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Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Dwindling congregations and huge repair bills dictate the economics of many a sad tale but the congregation of the aptly named All Saints decided to fight and won what they thought was a concession. They could buy the building for £1,000 instead of the asking price of £25,000 (with an estimated repair bill of £400,000). There was a note of irony in the Archbishop's comment that the Church in Wales would sell the building at that price provided it was kept as a place of worship.
Somewhat closer to upmarket Llandaff, but in a less well-heeled suburb at the other end of Cardiff, another church with a substatial repair bill is on the market while the congregation worship in the church hall next door. No doubt the building, like many others, will be maintained as a place of worship but probably not Christian worship as the artist's impression illustrates, a situation which sums up the shape of things to come in the multi-faith society favoured by the Archbishop despite the constant oppression of Christians around the world, mainly by Islamists.
Meanwhile back in Llandaff, the Dean has returned to the hills on retirement, leaving the Cathedral in the hands of the Archbishop who has somewhat dubiously appointed himself acting Dean on the unlikely grounds that there really hasn't been that much for Mr Dean to do or, more likely, that he needs time to canvass people abroad because, as demonstrated with two previous senior appointments, there is no-one in Wales thought up to the job. It is odd though that the Archbishop can find time to be Archbishop, Dean and, presumably, Vicar since he needed an Ass Bishop to help him run the diocese owing to his busy (political) schedule as Archbishop, not that the Ass can be much help as I hear that only sycophantic liberals with a feminist bent and a taste for stories about his time in York are prepared to let him anywhere near their church. But this is the shape of things to come in Wales. Mismanagement on a colossal scale has seen congregations dwindle and churches close while those remaining are pressed to give more and more to maintain a top-heavy institution. Nevertheless, the Bench of Bishops and their successors are assured of a future in the Church in Wales Review which recommends that in spite of everything, seven bishops should remain - no doubt to achieve the cherished liberal objective of seeing women in purple regardless of the cost. At least they will have each other to minister to!
Friday, 27 July 2012
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
As indicated in my previous entry the entire Province of the Church in Wales has an Electoral Roll membership of just 57,000 while the average number turning up on a Sunday and keeping the ship afloat in 2010 was only 35,028, down 5% on the previous year. The diocese of Oxford of which the Review Chairman, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, was formerly bishop, has an electoral roll membership of 54,000 managing with three bishops. The Church in Wales with its falling membership has six dioceses (up from the four when the church was disestablished in 1920) and seven bishops! If the Church in Wales were setting up now it is admitted that there would be only three dioceses, a solution offered by many contributors to the review. A nod in that direction is made with the recommendation that the number of administrative areas be cut to three but consideration of reducing the number of dioceses has been kicked into touch. However, even if that were to happen the number of bishops would remain at seven. So congregations will still have to support seven bishops in the manner to which they have become accustomed while many congregations will be left without a regular priest in Ministry Areas concocted to support the church in her death throws. There is no apology from the bishops for the mess in which the Church in Wales finds itself as a result of their mismanagement. Just another scheme to support them, this time to manage terminal decline. One can only wonder what form of 'worship' they will come up with if Recommendation XIV is adopted:
Saturday, 21 July 2012
Which part of England is Wales?
This is a question often asked by people in the United States where the Anglican Church is currently being torn apart as a precursor to similar strategies this side of the pond designed to turn the Church of England into another 'anything goes' organization so long as it is not based on scripture, faith and tradition.
Geographically insignificant by comparison with other countries in the Anglican Communion Wales has a church membership of just 57,000 based on Electoral Roll returns - down by around two thirds since 1959. On average, Sunday attendance by those over 18 is only 35,000. Meanwhile in other countries where the Anglican Church is growing, an estimated 55 million worshippers sense a 'colonial' stitch-up in the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Why, they wonder, is the Archbishop of the comparatively tiny Church in Wales representing them? To put Wales into context, it is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) and Northern Ireland. England and Wales have the same legal system and are generally counted as an entity for statistical purposes. The 2011 census illustrates the point. Formerly part of the Church of England the Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920. Nearly 100 years later the church struggles to survive.
Looking at the distribution of Anglican Church Membership Worldwide, Wales doesn't even merit a mention with 57,000 members being well short of the 500,000 minimum to be included:
|Barry Morgan and Gene Robinson find something to smile about.|
Saturday, 14 July 2012
"The traditional Church I once loved, to which I devoted most of my 70 years has finally convinced me that it is no more a church, but a social action agency with a totally secular program and is now as perverted as some of its constituency. My husband and I have found recent pronouncements almost laughable but pathetic, and will notify our parish we are relinquishing our membership this coming week, after a long period of trying to just hold on. I imagine there are others like us for whom the bell has tolled as a result of the present General Convention." - Response to a Virtue OnLine News Analysis.
