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Friday, September 19, 2014

True to his word: "Over my dead body!"


Archbishop Morgan, now unofficial
supreme governor of the Church in Wales
I keep asking myself the question, is Barry Morgan deluded, a hypocrite or simply a liar? My wife's view is that he is consumed which would explain why secular issues consistently cloud his judgement on religious matters and why he has remained true to his word that there would be alternative Episcopal oversight 'over his dead body'. 

Consistency in victory when some dared hope that he would show magnanimity is the saddest commentary on his reign as Archbishop. The long awaited announcement giving details of the Code of Practice creates a smokescreen of generosity but in reality there is to be no alternative to one of the existing bishops, all of whom dissent from the Apostolic tradition of the Holy Catholic Church.

The Presidential Address which the Archbishop read on behalf of the Bench of Bishops must be one of the longest execution notes in history. The heading 'Code for Women Bishops aims to keep all included' defines it. It is a Code of Practice written for women bishops, not for loyal Church members with conscientious doubts about their authenticity.

The disingenuity in the Presidential Address does the Church no credit. Dr Morgan laughingly speaks of compassion. He uses scripture and tradition in the most disingenuous way to suggest that his view can be justified by the Bible and life in the early Church, completely ignoring Christ's example and the more authoritative views of The Church, East and West.

Not surprisingly this is how the Code is represented in the press: "It states that anyone who objects to being ordained by a woman bishop can make a written request for it to be carried out by a man" (here).

Let me make this abundantly clear to the Archbishop and the Bench:

  Acceptable provision is NOT about sex, it is about FAITH

What I found most appalling was the way pieces favourable to the Archbishop's views have been cherry picked, twisting them to his own advantage. For example, the explanatory note starts by mirroring the arrangements adopted in the Church of England but instead of going on to make similar provision for those for whom the Code is intended, Dr Morgan's terms are substituted. 

 [Provision 3] A diocesan bishop shall make for such members within their dioceses all reasonable provision for appropriate sacramental episcopal ministry on such occasions as necessary upon submission of a request in writing from those individuals supported by their parish priest. 

Leaving aside how 'reasonable' may be interpreted, supposing a woman Bishop of St Davids receives a request which one of the two remaining male bishops, in Bangor and St Asaph, would be willing to fulfil. If those bishops were unable or unwilling to travel, presumably the candidate(s) would have to travel to Bangor or St Asaph at his/her/their own expense. But, more importantly, what is the position when all the bishops are women or is it assumed that the Church in Wales will be dead by then based on continuing decline?

Making provision for a woman bishop to request a man to officiate represents NO CHANGE to the position since the first and only Provincial Assistant Bishop, the Rt Rev David Thomas retired. What is needed is a bishop who believes in the same Apostolic tradition. Dr Morgan is correct when he says that the appointment of another Provincial Assistant Bishop is not appropriate, not for the reasons he outlined but because he could not in conscience be an assistant to a bishop whose faith differs from his own.

The remedy is simple. Allow a Society Bishop to cross the Welsh border to provide the sacramental assurance lacking in the Bench's scheme. It didn't bother the bishops when women bishops from the Episcopal Church crossed the border to celebrate un-canonically in Llandaff and St Asaph Cathedrals so what's the problem?

Compassion is defined in the Oxford dictionary as "Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" from Middle English via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati 'suffer with'. 

Dr Morgan said:
The gospels are also full of stories about the compassion of Jesus – for Him, compassion was God’s defining characteristic. To be compassionate means feeling the feelings of someone else at a level below the level of the head. It is entering into somebody else’s pain and being moved to do something about it. Yet, for the chief religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the chief characteristic of God was not compassion but holiness and holiness meant separation from everything that was unclean. Ancient Jewish society was based on a system of purity where everything was classified as either impure or pure, clean or unclean.

