The news in the Telegraph that Twitter users are "invited to help choose the new Archbishop of Canterbury" has already produced this interesting response from an alert member of the Church in Wales where their Archbishop has long since been keen to advance his Arch-Liberal credentials:
Timothy William Ivor Thomas reports a conversation recently overheard at Eglwys Dewi Sant, Cardiff. A friend of the assistant bishop has it on very good authority from a personage close to the archbishop’s press office that His Grace intends to make two controversial announcements in his presidential address at next month’s Governing Body meeting. (The same credible source was responsible for the story about His Grace’s desperate but alas, unsuccessful, attempt to persuade the Occupy Cardiff protest to set up camp in his cathedral.)
His Grace intends to put the considerable weight of his Bench of Bishops behind support for gay marriage. All Welsh churches are to be made available for gay marriage ceremonies. So as not to be seen as introducing this measure by the back door, the Bench has already drawn up a gay marriage service for Wales.
David Cameron’s cousin, Bishop Gregory, has hinted that if His Grace is seen by the Prime Minister to be actively promoting in Wales Conservative Big Society policy, his reward may come in a well-placed nomination for a certain job going in Canterbury at the end of the year. That will clear the path for Gregory’s translation to head bishop in Wales. However, not to miss out on a sniff of promotion to the top job in Wales, John Swansea and Brecon
has been doing his bit to champion gay marriage in Wales. “I can’t see what the all the fuss is about,” commented Bishop John. He continued, “A careful reading of scripture clearly shows that Jesus supported gay marriage. In fact his water into wine stunt was actually performed at a gay wedding. If you look at the text in the original Greek, it doesn’t say ‘bride and groom’, but rather ‘Bridey and Groom’. Bridey is a clear reference to the far distant relative of Lord Brideshead. Groom was an ancestor of Simon Groom of Blue Peter fame. So Jesus was at the wedding of two chaps Bridey and Groom. What’s the problem? If Jesus is OK with gay marriage, then so am I.”
Secondly His Grace will introduce the idea of lay presidency in Wales. The recent Harries Commission has noted that across the whole of Wales on average only about 30 people attend each church for about an hour on each Sunday. That means in a given week for six days and twenty-three hours the buildings are empty. Lord Harries noted, "The concept of the priesthood is not founded on Biblical tradition. The New Testament describes the role of the bishop and deacon, but nowhere does it mention priests. So do we really need them now? When the church is strapped for cash we must ask whether we can justify employing someone in the role of priest for one hour per week to behave like a Tesco’s check out girl dispensing the ‘Lucky Jesus wafers’? We have to ask ourselves whether all this couldn’t be done by someone from the laity.” The archbishop hopes that by making lay presidency appointments in the parishes it will free up more opportunities for his priests to sit on a number of new diocesan and provincial commissions which will look at why fewer people are attending church these days.
Further support for Archbishop Barry’s campaign to move to Lambeth Palace has come from Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. Continuing the ‘kaleidoscope country’ theme he developed in his loyal address to the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Speaker Bercow said, “Barry Morgan is a kaleidoscope archbishop of a kaleidoscope church in a kaleidoscope country. His kaleidoscope credentials are inclusively impeccable, and he would be the ideal candidate to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. I look forward to welcoming him to the palace of Westminster when he takes his seat in the House of Lords.”
With support like that the appointment is a done deal.