|Dr Heather Morris, president of The Methodist Church in Ireland Photo: Justin Kernaghan/Photopress|
The latest news from Ireland, "Two Irish churches move closer together", will be right up Barry Morgan's street, going back to his nonconformist roots before his long overdue retirement. I have no quarrel with Methodism. I respect their tradition. Each to their own. But those of us who profess our belief in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and take it seriously rather than mouth it at the Eucharist are mindful that whilst "being one" has a Biblical resonance, the Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales are going in the wrong direction, increasing the gulf between Anglicanism and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches who have been showing encouraging signs of moving closer together.
From the "Overall Judgement" of the report from the Standing Doctrinal Commission of the Church in Wales (See 'Executive Summary' [- after item 11, Assisted Dying!]):“The proposals are a time of opportunity, and an invitation to take risks. The inherited structures of all churches in Wales are in our view both contingent and changeable, although Anglicans would always wish to assert the importance of the three- fold ministry in their ecclesiology.”
“It is also the case that there is much duplication both of structures, and of buildings, which could be pruned. However the experience of recent decades is that local experiments need facilitation from higher structures in order to flourish. We do not see the proposals as establishing a culture of uniformity, but rather affirming and enabling a variety of Christian traditions to flourish.”
"the Methodist jurisdiction, the Presbyterian jurisdiction and the URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction each elect a bishop, the bishop will ordain all those who are to become ministers within that jurisdiction. That this bishop will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of that Church".
As the Church of England continues to celebrate women rather than Christ, the Church in Wales continues to follow a policy designed to turn itself into protestant "congregational, presbyteral and episcopal" Church in Wales. Why Welsh nonconformists would want that after seeing what Dr Morgan has done already to the Church in Wales is a mystery.
Credit must be given to the Church of England for honouring their pledge towards traditionalists. Some may see that as a desperate move to allow women bishops at any cost but the mistakes of others in Wales, Ireland and the US are all too obvious to ignore.