“Oh, Mr Porter”

Sep 18, 2023 by

From Anglican Futures.

Oh Mr. Porter, what shall I do?

I want to go to Birmingham

But here I am at Crewe

Take me back to London

As quickly as you can

Oh Mr. Porter what a silly girl I am.

David Porter, Strategy Consultant to the Archbishop of Canterbury, must be delighted that facilitated conversations are now taking place to discuss the details of how the Church of England will live with difference over issues of human sexuality.

It has been a long road – nearly ten years since he got involved – but that is OK – David Porter has always played the long game and to give him credit, despite spending most of the time in the background, he has always been very public about his end goal and how he would achieve it.

In 2015 – at the launch of the “Regional Shared Conversations” on human sexuality – he told a packed seminar room at General Synod that,

“It is my job to reconcile. I hope that 80% of the Church of England can find a place of compromise. Fracture will happen.”

Few evangelicals took any notice. Most were convinced that they were powerful enough to stop any change taking place. In those minds any change would need to be doctrinal or liturgical – either of which would require the agreement of two-thirds of each of the three Houses in Synod. Evangelicals celebrated the outcome of the 2021 elections and believed that if all went ‘wrong’ and same-sex blessings were introduced, then there would be a “mediated settlement,” which many suggested, might offer a third province or an alternative structural position.

Instead, evangelicals find that the House of Bishops are acting as if the motion passed at General Synod in February 2023 has given them a green light to introduce prayers of blessing for same-sex couples, without any hope of an acceptable settlement. Their concerns about the process have been labelled as “legalistic” by the Archbishops; they have been told that the College of Bishops is resistant to any “structural differentiation”; and invited to take part in facilitated conversations entitled “Living with Difference,” with all the assumptions that makes.


What many have not understood is that the genius of David Porter’s approach to reconciliation is that the process is the outcome. It is like a giant travelator – step on and the destination is fixed. And in David Porter’s own words, that destination is “compromise”. Once you are on it, just like a travelator, there is no alternative route – getting off is difficult, potentially dangerous and comes with the threat of being deemed disloyal/ fractious– so most stay on.

Read here.

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