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Monday, October 24, 2016

The oppressor wins

The Gay Marriage cake                                                 Source: Metro

Christian bakers have been found to have discriminated against a gay man by refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan having lost their appeal against a previous ruling that they had breached equality legislation . Full report here.

The case was brought by a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space who had "wanted a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the phrase ‘Support Gay Marriage’ for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia".

According to the group's website their 'mainstreaming' operating practice is to strive to ensure respect for individuals and positive images of the LGBT community are integrated into everyday life of individuals, communities and organizations. They have failed on both counts.

Where is the equality in legislation which permits discrimination against what now appear to be minority Christian values?

It is no more 'homophobic' to oppose same sex marriage than it is to be 'Islamophobic' to be aware of the dangers posed by the Islamization of Europe.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A presence in every community

The Font, St John's Church, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil                                             Source: Wales Online

Has Anglicanism run its course in Great Britain ending a Christian presence in every community? 

The sad sight of the font in the derelict Grade II listed building, above, stands as a sorry reminder of all the souls who will have promised to "fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life". Since the Anglican Church has turned its mind to making sin respectable the consequences are plain for all to see, dereliction.

It comes as little surprise to read that the Church of England is considering a plan to abandon a legal requirement to hold Sunday services in parish churches thus changing their slogan "A Christian presence in every community" to "A Christian presence in some communities".

This is the inevitable consequence of declining attendances in the liberalised Anglican church. The Telegraph follows up its report on the plan with a question: Why is the Anglican Church in crisis? Its answer: The roots of the rift between liberal and conservative wings can be traced back decades but the current crisis erupted in 2003 when the US branch of Anglicanism – The Episcopal Church (TEC) - ordained its first openly-gay bishop, Gene Robinson.

Credit: Elinor Carucci for TIME
The baptismal dying to sin has become living to sin, a message eagerly proclaimed by too many bishops of the church. Tolerance of homosexuality and the gesture of remorse over the death of Alan Turing has been turned into an absurd clamour for equal treatment regardless of merit or circumstance. The 'victim' has become the oppressor. People demand 'rights' however bizarre the circumstances resulting in trans-sexual 'men' having babies. Eggs are being developed using skin cells. There are likely to be three parent families with every individual having "the right to reproduce" regardless of the effect on the children resulting from these 'unions'. How they may feel as they grow up is ignored. As women old enough to be great grandparents are helped to give birth it is increasingly likely that the child will be motherless within a few years of birth. In these circumstances the absurdity of gender neutral toilets looks almost comic.

Instead of "fighting valiantly against sin, the world and the devil", many liberal clerics prefer to excuse human weakness regarding it simply as part of life's tapestry, thus making it appear not only acceptable but respectable often in justification of their own lifestyle.

There is a certain irony in all this. Not satisfied with Civil Partnerships, the latest liberal push is to allow same sex couples to marry in church but sooner or later there will be no churches for them to marry in given the current rate of decline. Our churches will become derelict monuments to past glory or converted into mosques for the growing number of Muslims in our midst who worship regularly and already outnumber Anglican worshippers.

During his visit to the UK Patriarch Kirill, expressed his concerns about developments within Anglicanism drawing Archbishop Justin Welby’s attention to "the Russian Orthodox Church’s concern over the liberalization of the Church of England’s teaching on church order, particularly, the ordination of women as priests and bishops and on the family and morality", concerns previously expressed by Metropolitan Hilarion but ignored as were earlier pleas of the Catholic Church. We live with the consequences.

As Christianity declines and Islam becomes more prevalent in the UK we are more likely to have a Muslim presence in every community. One has only to look at the fate of Christians in Muslim countries to be aware of the dangers of aiding the expansion of Islam in this country. After Birmingham council's  'disastrous failure' over Islamism in schools there have been more recent worries over "extremism" and "twisted ideologies" in a Nottingham Muslim school.

The same pattern has been repeated many times in the greater sexual exploitation of children by Muslim men, often of Pakistani heritage. There are 'No-Go' Zones and there has been electoral fraud. Multiculturalism is a disaster.

Many church leaders show misguided Christian charity in pressing the Government to take more refugees regardless of the consequences. In a recent report "743 Christian refugees living in camps in Germany were attacked by Muslim refugees in 2016, pointing to big failures on the part of German authorities when it comes to understanding the role of religion in the lives of refugees". Meanwhile adult migrants pretend to be 'Calais kids' at the expense of genuinely vulnerable children to gain access to the UK.

