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Monday, 27 January 2014

Church in Wales: Code of Practice Stage 2, Llandaff




"As part of legislation to ordain women bishops, passed by the Church in September, the Bishops have to draw up a Code of Practice to ensure all members of the Church, including those with conscientious objections to the decision, continued to feel accepted and valued in it." - Church in Wales. [See previous entry here.]

The first of the consultation meetings were held on 22 January in the dioceses of Bangor and Llandaff. I have received no reports on the Bangor meeting but I understand that the Llandaff meeting in Pontypridd attracted well over 100 Church members including around 20 clergy who responded to the Archbishop's invitation "to consult as widely as possible with church members in order to reflect their views as best we can."

The open meetings in each of the six Welsh dioceses are are being held for members to have their say on what provisions the code should include. The meetings will be followed by a discussion at the Church’s Governing Body meeting in April. The next meeting will be held in St Davids Diocese tomorrow, 28 January at 7pm in Holy Trinity Church hall, Aberaeron.

At the Llandaff meeting the Provincial Episcopal Visitor (PEV) was the favoured solution. This was the conclusion of Credo Cymru (FiF Wales) in their written submission: "We consider that the easiest way to achieve such a solution would be to make use of bishops from other provinces and give them limited authority to act within Wales, with clear authority from the diocesans concerned." *

This would be a positive step to ensure that all feel accepted and valued but sadly some still feel that despite the overwhelming desire of traditionalists to reach an amicable solution, the Archbishop is in no mood to give ground and interpret "in order to reflect their views as best we can" as meaning 'as before'. If that proved to be the case the Bench would be guilty of an unforgivable deception. Members should 'keep the faith', go to the meetings, and make their voices heard for the sake of the Church.

* Correction:
Following further enquiries I understand that 'PEV' was used as a shorthand for alternative Episcopal oversight while Credo Cymru did not limit their proposal to Provincial Episcopal Visitors. Their suggestion was 'episcopal visitors' from 'other provinces', a subtle difference. I apologise for the confusion but the inference is the same. What is being asked for is sacramental assurance by whatever means.

43 comments:

  1. Don't fall for it. “Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight” (DEPO) was what they used to placate traditionalists in the Episcopal church (USA) after Gene Robinson's election as bishop in 2003. If anything, after DEPO the decline of the church accelerated. Best to stand and fight.

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  2. Morgan will decide what is best. He knows better than we do what is good for us.

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  3. Credo Cymru are suggesting a PEV from the C of E ,I presume? So are they now saying that the demand for oversight from traditionalists in Wales has lessened? Bishop David Thomas ,I understood ,was extremely busy and had a very time consuming job. So how might the PEV's from England have the time to serve Wales? Is this not also presumptuous of Credo Cymru - as I wonder what the Archbishop of Canterbury might think of this idea. There are financial implications : English Bishops are paid by the Church of England and perhaps the General Synod would not be sympathetic to propping up Anglo-Catholic Wales; there is not much indication that the Synod wish to accomodate their own traditional Wing! So I am saying that the solution has to come from within Wales. As Archbishop Barry says ,on the Church in Wales website, we make our own rules and regulations in the C in W.

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    1. Simple soul, I hoped that you would have received a response from Credo Cymru [http://www.credocymru.co.uk/home/] but perhaps nobody in that organisation reads this blog!
      I assume you are not a member otherwise you should have received a letter from their Chairman, the Rev'd Alan Rabjohns, outlining the position of traditionalists in Wales. I have a copy which I have used to respond.

      In the Introduction a quotation from St John's account of the feeding of the five thousand "That nothing may be lost" (John 6:12) links a reference used in the Governing Body debate in September 2013 with the fact that it was taken up and used by the Archbishop in a statement after the vote. That must be taken as a sign of encouragement. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain - that we all may be one!

      The 'guiding principles' are similar to those found in the Church of England [GS 1924], see
      http://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=code+of+practice
      the last of which states:

      "5. Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church in Wales will be made without specifying a limit time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of Wales."

      Under "Implementation" Credo Cymru poses the question:
      "So how do we provide the episcopal ministry with sacramental certainty which is needed for all to flourish? In a time when patterns of ministry are changing, following the review of the Church in Wales' structures, we need to be prepared to think both creatively and sensitively.
      We consider that the easiest way to achieve such a solution would be to make use of bishops from other provinces and give them a limited authority to act within Wales, with clear authority from the diocesans concerned.
      One way of proceeding would be the nomination by the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales of two Bishops, who are not in retirement, to act as Episcopal Visitors to provide episcopal care and ministry to priests and parishes in Wales. As already stated, these would act with the permission and authority of the diocesan bishop in much the same way as an Episcopal Visitor acts to a religious community and would not remove or diminish any of the legal, judicial and acknowledged rights of the diocesan. The diocesan would still be the Ordinary and clergy and lay office holders would be able to make and subscribe to an oath of Canonical Obedience ' in all things legal and honest'.

