done.

Andrew Brown at “The Guardian” has posted a stinging critique of the Anglican Communion with dire predictions of its future, or lack of a future.

Read Mr. Brown’s comments here:

Here are a few excerpts:

As 38 leaders from Anglican churches around the world prepare to meet in Canterbury next week to decide whether they can bear to go on talking to one another, or whether to formalise their schism over sexuality, it’s worth asking whether they have any larger message for the world. Apparently they do. It’s that genocide is more biblical than sodomy.


The Anglican communion itself never really existed as a coherent body capable of making or enforcing decisions, but for about 30 years, from 1975 to 2005, it suited all sorts of people to pretend that it was one.

At the 1998 conference [Lambeth, gathering of worldwide bishops of the Anglican communion], the conservative coalition triumphed, with then Archbishop George Carey’s full approval. But it also, in retrospect, finished off the Anglican communion. The majority in the conference signed up to a series of strikingly homophobic resolutions whose purpose was to supply legal backing for the conservative attempts to wrest control of church assets from the mainstream American church.

When the six African conservatives walk out next week they will not be leaving the Anglican communion, but walking out of its funeral.

The Anglican communion was given substance only by the British empire and next week’s meeting will be one of the final moments in the dismantling of the empire, or of the further process of forgetting that it ever mattered.


Scattered in among the 300 or so comments to Mr. Brown’s piece there are some that are worth noting. These comments give a flavour of the debate as it has raged over the past 20 years in the Anglican Church around the world:

Surely addressing violence against women, unfortunately, still endemic in many African countries, should be a higher priority than consensual gay sex.


Andrew Brown: “The demand that gay people “repent” or be exorcised (as one Nigerian bishop attempted with a gay campaigner in 1998) was neither acceptable nor even comprehensible in England by 2008, and still less today.”

Western people don’t care whether the CoE appeases such reactionaries or not. Schism? Who cares? Schism meant something in the Middle Ages. This is the 21st century. Some people need to be reminded.

Do you think anyone under 30 cares about CoE bishops yammering on about “sodomy”? Stop beating the dead horse. Just bury it.


it’s clear where the future lies, it is with the African church and the conservative evangelicals, because that is where the growth is. The liberal Anglican Church in the West is losing it by a process of loss/aging of congregations. The only question is how long the liberal western establishment can hang onto power.


Sounds like the US Protestant churches when slavery was debated. In order to protect the institution of slavery, in general, and the continued entitlement of slave-owners and -traders to be clergy, in particular, the largest denominations split into northern and southern halves in the 1860’s. In the 1990’s, the largest of the Presbyterian and Methodist denominations reunited, but the Southern Baptists have never rejoined the northern denomination although, presumably, they are less fond of slavery now.

A global communion is wholly vainglorious. A relic of imperialism.
Anglicanism never captured all the English despite attempts to force people into the fold.
Let’s be grateful it’s dead at last.

People have been loudly proclaiming the funeral of the Anglican Communion since at least the first Lambeth Conference of 1867 (which was called to debate the controversial ideas of a colonial bishop in a faraway corner of the African continent). And yet, against all odds, the Anglican Communion keeps chugging along – not, certainly, with the rigorously-choreographed unity of the Roman Catholic Church or the dogged traditionalism of the Orthodox, but in a ramshackle, inefficient marriage-of-convenience sort of a way it defies gravity (and theology) and carries on.

It carries on because people believe in it. They believe in it in radically different ways and for entirely different ends, but ultimately they almost all believe in it. Anglicans do not want to think of themselves as simply a loose agglomeration of culturally-Erastian national churches each studiously interrogating its own navel. Like other Christians, Anglicans – in their confused and compromised way – still like to believe that they are members of a trans-national body that does not simply bob on the sea of changing cultural mores. And although many of them are theologically, spiritually and sentimentally closer to members of other denominations, the Anglican Communion provides an admirable flag of convenience for the ecumenical and small-c catholic pretensions of its members. Moreover, it has material advantages: there is a complex intra-communion economy not just of prayer and diplomacy but also of money and buildings and status. That is not an economy that the six African provinces want to be excluded from, however much they may want to demonstrate their moral freedom from the colonial yoke.

The Anglican Communion will most likely keep going, and the six African provinces will most likely remain a part of it, and in fifty years time we will most likely still be having much the same arguments, though probably not over exactly the same things. In 1867 it was hell; in 2016 it’s only sodomy. Some might see that as an improvement.

Why are these people given any coverage in the press at all? Their repressive inhumane rhetoric has caused countless deaths over the centuries since it was made up, and yet now as more people see it for the complete sham that it is, they come to us wringing their hands like some unctuous trader in a bazaar, desperately trying to give credence to their own brand of snake oil. We must never forget or forgive their behaviour when they were the all powerful only show in town, and they must be expelled from holding any form of influential office or favour.


It’s always a good laugh watching the church get it’s knickers in a twist over an issue the civilized and educated have got past a generation ago.