Ignoring these challenges is not charity, it is complicity. A common trait among liberal Anglicans which is witnessing the death of Christianity in this country and the spread of Islam to be the new presence in every community.



From Twitter:


Monday, October 17, 2016


Source: Wikipedia

Yesterday morning three youngsters were interviewed on BBC breakfast TV with their Quidditch equipment, a semi-inflated bladder and a tennis sized ball in a long knotted sock which would have been instantly recognizable to Harry Potter fans.

Had the third guest not left it on the train, there would also have been a broomstick which, as can be seen in the illustration, is somewhat awkwardly straddled as the player 'flies' down the pitch. 

The three youths (from their appearance, one female and two males) explained how the game was played. When the interviewer asked if the teams were mixed, the girl (from her appearance) confidently explained in the most matter of fact manner that the participants did not have to be binary.

There were mixed genders, males, females, transgenders and anything in between but no more than four of a particular 'gender' would be permitted. This self assured answer gave the impression that the interviewer was somewhat backward in his understanding of gender.

Checking blog traffic after breakfast I noticed this headline on Anglican Mainstream: Transgender Advocates ‘Aim to Destroy’ Common Sense, Says Analysis

Sanity restored.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tolerance - Acceptance - Oppression

From Christian Concern: "83 UK evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations have signed a letter to the College of Bishops, regarding The Church of England’s current discussions on the issue of human sexuality. They urge the Church of England 'not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted', while affirming one-man, one-woman marriage as 'the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality'.
The letter follows two previous letters to bishops from members of the Church of England’s General Synod, which urged the Church to uphold biblical teaching on this issue". Full text here.

It beggars belief that the College of Bishops needs to be urged to uphold biblical teaching but that is where Western Anglicanism finds itself today after years of liberalisation. Constant chipping away at the faith has left many so bewildered that they have left the church altogether, starkly illustrated by recent figures which show that less than 1% of the population of Wales regularly attend Church in Wales services on a Sunday with a similar decline recorded by the Church of England.

The Church of England is now considering moves to abandon* the legal requirement to hold regular services of morning and evening prayer in parish churches because of declining congregations. In Wales, parishes are being replaced by 'Ministry Areas'. Mystery has been been replaced by management. Churches have become an extension of the workplace ignoring scripture and tradition to substitute spurious claims of equality of opportunity in the workplace for theology.

Anglican women clergy have become firmly established at all levels leading to calls to refer to God as a woman. Women And The Church (WATCH) leads the charge after their successful campaign for female bishops, claiming that the shift away from the traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer is at an "advanced' stage". To cater for this new found 'faith', one church went so far as to request that the Holy Table could be used to serve tea, biscuits and orange squash!

Receiving bread and wine in a Holy space is, or should be, far removed from socialising over tea and biscuits. When mystery is subsumed by worldly understanding there is no otherness which enables campaigning organisations to spring up seeking to make human frailties acceptable, even respectable.

This has culminated in the campaign for same sex marriage leading to the loss of livelihood for some devout Christians. A small family bakery has been forced to close down in the US after the owners refused to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. They were fined $135,000.

Last year a judge in Northern Ireland ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. The firm was found to have discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs. Florists are not exempt.

Christian beliefs are becoming marginalised, largely due to the efforts of those who were shown tolerance and understanding but accepting minority behaviour as 'normal' is not reciprocated. It turns into oppression.

Update [18.10.2016]

See also Church of England considers abandoning requirement for Sunday services from The Telegraph followed by "Why is the Anglican Church in crisis?"

Saturday, October 8, 2016

50th Anniversary meeting

Archbishop Justin Welby with Pope Francis at Vespers in the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio

Some may have thought that the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsay in 1966 was an odd event given the changes that have taken place between 1966 and 2016, particularly the ordination of women and questions regarding human sexuality in the Anglican Church.

A joint declaration admits that issues of women and homosexuality are "currently insurmountable", thus shattering the promises of the earlier 1966 meeting. But an understanding is being sought to make some sort of progress out of the rubble that has been created by the unilateral actions of some churches in the Anglican Communion against the wishes of the much larger Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In his sermon Justin Welby referred to the 'Good Shepherd', a theme which will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, and to the good sheep and the bad sheep, enabling those assembled to categorize themselves along doctrinal lines, each assuming any fault lay on the other side. Nevertheless, it must be seen as a positive step that the two leaders are 'undeterred'.

