Intrepid Anglican reporter at the London Times (who still has a job), Ruth Gledhill, has tracked down the Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright as he was getting on a plane for New York and interviewed him about the gone-missing letters from the Archbishop of Canterbury to bishops deemed to not support Windsor or the Covenant. Here’s her scoop:
Bishop Tom also said that he had been told last week that the letters were going out. He told me: ‘I may have got the timing wrong. If so, that is purely a misunderstanding between me and the people I talk to. The Archbishop promised in his Advent Letter that he would send some letters to people about certain things. He’s repeatedly said that was going to happen. It is something that was promised last December. The Archbishop was waiting for the Joint Standing Committee to meet.’
The Bishop of Durham goes on to say:
‘I can only go by what I was told last week,’ he said. ‘I know what I heard, I know what I said. If people have changed their mind, they have changed their mind, but I rather doubt it.’
In addition, she tracked down someone willing to comment at Lambeth Palace (Ruth calls it LamPal, which reminds us of PayPal, but never mind – we like it!). She found an assistant to the press secretary, Ed Greenall who was willing to be quited from inside the Palace (remember, this is different than Jim Rosenthal’s operation with Kenneth Kearon at the Anglican Communion Office). He wrote to Ruth and said:
‘I understand you called regarding the Bishop of Durham’s Fulcrum lecture and, as the Archbishop said in his Advent letter, he intends to be “in direct contact with those who have expressed unease about this, so as to try and clarify how deep their difficulties go with accepting or adopting the Conference’s agenda.” As far as I am aware things have not gone as far as the Bishop of Durham suggests in his Fulcrum lecture, and I believe that no letters have yet been sent.’
When Ruth pressed her further, he reiterated the point in a second e-mail:
‘No letters have yet been sent. As for when and whether they will be, we are not in a position to say.”
The word of the day is yet. Yet is akin to at this point. But no one – no one – has denied that the letters exist. Tom Wright is no doubting Thomas, as Ruth points out – he believes what he was told and stands by it.
No denial from any of the parties that the letters do not exist and Bishop Wright stands by his word. Read the rest of Ruth’s article here.
And thanks, Ruth.