You are here . on the pale blue dot


'Anonymous' comments without a pseudonym are not published.
(See Introduction note in right hand column)

Comments for publication should be 'on topic' and not involve third parties please.
If pseudonyms are linked to commercial sites the comments will be removed as spam.

Monday, 17 September 2012

All that is wrong with the Church in Wales


"Radical re-thinking for the Church in Wales" is the main headline in Highlights of the Church in Wales Governing Body September 2012. The highlights can be read here. Described on the Church in Wales website as a 'full round up of news from the Governing Body meeting'it appears to be more of a rubber stamping of the Archbishop's decision making process with only positive comments allowed. I note the absence of any opposition to Dr Morgan's plans under 'Women in the Episcopate'; simply a rehash of the proposals and a dismissive: "After debate, GB agreed through a majority vote for legislation to be drawn up in this way". Just what the doctor ordered!

Introducing the Church in Wales Review Report Lord Harries, the Review Chairman, said:  “The parish system is no longer sustainable—we have to radically rethink the way we look at our ministry, and begin with the concept of an area ministry”. I doubt that the average person in the pew has fully grasped the significance of the loss, not just of the parish priest but of the whole concept of the parish system, something that has stood the test of time, as has the traditional concept of priesthood within the church. Wanting the best of both worlds, the bishops have become very adept at insisting that the church should become more relevant to society but where is that relevance when the overseers (managers) take no responsibility for the mess they have created? Further on in Highlights some interesting facts could not be hidden:

+ There is a continuing decline of between 2 and 4% in attendance on Sundays and the major festivals.
+ Total income and expenditure have fallen on 2010 levels, and the Long-term Trends 1990 to 2011.
+ Easter communicants and average Sunday attendance has fallen by close to 50% in the last twenty years. In fact the Easter communicant figure for 2011 was lower than the average Sunday attendance figure in 1990.
+ There is also a steep decline in the number of baptisms and confirmations over the twenty year period. 

Presenting the Membership and Finance Report from which these quotes are taken, Canon Mike Starkey said, "The membership statistics show that we are doing what we have always done with diminishing returns. How can we move forward? “We have a visionary and radical new Report which charts a way forward. But while restructuring is a good thing, that alone will not get us to the core of our problem. We need to ensure that we are renewing the Church, not just re-engineering it.” Concluding his report he pointed to Russell T Davies as a Welsh role model—he renewed a tired classic in Dr Who to make it fresh for new generations, proving it is possible to both satisfy the guardians of tradition and engage with a new constituency.


Secure in their bishoprics there has been no apology for the mess the bishops have created with their 'half-baked initiatives “So often in the Church we move from one half-baked initiative to another, often at great financial cost with little or no thought at measuring outcomes and the difference we make, and learning lessons for future strategy and work.” - Highlights September 2011. Concluding his Presidential Address, Dr Morgan preceded a self-congratulatory poem with this quote:

"Cardinal Carlo Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, and said to be the best Pope the Roman Catholic Church never had, in his last interview before his death this month said of his own church, “The church is 200 years behind the times. Why doesn’t it stir? How can we liberate the embers from the ash to reinvigorate the fires of love? Are we afraid? Faith is the foundation of the church – faith, trust, courage”."

But the Archbishop failed to quote Cardinal Martini's solution:

"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," the Cardinal said. "The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the Pope and the bishops."

The message is clear. 

10 comments:

  1. To Barry, Patriarch of the Celts and Primate of All Wales, ‘You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!’

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fear not my dear Cromwell! Don't let this loose slate unsettle you. He cant be part of the solution because he is the problem. Remember Cyrus and the captivity of old?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Archbishop Barry means well but like many leaders in public life he fails to see the reality of the situation. In business and in politics there are ways of dealing with failure on the scale detailed in the Review, a change at the top to harness new ideas, create a new beginning. In the Church in Wales we do not have that remedy so we plod on as before. Retirement would be an honourable solution but what of the replacement candidates? Cardinal Martini suggested a radical change starting from the top with the bishops. They should start the ball rolling by each outlining their vision for the church and go from there.
    Archdeacon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An interesting thought Archdeacon but all the bishops in the Church in Wales have been tarred by the same brush. With preferment only for those who sing from Barry's hymn sheet the church has been allowed to slip into decay. Alternative pastoral care based on the traditional catholic faith has been blocked by Dr Morgan with the result that even more people will leave the church when he succeeds with his Women in the Episcopate measure. Meanwhile rather than keep those who are already faithful members of the Church in Wales, Barry and his bench sitters search for ways to recruit more like-minded people to keep their own positions safe. - "There's none so blind as they that won't see."

