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Monday, 30 June 2014

Discretionary funds

Original design: Faizan Dawood
Discretionary Funds [Guidance from the Church of England] 

Care for those in need is an essential feature of Christian discipleship and an important part of the Church’s work. At the same time this work needs to be effectively managed. In the past people in need have turned to the clergy for help from Discretionary Funds. This role for the clergy is no longer appropriate.
It is important that there should be the closest possible working relationship between the Church and other agencies (Social Care Services etc.) in responding to calls for help. At national level there is great concern for the safety of the clergy and there is need to be aware of the danger if clergy are seen as dispensers of cash. 
Inevitably with discretionary funds there is need for confidentiality (usually between incumbent and churchwardens), but in these days of much closer scrutiny by Charity Commissioners, Inland Revenue, etc. There is increasing need for openness. The greater the degree of confidentiality, the greater is the suspicion of the possibility of misappropriation. 
For the above reason any Incumbent’s Discretionary Fund should cease forthwith and should be replaced by a system of discretionary help provided on a non-cash basis as recommended in “Clergy security: A Discussion Paper”, issued by the Advisory Board for Ministry. Every effort will be made to work in partnership with Social Services or other appropriate agencies. 
If the PCC decides that there could be circumstances when financial contributions from the PCC funds could be deemed appropriate, clear procedures need to be in place for authorising such payments. It should be clearly understood that no payments of this kind can be authorised by any single person. Any discretionary payment needs to be authorised in writing by at least two of a nominated group of people who should then not sign the cheque for the payment they have authorised. For audit purposes a receipt should be obtained in all cases and this should be filed with the signed authorisation for the payment and a photocopy of the completed cheque. Such payments in total should be included in the annual Statement of Financial Activity (“SOFA”).

The following paragraph is all I can find for the Church in Wales:

The PCC’s responsibilities are not limited to the eight areas set out above (see here). Specific mention is made (Chapter IVC section 8(4)) that, with the exception of Special Trusts and the Incumbent’s discretionary fund, parish finance should be under the control of the PCC. The PCC is a channel of communication between the parishioners and the Bishop.

One anonymous diocesan commentator under the previous entry, subsequently using the pen name Lawabiding complained "Whether it's moaning about Women, Bishops, Assistant Bishops, those who try and drag the church into the 21st Century, Ancient Briton and its followers always have some kind of axe to grind." 

It seems to me and to other commentators that there is a legitimate axe to grind here. This is not only for transparency but for the protection of clergy. If the bishops really want to drag the Church of Wales into the 21st century they should at least get their priorities right and follow the example of the Church of England. 

The amounts are not trivial. According commentators the Llandaff Diocesan Accounts show a grand total of £243,511 for the years from 2005 to 2013:

Year   Mission Fund    Discretionary Fund    Total
2005  £ 6,488              £ 11,985                     £ 18,473
2006  £ 3,911              £ 12,202                     £ 16,113
2007  £ 3,791              £ 17,556                     £ 21,347
2008  £ 6,077              £ 18,083                     £ 24,160
2009  £12,976             £ 18,627                     £ 31,603
2010  £12,922             £ 18,720                     £ 31,642
2011  £11,461             £ 19,095                     £ 30,556
2012  £15,196             £ 19,095                     £ 34,291
2013  £16,231             £ 19,095                     £ 35,326

This is not to suggest that funds have been misappropriated, rather it is the case that, as the Church of England recognised some time ago, "This role for the clergy is no longer appropriate". Meanwhile the long suffering parishioners are asked to give more!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Llandaff Cathedral - Sneak

From the Church in Wales web site: "Link to video of Sneak a Peek at Llandaff Cathedral – where the work of  the Llandaff Diocesan officers and committees was exhibited. Day hailed as a great success." - See above.

At last some success to report from Llandaff Cathedral, but only self satisfaction. Their real purpose is to serve God and man. What are they doing about that?- [Feminists please note that is mankind, human beings considered collectively; the human race.]

Perhaps this is a fitting entry for today 'celebrating', if that is the correct word, over 400,000 page views. When I started this blog I didn't have a specific aim in mind other than to have a bit of fun using a free facility to get things which irritated me off my chest (see 'Welcome' here). The Church wasn't one of them but the mean spirited antics of Women and the Church (WATCH) advancing the feminist cause at the expense of the faithful in the Church of England and the even worse fate of traditional worshippers in the Church in Wales has tended to take over, especially when urged on by readers who simply wish to be treated with the respect they are due and to worship God according to their own tradition rather than to a formula imported from the Archbishop's heretical mentor, the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church.

