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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Little Wales beyond England


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:


The total population of Wales is a mere 3.1 million of whom a minuscule 1.3% (40,000 average weekly attendance) look to the Anglican Church in Wales to fulfil their spiritual needs. Of these only 5,000 (0.16% of the population) are under 18: 


Back from his trip to the US Episcopal Church's 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was a special guest, the Archbishop of Wales has been answering questions about the Church in Wales Review which is commented on here. Interviewed for the BBC Dr Morgan fretted about how young people were to be drawn into the church, perhaps something he picked up in Indianapolis? 

From VirtueOnline:   
    "At General Convention this past week in Indianapolis, I challenged the new incoming House of Deputies president, Gay Jennings who had raged on and on about how we need to get the youth back in the church and promote them. I stood up at a press conference and point blank asked her why the youth of the conservative Diocese of Dallas had not attended the last five years of national Episcopal Youth Events. They feel alienated, been publicly abused, called homophobic and other names because they are evangelicals and believe in the authority of Scripture. She almost strangled on the question and fobbed it off. Later, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida came up to me to say he was ashamed that was the case and that he would look into it."

Short of using the naves of churches for indoor soccer it is difficult to see how young people will be drawn into the church. Even if they were, there is no evidence that they would like what they find based on years of decline as a result of experiments designed to make the church more relevant to society rather than worshipping the Almighty.   

Well known for his liberal stance on issues of sexuality it is easy to see how Dr Morgan appeals to the those who see sexual liberation as the key to evangelising but the days of British dominance are over. Figures published in 2008 show that in 1900, 82% of Anglicans lived in Britain and 1% in Africa. In 2005, only 33% lived in Britain while 55% lived in Africa.  The approach to Christianity by the Archbishop of Wales is not shared by tens of millions of Anglicans around world yet the only person to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission other than the bishops, members of the Church of England’s Synod and local representatives of the Diocese of Canterbury representing around 77 million Anglicans worldwide is none other than Dr Morgan whose church represents a tiny 0.05% of Anglican worshippers, the sort of minority proponents of the ordination of women regularly seek to ignore as an irrelevance. In common with MPsWATCH and their (often secular) supporters, the Archbishop continually expounds secular values and has no time for those who in conscience cannot accept the unilateral ordination of women. He is therefore the ideal cheer leader in the so-called struggle for equality since what really counts is not a majority or a minority but a liberal bent. 

Barry Morgan and Gene Robinson find something to smile about.
Lucky them!


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1 comment:

  1. Friend, I live in the Diocese of Dallas so a bit more information may be in order. There are a great many youth in the Diocese of Dallas who are evangelical. There are also a great many youth who are not. That goes for their parents as well.

    Many of the evangelical youth are not homophobic, although those who are tend to be so because of being males in their teens. Unfortunately it is a phase young men go through in general and in this part of the world quite frequently.

    As for believing in the authority of Scripture, I am happy to report that most Episcopal youth in the Diocese do not doubt the Scriptures, but they object to them being used a weapon to damage people who may be friends or family. Generally, I'd say many are "Red Letter Christians" - they want to walk the teachings of Jesus in their daily living and have a deep faith in God, even while they question their ancestor's version of Jesus. Are there some youth who may have been poorly received? Absolutely, particularly if they came across as judgmental or self-righteous or somehow their talk didn't match their walk - I believe it fair to say that teenagers have highly developed manure meters and can spot hypocrisy a mile away - and usually don't handle it with poise...it doesn't justify being rude or standoffish or labeling others.

    I would also ask VOL, "inasmuch as the evangelical youth hadn't participated in five years, why wasn't there an Anglo-Catholic or moderate or progressive crew of youth representing Dallas present?" Or is the church only for the sheep and the goats need not apply?

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