AMID rows about gay clergy and same sex unions, you could have forgiven some bishops of finding it rather tough to raise a smile.
But thanks to one cartoonist, delegates at the Lambeth Conference, which is held every ten years and involves 650 senior Anglican clergy, managed to muster some cheer and laugh at themselves.
Dave Walker, 37, from Langdon Hills, the conference’s cartoonist-in-residence, can now count the Archbishop of Canterbury as a fan.
Dave met Dr Rowan Williams twice at the meeting, and didn’t so much as flinch as he handed him the cartoons, which gently mocked bishops and some of the church’s ways.
Dave said: “My work is humourous, but positive. I’m not really attacking the church, just having some fun at its expense.
“I didn’t get much chance to chat to the archbishop, but I’m told he likes the cartoons.”
Dave has been a cartoonist for three-and-a-half years and draws in his studio – which is really his spare bedroom.
He is the cartoonist for the main Anglican newspaper – the Church Times.
His website www.cartoon church.com also features his blog.
Dave, a christian, was a church youth worker before finding his true calling as a cartoonist.
He said: “A lot of my work is based on my experience of the church or what the church is doing.
“I also talk to a lot of friends in the clergy for ideas and get people writing into my site, giving me suggestions.”
The cartoons he presented at the conference included one entitled, the Bishops of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, which sees one bishop holding up a sign saying, “Hello Mum” and another spread-eagled over three others.
The other called, the Parish System, features a map showing church areas with a key underneath listing all the reasons why someone may not visit their local church.
Dave hopes his cartoons lightened up the often heavy going of the conference.
He said: “There were a lot of serious matters to talk about, so I hope it gives them a break and the chance to have a laugh at themselves.”