My dear Rowan,
Just a line to let you know how very sorry I was to learn that your Lambeth Conference is so deeply in the red. £1.2 million, I gather. (Rather more than half the cost of George Carey’s version of the same thing!) You must be gutted. After all, what you needed at this stage was a resounding success to buoy up the Communion, impress the Africans, and generally raise your image. Debts, I am afraid, do not play well, especially among Christians who can be unpardonably po-faced about such things. No doubt people are calling for heads to roll – but you and I know that this is not an option.
I gather you have been onto Katharine about a fundraising tour of the States. I don’t want to depress you, but my guess is that it wouldn’t be a lot of help. You are in a bit of a cleft stick, old chum: fund-raising in TEC before the Conference would have seemed like selling out to the Yanks; fund-raising after the event (considering the mixed response it has had, even among your own CofE bishops) would hardly do the trick.
As you know, I always want to be helpful… And I think I have come up with a sure-fire solution. As you will probably have gathered, the people who really benefited from Lambeth 2008 were us – I mean the LGBT lobby. The oxygen of publicity is just coursing through our veins; and I personally want to show my gratitude to you for not inviting me. Not being there was such fun! – a bit like your Edinburgh festival; the Fringe is the place to be!
So how is this for a scheme: you loan us Lambeth Palace grounds for a day and we will guarantee you a fund-raising Concert which will sink the debt in a single event? Elton is up for it and Sir Ian will be the compère. It would be a gig to match the Queen’s do at Buck House, and spare you having to go cap in hand to the Church Commissioners and raid the pension fund yet again.
If the scheme seems like a runner, just drop me a postcard. We will get the show on the road!