Tag Archives: Dave Walker

Dave Walker Update

Even though we’ve had a busy weekend (our Patronal Festival weekend), things have been moving along with the Dave Walker case. The list of key articles has grown, and we’ve had a great contribution from fellow cartoonist, ASBO Jesus.

The updated list of articles and postings is as follows:

Who’s Supporting Dave Walker?

  1. St Aidan to Abbey Manor – David Keen – Vicar (Yeovil)
  2. The Wardman Wire – Matt Wardman (audio of BBC interview from 12/2007)
  3. Gentle Wisdom – Peter Kirk
  4. Bishop Alan’s Blog – Alan Wilson, Area Bishop of Buckingham
  5. Blogula-Rasa – Ginny (detailed – worth a read)
  6. Metacatholic – Doug Chaplin – Vicar (West Midlands)
  7. Of course, I could be wrong – Madpriest – Priest (somewhere in England)
  8. Seven whole days – Scott Gunn – Parish Priest (Rhode Island) and Lambeth Conference.
  9. Thinking Anglicans – Simon Kershaw – Cambridge, England (likely to follow further press coverage)
  10. The Jewish Blog Network – How to recover deleted pages. Firefox Resurrect Pages add-on.
  11. Lingamish – Blogger Bludgeoned by Bozos – David Ker – Mozambique. Kudos for the cartoon above.
  12. [Update: 23/07/2008] SPCK Watch – Gagging attempts by Mark Brewer – SPCK Watch. (Somewhere in Europe). Whole blog devoted to SPCK saga.
  13. [Update: 23/07/2008] Elizaphanian – We are all Dave Walkers now – Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex. Suggests that we reposts Dave’s ex-posts from Google Cache
  14. [Update: 23/07/2008]Mad Hare – Solidarity post – SPCK/SSG and Dave Walker (New Mexico : United States).
  15. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]The Cartoon Blog – Cease and Desist Demand from Mark Brewer Dave’s original post – now gone
  16. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH – More and More on the Exploding SPCK Story & Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog Check out the illustration from the 1950s
  17. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Saintly Ramblings – Dave Walker Solidarity Post
  18. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info – Comments on Moderation Expect comment when owner returns from holiday
  19. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]PamBG’s Blog – Those Christian Bookshops
  20. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Scatter Cushions – Nothing like like having an informed debate
  21. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]connexions – Cartoon blogger silenced
  22. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Turbulent Cleric – Libel law used as censorship Reflections on the Craig Murray case
  23. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Exigency In Specie – Bullying the Bloggers Southern England
  24. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Asingleblog – Brewers are challenged in court More detail on the attempt to put SPCK UK into Chapter 11 in the USA
  25. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Philip’s Tree House – I’m also Dave Walker
  26. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]John Inbetween – Yet another Dave Walker
  27. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Wormwood’s Doxy – Because there’s nothing I hate more than a bully….Standing up for Dave Walker & SPCK
  28. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Dave Cole – I’m Dave Walker
  29. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Ministry of Truth – SPCK owner seeks US bankruptcy protection for UK charity KEY POST – Digging into the Brewer “Legal Manoeuvres in the Dark”
  30. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Blogpower – Defending the Blog – Blogpower Roundup – The Civil Liberties Edition Civil Liberties Roundup – Understand the Wider Issues
  31. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Brainducks Weblog – Cartoon Church blog target of legal bullying
  32. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]D-Notice – D-Notice: Religious Nuts
  33. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Back Towards The Locus – “Come Together, Raaaayt Nahahow, Over A Bullying Bookshop Chainâ€Â?
  34. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Sim-O Random Thoughts – I’m Dave Walker and so’s my wife
  35. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Safety Photo – Dave Walker Cease and Desist Notice
  36. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Around the Worktable – My Name is Dave Walker, and Yours Should Be, Too Text of comment made on Slashdot
  37. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]ASBO Jesus – 519 Dave Walker
  38. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Rachel North – SPCK Up Shortlisted for Best Headline Award so far
  39. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Bloggerheads – I support Dave Walker
  40. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Johny Void – For God’s Sake Cease and Desist Ever so slightly satirical ;-)
  41. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]42 My life, the universe and everything – Dave Walker
  42. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth – Paul Sibley
  43. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Supersimbo – Dave Walker we salute you
  44. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Safety Joke – Safety Joke
  45. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Decloned – William Lehman
  46. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Squiggle Jones – Silence is not always golden…
  47. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Chris Luff, discomblogulating – Legal intimidation?
  48. The original copy of this list is on the Wardman Wire here.

