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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Llandaff Cathedral bucking a trend

Llandaff Cathedral with the Archbishop of Wales (also Bishop of Llandaff), Archdeacon of Llandaff and the still vacant Deanery

Among the dismal, declining attendance figures in the Church of England (CofE) there has been a ray of hope where cathedrals have bucked the trend with an increase in attendance over the last decade although the CofE report cautions that "almost all the increase in attendance in the past decade is due to increased midweek attendance rising from 8,900 in 2002 to 16,800 in 2012". Nevertheless there is a glimmer of hope amidst the gloom; analysis here.

Not so in Wales where Llandaff Cathedral has bucked the trend but in the opposite direction. As predicted, seven professional members of Llandaff Cathedral choir have lost their jobs in a bid to save £45,000 as part of the cost-cutting measures to reduce the £81,000 deficit. Having a mathematician in the Deanery and a chartered accountant in the Archdeaconry may have aided the cathedral's acquisition of a magnificent £1.5 million organ but has resulted in a severely depleted choir which it accompanies. Story here with comments from 'Let nothing you dismay' here.

Much has been made in news items about the timing of the sackings but should anyone be surprised? After all the Archbishop believes that the church should reflect society where sackings in time for Christmas are not uncommon. But why the choir? Take a look at the diocesan information page which lists personnel including an Archbishop, an Ass Bishop, three Archdeacons and 28 others in support excluding a Dean. - Apparently nobody wants the job and who could blame them.

According to published figures the minimum figure for stipends for three Archdeacons is over £101,000, while the Archbishop receives (minimum figures) of £44,254 and the Ass Bishop £37,616. When the Church in Wales Archiepiscopal See Working Group looked at stipends in 2006 an Ass Bishop's stipend was £31,079 but the total cost including employers NI and pension contributions and secretarial support was £58,246. If this figure is uprated by the same movement in the Ass Bishop's stipend that is around £65,000 today plus significant housing costs. The absence of a Dean, covered first by the Archbishop and then by the Archdeacon, shows that there is spare capacity at the Cathedral where savings could be made among senior staff and most probably in the supporting structure so why sacrifice the choir in what Dr Morgan described as "the diocesan church par excellence"?

Last Sunday the Archbishop preached, somewhat nervously I thought, at a service in Swansea which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4' Sunday Worship. His subject, The Coming of Christ as Judge which may explain his delivery. As usual he managed to insert 'gender' into his Address: "And Jesus’ whole life was spent ministering to those on the margins of His society because of their gender, occupation, race or illness." If only Jesus had completed His work by appointing women Apostles and handing the keys of heaven to one of them the Archbishop would not have such an onerous task convincing people that the Church has been wrong for 2,000 years.

Instead Dr Morgan and others like him have been able to carve out careers for themselves doing what Christ did not do. The consequences are plain for all to see.


  1. No Dean, no minor Canons, no curates and now no choir.
    The results of Bazza's policies.
    He must be so proud of himself!
    It would serve him right if he was booed out of the Cathedral pulpit on Christmas Day.

  2. Interesting article in today's South Wales Echo with a Peter Wagstaff "one of the choir members losing his job" being quoted extensively.
    The truth is somewhat different as Peter Wagstaff is not one of those being made redundant.
    More Moorhouse propaganda?

  3. According to 'Morganite' theology, it is believed that at a very young, tender and impressionable age, the wise one , known to us during these last days as, His Darkness, fell deeply in love with Himself.

    Following this overpowering and overwhelming theophany experience, it is maintained that the one now revealed to us as the 4th wise man, issued a rule of life by which he has been riveted to throughout his entire life : "Forgive your enemies, but not their names".

    May all your camels be full of water this Christmas. And mind who is offering you a mince pie Ancient Briton.

    1. Precisely Enforcer.
      The real reasons the Cathedral Choir are being made redundant are the Hamnett decade long rent-free occupation of a Cathedral property, the on-going Employment Tribunal (His ++Insidiousness tried to have it struck out on technicalities at the beginning of December but failed miserably despite engaging a Bristol barrister : it must be very embarrassing for him that one of his lay clerks is running rings around his 'professional' HR advisor Lucy and his legal advisors), the requirement for all Cathedral employees to have proper written contracts of employment & employment rights, and the new rights of said employees to have access to a pension fund (to which the Cathedral would have to contribute).

      The Cathedral finances are merely a convenient excuse for His ++Darkness to try and clear out some of the shambles that his good pal Bonaparte left behind as still nobody is willing to become the next Dean.

      There will be no choir for the 9 lessons and carols, the 'midnight' mass or 11am Christmas day mass so the good people of Llandaff would do well to take themselves and their collection monies elsewhere.
      Since Bazza's press statement makes the point that the Cathedral choir only sang at 35% of the Cathedral services he surely won't mind losing only 35% of the income?

