Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fulcrum's Graham Kings made a bishop

From the Times of London:
A leader of a prominent evangelical Anglican group has been appointed bishop to Sherborne, one of the oldest episcopal seats in the country. The appointment of Dr Graham Kings is a strong sign that the Archbishop of Canterbury is winning the battle for Anglican unity.

Dr Kings, 55, is the founder of Fulcrum, which has campaigned for orthodoxy without schism in the Church of England. Centrist conservatives are resisting moves to defect over the consecration of a gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex marriages. Fifteen of these bishops in the US Episcopal Church this week published a statement arguing for the recognition of the individual diocese as “church” rather than the national province. If these were accepted it would mean that dioceses could individually sign up to the new unity document, the Anglican Covenant, even if a national Church refused to do so because it wished to pursue a more liberal pro-gay agenda.

Dr Kings said he believed that the strategy of Dr Rowan Williams to attempt to keep most conservatives and liberals on board through the “covenant process” was working.
Read it all here.

A must-read on Graham Kings is from the Fulcrum newsletter last June where he divides up the Anglican Communion into four quadrants here, as well as proposals for reorganization of the Anglican Communion. I quarrel with this view because it separates people into silos and the 21 century is about crashing the silos. We will just not stay put in our own little quandrants, which quickly turn into theological and relational ghettos. I've written about that here and here.

The thing about nicely packaging up people into what I would call The Four Ghettos is that it gives the illusion of order in order to make ones political (and most of the time it's really political, not theological for it's about trapping someone into a ghetto where they can be either dismissed or controlled). But it is an illusion and every so often there is a prison break that catches the Ghetto advocates by surprise. Just saying.


1662 BCP said...

I'm not as familiar with Fulcrum as I am with Church Society and Reform, both of which I belong to. That being said, two things come to mind; how does Dr. King think that Rowan Williams strategy is working, apart from playing the trump-card of delay and doddle? Secondly, from my experience, having been a Russian Orthodox priest, the Soviets quite often silenced those who were perceived to be opponents in the Church by elevating them to the episcopate. Bishops were much easier to control than dissenting clergy. I shall have to do some reading-up on Dr. Kings before I become a cheerleader simply because he is identified as an "evangelical". I suspect that a strategy being employed on both sides of the Pond is to divide evangelicals amongst themselves.

BabyBlue said...

Bingo! It also divides the "evangelicals" - well, it attempts to do that. It's a very smart move for the preservationists because it will attempt to divide the evangelicals. The next move really is Graham Kings move - will he attempt to reach across the divide to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans? Will he seek to tear down the silos and reach into the ghettos?

By design, evangelical bishops are almost an oxymoron. Still, a clergyman such as Kings would find a hard time being elected in TEC. Over here, interestingly enough, the closest person Graham Kings could be compared to is John Howe. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the Anglican Covenant. Once again, we may learn more about his core by who his enemies are, rather than his friends.

I would remind friends in the FCA that Graham Kings may differ on policy - but that does not make him an opponent. It's in times like these that I think it worth reconsidering the Covey Principle of "Beginning with the end in mind."

Of course, this tears down ghetto walls - for those inside and outside the man-made structures of an organization (and we have to remember that our structures are man-made, not divine) that we are allies. We are allies. We are allies.

It is then we find out who our friends really are. Locking people into even rhetorical ghettos inspires jail breaks - that needs to be said again.


Robin G. Jordan said...

Fulcrum is an "open" evangelical organization. "Open" evangelicals sit rather loosely to the beliefs and practices that have historically defined classical evangelical Anglicanism in the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, and the Anglican Church of Australia. They often present themselves as moderates or centrists but tend to lean toward the left. They favor women's ordination and women bishops in contrast to conservative evangelicals in the Church of England who oppose both. Church Society and Reform are both conservative evangelical organizations. Some critics of "open" evangelicals suggest that there is little difference between them and liberal evangelicals. Other critics equate the two groups.