      I cannot believe that this strategy would have been developed without the knowledge of Forward in Faith of which Credo Cymru is part. It is closely aligned with developments in the Church of England, something that the movers of the GB amendment were eager to stress.

      Fr Rabjohns wrote in his letter: "Please do your best to attend the meetings in your diocese which are also part part of the consultation and make use of the material in this submission."

      I hope that helps. If you want more information there is a list of Credo Cymru contacts here:
      http://www.credocymru.co.uk/home/council.html

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    2. Thank you Ancient Briton - however the following entry from a previous blog sticks in my mind:
      "The cross border solution is dead in the water. Too complicated to set up, and it would represent a loss of face to the archbishop. No bishop likes another playing on his pitch. The archbishop has already demonstrated what he thinks about potential cross border arrangements. When Bishop Lindsay Urwin was appointed Provincial Visitor to SSC Wales the archbishop wrote to him forbidding him to enter his province to celebrate the rites of confirmation or ordination." (Anonymous).
      I suspect that many or most priests in Credo Cymru are also SSC? If the above report about Bp. Lindsay is true then we have already dipped a toe in the water and found it to be rather cold.

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    3. Women have been ordained because they didn't give up. Compare the belligerence of WATCH with the prayerful appeals of Credo Cymru and, to a lesser extent, of Forward in Faith. What you quote Simple soul is an opinion, not a command to roll over and die. It may prove to be correct but the Church in Wales agreed a procedure which should be worked through in good faith.

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    4. Women have been ordained because they found support in the voice of the secular lobby of women's rights and women's equality .The other reason why this has happened is that authority in the Anglican Church resides in the semi political setting of the General Synod.

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  4. I know suicide is forbidden by God but I think if I was living in Wales under Darth Bazza, I would have topped myself a long time ago.

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  5. My worry is that Credo Cymru, by saying that English Provincial Epriscopal Visitors are the answer to the problem for traditionalists, have let the Archbishop off the hook.
    He can simply say 'it would be unfair to expect the Church of England to solve our problem by loaning us their hard pressed Provincial Episcopal Visitors. As the Credo Cymru suggestion is not realistic, I and my fellow bishops will come up with a more appropriate plan of our devising.'
    Credo Cymru should have pressed the Archbishop and bishops to ensure that a male episcopal line is preserved. 'In our opinion the best way forward is for a new Provincial Assistant Bishop to be appointed. However, as you have set your faces against that, can you at least ensure that when new male bishops are ordained at least one of the co-consecrators is a male bishop. Can you also ensure that traditionalist candidates for the priesthood can always be ordained by a male bishop.' etc

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    1. I take your point Observer but Credo Cymru and the good people of Llandaff have made the point that any Code of Practice must provide acceptable sacramental assurance. There is no escaping that principle. How it is achieved is secondary. The Church in Wales has voted in favour of women bishops and the Bench were unanimous. An assistant bishop who does not share that view is no longer tenable so another solution must be found. The proposals do not 'let the Archbishop off the hook'. On the contrary. Now is the time for Dr Morgan to prove that he and the Bench can be trusted.

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  6. Archbishop Barry is quoted as saying-
    " We have been entrusted to draw up a Code of Practice within a year and we are keen to consult as widely as possible with church members in order to reflect their views as best we can.”
    The keys words in this sentence are " as best we can".
    It might mean that whatever the Bench offer/ decide ,that it is ' the best we can do'.
    The Archbishop has already publicly stated that the final decision rests with the Bench.

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    1. But it can also be interpreted as 'as best we can' to satisfy those for whom the code is intended. If it means no change it is not only a cruel deception but unworthy of a Christian let alone a bishop of the Church.

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    2. There are some unhelpful confusion of terms in this article. There was no call for a Provincial Episcopal Visitor (PEV) at the Llandaff Code of Practice meeting but rather for a replacement for the office of Provincial Assistant Bishop (PAB). The PEV is a Church of England construct, whereas the PAB was a Church in Wales pastoral solution. There is no way that the Bench would agree to a PEV in Wales. The fact that the one and only holder of the PAB position in Wales was so successful at making it work probably counts against its reintroduction. Let’s face it, the Bench are not used to dealing with success.

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    3. Thanks Henry. The information I received was that with a couple of exceptions all speakers were calling for a "PEV". This is in line with the Credo Cymru submission so I had no reason to query it. If you were there perhaps you would be kind enough to write a brief report for the benefit of readers.

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    4. There was no call for a PEV. It was a PAB that was wanted.