      Delete
    2. OMG! Archdeacon. Have I read you correctly when you claim, 'Archbishop Barry means well'? Where on earth do you find such evidence? Do we have an imposter or a double agent in the camp? Off with his head.

      'Let me be clear about this', (To use a certain Welsh Assembly Members famous phrase). Barry is not one of life's good eggs. The
      infamous Archbishop is wedded to one cause only, save - himself.

      Now pull yourself together Archdeacon, and stop nibbling the Archbishops ear.

      Delete
    3. I try to see good in all Enforcer.

      I have read your Scandal and Offence blog so can understand your resentment that an alleged heterosexual misdemeanor has been treated more harshly than homosexual misdemeanors but I can assure you that I am not nibbling the Archbishop's ear.
      Archdeacon

      Delete
    4. Your 'Venerable'Archdeacon or is it Vulnerable'). My faith, (for the time being at least) is restored, to learn that you do not nibble Bazzar's ear. One can only imagine a ghastly foul taste of marsh mellow spiked with plutonium 3.

      'Now, I want to make this perfectly clear'.In the event of possible breach of phobic and discrimination laws, you are reminded that the 'homosexual misdemeanors' which you refer to in relation to the 'Scandal and Offence' blog should read 'criminal convictions for gross indecency and loitering with intent for immoral purposes' whether that be in the 'privacy' of a public toilet, park or 'play area', by clergy or laity.

      It would be a disaster for the church should an Archdeacon be heading for the guillotine as well.

      Delete
  4. WE IN WALES ARE NOW INTO REMNANT THEOLOGY. THIS THEOLOGY PROCLAIMS THAT THERE IS STILL A COVENANT WITH THE FAITHFUL BUT A REMNANT ALSO MAKES EXPLICIT GOD'S JUDGEMENT. GOD WILL SEND AS MANY PRIESTS AS THE REMNANT NEEDS. NO PRIESTS; JUDGEMENT PROCLAIMED.GAME OVER? THE IMMINENT DEMISE OF THE CHURCH IN WALES HAS THE HALLMARKS OF THE FUHRER BUNKER MENTALITY OF THE BERLIN CHANCELLERY OF APRIL 1945.
    IT WAS IN THE PARISH THAT THE TRUE WORK WAS DONE. THAT THERE ARE LAITY TO DO THIS WORK IS A DELUSIONAL MYTH .
    THE WEAKNESS OF THIS REPORT WAS THAT HARRIES AND MORGAN ARE VERY GOOD FRIENDS. OUR CULTURAL WEAKNESS FOR INTIMACY PREVENTS IMPARTIALITY, YET ALONE THE POSSIBILITY OF AN 'INDEPENDENT REVIEW.' AS IS MISOGONY TO FEMINISM, SO THIS REPORT IS TO THE PARISH PRIESTHOOD.
    THE KOIVONIA IS BREAKING UP,THE VERY MARK OF THE CHURCH IN THE BOOK OF THE ACTS. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN WALES WILL GO ELSEWHERE. HE HAS DONE IT BEFORE. THE OLD WILD GOOSE WILL DO IT AGAIN.
    NEVERTHELESS, GIRLS AND BOYS- SURSUM CORDA!
    HOWEVER, 'PUT NOT YOUR TRUST IN PRINCES NOR IN ANY CHILD OF MAN.'

    ReplyDelete
  5. The response of the CinW Bench of Bishops to the Harries Review is staggering. These so called chief pastors and teachers of the faith take no responsibility for the mess in the CinW caused on their watch. There is a massive gulf between the bishops in their palaces and the hard working parish priests who live, work, laugh, cry and care for the children of God in our communities. Forget media appearances and hob-knobbing with politicians, when was the last time someone saw one of our bishops working with a parish priest and visiting the home, sick bed or work place of a faithful parishioner?
    Reading the Review, and looking at the recent membership figures published at the Governing Body, it is clear that it is not only the archbishop who should consider his position. All seven of the bishops ought to resign. The CinW should be put on ‘Special Measures’. Rather than the archbishop sitting on a commission to select the new Archbishop of Canterbury, a commission of three recently retired, but highly experienced, bishops from the Anglican churches in England, Scotland and Wales should be brought into stabilise and rebuild the CinW. We need new bishops now – this current lot are a disgraceful shower!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erm... excuse me Merddyn, did you suggest bringing in retired bishops to carry out a kind of 'Witch Watch' on this lot?
      I don't think we have any in Wales apart from the retired Bishop John StAsaph. Or were you thinking of one Carl Cooper?

      Delete