BabyBlue said...

Thank you, Robin. This is really helpful!

It would be interesting to see if we could even begin to classify who are "open evangelicals" in the US. This is part of why I guess I rebel against Graham's silo theories (he's not the only who supports those theories, I might add - but perhaps at their own peril). I think it's useful to a point in doing such classifications, but it's at that particular "point" that it can turn around and surprise you, especially in the United States.

For example, I think that while we are conservative on what constitutes biblical expressions of intimacy and sexual identity, my own parish is perhaps not as conservative as some might think when it comes to other theological issues and even as it comes to national and most especially local politics. Not by a long shot.

Recently at Truro, we had a video presentation in church on two big projection screens and the right screen went out during the presentation, forcing the entire congregation to watch the remaining screen no matter where you sat in the church. The rector joked to the congregation, "Now I know this may be unfamiliar to some of us, but we're all going to need to lean left."

I could have sworn I heard a few "Amens!" ;-)


Revd John P Richardson said...

Babyblue, I have to say that Dr Kings is no friend of FCA, GAFCON or Anglican Mainstream, to say nothing of Reform and Church Society.

Fulcrum was founded as a conscious and deliberate 'opposition' to the Conservative dominance at the last-but-one National Evangelical Anglican Congress in England, after some (metaphorically) 'smoke-filled' back-room meetings in the lead-up to the gathering at Blackpool. You can read all about this on Fulcrum's own website.

If Dr Kings makes positive overtures towards Evangelical Conservatives in his role as bishop it will be a new move from him - and something of a distancing of himself from Fulcrum.

On the other hand, I am not sure of the strength of Conservative Evangelicals in Salisbury, where the Bishop is a Liberal Catholic. So I am also left wondering how Dr Kings will find it working under a man who is chair of Affirming Catholicism, which (as far as I am aware) supports the outlook of TEC on human sexuality. (Rowan Williams was, of course, also a founder member.)

Revd John P Richardson said...

PS as a correction, the Rt Revd David Stancliffe, the Bishop of Salisbury, is the President of Affirming Catholicism, not the 'chair' as I stated previously.

BabyBlue said...

Affirming Catholicism bishop appointed Graham Kings? Brilliant. Graham Kings is now neutralized. Being a suffragan, he needs to mind his "ps & q's" or he'll never make diocesan (which means put up and shut up). Brilliant move by the opposition. It's exactly what the Mafia does to silence rivals but not provoke a gang war.


nersen said...


I am "conservative" while Graham Kings is "open" evangelical but I have to say that looking at the Fulcrum statements on the presenting issues in the AC, we are on the same page and share the same commitment to scripture.....and are united against TECUSA shenanigans (not just re the attempts at undermining Lambeth 1.10 but also re "polity" etc.....)

Fulcrum, Graham Kings (and the Bishop of Durham who is not greatly loved by Integrity et al because of his consistent opposition to their unscriptural agenda) are not supportive of GAFCON and ACNA etc.... I am pro GAFCON but I take it that “conservatives” disagree with “open” evangelicals like the Fulcrum leaders just on strategies and church politics - therefore, I want to affirm strongly the commitment we share re scripture and work with such evangelical people.....because that commitment to the authority of scripture is clearly more important than politics..... the politics and strategies are disputable matters but we must affirm those who are brave enough to say that the authority of scripture must be maintained in the AC....Graham is one such man (and that probably has not been the best career move for him in the last decade!)

Perhaps, BB, you have been hasty in judging Graham. Perhaps you do not know him. Perhaps we should wait and see what he does and says before assuming his institutionalization and his failure as an evangelical bishop. We should certainly pray for him...that he will not be silenced, that he will be brave and stick to his biblical convictions - even if it is costly in terms of promotion prospects! Let's build bridges with those who disagree with us on the AC politics but agree with us re the authority of scripture.....we are on the same side with the same Father…….. but if evangelicals cannot unite to support people like Graham, people who have a strong record of working for the maintenance of the authority of scripture in the AC, we will be divided and ruled by others who have agendas not shaped by scripture…..and that would be our fault.