In a Common Declaration Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby declared that "While we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred."  Their 'sending out' of  pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops shows a willingness to work together, something that the Church in Wales is belatedly learning to do, living with diversity within its own structure.

Update [09.10.2016]

The ACNS lists the pairs of Commissioned bishops covering 19 countries/areas. There is no mention of Wales or Scotland so unless 'England' is intended to cover Great Britain, Wales and Scotland will be excluded from the united mission "to those who are captive and oppressed".

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sense and nonsense

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York  

The Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Wales have both been in the news recently speaking about immigration. John Sentamu fled Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda for the UK in 1973 so unlike the Archbishop of Wales he has some experience in the matter. Dr Sentamu has taken the biblical view inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Dr Morgan's view is typically academic emphasising the popular political but partial view that EU migrants help sustain our economy and health service.

Of course immigration has benefited the UK but in a controlled manner. Evidence from Europe, particularly in Germany where opinion has changed sharply, shows that a huge influx of mainly young Muslim men has not been as rosy as Dr Morgan suggests. Had we not voted to leave the EU hundreds of thousands of migrants would have been eligible to move to the UK from Europe.

Dr Morgan is quoted as saying that "the Christian faith compels us to affirm the dignity of every human being and to offer help to anyone in need. Britain has always in the past shown generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency to those facing persecution, even at times of greater deprivation and difficulty than the present time" but unfortunately Muslims are not reading from the same book.

The Archbishop's words also sound very hollow to members of his own church who continue to believe in the authority of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They have been left in a spiritual vacuum without sacramental assurance and pastoral support since Dr Morgan refused to appoint a replacement after Bishop David Thomas retired as Provincial Assistant Bishop eight years ago.

Politics were in evidence when Dr Morgan was thanked at the last meeting of the Governing Body for his "extraordinary" service to the Church. The Chair of the Governing Body’s Standing Committee praised the Archbishop for his Presidential Addresses and the sermons on "church governance matters, women bishops, the Anglican Covenant, etc. You have explored devolution, climate change, Gaza, gender and sexuality, parenting, assisted dying, organ donation and much more, he said as if Dr Morgan were retiring from the Welsh Assembly. He went on, you use public media so effectively that on all these issues the imperatives of the gospel are heard. They are always carefully constructed, based on extensive reading and scholarship, and learning lightly worn. They are listened to with respect even by those expert in their own field." Not a view taken by others when Dr Morgan's 'scholarship' was queried following his last Presidential Address entitled ‘Biblical stories can reveal a new understanding of same-sex relationships’. It was widely ridiculed.

The praise heaped on the Archbishop made no mention of the steep decline in church attendance or of the divisions caused in the Church in Wales under Dr Morgan's leadership. He must have had his tongue in his cheek when the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon praised Dr Morgan for his "leadership" of the Church in Wales "at a time when significant changes in society have caused us to examine some of our own disciplines, some of our own opinions and practices". Bishop John said that Dr Morgan's approach to walking those paths, to examining possible changes, has been to "remind us of scripture, tradition and reason" and has done that "cogently, consistently and compassionately". A more accurate description would have been in the absence of scripture, tradition and reason as Dr Morgan pursued his political agenda thus secularising a diminished Church.

It is clear that the bench of bishops live in their own little bubble. Although they claim membership of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church they go their own way having ignored pleas of the Orthodox and Catholic churches and forged closer bonds with local Free (or non-conformist) Churches under the guise of Ecumenism.

The bench of bishops appear to have their heads in the sand unless it is their ultimate desire simply to be a tiny segment in the Uniting Church in Wales. In a tribute to the Bishop of St Davids as he prepares for retirement, Dr Morgan described Bishop Wyn as a "quintessential Dean and a rather reluctant bishop". That is true. Bishop Wyn is greatly admired for his extraordinary work as Dean of St Davids but in a video interview marking his retirement he sadly illustrates how the bishops of the Church in Wales all appear to become infected by 'Bazzeritis'.

Referring [@29 mins] to people who 'tend to slag the church off in terms of decline' Bishop Wyn highlights a small but stable congregation of 8, ignoring the massive decline in church attendance under Dr Morgan's leadership. If that had been his vision as Dean, his Cathedral would not be the jewel in the Church in Wales' crown that it is today, especially when compared with the sorry state of Dr Morgan's Llandaff Cathedral.

