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Friday, 13 September 2013

Wolves in shepherd's clothing?


  Church in Wales Sacred Synod, Lampeter, 11 Sept 2013                                     Photo: Church in Wales

This morning there were reports of great rejoicing in the Church in Wales (CinW) and in the women's lobby, examples here and here, after the decision to admit women to the episcopate in Wales. For others, the rejected minority, there will be a feeling of utter desolation akin to excommunication. The fact that the CinW has too many bishops and will have to cut the number of dioceses, probably from six to three, to have any chance of surviving will have been lost in the euphoria.

Despite my reservations over their intent (based on their past record), the bishop's Bill did included a measure which would have made some sort of statuary provision for dissenters, a measure hailed by some as the way forward in the Church of England. Whether or not it would have been acceptable to those for whom it was intended we will never know but it gave the senior CinW pastors a semblance of credibility.

In the event the Bench revealed all by voting unanimously in favour of the Jackson - Wigley amended Bill which replaced the statuary guarantee with a meaningless Code of Practice. As the Ven. Peggy Jackson rightly said, "the Church in Wales has changed for ever".

The Bench would have had more credibility if they had withdrawn their Bill after the Jackson - Wigley amendment was carried. They didn't, suggesting that they had no intention of offering anything meaningful thereby confirming what Dr Morgan is reported to have said that 'there would be alternative pastoral provision over his dead body'.

Effectively the Governing Body did an about turn giving the Bench what they asked for five years ago. So what changed? From the very many comments I have heard and read, before and after the vote, it is clear that many had no theological concept of what they were voting on. Politics ruled.  Statutory provision was not a lot to ask for fellow Christians who feel threatened in their own church but this was denied them with vigourous applause!

The Bench of Bishops had their chance but failed woefully leaving significant numbers under their care in limbo. It will be difficult for them to dig themselves out of the pit they have created but there is a chance to redeem themselves by allowing acceptable provision combined with the Church of England. If we are to learn anything from this sad episode it must be that working together to find a solution acceptable to all is the only just way forward.

This morning I entered church in gloom. I left in sunshine reflecting on our prayers. We had prayed for the people of Syria and those suffering elsewhere, especially for persecuted Christians. What would they give to be in our position? We owe it to them to do better.

Oh! Wolves in shepherd's clothing? The answer is here.

14 comments:

  1. The Church in Wales began the day as a tiny (and shrinking) province of the Catholic Church. It ended the day as a ruritanian mummery staring into the abyss of imminent dissolution, like the numerous former chapels littering the roads and villages of Wales. Loud came the applause for the Bishops for their great achievement, devoid of any care for the disaster they have now unleashed. Fortunately salvation does not depend upon them, as many of their former adherents know well, and are already mentally packing their bags for the real Church from which the province has now formally and permanently excluded itself.

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  2. It was debate that was badly chaired and lacking in theology and dealing with the actual bill itself. Debating the amendment turned into a debate about the whole bill. We heard about how it was discrimination, hampering the mission of the Church and a rightful next step for women. All without any evidence. We sat there and watched the provision slip away, powerless to do anything and held to the ransom of a certain group. They will not rest in my mind until there is no provision at all. The Bench failed to offer pastoral protection and I wonder if this was the intention in the first place. Some of them voted against the amendment, some of them abstained.

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  3. A lost sheep of Llandaff13 September 2013 at 23:45

    To some the gift of prophecy ... Well done, Ancient Briton, for not being duped by the Bishops' Bill.

    So, His Grace is going to talk to "people" about the Code of Conduct. Note: "Talk", not "listen". But what else would we expect from an arch bigot, a person who has never conceived that it was possible to hold a valid view which was at variance with his; a person who has recklessly wrought such havoc in the CinW that he's lost 25% of his flock so far (and clearly isn't finished yet,) a person who, since he took charge, has overseen the finances of his cathedral go from bad to bust; a person who told his congregation that the departure of Dean Janet was their fault (because it couldn't have had anything to do with her realising that as Dean she couldn't expect to be in charge in her Cathedral); a person who thought he could tell his congregation they had to pay up (because he'd given his usual response to those who didn't like his changes,"tough", so they couldn't expect to give him the same response,) a person lacking the humility to imagine the possibility of "the beam ... in thine own eye" (even if he did ever use the King James Bible)?

    But I, for one, would like to say that I don't believe for a moment that he could have had anything to do with putting those ambitious appointees of his, Peggy the Pilot and the Rectoreen of Radyr, up to proposing their wrecking amendment so as to remove any prospect of tolerance for the unwanted minority.

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    1. Lost sheep of Llandaf, you have missed out one important flaw in his personality, which is, "A person who is willing to lie through the skin of his teeth, in order to save his own skin, and no one else's."

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    2. Lost sheep of Llandaff, you are by no means alone, there is a flock in and around Llandaff that have been abandoned by the arch bully.
      Janet's error was to start digging around and uncovering the skeletons so carefully hidden by the acting Dean. So successful was she that only two weeks before her resignation was accepted with such great sadness, she was observed being relocated from the Prebendal House with all her bits and pieces and marched up the Dean's Steps to 'Lair Esgob' personally by ++His Insidiousness. The arch control freak clearly felt unable to micro-manage her closely enough without his personal oversight!

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  4. The deep irony is that six represents the number of imperfection in the Judaistic Tradition. John makes specific reference to this in his account of the Wedding Miracle at Cana of Galilee - the six stone jars of the rites of purfication were just not good enough - this imperfect concept could never bring salvation. Similarly, the six stone jars of the Bench, in all its unadulterated imperfection, will never bring salvation to the Church in Wales, particularly, as they have surrendered to transient cultural norms - allowing society to transform Christ seems to deny the action (and indeed, existence) of the Holy Spirit.

    Those who would like to see the Church cleansed of our Evangelical and Catholic brothers and sisters would do well to learn from the late Christopher Hitchens who was appalled that 'these Christians just won't go away' - a stament that pointed to his own deep seated anxieties and inadequacies. Let the Bench be assured that Catholics and Evangelicals will not go away either - we do not mind living in the desert - mighty prophetic voices have come from the wilderness before - over ambitious rulers had them murdered - but their voices were never silenced...

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  5. Wouldn't a cuckoo be a more appropriate epithet for the Archdeacon of Llandaff?

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  6. Anonymous - at what point do you think the CinW gives up any claim to be catholic? Surely you need a non heretic bishop to gather around and i think by your own admission you haven't got one. I cannot see those gents form England helping out so do you look to, for example, an African? It does not sound like the church catholic to me but then I am not learned in these matters.


    PS I have never heard the Principality being described as a desert

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  7. Dear Master Golightly

    I am delighted that you make the following assertion: 'I am not learned in these matters' - such a devastatingly accurate self-analysis of your rustic theology and doltish contributions. It will relieve me of having to respond to you in the future.

    Please note the difference between 'form' and 'from' - please write this word into your spelling book. You may also wish to focus on the correct use of capital letters; for example use 'I' and not 'i'. You really are too naughty! I am going to place you on 'Doubles' for this.

    Similarly, you might like to explore the concept of a 'metaphor'. Now I realise this word has three syllables - do not be discouraged - KBO as Churchill would say (he was our Prime Minister during WWII). Sorry, I should have written World War Two - you may have thought that I was using some form of secret code by Da Vinci.

    The desert is a metaphorical concept, which clearly has eluded your intellectual proclivities.

    I do hope all goes well with your RE GCSE Examination at the end of the Academic Year.

    With every good wish

    Eremos

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  8. Dear Eremoß

    At least I am not anonymous. Perhaps you are the Archbishop trying to score points? But of course by being particularly nasty you have failed to answer the questions put. Just do it and everybody who reads this will have the benefit of you obvious intellectual superiority.

    Many thanks

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  9. Stop squabbling and read St John Chapter 10 especially verses 11 to 15. Uncomfortable reading if you are a Bishop!

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  10. The CinW is being led by an Archbishop who has moved away f rom the gospel of Jesus Christ for his own ends.He has but one view and one agenda, do as I say or else, his co-bench sitters seem to follow like lost sheep. The CinW thinks it has adapted to the ways of the world but has moved away from the will of God. Let us hope that the grace of God will prevail, and the good shepherd will find the lost sheep and return them to the fold and rejoice.

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  11. Golightly, the abandonment of episcopacy by the Church in Wales is tragic, but it does not hold a monopoly over the apostolic succession of the catholic church in Wales or anywhere else. Throughout history Christians have walked away from false teachers and have sought out the nearest orthodox bishop in their place. It may be all over for the Six but it is but the beginning of a renewed Church for those who remain faithful to the Gospel.

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  12. This bench of bishops have turned Holy Orders into a fiasco. Where do they meet to hatch their mischief - the Nag's Head Tavern?

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