13 August 2007

Sizing up Lambeth too soon?

Today's Telegraph has the latest sensationalist story about the Anglican Communion, entitled "Archbishop faces conference snub." Apparently in journalism school, reporters have been instructed to use the word "snub," "row," or "schism" in every headline, whenever possible. That's what sells papers, I guess.

The article's lede says "only a couple of hundred" bishops have responded. Later, the article says "several hundred" bishops have accepted invitations. How can that be? I can only imagine a copy editor, eager to ensure a bold story, added the "couple of hundred" bit.

Over at Stand Firm, the throngs are cheering. T19's posse is engaging in some (refreshing) witty banter over the whole thing. But is it too early for gloating? Last week, the Church of England newspaper had this:
A spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council, whose general secretary Canon Kenneth Kearon serves as the Conference secretary told The Church of England Newspaper the invitations to Lambeth had been "coming in, in their hundreds."
It seems to me that there is much ado about nothing happening in blogospheria Anglicana today. Or, more precisely, a copy editor at the Telegraph went a bit too far. Jonathan Petre himself says "several hundred" bishops are coming. Canon Kearon is on record saying the same thing. My own sources tell me that many bishops from so-called Global South provinces have accepted invitations. So this isn't likely to be a "snub" of +Rowan at all.

Canon Jim Rosenthal (now deacon, thanks be to God), has said that the deadline for RSVPs was extended because of postal problems. There are "issues" both in the UK and in developing countries. So, Stand Firmers and others, remember: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a postal problem is just a postal problem.

Or to put it another way, just as we shouldn't count our chickens until they're hatched, we shouldn't count our RSVPs until they're received. I think this story will turn out favorably for the Anglican Communion -- with a good turnout at Lambeth. Only the die-hard Akinolites will be absenting themselves (more on that in a future post).

No comments: