Monday, 3 September 2007

What is it with Fulcrum?

See the 'update' at the end

One last thing before I start a week's holiday. What is it with Fulcrum, yet again?

In the forums, one poster is now re-running the rumour about Archbishop Akinola being about to consecrate Chris Sugden as a Nigerian Bishop in England. This one is taking on the 'urban legend' status of the Vanishing Hitchhiker (see especially version M on this page).

Even better, the poster manages to cap rumour with conjecture followed by condemnation:

"I'm not sure that the rumour is completely unfounded. I also think that these 'shady anglican fixers' to quote Andrew Carey in last week's CEN about the new kenyan bishops in the US, are deliberately working against the Windsor process and the Dar es Salaam communique, and precipitate behaviour is not going to solve anything! come on guys, stop the power play, because that seems to be what all this is about - power. shame on you Chris Sugden if this is the way you go."

I say, "What is it with Fulcrum?" because it is their blog and posting is moderated, so it is, to an extent, their responsibility. I know things can slip through the moderating net, especially when you're tired or bored with reading the stuff, but the responsibility is still there. Given Graham Kings' cool response to the Kenyan consecrations, the sense persists that Fulcrum are distinctly unsympathetic to the 'Mainstream'/Global South response to TEC and Canada. As to "working against ... the Dar-es-Salam Communique", there is surely always this to blog about as well as the rumoured and alleged actions of the so-called 'shady fixers'.

This, incidentally, is another reason why I insist on comments here having a proper name and a location. Speculate if you must, but I'd rather you didn't do it anonymously or pseudonymously here.

John Richardson


What's more, this story is even old on theFulcrum website, as you can see by following this particular thread back to here. Probably all that needs saying was said there a month ago by Revd Simon Butler:
"I think this is a non-story. There's been a rumour like this for ages. Because CS is the most visible activist on the conservative side of the current debacle, and because he's known to be regularly in close communication with Peter Akinola, there are many liberals who assume he's doing it for personal gain and ambition. I am not party to CS's motives, but I do know that many liberals assume that he's likely to be at the centre of things when and/or if a breakaway movement takes place.

"The report also talks about the person who is the source of the rumour as "a worker in the Nigerian diocese" which is a very strange phrase indeed as no such place exists as "the Nigerian diocese" and "worker" seems rather vague (it could be anyone from Akinola himself to the Provincial Secretary to the person who cleans the toilets in a diocesan office!).

"I'm also not convicned that ++Akinola would want to take such a radical step at this time, with the Covenant process ongoing. It may be something he would do once the Covenant has failed (which, in the end, it probably will); but surely it's not the right moment for such a radical step.

"My guess: it's either a silly season story that a bored journalist has resurrected while everyone's on holiday from all this nonsense, or it's an opponent of ++Akinola stirring things up in Nigeria. My money's on the former..."

Or maybe an opponent of Chris Sugden stirring things up in England. Meanwhile, "a silly season story that a bored journalist has resurrected while everyone's on holiday from all this nonsense" just about sums it up, only in this case it was re-resurrected by a post-holiday Fulcrum member. Is that ironic (I'm never quite sure)?

No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.


  1. (Chelmsford)

    It seems to me that this rumour, like the consecrations in Africa, is part of a campaign to persuade Archbishop Rowan to take a hard line against the US Episcopalians. I see two ways things can go from here: either Rowan takes a hard line against the US, effectively suspending them from the Anglican Communion, and then patches relations up with the Global South and the harder line evangelicals in England; or he lets the Americans off the hook and forces the southerners and the English hardliners to secede - in which case we probably will really see an English person consecrated in Africa. Now Fulcrum type evangelicals certainly don't want the latter to happen, because they will then be torn between sticking with a liberal dominated rump of the C of E and leaving alongside conservative evangelicals who they don't agree with on many fundamental issues. Hence the scare tactics which are probably directed at Rowan, to persuade him how disastrous it would be to compromise with the Americans.

  2. John

    on my blog I was laying out the chronological order of this rumour which was then front page news on CEN (3rd August) - you might not agree with them having written the article, but you can hardly suggest that they are bored journalists!

    and by the way, where did my other comment go? I was logged on to blogger, so you should have had all my details - you can hardly accuse me of being anonymous or pseudonymous and it was slightly disingenuous of you to suggest that the 'fulcrum poster' was in the habit of using false names, I never have been.....

    Jody of Maidenhead

  3. I would agree with Peter Kirk. The information is already with us, by the actions of key players. However, the schism already being activated by the consecrations is not currently as large as perhaps first feared, and assuming the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are lumped by declared association with the TEC leadership, as the rhetoric now suggests, there will only be a few congregations that would come under an African consecrated bishop and take the huge effort of leaving the property behind - given the near impossibility of breakaways in the established Church of England.

    Fulcrum has Pete Broadbent suggesting flying bishops. But this would not work if they have to be allied with the Archbishops, and unneeded if they can be.

    The cut off point is across the Open Evangelicals. I have suggessted this for quite some time. However, I now think that a good number of Conservative Evangelicals simply won't leave and would not follow Chris Sugden's already stated arguments in favour of international consecrations and the apparent "sin" of ecclesiastical nationalism.

  4. Dear Jody

    There is a 'Comments Policy' with which this comment still doesn't comply. That's why your last comment didn't get posted. Your Blogger profile doesn't give a location. This post doesn't give a surname.

    I know it has annoyed a few people, but that's the policy I choose to operate on this blog. Otherwise I think it is just like trying to publish a letter in the local press from 'Jane' or 'Smithy' - you simply wouldn't be able to do it, because it is considered inappropriate.

    As it is, I will let it go this time, but that is the rule. If you compare Peter Kirk's comment above, he has his name and if you look at his blogger profile, a location.

    (This policy is not, itself, a matter for debate - and I am supposed to be on holiday!)

    As to the comment itself, I didn't suggest they were bored journalists - Simon Butler did, on the Fulcrum website, in the same thread early in August.


  5. Dear Adrian

    I'm not sure what you meant by the "apparent 'sin' of ecclesiastical nationalism". Others might not be either. Do you care to elaborate?