Any more for any more?

Who’s Reporting Mark Brewer’s Cease and Desist Notice to Dave Walker

  1. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Bartholomew’s Notes – Blogger Threatened with Libel Action from SPCK Bookshops Owner
  2. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Liberal Conspiracy – Yet another kicking Liberal Conspiracy “Casting the Net” Roundup
  3. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]High Weirdness Project – 39656
  4. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Talk Islam – Talk Islam
  5. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Nobody Important – Blogpower Roundup — JMB style

MadPriest has another suggestion, having got hold of an e-mail address for Mark Brewer himself, who based on one of the replies posted back to the blog doesn’t seem overly keen at the direct approach…

“You will not succeed in bullying me with your rude, unChristian behavior. Also, note that this is my personal email and I do not consent to you contacting me at this address or invading my privacy by giving my email to others.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the irony in his response, as this is exactly what most people have been saying about his actions against Dave.

Dave Walker/SPCK Update

Overnight the support seems to have grown, with the Facebook group doubling in size.

There have also been a few more blog postings in support, which I have added to the links in my FriendFeed room on the subject.

Matt Wardman continues to maintain a list of blogs in support too, which I’ve reproduced below as requested.

Who’s Posted about Mark Brewer’s Cease and Desist Notice to Dave Walker

  1. St Aidan to Abbey Manor – David Keen – Vicar (Yeovil)
  2. The Wardman Wire – Matt Wardman (audio of BBC interview from 12/2007)
  3. Gentle Wisdom – Peter Kirk
  4. Bishop Alan’s Blog – Alan Wilson, Area Bishop of Buckingham
  5. Blogula-Rasa – Ginny (detailed – worth a read)
  6. Metacatholic – Doug Chaplin – Vicar (West Midlands)
  7. Of course, I could be wrong – Madpriest – Priest (somewhere in England)
  8. Seven whole days – Scott Gunn – Parish Priest (Rhode Island) and Lambeth Conference.
  9. Thinking Anglicans – Simon Kershaw – Cambridge, England (likely to follow further press coverage)
  10. The Jewish Blog Network – How to recover deleted pages. Firefox Resurrect Pages add-on.
  11. Lingamish – Blogger Bludgeoned by Bozos – David Ker – Mozambique. Kudos for the cartoon above.
  12. [Update: 23/07/2008] SPCK Watch – Gagging attempts by Mark Brewer – SPCK Watch. (Somewhere in Europe). Whole blog devoted to SPCK saga.
  13. [Update: 23/07/2008] Elizaphanian – We are all Dave Walkers now – Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex.
    Suggests that we reposts Dave’s ex-posts from Google cache.
  14. [Update: 23/07/2008]Mad Hare – Solidarity post – SPCK/SSG and Dave Walker (New Mexico : United States).
  15. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]The Cartoon Blog – Cease and Desist Demand from Mark Brewer Dave’s original post – now gone
  16. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH – More and More on the Exploding SPCK Story & Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog Check out the illustration from the 1950s
  17. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Saintly Ramblings – Dave Walker Solidarity Post
  18. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info – Comments on Moderation Expect comment when owner returns from holiday
  19. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]PamBG’s Blog – Those Christian Bookshops
  20. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Scatter Cushions – Nothing like like having an informed debate
  21. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]connexions – Cartoon blogger silenced
  22. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Turbulent Cleric – Libel law used as censorship Reflections on the Craig Murray case
  23. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Exigency In Specie – Bullying the Bloggers Southern England
  24. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Asingleblog – Brewers are challenged in court More detail on the attempt to put SPCK UK into Chapter 11 in the USA
  25. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Philip’s Tree House – I’m also Dave Walker
  26. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]John Inbetween – Yet another Dave Walker
  27. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Wormwood’s Doxy – Because there’s nothing I hate more than a bully….Standing up for Dave Walker & SPCK

Any more for any more?

Backfire?