These are very much the sentiments of many worshippers in the UK, mainly women, who have had enough, enabling the liberals to claim that only a minority of Anglicans do not accept the current direction of the church. The feminist pressure group WATCH suggests that we look to The Episcopal Church in the United States for reassurance about the role of women in the episcopate. From reports coming out of the 2012 Episcopal General Convention it is evident that while the few are prepared to 'stand up for Christ', the direction of the church there is not one to be commended by anyone who takes their faith seriously. There will be many more for whom the bell now tolls adding to the tens of thousands of Episcopalians who have already left the Church. But for those remaining do not lose heart.
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
|Photograph: John Giles/PA|
Now read this.
Having accused those who are apparently regarded as 'appeased conservatives' of being responsible for the "rape, sexual abuse, violence against women and women's political and economic subjugation", the Rev Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has suggested a different amendment [to Clause 5 (1) c] that would, "Not just to try and tweak the wording, ... but maybe put something in that's a lot more open and gracious and, frankly, a lot more Christian."!
Her suggestion is that female bishops from countries whose Anglican churches already allow them into the episcopate – such as the US or Australia – advise the Church of England bishops "as equals". She cannot be serious.
Does she have any idea of the mess that has been created in the Anglican church in the US and Australia? Just a couple of examples here and here. Dr Threlfall-Holmes should have the courage of her convictions and resign.
Sunday, 8 July 2012
Four years later she claims that "this is about the church's attitude to all women", an attitude recently expanded by blaming all women's ills on their exclusion from ordination including "rape, sexual abuse, violence against women and women's political and economic subjugation", a not unfamiliar charge to readers of this blog. On Friday in its editorial the Guardian added its own voice with the claim, 'Church of England: what women don't want', in a typically secular analysis which describes traditional faith as 'anachronistic resistance' in line with WATCH's view of the church as an outdated secular institution.
So from a situation in which a tiny majority allowed women to be ordained to the priesthood, we have reached the stage in the Church of England in which women ordinands outnumber men in a process which is feminizing the church. Not satisfied with their success proponents are determined to crush all opposition with MPs and peers now joining their bandwagon - as if they have not caused enough damage to the church already with their attack on the institution of holy matrimony. With charges of institutionalizing discrimination which WATCH says will result in the appointment of 'second class' women bishops, it now seems more than likely that tomorrow's vote will be postponed, a move WATCH and their allies hope will ultimately give their feminist cause outright victory resulting in the appointment of what they deem to be 'first class' women bishops. With such a dishonest campaign how can they be?
Here's another gem from the Telegraph this morning:
"...a poll of the general public [my emphasis] showed widespread incomprehension at the Church's entanglement with almost three quarters agreeing that the it was "out of touch" with the general view that women can do any job that a man can do.
The poll by ComRes for the Bible Society also found that almost six out of 10 people view the Church as "sexist" rather than accepting that the objections were theological."
A woman's ability is not in question. It is not whether a woman can do any job but whether, on theological grounds, she should, something the 'general public' could not be expected to understand since the concept is beyond the wit of many in the Church of England including many of her bishops. (9 July 2012)
Update (pm 9 July 2012)
"The Church of England is to delay a final vote on the consecration of women bishops to allow a late amendment to be reconsidered.
The General Synod voted by 288 votes to 144 to adjourn the debate, after protests from pro-women campaigners.
They object to an amendment to the draft law allowing parishes who do not accept women bishops to request a male bishop who shares their beliefs.
The new vote is likely to happen at a special Synod session in November." - BBC
Let us hope and pray that the bishops will not lose their nerve, maintaining the courage of their convictions against the inevitable onslaught that is to come from pro-women campaigners.
Wednesday, 4 July 2012
From the American Anglican Council:
"The leadership of the Episcopal Church is considering disciplinary action against 9 bishops. These nine bishops are: Bishops Edward Salmon, Peter Beckwith, Bruce MacPherson, Maurice Benitez, John Howe, Paul Lambert, James Stanton, Daniel Martins, and William Love.