Entries about the goings on in the Church in Wales are, save one, the most popular read and commented on with interest around the world as indicated by the Flag Counter. But there are far more questions than answers. Most concern the fate of the Church in Wales and its archiepiscopal Llandaff Cathedral. 

Now if the worshipping life of the Cathedral as an exemplar for the Diocese and the Province could be "hailed as a great success" that really would be something to cheer about! 

Over to you Archbishop.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The few

Welcome to Great Britain, saved by "The Few" for an alien few to do what Hitler couldn't do.

For my generation "The Few" means the gallant Allied Airmen referred to in Winston Churchill's inspiring phrase, "Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few."

These Airmen demonstrated how much can be achieved by so few. Today the position is reversed. The 'few' are 'extremists' who, we are told, "do not represent Islam". Why? Because they say so.

But Muslims are encouraged to lie if necessary to advance their cause even to those who have welcomed them, schooled them and cared for them when in need. Welcome to jihad!

In wartime Britain we used to huddle around radios waiting to hear our fate. Reassuringly Churchill said "we will never surrender " but "our native soil" is being surrendered by politically correct do-gooders who have welcomed the very people Churchill warned us against. Now we are paying the price. A former MI6 Director has been reported as saying that the security services will be able to monitor only a few of the 500 or so "Britons" who return to the country after fighting in Syria.

Three of the four ring leaders in the propaganda video shown by the BBC are from Cardiff in the Diocese of Llandaff where its bishop, the Archbishop of Wales and leader of 1% of the population, has been busily engaging with Muslims and anyone else he can find other than adherents of the Catholic faith creating a religious vacuum to be exploited by the unscrupulous.

In Great Britain Christians struggle to maintain their churches. When closed, mosques often replace them. According to the Mosque Directory there are 33 Mosques in Cardiff. It is unclear where these 'innocent boys' were radicalised.

Two of the four are brothers. According to a report on the BBC News they lied to their parents about their intentions when they left home. It is difficult not to sympathise with parents when their children have been led astray. But have they? If lying is a religious duty how do we know if they are speaking the truth? In the Middle East, armed to the teeth, ISIS warriors were filmed handing out copies of the Koran in the street. It would be naive to assume this was to convince locals that Islam is the religion of peace. Apologists should read here what the religion of peace is doing in the main Christian stronghold of Mosul in the province of ancient Nineveh.

This should come as no surprise. Christians are the "most persecuted group in world" (read here). Back in February, 'a jihadist group in Syria' demanded that Christians pay a levy in gold and accept curbs on their faith, or face death (here). ISIS is now said to control funds of $2bn.

On Newsnight last night there was a piece about three more "lovely boys" who had travelled to Syria to join other jihadists (story here). The local Imam was blamed by a parent for radicalising them but the Imam denied it. A representative of the Muslim Council of Great Britain on the programme complained about the demonization in the media of young Muslims.  Lord Carlisle agreed that demonizing young Muslims must be avoided because "99.9% recurring" of Muslims in this country are "totally opposed to this type of action". That misses the point. It takes just a few to create havoc while the majority simply claim it is wrong when asked but where are the protests about Islamist excesses to match those in the lead picture?

It is not 'Muslim men' but the basis of their beliefs which needs to be examined and discussed openly without charges of Islamophobia. Of course it would be wrong to demonize all young Muslims but if the faith of "99.9% recurring" of Muslims in this country is as shallow as it has become for many new Anglicans, do they really understand the implications of their belief? How can a 'Religion of Peace' be sending them to war? Answer: Peace will occur when Islam dominates the world but that seems to be lost on the warring factions in the Middle East.

Evidence from abroad is clear. Some Islamic states do not tolerate other religions. It has been estimated that Islam will be the dominant religion in this country within ten years. The outlook for non-Muslims (the Kafir) is bleak. It is the expansionist religious ideology that must be exposed before it uses more impressionable people to perform evil deeds against humanity in the name of their religion.

Lord Carlisle blamed "religiously heretical violent extremism" for jihad but added that we are "trying to do our duty to protect our own country and our citizens". That involves awareness of the dangers of cultural jihad which is gradually changing the face of Britain. If only there were 'the few' in government prepared to defend our native soil instead of making excuses and displaying their ignorance. They need to get to the route of the problem while there is still time.

And now for some good news:
 KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — "A Sudanese woman [Meriam Ibrahim] on death row for apostasy had her sentence canceled and was released by a Khartoum court on Monday, her lawyer and state media said."

FILE - In this file image made from an undated video provided Thursday, June 5, 2014, by Al Fajer, a Sudanese nongovernmental organization, Meriam Ibrahim br...
Meriam Ibrahim with her newborn baby girl she gave birth to while shackled in jail
(AP Photo/Al Fajer)
Such faith!