Best wishes


BabyBlue said...

I would love for you to be correct, Nersen!! Jesus said we should be wise as serpents but gentle as doves.


Pageantmaster said...

Well, from what I have seen of Graham he is energetic and an evangelist at heart. I have never understood the claimed splits among the CofE, let alone the evangelicals and I am not sure that our church is anything like as polarised as others in the Communion. I would hope we can work together and would endorse what Nerson says.

And I think it is a day to encourage Graham and to pray for him and his family in his new ministry and for the diocese of Salisbury. He will certainly face some challenges with a more traditional and catholic diocese, let alone the evangelicals, but he has been called to be a bishop for all of them. You never really know how people are going to perform until you give them the job, but I suspect he will get on just fine.

Pageantmaster said...

The other thing to remember is that English bishops are supposed to be bishops for all the people in the diocese of all churchmanships, and to be a bishop who is accepted in the Anglican Communion. The whole idea of not supporting or clearing out those who disagree with you like the prince-bishops of TEC is completely alien.

Pageantmaster said...

BB "Affirming Catholicism bishop appointed Graham Kings? Brilliant. Graham Kings is now neutralized"

Shutting up Graham? That would be a first.

BabyBlue said...

That is a good point - and perhaps we will see more reaching across the divide in ways that are surprising. It is just odd that someone like the Bishop of Salisbury would appoint Graham, though altruism is always hoped for, in this fallen world it is seldom the case. Or have I just been listening too much to the previews for the soon to be released Dylan album?


Pageantmaster said...

Very true BB. However he and the Bishop of Salisbury have worked together on the Liturgical Commission and sadly with illness there is no doubt that there has been need of a third bishop in the diocese.

As for Sherborne, it is a bit of a plum - with its own very ancient cathedral, in all but name. Not a lot of suffragans get that.

BabyBlue said...

Do you not think he's being rewarded for not upsetting the apple cart?


nersen said...


Yes, we must be wise..... sometimes people get institutionalised and that is sad to see - but let's hope and pray that does not happen to Graham....

As for apple carts, Graham has upset it regularly in that Fulcrum has been very strongly in favour of Lambeth 1.10 and opposed innovations which are incompatible with scripture..... but he is more like +Howe than +Duncan re the institution and is being rewarded for being a "nicer" evangelical....... I don't mind that as long as the theological statements from the man are biblical. Let's pray he is not changed by his new job and, if anything, he gets stronger in his commitment to the authority of scripture now that he has more influence

Best wishes


An Anxious Anglican said...

I am with Nersen on this one. Graham Kings and the Fulcrum crowd are certainly not fundamentalists, but their writings published on the Fulcrum webpage have been consistently centrist-orthodox in the years I have been reading them.

BabyBlue said...

I agree, Anxious. One of the major, major differences between TEC and COE is that TEC is being run by a cabal of progressive activists who - if you go off the party line - will pile on you as though you are the antichrist as we've seen, yet again in the progressive pile-on against the Communion Partners who are simply stating what has in fact been the polity of The Episcopal Church, at least here in Virginia.

But the Communion Partners went off the official Talking Points and suddenly the usual suspects are full of IRD-funded conspiracies and clandestine drops in the night of secret papers and plotting in the corners, it's just absurd.

There is no discourse, there is no listening, the fundamentalists in TEC are actually the progressive activists who have a tight (how tight is it really, though?) grip on the reigns of power. But if things were going so swimmingly, I wonder, why such paranoia from the left?

At least in England there are true liberals, true liberals and a certain naivete' about politics, which is frankly sometimes rather refeshing. TEC is organized by activists who learned their craft in street politics and the conservatives learned their politics, rather ironically, from them! It is very different. Graham Kings would be sliced and diced and served for lunch here. I wonder if he knows that.

