Michael Bird, bishop of Niagara travelled to the UK to have a little chat with Rowan Williams:
In that interview I reviewed with him the multitude of task forces, hearings, Bishop’s statements, regional and parish meetings and the long list of Diocesan and General Synods that have discussed and wrestled with this issue [SSBs] since 1976. I gave him a full account of our dealings with dissenting parishes and the court proceedings we have been involved in. I shared with Archbishop Rowan our experience of the incredible contribution that gay and lesbian people have made and continue to make in every aspect of our Church’s life and witness, and expressed the overwhelming desire on the part of two Synod’s to move forward with the blessing of committed same-sex relationships for couples who have been civilly married. I also indicated to him my intentions with regard to my giving permission for these blessings to begin to take place.
Michael Bird, the short one on the left, travelled 3000 miles to explain to Rowan Williams that, far from doing what has been asked of all bishops, he has actually done the opposite. He is breaking the moratorium on same-sex blessings and, in a gracelessly unrestrained way, suing the pants off any parish that gets in his way.
Couldn’t he have told Rowan that with a phone call? It must be another Greening Niagara initiative.
Nevertheless, the wayward bishop, after shamelessly parading his furciferous behaviour in front of the big cheese, comes away with this impression:
It was a wonderful meeting and throughout our time together I felt listened to, respected and cared for and I am incredibly grateful for the privilege of having had this amazing experience.
Perhaps, behind his eyebrows Rowan dozed off: I know Bird has that effect on me.