"Meriam Ibrahim detained at airport in 'abuse of power' " Story here.

For the love of God! WAKE UP Cameron. No more excuses.

Postscript [26/06/14]
Ultra-conservative branch of Islam growing in popularity in Wales. See HERE.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Wars of the world

Battle of Vienna on 12 September 1683

From the Guardian: The terrifying rise of Isis: $2bn in loot, online killings and an army on the run
They're too extreme for al-Qaida, they boast of their brutality and they have forced the Iraqi government on to the defensive. How did the insurgent group rise to such terrifying power?

Talking with Iran Vienna 2014

At last governments seem to have woken up to the threat posed by Islamists, even to Islamist governments by other Islamists who want their own brand of Islam imposed on the world. So grave is the threat that talks with Iran, ironically in Vienna, may be used to work out a strategy to counter the threat. It is as though planet Earth were under attack by Martians in the War of the Worlds.

While the threat by ISIS dominates the headlines other Islamist atrocities continue around the world. "At least 48 people have died after al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked hotels and a police station in a Kenyan coastal town" (here) "Gunmen killed at least 22 people at a village market in remote northeast Nigeria, a security official said on Monday, in what was likely the latest attack by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram" (here). Looking at 'Wars in the World' (here) the results are chilling. Not all conflict is Islamist based but 'religious' fanaticism is a real problem.

A list of some of the major Islamic terrorist attacks from 1990 to Sept 2013 can be found here. The response of the British government has been to dismiss the Islamist threat as the work of fanatics who do not represent the majority of Muslims. Perhaps not but they all have in common a religious ideology in which ALL should be subject to Sharia laws which permit death by stoning, amputations and public floggings. Whether achieved by armed jihad or cultural jihad the result is the same.

Will the nettle be grasped at last ?

Monday, 9 June 2014

God help the Church in Wales!

'Sending out' in the new Church in Wales                                               Photo: Church in Wales

Like it or not the Church in Wales is moving with the times to be more relevant to society, or to put it another way, as directed by Barry and the bench sitters to secure their future in the new Church Uniting in Wales. Here are some recent examples.

In Brecon "Felicity, Mair, Felicity, Esther & Biddy", a "trained team of Lay Worship leaders" were commissioned by Bishop John Davies at a Pentecost party which they led. Bishop John said: "The needs of the Church are many and varied but God calls ministers to care for his people, to lead them in worship, to strengthen others for their witness within the community and to offer such leadership within the local church as provides an example of Christian discipleship and commitment."

Another minister called to care for God's people in the diocese of Swansea and Brecon is their new Dean. More brownie points for the bishop securing the services of a priest who has done his bit to be relevant to society, something to which the Archbishop of Wales attaches the utmost importance.

Meanwhile, a "pioneering a new job" has been created in the Diocese of Monmouth. The "Pioneer Ministry Development Officer...will be working to help Ministry Areas identify opportunities to engage their local communities in experiencing faith and church". The role will involve supporting those who have a heart for their communities, providing space to "discuss new ways we might engage in church, and supporting pioneering initiatives as they develop". The opportunities must be endless given the 'extracurricular qualifications' of one soon to be priested local deacon which include "Reiki Master, Feng Shui practitioner, Crystal Healer and Deacon" bringing a whole new dimension to the Ministry of Healing!

As other dioceses move forward apace carving out ministry areas of complete indifference to 99% of the population, and what will come as a complete and utter shock when the full realisation hits the remaining 1%, I hear that much to the annoyance of His Darkness, clergy in his own diocese have been dragging their feet showing a distinct lack of enthusiasm for current trends. 

On that score I have seen no report of the outcome of the meetings in the diocese of St Asaph on the Church Uniting discussions, a project which fits in neatly with the concept of area ministries but will be anathema to true Anglicans when they realise it will be a break from the Apostolic Church with interchangeable nonconformist 'bishops'.

If there are any parishes/deaneries left in the Church in Wales where this still matters they must take action as recommended in the Church in Wales Review and make their views known:

Recommendation I 
1) The Governing Body and bishops should make it clear, if 
necessary by Constitutional amendment, that motions can come 
from parishes, and deaneries (or whatever body might replace 
them), to Diocesan Conferences, and from Diocesan Conferences 
to the Governing Body, and that such motions would be 
2) Consideration should be given to renaming the Diocesan 
Conference a Synod, and in the light of the development of Area 
Ministries, a new system of elections may need to be established.