He added:
The Code of Practice we have produced has not been produced for the benefit of one side or the other in the debate but for the whole church. That is what you asked us to do. The Bill explicitly says that the Code should be drawn up in such a way that every member of the Church in Wales might feel secure. In other words, this Code is not just for those who in conscience dissent but is a code for every member of the Church in Wales.

It is difficult to see how the majority of members of the Church in Wales could feel insecure. They have what they want. What this Code of Practice achieves, by accident or design, is to give the impression that the minority are the new 'unclean' but without the Petrine vision.

That is a disgrace which needs to be rectified. Under the Code "the Bench reserves the right to amend the provisions of this Code as may be necessary". I hope the Bench will, on reflection, have the backbone to do so with or without Dr Morgan's approval. If he believes in the collegiate view, let's hear it or will they all go down in history tarred with the same brush?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Church in Wales: The hypocrisy


The Governing Body of the Church in Wales meets again today to discuss matters of importance to their Archbishop who yesterday delivered his self-justifying Presidential Address while managing to implicate the whole Bench by announcing:

"This presidential address is different because it is from all seven bishops – an address that has been agreed by all of us, so that although I am the one giving it, it is given on behalf of us all. If you like, we are all co-presidents on this occasion and the reason for this will become obvious in a moment." If that is true, it is a sorry reflection on their bishops who are charged with promoting unity.

Today two items on the agenda stand out in the sharpest contrast. Items 16, Report from Discussion Groups on Same Sex Relationships, and 17, Bill to Incorporate into the Book of Common Prayer an Alternative
Ordinal.

The first question in 'The Examination' from the The Ordination service: Do you accept the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord? To which the candidate will reply "I do".

The bishop will address the congregation:
"People of God, do you believe and trust that they are worthy to be ordained? The "people of God" will respond accordingly.

One of the 'Main Points' in the 'Report from Discussion Groups on Same Sex Relationships' under the previous item: We must not rely on the Bible alone when responding to ethical situations, but neither should we rely completely on experience; there is a place for theological reflection that balances scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

It is clear from the Report in which direction the Governing Body is being directed with seventeen pages of justification compared with the carefully chosen remarks to justify the biased decision of the Bench on the Code of Practice but that will not prevent another loud "By the help of God I will" in response to the question:

"Will you endeavour to promote unity, peace and love among those you serve and to lead by encouragement and example?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Barry's sexist agenda.


The Bunch of 'Bishops'

Charged with drawing up the Code of Practice required to accompany the authorising of women bishops in the Church in Wales, the Archbishop and his bench sitters have, true to form, produced something sexist to provide for the type of woman Barry has encouraged and who will feel comfortable with the result despite the implied intention to make provision for Church members who cannot accept the ordination of women on grounds of conscience. On this occasion he has managed to make all his bench sitters culpable.

Appalled by the deviousness of his Presidential Address I shall confine myself, for now anyway, to commenting on some tweeted remarks from Governing Body which I found interesting:

"What will you do during this Governing Body to build up our church in the body of Christ?' asks Sion in his Bible reflection". - Sounds like a good start!

"The Archbishop begins his Presidential Address and says this time it is a joint address from the Bench of Bishops". - Dire warning; all are culpable.

"Christ's was an inclusive, not exclusive ministry, says the Archbishop. But sometimes the Church has been exclusive,causing schisms" - Barry should know better than most!

"Crucial question is how do we respect difference and diversity within the Church, says the Archbishop" - Listen to those for whom the Code of Practice was supposedly intended?

"Bishops undertook an extensive listening process across the Province as they drew up the Code of Practice" - but turned a deaf ear to anything they did not want to hear.

"The Code of Practice for women bishops is for every single member of the church, not for just one group, says the Archbishop" - One tweeter grasped the point that under the inclusive code, a woman must be able to demand a woman bishop. Belief apparently is irrelevant. Only sex matters.

"We, as your bishops, see Christ at work in all our members, married or single, gay or straight, old or young.' - Archbishop" - Always provided that they are an acceptable minority who do not follow the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church.

