Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 30,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand
South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo

Our search engine

Hallo again to all.

The famous Oxford English Dictionary, known everywhere as the OED, is published by Oxford Dictionaries, which is part of Oxford University Press, which is itself an administrative department of the University of Oxford. For some time now, Oxford Dictionaries has been announcing a 'word of the year'. They now refer to it as the 'English word of the year', which gives them room to announce words of the year in other languages. In 2018, the Oxford English Word of the Year [their capitalisation] was 'toxic'. In 2017, 'youthquake'. In 2016, 'post-truth'. In earlier years, the chosen words included 'vape', 'selfie', 'GIF' tied with 'omnishambles', 'squeezed middle', 'unfriend', 'carbon footprint', and 'locavore'.

You can see that the English word of the year isn't always a single word, and you can see from this collection (or read on their web page) that they select 'a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance'.

Numerous other entities have been choosing and announcing words of the year for a long time. Anglicans change slowly, so if there were a word notable in the Anglican world, it would be more likely to be a 'word of the decade'. In the past decade Anglicans Online has done the research to write about some aspect of the Anglican world perhaps 500 times. We think we're qualified to choose an Anglican Word of the Decade. Using the Oxford criteria, we suggest 'inclusive'.

Words mean what you want them to, but 'inclusive' in an Anglican context means something about being included or not being included. We suspect that the growth in its use comes about because polite Anglicans aren't willing to speak directly about issues of gender and race and discrimination and privilege, and it's easy to wriggle through by referring to 'inclusion', 'inclusive', 'inclusivity', or 'included'. If you note that a church's website describes it as being inclusive, you can be fairly certain of what they mean. No church would identify itself as 'not inclusive'; instead you see terms such as 'bible-believing' or 'confessing'.

We live in a world with fuzzy boundaries and poorly-defined separations. We can usually be silent about whether or not a particular person or group is included or excluded, even if at other times we describe ourselves as 'inclusive'. We can say that we believe in inclusion while silently believing otherwise, and rarely get caught or called on it. But sometimes there are events that force a decision about inclusion or exclusion. Wedding invitation lists are the most notorious of these: you can talk all you want about whether or not Uncle Mergatroyd, once married to an aunt, is included in the notion of 'family', but either you invite him to the wedding or you don't. Inviting him makes a statement that he is included, and not inviting him makes a statement that he is excluded. We know of couples who postponed weddings to avoid having to face up to this problem.

We bring this up because last week the Archbishop of Canterbury announced that the spouses of married gay bishops were not invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference. This makes a strong (if silent) statement that in spite of all the rhetoric, Anglicans reject the concept of inclusion. All of us at Anglicans Online decry this statement and the cowardice behind it. We note the statement by the President of the House of Deputies of the US Episcopal Church that 'If the communion is not yet able to hold a global meeting of Anglican bishops and spouses to which everyone is invited, then I think we should not be holding global meetings of Anglican bishops and spouses.' For better or for worse, there is going to be such a meeting, and it's important that every bishop be there, even under adverse conditions.

Do tell us what you think.

See you next week. Bring your spouse or beloved if you wish.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

24 February 2018

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2018 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to