Cartoonist licensed to poke fun at Lambeth

Published September 2, 2008

David Walker’s cartoons were a hit among bishops who regularly visited his tent.

Canterbury, England
Dave Walker’s hair is a wacky mass of curls. His sense of humour is wackier still. And he put it to good use at the Lambeth Conference which, for the first time since its inception 1867, featured him as a cartoonist-in-residence.

Bishops and spouses have been seen chuckling in Mr. Walker’s white tent, pitched on the grounds of the University of Kent campus, where some of the cartoons on display remind them on occasion that the emperor has no clothes.

Some people seem to think one can’t poke fun at bishops but how has he managed to do it without leaving anyone bruised? “I’m being very careful to make sure that the work I do can be enjoyed by everyone and that I’m not putting forward one viewpoint at the expense of another,” he said. “I’m trying to just produce work that anyone can enjoy and I found so far that the bishops have a great sense of humour and they all seem to enjoy what I’m doing.”

The thirty-something cartoonist from the U.K.-based Church Times newspaper said that he’s aware that his work is being seen “by people with varying viewpoints” and so he has tried “to do work that’s fairly universal.”

However, on his own blog,, he says that he sometimes does “slightly more pointed drawings that have a bit more of an edge to them.”

Mr. Walker’s cartoons have been warmly welcomed by delegates at the conference. A huge hit is a cartoon that on one side depicts what spouses think their bishops are doing (praying, discussing), and what they’re actually doing (swimming, playing hooky).

Another cartoon depicts “The Secret Plan” to encourage delegates to talk to one another (some are not in communion with each other, remember?). It features some bishops with their pointy little mitres, some with their crosiers in a long queue to the dining hall.

Mr. Walker, who has been cartooning for 10 years, was hired by Church Times after his much-heralded Windsor Report cartoons, which, according to the New York Times, gained him something of a cult following.

Mr. Walker’s cartoons about Lambeth can be seen at


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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