A further worrying sign is the appointment of the Presiding Bishop's disciple Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, to the Crown Nominations Commission tasked with finding a replacement Archbishop of Canterbury following the departure of Archbishop Rowan Williams. Whereas ++Rowan has worked tirelessly to find a workable solution to our troubles, Dr Morgan is resolutely opposed to any concessions to traditionalists, so much so that he lost the vote to appoint women bishops in Wales because of his intransigence. He is now seeking a second bite of the apple to achieve his cherished ambition of appointing the first woman bishop in the land, ignoring 'the work of the Holy Spirit' which is claimed only if a favourable vote is achieved. He may yet succeed. I hear of persistent rumours rife in Wales following the retirement of his Dean suggesting that a sideways move could be made to clear the way for the appointment of the first woman assistant bishop if the Governing Body of the Church in Wales can be persuaded to give him the vote on the second time of asking. He has already taken over as Dean pro tem, apparently much to the chagrin of the Cathedral Chapter suggesting some truth in the rumour!
Monday, 2 July 2012
Three stories here, here and here with ever more appearing in the run-up to the synod vote, all suggesting that women are being cheated out of their rightful place in the church hierarchy when in reality it is they who have cheated and continue to cheat with false claims of misogyny and discrimination to achieve their goal of outright victory no matter what the cost to others. In addition to WATCH (Women and the church) and GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) they even have their own self-promotion lobby, Darc (Women Deans, Archdeacons and Residentiary Canons) from whom the first woman bishop in the Church of England is likely be appointed.
Quoting immature school girls in her sample of views of clergy and congregations for the BBC, Charlotte Smith says that they could not understand why women could be vicars but they could not be bishops. Also, 'some of the volunteers' working in the cathedral were 'equally mystified'. One said, "If women are made priests, inevitably, if they're good, they should become bishops", apparently ignorant of the fact that we profess to belong to one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in which the ordination of women to the priesthood is not permitted, a point side stepped by WATCH in their briefing notes when they compare the Church of England with Methodists, Baptists and others in Catching up with our sister Churches:
• The Methodist Church: the Church of England is close to joining formally with them, but they have made it clear that they will not agree to this unless we allow women to be bishops. They have had a number of ordained women as Presidents since the first in 1992.
• URC: this year they have two women (ordained and lay) as joint Moderators of their General Assembly (equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury) and they have had others in the past.
• Baptist Union: have women as regional ministers – their equivalent of Bishops.
If that is what they wanted the way was clear for them to join one of those denominations but that would have implied an act of faith rather than a secular drive for so called equality when inequality did not exist in the Anglican church until feminists succeeded in turning traditionalists into an underclass unworthy of provision other than on the victors' terms.
The Independent puts it this way: "Supporters of change say they are "furious" at the House of Bishops for adding the concession and a coalition of senior ordained women now say they cannot support the legislation. The group, known as Darc ... urged church members to vote down the Bill as they believe the latest changes have made it discriminatory. The Rev Celia Thomson, Canon of Gloucester Cathedral and Darc convenor, said: "The House of Bishops are, in good faith, concerned to keep as many people happy as possible, but the amendment they have added won't serve that purpose. It would discriminate against women in law. Do we really want to be... responsible for putting through legislation that discriminates against women? It's very distressing for all women clergy and for lay women in the Church, because it's saying something profound about how women are viewed. And that's not how the majority of the Church thinks about it".
The 'majority of the Church' as the Rev Celia Thomson puts it sees no discrimination against women. What she refers to is a simple majority conjured up through synodical process in what is fast becoming a protestant sect. Selective in their approach, they first claimed that they would be 'second class' bishops if concessions were made, now they use the familiar charge of discrimination. Anything in fact that they can stir up to avoid any concession to those who do not embrace a scheme which is turning the Anglican church into yet another protestant denomination.
With hindsight it is clear that trust was misplaced when women were made deacons then when they were ordained priests, that is the real cause of distress in the church. It is not the case that "If women are made priests, inevitably, if they're good, they should become bishops", they should not have been ordained as priests". They should not have been ordained in the first place. Two wrongs don't make a right!
In a recent survey by Christian Research among over a 1000 CofE worshippers, 75% of those surveyed said they wanted traditionalists to be enabled to remain in the CofE by appropriate provision for their position.
In response to another survey which showed that ordained women priests now outpace men in Church of England, David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, told The Sunday Times, "It's obvious that over time the priesthood will become increasingly a female profession. As far as the church has a future it will include a predominant ministry of women and they will get to the top."
(3 July, 2012)