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Monday, 24 February 2014

Morgan's organ (2)

Photo Credit: Llandaff Cathedral

From Anglican Communion News Service (here): "Llandaff Cathedral now has one of the finest organs in Europe". For the next six days more information here with Newsreader Huw Edwards trying out the £1.5m organ.

Ruined after Reformation, Llandaff Cathedral has had more than its fair share of troubles. The bombing in 1941 by the Nazi German Luftwaffe was followed by an 'Act of God' in 2007 when a lightning strike rendered the organ unusable. In an earlier Morgan's organ entry (here) I drew attention to more avoidable man-made problems. But things have moved on.

On 28 February 2014 the Rev'd Gerwyn Capon is to be installed as the new Dean of Llandaff Cathedral. I have heard some fears that having been Archbishop Morgan's Chaplain, the new Dean will not be allowed to be his own man. Indeed rumour has it that the former Dean took flight precisely for that reason but whatever the facts another failure cannot be countenanced. The new Dean must be his own man. He will garner support for being so. There is no more room for failure.

Likewise this is the time for the Archbishop to redeem himself. He has achieved his cherished pre-retirement ambition of permitting women to serve in the Episcopate. Celebrating his success Dr Morgan pledged to talk to Church members who, as a matter of conscience, "find the decision difficult" expressing the hope that no-one would be "lost" from the Church in Wales as a result of the decision. The Code of Practice consultations have been completed. My understanding from a report here and from comments after a previous blog entry (here) is that the meetings were held in a "constructive and generous spirit" with a "wide consensus emerging in the Province that there is need for the restoration of episcopal provision for traditionalists". 

So, at the end of this sorry tale, perhaps all members of the Church in Wales can once more live and worship happily ever after.


  1. It was surreal that Sunday's Songs of Praise from Llandaff presented everything at the cathedral as hunky dory. The cathedral choir sang an anthem (in a sequence recorded last year). Viewers were not told that the choir has now been reduced to a boys choir. Strangest of all was the sequence with Huw Edwards playing the organ. Why did David Thomas, the parish organist, not Richard Moorhouse introduce viewers to the organ? Was he away at the time of filming?
    As you say, Ancient Briton, we wish the new Dean we'll. At 48 he has many more years ahead of him at Llandaff than the Archbishop. I for one was surprised and delighted that a male Dean who trained at St Stephen's House has been appointed. Doubtless he is in favour of women priests (he would not have been chosen otherwise), but as someone who trained for the priesthood alongside traditionalists, perhaps he will show some consideration to traditionalists at the cathedral. I find it strange that the Archbishop speaks of traditionalists deserving respect and provision within the Church in Wales when he showed none when he made himself acting Dean.

    1. Nothing, so it seems, occurs by accident, but cause and effect, within 'His Darkness' empire building program. For one to be a member of the 'bench sitters', or, elevated to any senior position within the Church in Wales, unique gifts and talents will be paramount.

      Over a prescribed period of time the individual will have learnt and developed the habit of appearing to listen, seeming to take it all in, without absorbing a single word. Such will be their latest usage of the term 'Consultation' Ancient Briton'.

  2. Whichever Church the Songs of Praise programme comes from it is posed and staged. Each and every Church is usually packed, as the congregation are 'bused in' ; a lot of people feel quite attracted by the opportunity to be on television. The men and women and children are seated in separate sections,and it usually irritates me intensely as the men and women sing separate verses of hymns. So it is a sanitised version of any normal service and not an honest representation of worship which takes place: it is a concert.
    Thus +Barry's desire to involve a celebrity to play the organ ,and I wonder if Richard Moorehouse declined involvement in this circus presentation.
    Sorry I missed last Sunday's show - I was watching the closing ceremony of the other circus in Sochi.

    1. Five days left to view Simple soul if you click on

    2. Thank you Ancient Briton-seen it now. As has been suggested the programme was peripheral to the usual life of the Cathedral: it was more of a documentary of the life of selected local celebrities.
      The trite display of candles could not literally hold a light to the firework display I watched at the Olympics closing ceremony in Sochi !

