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Thursday, 19 May 2022

Disaster looms closer

The Bishop of Bangor, Andy John, at  his Enthronement as Archbishop of Wales                                                                                      Source: Church in Wales

 This extraordinary behaviour (above) of the newly enthroned archbishop of Wales, Andy John, takes place in the sanctuary in front of the Holy Table where the holy sacrifice of the Mass takes place. 

Nothing it seems is sacred in the Church in Wales any longer. 

Little surprise then that the Church Growth Modelling blog estimates the extinction of the Church in Wales, among other denominations, in less than 30 years.

The author writes: "Sadly, the immediate future looks bleak for the Church in Wales, Church of Scotland, Episcopalians, Methodists, and older Welsh nonconformists. They need to seriously ask themselves how they have gotten themselves into a situation where extinction is less than 30 years away. What is wrong with their beliefs and practices that are stopping them from making converts? A quick about-turn is needed."

Also, "The Church in Wales contains a mixture of churchmanships, and for many years all were on the conservative side. However, in the last 25 years, it has become increasingly liberal. In common with most historic UK Christian denominations, it has steadily declined since 1960. This analysis investigates the likelihood of decline leading to denominational extinction."

By secularising the Church it has lost most of its mystery, its 'otherness'. Its bishops simply do as they please acting more like politicians than shepherds of the faithful. 

The first prediction of the bishop of Bangor after his enthronement as archbishop of Wales was 'Same-sex Church in Wales marriage hope within five years'. The Holy Grail of the renewed, diverse, and inclusive Church in Wales dominated by its bench of bishops.

Perhaps this should come as no surprise from an archbishop who is a re-married divorcee who interprets scripture to suit himself and those whose main mission is inclusion of their own to the exclusion of all others.

Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth, Petertide  ordinations 2018                Source: Monmouth DCO

Episcopal frivolity is nothing new to the Church in Wales. 

The former bishop of Monmouth caused offence to many by his inappropriate behaviour in Eucharistic vestments.

Perhaps the bishop was unaware, or simply did not care, that in the ninteenth century a priest, Fr Arthur Tooth, was sent to prison for defending the right to use Eucharistic vestments in the Church of England. 

Such events serve to emphasise the extent to which the Church in Wales has sunk into secularism.  

In St Davids diocese bishop Joanna unashamedly carries on after her extended sick leave as if no problem with her ministry ever existed while rumours of alleged bullying continue to circle around the bishop of Llandaff.

The archbishop brushed aside the behaviour of the bishop of St Davids and rejected calls that he should launch an inquiry into the running of the Llandaff diocese following allegations of bullying.

Birds of a feather! The Church in Wales is doomed.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

A feminist future for the Church in Wales

Women bishops with former TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori (front right)                                                            Source: Religion Media Centre

I have commented previously on the feminisation of the Church in Wales. See other examples here and here
From the St Padarn's Institute Annual Report September 2020 - August 2021 there are more women than men training for ordination:

"From September 2020 - August 2021 there were 28 full time and 30 part time candidates preparing for lay and ordained ministries. The average age of a person training to be a stipendiary priest in this period was 48. The average age of a person training to be a non-stipendiary priest was 57. Most training for ordination are female (70% for stipendiary ministry and 54% for non-stipendiary ministry. Since we train all whom our bishops sponsor, the numbers entering training are not directly in our control. Nevertheless we note that the historic concern that younger stipendiary ordinands tended to be men is no longer valid."

Source: St Padarn's Institute Annual Report September 2020 - August 2021

This represents yet another shift in role models for young boys in their formative years when their school teachers are likely to be women, a trend continuing in medicine and dentistry.

Following the appointment of the assistant bishop in Bangor the Church in Wales there are now four women bishops and three male bishops.

In the Church, ambitious women appear to model themselves on Eve rather than Mary. 

Ms Stallard's appointment to the episcopacy is a case in point. Asked for her views on whether or not to enshrine provisions for traditionalists in the constitution of the Church in Wales if legislation were brought forward to permit women bishops she said, "I would vote against the Bill put forward by the bishops unless it is amended to allow women to be Bishops with no special provisions enshrined in law for those who object."

Another example of the attitude championed by the former archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson: if you don't like it, leave.

Sadly in attracting women to ordained ministry, the Church is more likely to attract 'Eves' who are intent on advancing themselves and their gender at the expense of others.

It is no accident that women taking over the Church show no compassion for those who are guided by scripture and tradition because they represent the true Christian Church, unlike the former Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church Katherine Jefferts Schori used as a mentor for bishops in the Church in Wales despite being regarded as un-Christian.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Church in Wales 'loses Holy Spirit'


The newly enthroned Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John        Source: Church Times

'There are good and kind and faithful priests in the Church in Wales but the Holy Spirit has withdrawn from its leadership'. 

That is the conclusion of the Rev George Conger, journalist and parish priest, speaking on Anglican Unscripted [Edition 730 starting at position 30.25]. 

George Conger has has been described by the Daily Telegraph 'the most knowledgeable reporter covering the Anglican world today'.

He said: "The trajectory downwards of the Church in Wales has been a long time coming, starting with 'political operator', Barry Morgan, who 'put buddies into positions of influence and authority, including bishops. Barry Morgan said we are going to have women bishops, we are going to have gay bishops, and sure enough they appointed women bishops and a lesbian bishop."