I’m sure Mark Brewer thought it was a good idea, threaten a little cartoonists blog to get some troublesome posts removed… However, I really don’t think he considered the reaction, as nobody likes a bully, especially not when they are bullying a genuinely nice bloke like Dave Walker. Thanks to the wonders of the Google cache, numerous blogs have now copied and pasted the offending material all across the net, and there is a burgeoning Facebook group in support of Dave. Certainly the effect of their actions has been a massive backfire, raising the profile of the story rather than diminishing it.

Bullying the Bloggers

Periodically I come across stories where bloggers who have written, sometimes about seemingly minor subjects, have ended up on the receiving end of legal threats over their posts. Dave Walker, best known for his cartoons is the latest.

Yesterday a significant number of his posts were taken down, followed briefly by a post explaining why which has also now been removed. The subject of the posts was the sorry story of the demise of the SPCK bookshops, where Dave has become somewhat of a rallying point for news in the subject. Dave received a cease and desist notice from Mark Brewer of SSG, the organisation who took over the shops, who has threatened to sue if the posts were not removed. Needless to say the resources of a cartoonist are such that Dave has no way he could fight such a challenge, even though he and many others do not think he has done anything wrong.

Dave of course is currently down at the Lambeth Conference – here’s hoping that one or two of the journalists there pick up on this story. One or two other bloggers have picked up on the news as well – Matt Wardman has a nice little piece, and MadPriest who has had his fair share of disagreements with Dave has posted a great article under the heading Dave Walker – Cartoonist and Martyr. The Bishop of Buckingham has even highlighted what has happened, also referring to it as bullying and heavy handed.

Incidentally, if anyone is interested in seeing the posts in question, to make their own judgement about how libellous they may be, the Google cache will retain the posts for at least the next few days. From the listing, clicking the “Cached” link will return the copy of the page that Google hold.

In order to try and gather as much of the online response as I can together, I’ve set up a FriendFeed room, and am cross-posting links to there as I come across them.

Trumpington Vicar to be Sacked

I’ve commented a number of times about the ongoing difficulties in Trumpington – we now have the results of the tribunal, a recommendation that Tom Ambrose be removed as vicar of the parish.

Not surprisingly this has provoked some discussion. Dave Walker has posted an item about it, including a quote from the comment section of Ruth Gledhill’s posting on the subject, which although it seems to have gone vaguely tabloid in the title, is a good read, especially when you get to a couple of the witness statements.

The more you read about the result though, the more it seems incredibly unfair to Tom Ambrose. The disagreement is with a small group on the PCC, and outside of this, the parish seems to have been getting on pretty well. We will have to wait to see the full ruling, but it is interesting to note the wording of the statement that has been published. The tribunal states that they are:

“united in being satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that serious pastoral breakdown has occurred in Trumpington parish�

and that:

“We do not consider that the serious pastoral breakdown in Trumpington parish can be remedied if Dr Ambrose remains as the vicar there.�

Note that nowhere does it make any statements about various of the accusations – the tribunal has merely agreed that a pastoral breakdown has occurred. To resolve that, either the PCC members that are causing the trouble have to go, or Dr Ambrose – and the tribunal is rightly or wrongly recommending Tom Ambrose is being sacked, rather than the removal of the PCC members.

When I read the statements on Ruth Gledhill’s posting, there were several things that stood out. Firstly that the previous incumbent had problems from the same group of PCC members. Then there was this statement:

As a result I have stopped going to the PCC meetings since I was always in a minority surrounded by the majority of harridans.

This hostile group controlling the PCC does not reflect in any sense the congregation of Trumpington Church. Many people tell me as a member of the PCC, when they learn of the difficulties being caused for Tom and Gill that the PCC no longer represents them.

Considering this statement, you need to bear in mind that all of the PCC members are elected by the congregation – if they aren’t representative, who has been electing them? I’m reminded of this quote:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

It seems to me that this is largely what has happened. The rest of the congregation, rather than using their voting powers at the APCM to get rid of the group on the PCC, have stuck their heads in the sand and ignored what has been going on, and those that have been elected to the PCC haven’t fought for their vicar – as a result, they’re now facing his removal.

However much he wanted to fight for his position, I do think that Tom Ambrose should have just resigned from the post, as I can’t see how the Church can resolve the pastoral breakdown in any other way than to remove him – it’s a lot easier to remove one priest, who lest we not forget lives in a house that comes with the job, than multiple PCC members who will all still be living in the parish anyway – leaving the remains of the problem still there, even if those involved no longer have any power.

