The media have strung together bits and pieces from the initial story to put their own spin on it. The Sun highlights the row about chorister fees [since denied by the CinW - Ed] while The Times in its online preview states "No explanation was given, but Llandaff is known as an Anglo-Catholic heartland and Church sources indicated that as a woman she might have had a difficult time." That Llandaff is known as an Anglo-Catholic heartland will come as a surprise to many including the Archbishop who has done more than most to change the Church in Wales into a club for like-minded liberals.
The May edition of the Llandaff Parish magazine, The Bell, lists 29 recommendations for action on the sustainability of the Cathedral and its development. Reading through the recommendations there is a suggestion of years of neglect with Dean Henderson being the fall guy. To the recommendations she added her own areas of importance: "excellence of worship, good all age Christian education, support and training for staff and the exploration of the riches that are present in our archives and on site. I also see a great deal of opportunity to develop our musical and artistic life and to be in partnership with schools, colleges and universities" which makes one wonder if anyone at a senior level has done anything other than pursue a political agenda in recent years.
Janet Henderson's farewell sermon in St Mary's Richmond in January this year makes interesting reading in retrospect, particularly these quotes: "Or maybe God does speak to us directly, just occasionally. Perhaps when we are very far away from God or in great distress."..." There is nothing we can do to make God speak to us. We can only expect and hope that God might. We can hold ourselves open to hear and to act on what we hear." ... "You can always recognise a person who listens and talks with God. You can always tell a church where lots of the members are engaged in doing this." - Or not?
This interesting comment from a Llandaff parishioner has appeared on the Thinking Anglicans site:
"Former Dean Janet was welcomed by the parishioners at Llandaff - it's a parish church as well as a cathedral - and many were impressed by her personal warmth and commonsense approach.
Her resignation has stunned many, but the gender issues claimed in statements by "Church sources" are probably not the main cause of this. There are intransigent problems with Llandaff that have arisen since 2000, due to previous appointments. Keith Kimber's comments are singularly ill-informed, since the congregation - contrary to his picture of "rampant congregationalism" - actually have very little say in the running of the place.
Any institution that lives wildly beyond its means and invests in white elephants whilst ignoring the pastoral needs of its congregation - and its wider mission - deserves to fail. It is probable that Janet recognised this at a very early stage. Regrettably, we will now be denied her vision and energy. However she quickly realised the unfortunate truth of Llandaff's parlous position and we will now have to fend for ourselves.
Posted by: Landavian on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 10:49pm BST"