Ale-ing archbishop enjoys his latest Sticky Wicket

By staff writers
November 7, 2010

Rowan Williams briefly swapped the problems of an ailing church for a more enjoyable role launching a new ale during his visit to Telford this weekend.

Appropriately enough, observers of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion might feel, the beer that found the archbishop's favour is called 'Sticky Wicket'.

That is certainly what Dr Williams finds himself on at the moment, they say.

However, the name of the ale is not actually related to the church's simmering rows over authority, tradition and sexuality - which are set to explode once more over the controversial Anglican Covenant proposals that go to the Church of England's general synod (its governing body) this month.

Instead, 'Sticky Wicket' has been produced to mark a cricketing success story involving the Anglican Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Rylands. He was named man of the match in this year's Church Times Cricket Cup - won by the Lichfield Diocesan Clergy Cricket Club.

A local brewer decided to mark the triumph with a tasty new ale.

Dr Williams has been on a four-day visit to the Lichfield area. His engagements have included a public lecture on historic divisions within the church, why they matter and what to do about them.

He was also interviewed by comedian Tim Vine, who once held the World Record for the number of jokes told in one hour, in a Fireworks Night event at Walsall Football Club on Friday 5 November.

The encounter sparked a lively response, and although there is little evidence to suggest that the embattled archbishop thinks his church's present dilemmas are any kind of laughing matter, he seemed to be "ale and hearty", participants reported.

Meanwhile, the newly-formed global No Anglican Covenant coalition ( is continuing to mobilise against bureaucratic changes to the way the church is governed which they say will seriously damage its breadth and effectiveness.


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