Is it any wonder that so many of us feel like refugees in our own Church?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Living with Diversity

From left to right: The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron (Bishop of St Asaph); The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek (Bishop of Gloucester);
The Revd Canon Jeffrey Gainer (Chairman, Credo Cymru) The Rt Revd Philip North (Bishop of Burnley); The Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall
(Bishop of Ebbsfleet) and The Most Revd Barry Morgan (Archbishop of Wales). Source: Credo Cymru

'The English Experience of Living with Diversity' was the title of an address given by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev'd Rachel Treweek, to the Credo Cymru conference held in Cardiff on 21-22 September under the heading 'That Nothing Be Lost: A Conference to Preserve the Breadth of Welsh Anglicanism'. 

Book ending participants in the above photograph are the Bishop of St Asaph and the Archbishop of Wales who chose not to live with diversity when the Governing Body of the Church in Wales agreed that women could be made bishops in Wales. In consequence many devout Christians have since left the Church in Wales with catastrophic effects on attendance figures and consequent finances. For those who have remained in hope, the current dialogue represents the best opportunity for something to be salvaged from a Code of Practice which not only lacks charity but smacks of vindictiveness.

In his address the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev'd Jonathan Goodall, quoted the then Archbishop of Canterbury replying to a Church of England debate on the same subject. Abp Rowan Williams said,

‘People have talked at times about differences of opinion and how the Church
can live with differences of opinion. I think that the problem is for those who
are not content with the idea that we should go forward along the line of
ordaining women as bishops, the problem is not one of opinion, it’s rather of
obedience. It’s one of obedience to scripture, or obedience to the consensus of
the Church Catholic. And, while that’s not a view I wholly share, I think we
ought to recognise that that’s where it comes from, that those who hold that are
not just thinking this is a matter of opinion, and therefore it is rightly and
understandably a lot harder to deal with dissent if you’re talking what
fundamentally comes down to a question of whether you obey God or human
authority. That’s why it’s serious, that’s why it's difficult. More than opinion.’

The Credo Cymru Media Release (here) quotes the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Rev'd Gregory Cameron, asking ‘hard questions’ in his keynote address:

 Did the Church in Wales really mean what it said in the canon enabling women to be bishops – that traditionalists should be given ‘a sense of security in their accepted and valued place within the Church in Wales’? Did traditionalists really want to be in communion with the Bench of Bishops? He thought it ‘very, very unlikely’ that the Church in Wales would establish any form of supplemental episcopal ministry, but recognized that traditionalists needed a corporate life. He encouraged them to explore ‘double belonging’: loyal both to the fellowship of their diocese (with canonical obedience to the diocesan bishop) and to their own (non-political) fellowship (with ‘affective loyalty’ to a bishop, whose friendship, trust and relationships with the Bench of Bishops would be crucial).

Obedience is the key. Conscience, or, as Abp Rowan put it, the problem of 'obedience' rather than 'opinion', whether you obey God or human authority. This cannot simply be superseded by loyalty to "the fellowship of their diocese (with canonical obedience to the diocesan bishop)". There has to be give and take on both sides, 'transformation of conflict' as Bishop Rachel Treweek succinctly put it. 

I have heard differing interpretations of what Bishop Gregory said, some more cynical than others. In my view it would have been the height of cruelty for the bishops of the Church in Wales to enter into discussions offering no hope. If 'double belonging' means anything it must surely mean living with diversity, something that the Anglican Communion is well accustomed to as a broad church. 

On 23 September the Church Times published an article under the headline‘Your Grace’ receives farewell tributes. The report was followed by another, 'Traditionalists try to build bridges', referring to the Credo Cymru conference. It reminded readers of the final straw for many of the only significant minority not to be favoured by the current Archbishop - closing the door to any meaningful pastoral and sacramental integrity: "Any attempt to approach another bishop elsewhere to provide episcopal ministry would have 'very serious implications' ", a threat one hopes is regretted if the Church in Wales is to live with diversity.

In the absence of a separate structure for Wales along the lines of the Church of England model, the simplest way forward is for visiting bishops from The Society to provide an additional episcopal ministry, the ‘double belonging’ as Bishop Gregory put it, for mutual flourishing.

Update [28.09.2016]

Two further papers delivered at the "That Nothing Be Lost" Conference last week have been added to those previously posted (here).

Update [04.10.2016]

The keynote Address by the Rt Rev'd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph has been added to the Credo Cymru web site. You can read it here.