I don't see quite that environment in England, no - even the "progressive activists" in the COE are really nice people and they were the ones who "outed" the Changing Attitude Nigeria guy for going AWOL - not the Americans who put up with the depraved antics) but there's something else instead that frankly is just as insidious, it's just different (though sometimes we see it here as well, especially in Virginia).

It has to do with "class" - there is still divisions in the COE on class, and some of it can get very touchy, very touchy indeed. it's not spoken openly, the mode of communication goes back to school days and can go right over Americans head, I saw this over and over and over again at Lambeth.

My aunt, who has lived in London for twenty years, reminded me that the true aristocracy in England (not the imported ones) are Roman Catholic, not Church of England. In the COE there is a major division between classes as well - and the American in me almost chuckled when I saw evidence of it during Lambeth, what I would call the Snob Appeal. We can't even go there, no matter who we think we're descended from.

Evangelicals, sadly (happily?), are counted with the middle class (no self respecting aristocrat is going to be found pounding a pulpit, but speaking in barely decipherable tones in hushed Oxbridge voices). Whatever the case, there is a theological pecking order according to class.

It is inferred somewhat in TEC as well, which we can see in all the dismissive waving of hands against Baptists, horrors, and those sorts. In Virginia there is a entire history of how that happened, since the Baptists in Virginia were once Anglicans that said "nope" to Bishops.

There has been an assumption in Virginia (until recently when it became politically important to differentiate who were "the Ngierians" and who were the "real Episcopalians" - and let's not even go there why the Bishop of Virginia used the word "Nigerians" in his press releases - race is a whole other deal) is that all "real" churches are Episcopalian and all the other denominations then have to differentiate themselves by including their denomination in their church title. So Truro's real name is Truro Church, the Falls Church's real name is, well, The Falls Church, Christ Church Alexandria's real name is Christ Church, Pohick Church's real name is Pohick Church - it is assumed they are all Episcopalian. The other denominations in Virginia, traditionally, added on United Methodist or Baptist or Presbyterian. The top of the heap was assumed to be Episcopalian. It must be part of the Anglican DNA. Episcopalian is assumed to e the established church, in deed if not in word.

However, that being said, there is still a willingness in England to recognize that they do have evangelical Anglicans in their midst and give them their bishops. We do not even pretend to have that in the U.S. where there is a political and theological litmus test.

What's rather fascinating now is that TEC's progressive alliance may be unraveling as we see the current voting underway for the election of the bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan. Suddenly, bishops who are politically left are revealing that they are at least loosely evangelical or orthodox theologically (attention K-Mart Shoppers). The Gene Robinson Affair was too politically-charged as a litmus test, but this is not the case with Bishop-elect Forrester. His theology is so far off the rails that it's causing international problems as well as alarm in the pews (a Buddhist Bishop now?) that even politically left TEC bishops can't wave it all off as an example of "inclusion of all the baptized." If Forrester were gay, well, that might be different. Funny, isn't it?

But even with that in mind, George Carey (an evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury and remember how often he was called a plodding dunce by the blue bloods in England!) warned that conservatives are a vanishing species in the Episcopal Church and we saw that played out in the orchestrated outrage of the Communion Partners Statement.

Graham Kings is being rewarded for past good behavior and as a link to the reasonable and prolific low churchman - something we could not even imagine our own version, Ephraim Radner, ever achieving in TEC's current climate - even though he wants to stay in! Kings is a suffragan, as Sandy Millar is a suffragan, designed to keep certain factions of the Church of England in place.

TEC had the opportunity, through Virginia, to do something similar - but blocked it early on.

There are times to knock the doors down an there are times to fix the doors. Graham seems to be a "Fix the Doors" type - though it would be nice to see at least one door knocked down from time to time, just to be sure.