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    5. Thank you 'Anonymous'. I have added a correction to the post.

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  7. One solution might be to appoint a PAB in Wales from the Affirming Catholic tradition - a person who does agree with both women episcopacy and the ordination of women but who refrains from oridination of women himself in order to serve the needs of traditionalists. Surely that person would be acceptable to the traditionalists as (a) he would be a man and (b) he would not have tainted himself by ordaining a woman (although he himself would have no problem in so doing). A good Anglican compromise, methinks. Anon1

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  8. An evangelical PAB would also do the trick.

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  9. There is certainly no likelihood of English PEVs being available for this Province. They are all greatly overworked and overstretched already, with large numbers of clergy and parishes and long distances to travel. The only workable solution is a Welsh solution.

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  10. This thread is quite helpful. There are some valuable contributions here, but still a few personal and uncharitable attacks on individuals which contribute absolutely nothing to the debate. As one who was at the Llandaff meeting, it was indeed very well attended (remember the writer on another thread complaining that Pontypridd was the 'back of beyond' and suggesting that the meeting would be a farce?) The most offensive remark, I felt, came from Geraint Hopkins of Cytun who described, very disdainfully, those who, in fairness, genuinely and sincerely oppose women bishops, as 'dissenters'; he was rightly criticised for this unhelpful language. I assume his tone is by no means representative of Cytun, even though he introduced himself as 'from Cytun'. Inflammatory comments or personal attacks from protagonists from all sides will not help at all, and fortunately, the meeting was generally conducted in that spirit.

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  11. PEV or PAB: I still can't understand how this could be anything but a very short-term solution. While one may be reasonably confident that the present generation of bishops in both the CofE and CinW have been consecrated solely by male bishops, this won't be true as soon as women bishops are part of their system, which is when such a functionary would be required. (And all he would be would be a 'functionary'. When +Barry is replaced by +Peggy or +June your actual bishop -- the one you name in the Prayers of the Church -- will be this new 'mother in God'.)

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  12. Negotiations are under way as we debate on this thread, to ensure the provision of properly consecrated bishops in the Church of England for the future, once the women bishops legislation becomes law later this year. It will be much easier to achieve this when there are some 114 bishops in the Church of England - much harder in a pocket borough like the Church in Wales with only 7, if it can afford to keep that many for very much longer.

    The answer is not to rely on the 7, who have demonstrated where they stand by their voting on this matter. Unless there is a miraculous change of heart and a PAB is appointed, and a mechanism for ensuring his succession, then it will be necessary to create a new episcopate with help from elsewhere in the Anglosphere, and to bypass the old Establishment once and for all.

    Cambrensis

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    1. Cam Ma - are you referring to GAFCON ,when you say a new episcopate from elsewhere in the Anglospere? I thought GAFCON are principally occupied in their minds with the Pilling report, and furthermore not all delegates of GAFCON are of one mind about the role of women in Church leadership , notably the Episcopate.

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    2. Simple Soul - I was not thinking of GAFCON, for the reasons you mention, and because they don't have the resources to extend AMiE to Wales. There are other, more congenial alternative Anglican resources available, once it becomes clear that Morgan will deny any real sustenance to the "dissidents" who he seems so much to despise. It seems that people are already organising new congregations, even in advance of what is expected to be a crushing disappointment when the code of practice is published. (Although I think we could probably anticipate its contents with a fair degree of accuracy).

      Cambrensis

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  13. @ Cam Ma 'It seems that people are already organising new congregations...' don't be cryptic. Please clarify so that those of who feel cut adrift can join in.

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    1. Don't wait for me, start one with your friends wherever you are. When it has taken root, then start to look for oversight.

      Cambrensis

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    2. This seems to demonstrate the sad truth that as a separate entity the Anglican Church has had its day, and that its 'Catholic' adherents now have no alternative but to go elsewhere. The chequered history of the various 'continuing' bodies suggest that they do not offer a realistic alternative; neither (unless one can accept the claim of the Pope to be 'Vicar of (an absent?) Christ') does the Ordinariate. There is a 'third way' in which a significant number of former Anglicans have in recent years found their true home, and where there is considerable scope in Wales and the borderlands for 'church planting': the Orthodox Church. The UK diocese of the Antiochian Patriarchate is composed almost entirely of former Anglican laity and clergy, so you would scarcely feel you were joining something 'foreign'; see http://www.antiochian-orthodox.co.uk/.

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    3. Matthew- how can you suggest that Christ is 'absent' ? Do you not believe in the Holy Trinity ? : The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit. Christ is with us always and until the end of time.