Attendance continues to decline, he says, with a collection of bishops who are 'just appalling' in their 'lack of pastoral sensitivity' and their 'lack of practical theology' while parish priests are left to care for up to seven or eight parishes.  

The sad records of the bishops of St Davids and of Llandaff do not escape Conger's attention but his main condemnation was reserved for the new primate, Andy John, who claims that the Church in Wales in five years is going to have gay marriage and the bishops are pushing the Church in that direction. It is a case of the bishops pushing until the rest of the Church  in the form of the Governing Body 'comes along side', he says. 

It was the 'road to perdition'.

The Church in Wales' main message according to its new archbishop as picked up in the media is 'Same-sex Church in Wales marriage hope within five years' as reported here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Dean of Llandaff withdraws bullying complaint

Dean of Llandaff, Gerwyn Capon, with the Archbishop Barry Morgan                Source: Welsh Icons

In 2014 the then Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, installed his former chaplain as Dean of Llandaff in front of a packed congregation at Llandaff Cathedral.

Subject to claims and counter-claims of bullying and more, Dean Capon's tenure has not been a happy one. 

Following complaints against him, a Disciplinary Tribunal cleared the Dean of any wrongdoing. It found that he had no case to answer.

By contrast, while it had 'reservations' about the Dean’s allegations of bullying, a Church in Wales preliminary inquiry decided that the Bishop, the Rt Rev June Osborne, had a case to answer.

The Dean was not alone in his allegations against the bishop resulting in the resignation of a Ministry Area Leader who said that she "can no longer minister with any sense of integrity in Llandaff".

According to a statement from the Church in Wales, "Disciplinary action against the Bishop of Llandaff has come to an end following the withdrawal of a complaint against her."

The Bishop of Llandaff was due to appear before the Church in Wales Disciplinary Tribunal following a complaint by the Dean of Llandaff, but has "voluntarily and unconditionally withdrawn his complaint and as a result the case has been dismissed by the President of the Disciplinary Tribunal" on the grounds that "there was 'insufficient evidence to satisfy the burden of proof' to the required standard."

Postscript [17.05.2022]

 The Very Reverend Gerwyn Capon, Dean of Llandaff, announces his resignation.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Misery areas: a clarification from Lord Harries

Lord Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford                          Source: LGBTConservatives

 The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, author of the 2012 Church in Wales Review has written to the Church Times about Maintaining ministry despite declining numbers. He wrote: "It was very good to read that the Church in Wales has made such progress in implementing the recommendations of the review that I chaired ten years ago (News, 11 March). At the same time, I can very much understand the frustrations of those clergy who have found that the new system has not worked for them (Letters, 18 March). 

Lord Harries goes on to "clarify" a few points:

"Our main recommendation was that the parish system as we have known and loved it is no longer sustainable. We recommended that every parish should continue to have a worshipping community, but that it should in most circumstances be led by a self-supporting priest or licensed lay minister. We envisaged really big ministry areas, with 20 or more parishes, which would have a small team of paid clergy, who would be appointed first to this and only then to one or more of the parishes, if they were large enough.

"We realised that there was a danger that clergy would just go on being asked to take on more and more parishes in a way that was unsustainable rather than be part of a structure that required a different mind-set. Obviously, the success of this new system depends on each worshiping congregation’s being able to raise up its own leadership team, and we did not underestimate the real difficulty in doing that in rural areas with tiny congregations.

"In their letter, the clergy who are not happy about ministry areas point to a lack of growth, even decline, under the new situation. But we did not believe that the new structure would by itself bring about growth. Our concern, quite simply, was with the sheer survival of the Church in Wales in what is going to be a very difficult period for a long time to come, for reasons that have nothing to do with the structure of the Church, but have to do with our failure to recapture the imagination of our culture for the Christian story.

"Congregations may remain small for some time, but they will be there, and 'A small church is not a failed church,' a lesson that I learnt from Tony Russell, a colleague when I was Bishop of Oxford.

"I believe that the Church in Wales is to be congratulated in facing up, ten years ago, to the seriousness of the situation and that there are important lessons to be learnt by the Church of England from our recommendations, particularly in rural areas."

Noted for his liberal views, Lord Harries believes in so-called 'equal' marriage and "warmly welcomed" the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill.

Also, from Wikipedia: "On 11 February 2017, Harries was one of fourteen retired bishops to sign an open letter to the then-serving bishops of the Church of England. In an unprecedented move, they expressed their opposition to the House of Bishops' report to General Synod on sexuality, which recommended no change to the church's canons or practices around sexuality. By 13 February, a serving bishop (Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham) and nine further retired bishops had added their signatures; on 15 February, the report was rejected by synod, plunging the Church of England into 'turmoil'."

Lord Harries does not comment on the 'do as we please' Church in Wales bishops and its top heavy structure.

Physician heal thyself!

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Easter greeting

The Three Marys at the Tomb Peter von Cornelius (1783-1867)                                                                                                                          Source: Wikimedia    

The Resurrection

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said! Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ See, I have told you.”… Matthew 28:6

Happy Easter!