After this, I’d be amazed if anyone in their right mind applies for the vacancy in Trumpington when it comes up now. Effectively that one group on the PCC has now made their parish a no-go zone – the growth that has come in spite of their efforts will most surely die when Ambrose is removed, and with nobody willing to take on the parish, the remains will struggle to survive too. Ultimately it’s a pyrrhic victory, nobody will really come out as the winner, and the biggest losers will be the people of Trumpington themselves.

Crunch Point

In all the recent goings on in the Anglican Communion, the obvious crunch point has always been the Lambeth Conference in 2008. Every ten years all the Bishops of the Anglican Communion from all over the world get together, ironically not in Lambeth but at the University of Kent in Canterbury. However who attends is entirely down to who the Archbishop of Canterbury, so there has been much speculation and discussion as to who will be invited, particularly with reference to the Episcopal Church.

Yesterday, the months of speculation were ended by the announcement that the invitations had been issued. Reading the letter of invitation, those worried that the whole of the Episcopal Church will have been sidelined had their minds put at rest. Rowan Williams said the following:

An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.

and also this:

I have said, and repeat here, that coming to the Conference does not commit you to accepting every position held by other bishops as equally legitimate or true. But I hope it does commit us all to striving together for a more effective and coherent worldwide body, working for God’s glory and Christ’s Kingdom. The Instruments of Communion have offered for this purpose a set of resources and processes, focused on the Windsor Report and the Covenant proposals. My hope is that as we gather we can trust that your acceptance of the invitation carries a willingness to work with these tools to shape our future. I urge you all most strongly to strive during the intervening period to strengthen confidence and understanding between our provinces and not to undermine it.

However, then comes the following:

At this point, and with the recommendations of the Windsor Report particularly in mind, I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion. Indeed there are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice. I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution.

Although they are not mentioned by name, neither the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, nor Martyn Minns, recently consecrated by Peter Akinola against the wishes of Rowan Williams have been invited.

The reasons for the exclusions though are rather different. Minns isn’t invited, fundamentally because Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), although being regarded as part of the Anglican Church in Nigeria is not recognised as part of the wider Anglican Communion.

The exclusion of Gene Robinson is for no other reason than the fact his is gay and is being honest about it. All of the sixty or so Bishops who supported him and were involved in his consecration are invited, it is only Robinson who is being denied an invite. However, the communiqué issued by the February 2005 Primates meeting said the following:

The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.

Not surprisingly this has provoked a good deal of outrage from across the communion, there is a good roundup on Episcopal Cafe. Interestingly both sides of the debate are not happy with the decision, for differing reasons, as detailed by Andrew Plus:

So far the blogs seem to go like this. The blogs on the right are disappointed because invitation to Lambeth was seen as test of orthodoxy. They assumed that only orthodox Anglicans would be invited, and Archbishop Akinola has said that if +Gene or the Episocpal Church was included he and the Global South would gather in Alexandria or someplace else and have their Lambeth conference.

The bloggers on the left are disappointed because of the active and deliberate exclusion of Bishop Robinson, once again placing the burden of division on the back of one man–the open, affirming and partnered gay man. This once again smacks of condescension and avoidance–talking about people instead of to people–and so this solution seems to be a capitulation to conservative pressure. The words in his letter about the limits of inclusivity seem to reinforce this.

Andrew’s position is much the same as mine – everybody should have been invited, and then it should have been left to the individual Bishops as to whether they would attend. Mark Harris on PRELUDIUM says much the same. By excluding Minns and Robinson from the invite list it seems to please no-one, indeed Peter Akinola is already threatening to have the entire Anglican Church in Nigeria boycott the meeting over Minns not being invited. Minns himself doesn’t seem quite so bothered. Gene Robinson’s statement describes him being excluded as an affront to the whole Episcopal Church. Certainly it will be interesting to see how many of the Episcopal Church choose not to attend in protest.

However, there is a possibility that Robinson will still attend the conference. A number of reports including USA Today and Ruth Gledhill suggest that Robinson may well be invited as a guest – perhaps the irony of that is that as a guest he may well have more visibility than if he was within the conference.

Anyway, if all of this is totally depressing, thanks to Dave Walker for his spin on why the two Bishops weren’t invited…

lambeth-invitations.gif