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    4. Of course I don't believe he is absent -- merely that the existence in the Roman system of a person described as his 'vicar' (or representative) suggests that if this system is taken to its logical conclusion he is not really believed to be present, or only present in a restricted way. Because in fact he IS present I put a question mark after the potentially offending word.

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    5. It's called Apostolic Succession. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and a member of the college of Bishops. Yes, a vicar /rector is a representative ( and is part of the Apostolic succession). Your vicar would say he is part of the Apostolic succession? A priest standing at the altar is representing Christ (in Anglo-catholic teaching), and my understanding is that the priest -calling himself a vicar-, in representing Christ, does not think in your illogical way that Christ is present only in a restricted way .

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    6. 'Vicar' in Anglican usage has nothing to do with the priest's function at the Eucharist: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicar_(Anglicanism). Yes, there is a sense in which every priest and bishop (including the Bp of Rome) 'represents' Christ, but my point was that by using the title 'Vicar of Christ' (applied to himself alone) the Pope tends to stand over against the Church rather than within it. I would suggest that this combox is not a place where due justice can be done to these weighty matters; a fair statement of the Orthodox position (and one not unsympathetic to Anglican and RC views) can be found in ch 12 of Timothy (Kallistos) Ware's 'The Orthodox Church'.

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    7. @Simple soul. The apostolic succession is transmitted through the bishops as living apostles. A vicar in a particular parish is not the peoples’ vicar, he is the bishop’s vicar. From the Latin ‘vicarius’ meaning ‘substitute’ he is acting as substitute, or stand in, for the bishop.

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    8. Not so. The Vicar is a substitute in mediaeval times for a Rector. When the revenues of the parish, belonging to the Rector, were transferred to some thieving baron, or abbot, or Oxbridge College, they appointed a Vicar in place of a Rector. They got 9/10 of the revenues: the poor Vicar got 10%. Highway robbery then: highway robbery now as the Bishops close down churches but keep on multiplying amongst themselves.

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    9. It would appear that there are two (or more) Anonymoi. Rather confusing for us simple folk.

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    10. For the ' Anonymoi' who need assistance, click on the down arrow next to "Comment as:" to open the window.
      Click on Name/URL and enter a suitable pen name of your choice. Leave the URL space blank unless you wish to make a link to your own blog or web site and continue. There is no trace back when the URL is empty.
      There is an excellent example by 'Sue De Knim' on 29 January, above. Thanks Sue.

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    11. Wikipedia !!??
      This is not an authorative encyclopedic document.
      Is it any wonder that the Church has problems? I rest my case.

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    12. It may not be an authoritative source, but in this case it conveys accurate information.

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  14. To Simple Soul:

    Vicar (Lat. Vicarius, a substitute). The priest of a parish where the Tithes were appropriated in pre-reformation times, usually to monasteries. The monastery retained the Rectorial or Great Tithes and reserved the Small Tithes (Vicarial Tithes) for the Incumbent. After The Dissolution such Rectorial Tithes were granted to Chapters, Colleges, Laymen etc known as impropriators, who were under obligation to appoint Vicars to carry out the ecclesiastical duties. The title is also given to Perpetual Curates. (Cooper, 1996, pp. 280-281).

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  15. It appears that Llandaft has a new Dean. An unfortunate soul named Rev Gerwyn Capon, only in orders for ten years. And perhaps not for many more!

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    1. Yes, details here
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-26006692
      Pray for him, the Cathedral, and the Diocese of Llandaff for the good of all the Church.

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    2. What an appallingly patronising, unchristian and unwarranted comment. Gerwyn is certainly not unfortunate, but a choice that was very welcome at the cathedral on Sunday morning. He is an excellent priest, with experience of working outside the Church before ordination which is valuable. Moreover, he is not a member of the cathedral chapter where, so many of us feel, the recent gaffes have their origin, but he has been near enough to know what has gone on and what needs doing. How good it would be to see a universal, warm welcome, rather than those malevolent, snide remarks. Indeed, pray for Gerwyn, for the cathedral, the diocese and the good of all the Church, as Ancient Briton exhorts us to do.

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  16. I am sure the new Dean has our prayers and best wishes as he takes on his onerous responsibilities.
    He will start at a disadvantage in the eyes of the cathedral congregation in that as bishop's chaplain he has been used to doing the bishop's bidding.
    Hopefully Dean Gerwyn will be able to exercise the independence which goes with the job of Dean, and show sensitivity towards traditionalists in the cathedral congregation. (As he trained alongside so called 'dissenters' at St Stephen's House, there is hope).
    Hopefully he will also be able to restore the Church in Wales only cathedral choir.

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  17. I meant to say only traditional cathedral choir - meaning lay clerks and choristers drawn from a cathedral school. I meant no disrespect to mixed cathedral choirs. St David's has a particularly good one.

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