  4. I don't understand why the men in the choir are complaining.
    All they need to do now is to demand the usual freelance professional singers fees and refuse to sing if they don't get them. London parishes pay their singers £80 to £100 per service so the "Landaft" rate should be £50 to £60 per service.
    They'll be paid more for doing less services.
    If the Chapter won't pay up then let them do without music, make Moorhouse redundant and save the rest of the annual overspend.

    1. And triple time on Christmass Day!

  5. So now the Cathedral Choir is no more, what happened to the £1300 raised on 15th December and the proceeds of the Choir concert that went ahead last night in the Cathedral?

  6. FOR SALE.

    Set of second hand red Choir cassocks going for a song.
    Purchased in April 2013, sparingly used for three dreadful episodes of Song of Praise, a few dozen services and a couple of concerts in Paris and Uppsala.
    All in good condition but tainted by the stink of financial incontinence of Landaft Cathedral Chapter.

    Also one library of mostly neglected music and a knackered baby grand rehearsal piano.

    All enquiries to The Organist & Master of the Choristers, Llandaff.

  7. I hope you are not maligning all mathematicians to have lived in the is still doing an excellent job and had nothing to do with the acquisition of the organ...just!

  8. The Llandaff pew-sitters were surprised to discover this morning that Moorhouse and his boy choristers didn't show up for the 11:00 Eucharist with the excuse that the boys are too upset to do their jobs and perform.
    They weren't too upset to sing at their parents' foreign trip fundraiser last night though!
    Speculation is now rife that they can't be bothered to appear for any of the Christmas services.
    Despite his job title Moorhouse didn't even play the organ and the parish organist covered for his absence.
    The ears in the walls report that Moorhouse hasn't taught them any music for boys only services.

    Peggy the Pilot and the chapter don't have a plan B and have reportedly gone running to ++Bazza for help.

    1. Strangely enough, the Llandaff Cathedral website has not been updated with the latest news, but the Wikipedia page has been.


      Gay Jocks Peng to Barr My Organ - come in over. The Moor has fled the House - what shall we do over? The time has come - execute order 666. Pull all the stops out - blow the Swell and Great ballast tanks and scuttle immediately - contact Dildo Burn Waive for immediate ASS(b)is(h)tance. Tell him the dog is off the crozier…I repeat…the dog is off the crozier.


  9. A Slipped Disc

    1. An illegal recording of a largely imported group of part timers who are not the regulars of Llandaff Cathedral Choir churning out the usual tired Moorhouse monotony.

    2. The packed congregation didn't seem to find it tired or monotonous judging by their standing ovation, Anonymous, and the ears in the cathedral walls report that the so-called 'part timers' have sung significantly more services than a certain tenor lay clerk who has been on self-imposed strike for the whole of 2013!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. A fair point and one I have laboured over Anonymous. My beef is with the church establishment so I try to avoid third party involvement. Commentators have ignored my pleas so with all the 'anonymous' comments it is not obvious how many people are involved and how many camps there are.
      I allow comments referring to Mr Moorhouse because the choir which he leads is central to the current controversy, not because I have a view one way or another on the management of the choir, but because the choir is on the receiving end of the mismanagement of Cathedral affairs. I hope he will understand if he reads this blog and that others will concentrate on the main issue of the management of the Cathedral.

    2. Why on earth is the choir paying the price for inept Cathedral management - couldn't savings be made in other less damaging ways? How much more havoc can they create? The denigration of the choir is yet another very big mistake. Remove the Archbishop, re-constitute the Chapter, bring in transparency and recruit someone who can run the place properly.

  11. The snide and silly comments on here, together with what appear to be personal attacks on various individuals, are not helping what is a very serious situation at Llandaff, one which is saddening and dismaying lots of us who contribute significantly, both financially and in many other ways to the work, worship and mission of the cathedral. Ancient Briton - your comment above is helpful. Let's hope that those contributors here who seem to want merely to peddle their own apparent prejudices/agenda will either make sensible balanced comments, or leave it to those who do. Diolch!

    1. If you are contributing financially under present circumstances, seeing such disorder, I would say it's not the most effective use of your money in the service of God.

  12. Just for clarification - the previous comment about snide and silly comments was from me, and, as I've never contributed to this blog before, I'm not blowing my own trumpet and claiming that I make balanced comments. I'm just an ordinary regular worshipper in the cathedral of many years standing, who is so greatly saddened by the whole situation, in particular the way the chapter have handled it. I make the comment only that it has been a lesson in how not to deal with a delicate situation, especially in media/PR terms. It grieves me to say this, but I feel that the cathedral is becoming a laughing stock.