"We perceive the call of God in women to all orders, and we are respectful of the faith of those who cannot receive such ministry" - You could have fooled me Archbishop.

"In these issues, as in others, we invite the Church to unite in the greater task of proclaiming the Gospel" - But only as Barry sees it.

The BBC report (here) is as sexist as is the Archbishop's approach to the Code. There is nothing to suggest that objections on grounds of conscience are because the bishops' beliefs differ from those held by the Holy Catholic Church of which we claim to belong.

Postscript:

WALES: The Washed Up World of the Anglican Church of Wales

From Virtueonline here

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Church in Wales today: What's it all about?



Photo: Church in Wales

What is the Church in Wales about today? In essence, this picture from their web site sums it up. Archbishop Barry Morgan. What he wants regardless of the cost, spiritually and financially, as he continues to align it with the Episcopal Church of the United States using their heretical Presiding Bishop as an example. The above photograph shows the Archbishop delivering his Presidential address to a submissive Governing Body (GB) audience who now represent just 1% of the souls in Wales who still regularly attend an Anglican church in his Province.

To what extent GB members represent the whole Church in Wales is doubtful given their rapturous applause to the latest innovation, the admission of women to the episcopacy. Perhaps they thought that an honourable compromise had been reached. It was implicit in the bishops' motion but they dropped that in favour of the Jackson/Wigley amendment which required only a voluntary code of practice, the contents of which are being kept a closely guarded secret by the bench of bishops who were charged with creating it. 

All will become clear after Dr Morgan's next Presidential Address when he announces what sacramental and pastoral provision he has decided will be made for those loyal church members who are unable to accept that women can be validly ordained in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which the Church in Wales claims membership. If he again reneges on the promise of acceptable provision will the Governing Body remain compliant or demand that the Church honours its promises? 

The Church in Wales Provincial Press Release heralding the next meeting of the GB on 17 and 18 September, 2014 highlights the main agenda items. "Guidelines for the consecration of women as bishops, a motion of support for people suffering in Gaza and Iraq, and ministry for people with additional needs". In what appears almost an afterthought it adds: "During the meeting the Bishops will publish a ‘Code of Practice’ – guidelines to accompany legislation passed by the Governing Body last year to consecrate women as bishops. The legislation was put on hold for a year, to September 12, to enable the Bishops to prepare a code to accompany it". It adds somewhat menacingly - "Please note: the Code will be only be available following its publication at the meeting on September 17."

Dr Morgan's obsession with the ordination of women rather than maintaining traditional ministry and worship has been matched by rapid decline. The latest figures for 2013 make grim reading. Attendances, baptisms and confirmations are all down. The loss of young people is most worrying as there is a limit to how long increasingly elderly congregations can carry on raising their weekly giving, one of the few encouraging figures in the report, to keep a sinking ship afloat.

There is an attempt to put a brave face on the decline by highlighting areas of 'growth': "Over the past three years we have been gathering statistics for non-traditional forms of worship, and in 2013 it is estimated that just under 12,000 people were involved in such activities". These 'non-traditional' forms of 'worship' include "River Walk; Teddy Bears' Tea Party; Rushbearing Service; Jigsaw Service; Snowdrops Service; Frogs Sole Sisters Tadpoles; Mustard Seeds; Duck Pond Worship; Noah's Ark; Barn Nativity; Pram Services". 

The suggestion that the ordination of women would reinvigorate the church can now be seen for what it was, a blatant attempt to sway people towards secularist ideals. Even with the upsurge in coffee services and toddler activities the innovation has been an obvious failure for the Church despite attempts to celebrate the move as a success for women. 