  3. "So, at the end of this sorry tale, perhaps all members of the Church in Wales can once more live and worship happily ever after."

    AncientBriton, I have a bridge in Manhattan that I would like to show you - it is currently for sale...

  4. I agree with 'Insider'. If you want to know what the Archbishop really thinks about traditionalists you have only to see what he did when he was acting Dean. He discontinued John Lewis's practice of publishing the following Sunday's celebrants on the bulletin. This was John Lewis's only concession to traditionalists when he introduced women priests to the cathedral without any consultation with the congregation.
    The Archbishop's problem is that he is the only bishop still on the bench from the time of the women priests legislation. He was party to the decision to appoint a PAB and promise traditionalists a place in the Church in Wales. He cannot totally repudiate that without looking a complete hypocrite. So he says that although another PAB is not appropriate he is still committed to providing provision for traditionalists.
    My guess is that when the code is published it will offer little, will appear to offer more than it does, and what little it does offer will be undermined over time.

    1. I agree that traditionalists have not been treated fairly. I too have been very sceptical and have previously written on the basis that a leopard doesn't change its spots but no man is beyond redemption; hence my belief that charity must now prevail for the following reasons.

      The Archbishop's November 2013 letter 'To all members of the Church in Wales'
      sets out the position clearly:

      In passing the Canon making it possible for women to be consecrated as Bishops in the Church in Wales, the legislation also entrusts the Bench of Bishops to agree a Code of Practice making provision such that all members of the Church in Wales, including those who in conscience dissent from the decision to allow the consecration of women as bishops, may have a sense of security in their accepted and valued place in the Church in Wales.

      My understanding reading reports from people who attended the Llandaff, Swansea & Brecon and Monmouth meetings is that there was a willingness to make this work with the reinstatement of alternative Episcopal oversight acting with the consent of the diocesan. I think it unlikely that all three other dioceses would have concluded differently.

      The third part of the consultation remains, the "Open Forum" at the Governing Body meeting in April 2014 for Governing Body members to "express their views". Having expressed their view in passing the Canon that the Bishops are trusted to make provision for those who in conscience dissent from the decision to allow the consecration of women as bishops, if they were now to come to a different decision it would be contrary to the spirit of the Canon and totally disingenuous.

      Alternative sacramental and pastoral oversight is also within the spirit of the Canon as outlined by the movers of the successful amendment which looked outside the Province outlined in Appendix 2 to the Report of the Select Committee which considered the Bill

      (5) "Our amendment seeks explicitly to restore the relationship of Trust between the body of the Church in Wales and the Bench of Bishops, and to reassert the desire for this trust to lie at the heart of the bishops’ ministry and their role as a focus for unity. We are aware that the bishops have wanted to acknowledge in recent years the lack of trust that is felt towards them in some quarters, but we do not feel that this should be allowed to determine the shape of such important legislation. We want to give Governing Body the opportunity to re-establish the principle of Trust on the face of the legislation."

      (6) "Our amendment would bring Church in Wales legislation more closely into line with other churches in the Anglican Communion who have passed legislation to enable the consecration of women bishops - in particular the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland. In none other of the churches of the Anglican Communion so far has provision been made for conscientious dissent in legislation, but only in Codes of Practice. We do not believe that Wales should be the one to set a new precedent on this matter."
      (7) "Our amendment seeks also to learn from recent experience in the Church of England following the failure of the vote on women bishops there in November 2012 ... any new package needs to try, so far as possible, to achieve two objectives:
      + to produce a shorter simpler measure than the one that was defeated
      + a greater sense of security for the minority as having an accepted and valued place in the Church of England while not involving the majority in any new element of compromise on matters of principle."

      An about face now would leave the Church in Wales without a shred of credibility.

  5. + Barry hides behind the fact that it is now an entirely new Bench ,implying that previous Bench decisions are now 'out of the window'. He has also said that the PAB was never intended to be a permanent post,and thus I agree with ' observer',something will be put in place as a Code of Practice wrapped up in the proviso "as long as it seems necessary".