THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Has the PR handling of the Lambeth Conference damaged the Church?

The Anglican Church debated homosexuality at its ten-yearly conference last week

The Anglican Church debated homosexuality at its ten-yearly

conference last week

Andrew Brown, Church Times

’The attempt at news management has spectacularly failed. The only news

coverage was on homosexuality within the Church, which they didn’t want

to get out. It was the only issue which seemed to mean anything. The

fact that journalists found it almost impossible to contact bishops

present didn’t help. It is difficult to say if the image of the Church

has been damaged. Maybe in the eyes of some.’

Reverend Dr Bill Beaver, General Synod

’The question should be how the PR has enhanced the image of the Church,

which it has. We have had a massive news operation, resulting in

extensive newspaper coverage each day. Coverage of 160 Anglican

communities coming together for three weeks and discussing important

world issues, with no schism, can only improve the way the Church is


Paul Philpotts, Ogilvy PR Worldwide

’In the short term, yes, but its PR will improve. Any institution which

embraces active PR has growing pains. Look at the Labour Party or more

recently the Royal Family. Over time the Church will begin to understand

that their discord in public ultimately damages the institution. It will

then begin to see the real benefits of proactive communication.’

Canon Jim Rosenthal, Anglican Consultative Council

The conference generated more than 4,000 media enquiries for interviews

and 45,000 enquiries from our web site. The result has been that

thousands of news stories have been produced from around the world,

informing people what has taken place. I think this will improve the

image of the Church. The appearance of politicians like Tony Blair and

Gordon Brown at the conference added to this.’

David Brain, Burson-Marsteller

’Perhaps the PR has been cleverer than we think. All the coverage has

been about homosexuality being damnable and sinful and in this, the

bishops are probably in line with the beliefs of their flocks. But what

they actually said was there is ’no room in Scripture for any sexual

activity outside marriage’. I bet many more of their followers fall

under that category. So perhaps they have deflected a more divisive


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