For more information read 'Teulu Asaph' HERE

Friday, 6 June 2014

Acceptable pastoral and sacramental ministry

This clip from the June 2014 edition of New Directions illustrates the progress that has been made in the Church of England enabling Anglicans to live together despite their differences BEFORE women bishops are approved by Synod:

"The bishops ... have approved the Declaration that will provide acceptable pastoral and sacramental ministry to parishes that are unable to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops, and also most importantly that this will only be able to be changed with a two-thirds majority in each of the three houses of the Synod."

So simple! Compare that with the approach of the Church in Wales AFTER women bishops were approved by their Governing Body. First, written contributions about the shape of a Code of Practice were invited. Then diocesan meetings were held before the matter was discussed at their Governing Body. The overwhelming desire expressed at the Diocesan meetings was for similar pastoral and sacramental provision to be restored in the Church in Wales but the suspicion remains that the Bench will use the voices of a vociferous minority to justify no change.

Proposing the amendment which enabled women to be consecrated bishops in the Church in Wales from 12 September 2014 the Jackson/Wigley duo said: "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."

At the April meeting of the Governing Body Archdeacon Jackson was busy pouring cold water on the argument she used to get the legislation she wanted. In direct opposition to what is required she said, "the concept of a Provincial Assistant Bishop should be resisted, as this role would set up a two-tier episcope” indicating that she is still stubbornly wedded to the feminist position that impeded progress in the Church of England. The Church of England has moved on. Peggy Jackson has moved backwards.

The impression given is that the women's lobby will say or do anything to advance their agenda then backtrack when they have what they want. If the bishops of the Church in Wales validate this scheming by back-peddling to deny loyal Anglicans what they thought they were being offered "in line with other churches" they will deserve the opprobrium of the whole Church of Christ for their duplicity.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ayup me duck!

Karen Bradley on her "ordination as a canon"            Photo: Derby Telegraph 

Ayup me duck! may not be as 'Father', dressed in floral frock and clerical collar, would normally be addressed in Derbyshire but perhaps that would be more appropriate than "Oh, look at her, just look at her. That's what it has come to now. Isn't it disgusting?" which is how Elaine Jones, Canon at Derby Cathedral alleges she was addressed adding "Just seeing me in the clerical collar was enough to make her recoil from me. To experience prejudice was a very good lesson and taught me a lot."

I say 'alleges' based on the the general tone of Joey Severn's article in the Derby Telegraph (here) when Joey refers to Karen Bradley's "ordination as a canon back in 2012". Far be it from me to dispute the 'facts' but I find it somewhat irksome to read articles about life in the Church written by reporters with no clear understanding of the subject they are addressing, rather like a ballet critic reporting on a boxing bout.  Here are a few gems from a very mixed up article - including the picture captions. The italics are mine.

"She was among the first women to be ordained in 1994, when being a woman in the Church was hugely controversial.... Women in the Church has been an issue that has divided the institution for decades." 

And get this! "The first women ordinations took place at St Paul's Cathedral, in London. However, it was not without controversy. Members left and entire congregations changed their branch of Christianity because of their unwillingness to accept women. 

"The next hurdle is for women to be given the right to become bishops."!

It is not unusual for hacks to confuse the facts but clerics should know better than to misrepresent Holy Scripture as in this piece of self-justification:

"The Rev Jean Burgess, who leads St Alkmund's Church, in Derby, is the Dean of Women's Ministry. She sees the reasons behind the unwillingness ["to accept women"] as being ingrained in thousands of years of tradition. She said: 'The tradition in the Church states that Jesus chose men. The reality is that, in the New Testament, it is very clear that it only highlights 12 men but that there were women disciples in his party. It is argued that most of the people in the Bible are men leading churches, but Paul clearly talks about women leading churches. The Bible we use is a translation from Greek and Hebrew. Greek is a very diverse language and one word can mean a number of different things. It seems to me, as a woman, that those scriptures are mistranslated and misunderstood. For me, it is about being equal under God and serving him as best we can."

There is a world of difference between serving and self-serving. St Paul used to be held up as the arch-misogynist. Here he is used to justify the ordination of women.

The article continues with what seems to me to be an odd contradiction: "Despite that opposition, women now make up a third of the Church of England's clergy and approval may soon be given for women to have the opportunity to be ordained as bishops. But for all the column inches in the press that the issue has generated across the country, people outside the Church are still surprised to see a woman in a collar."

Women have won their battle to become accepted as vicars in the Church of England. Their constant complaining about alleged inequality brings the Church into disrepute as does trying to convince outsiders that opposition to the ordination of women is simple prejudice rather than a question of theology.