In the secular world so much admired by Archbishop Morgan any self-respecting chief executive would have done the honourable thing and resigned or he/she would have been forced out after a membership fall of 25% under his/her leadership. Not so in the Church in Wales. Even if the Archbishop becomes incapacitated by infirmity from the due performance of his duties as Archbishop that will no longer be an impediment. Chap V 7 (2) which provides the Bench of Bishops with a remedy is to be repealed! (See here (Appendix 2)). Presumably the next stage will be to remove the retirement age.

The Governing Body must decide. Are they for the Church or for Barry?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Leaping into the unknown?




The Union flag, drained of the blue blood of Scotland leaving only the red and white of St George and St Patrick, in nursing terms, a sign of death!

So what is on offer from Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party and his opportunist accomplice, Nicola Sturgeon? Basically self interested with promises that can have no guarantee of delivery. Every note of caution, be it business, economic, political or whatever is cast aside as scaremongering. Scathing of  'Team Westminster', Mr Salmond has now quietly forgotten the Tory links which helped him to power.

In holding on to the monarchy, the pound and any other 'last resort' this has every appearance of a cherry picking exercise with the begging bowl in reserve if it goes horribly wrong.

This is an utter disaster for the Union. It is dividing Scotland in Biblical proportions, brother against brother, children against their own parents, etc.  There can be no winners in a 50/50 split. And for what? A giant leap into the unknown. 

With Highland blood running through my veins along with ancient Irish, Welsh and English blood I am proud of my ancient heritage but also proud to be British. However, unlike English people living in Scotland I have no say in the matter!

Better together, pray that those who can will vote NO!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Abdication


Mesdames Gould, Wigley, Wolf, Jackson and Ford   Photos: Church in Wales

On the evening of Thursday 4th September instead of sitting down to dinner with President Barack Obama at Cardiff Castle on the first day of the Nato summit in Wales the Archbishop of Wales sat in the congregation of his cathedral which he had given over to a group of women to act out their feminist fantasies that the ordination of women is accepted in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which they claim to be part. 

As the article correctly states "The legislation to ordain women as bishops in Wales comes into effect on September 12, exactly one year after it was passed by the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. The delay was built in to allow the Welsh bishops time to prepare a Code of Practice to accompany the new law."

Since the Archbishop has abdicated any sense of responsible governance in his church the door is now open to ignore him.

Readers can read the report (here) and make of it what they will but I thought the preacher at the evening celebration made an interesting point when she said, "There is frequently an unholy scramble to claim the status of victim inside the church, which completely misses the point of Jesus’ message. The lost, according to Jesus, are not the insiders or the privileged but the genuinely vulnerable, the poor, the dependent, the young and the frail."

I wonder if she had paid any attention to the keynote speaker, +Geralyn Wolf, who endlessly portrayed women as the victims when "she warned about the prejudices that face women bishops", or perhaps she was elsewhere during the day!

As for +Wolf's comment "Anglican women bishops in the USA have a huge amount to share and this is a unique opportunity to engage with their experience and to see together what that might mean for the future of the Church in Wales", perhaps the least said the better (here)!!

The bishops of Llandaff and St Asaph dressing down for the occasion

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Anglicanism - that it should have come to this!


"Worshippers at the St Michael and All Angels Church in Uffington, Lincolnshire, wanted their oak altar to double up as
a place to 'serve refreshments' ".  Photo: Alamy


Friendly service with Coffee (see 'Services and Events' here).

Worshippers at St Michael and All Angels Church in Uffington, Lincolnshire, wanted their oak altar to double up as a place to “serve refreshments” but Mark Bishop, chancellor for Lincoln, and a judge of the Church of England's Consistory Court, decided the altar could only be used for worship, not to serve snacks. Read the report here. Putting the request for a faculty in a slightly different but no better light, another account here reveals that the application was part of the church’s refurbishment project "which has included a revamp of the Casrewick (sic) Chapel and a new roof".

It beggars belief that for some Anglicans tea and coffee are now on a par with Holy Communion. If anyone doesn't understand why the application had to be rejected they should watch this video: