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Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Church in Wales today: What's it all about?



Photo: Church in Wales

What is the Church in Wales about today? In essence, this picture from their web site sums it up. Archbishop Barry Morgan. What he wants regardless of the cost, spiritually and financially, as he continues to align it with the Episcopal Church of the United States using their heretical Presiding Bishop as an example. The above photograph shows the Archbishop delivering his Presidential address to a submissive Governing Body (GB) audience who now represent just 1% of the souls in Wales who still regularly attend an Anglican church in his Province.

To what extent GB members represent the whole Church in Wales is doubtful given their rapturous applause to the latest innovation, the admission of women to the episcopacy. Perhaps they thought that an honourable compromise had been reached. It was implicit in the bishops' motion but they dropped that in favour of the Jackson/Wigley amendment which required only a voluntary code of practice, the contents of which are being kept a closely guarded secret by the bench of bishops who were charged with creating it. 

All will become clear after Dr Morgan's next Presidential Address when he announces what sacramental and pastoral provision he has decided will be made for those loyal church members who are unable to accept that women can be validly ordained in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which the Church in Wales claims membership. If he again reneges on the promise of acceptable provision will the Governing Body remain compliant or demand that the Church honours its promises? 

The Church in Wales Provincial Press Release heralding the next meeting of the GB on 17 and 18 September, 2014 highlights the main agenda items. "Guidelines for the consecration of women as bishops, a motion of support for people suffering in Gaza and Iraq, and ministry for people with additional needs". In what appears almost an afterthought it adds: "During the meeting the Bishops will publish a ‘Code of Practice’ – guidelines to accompany legislation passed by the Governing Body last year to consecrate women as bishops. The legislation was put on hold for a year, to September 12, to enable the Bishops to prepare a code to accompany it". It adds somewhat menacingly - "Please note: the Code will be only be available following its publication at the meeting on September 17."

Dr Morgan's obsession with the ordination of women rather than maintaining traditional ministry and worship has been matched by rapid decline. The latest figures for 2013 make grim reading. Attendances, baptisms and confirmations are all down. The loss of young people is most worrying as there is a limit to how long increasingly elderly congregations can carry on raising their weekly giving, one of the few encouraging figures in the report, to keep a sinking ship afloat.

There is an attempt to put a brave face on the decline by highlighting areas of 'growth': "Over the past three years we have been gathering statistics for non-traditional forms of worship, and in 2013 it is estimated that just under 12,000 people were involved in such activities". These 'non-traditional' forms of 'worship' include "River Walk; Teddy Bears' Tea Party; Rushbearing Service; Jigsaw Service; Snowdrops Service; Frogs Sole Sisters Tadpoles; Mustard Seeds; Duck Pond Worship; Noah's Ark; Barn Nativity; Pram Services". 

The suggestion that the ordination of women would reinvigorate the church can now be seen for what it was, a blatant attempt to sway people towards secularist ideals. Even with the upsurge in coffee services and toddler activities the innovation has been an obvious failure for the Church despite attempts to celebrate the move as a success for women. 

In the secular world so much admired by Archbishop Morgan any self-respecting chief executive would have done the honourable thing and resigned or he/she would have been forced out after a membership fall of 25% under his/her leadership. Not so in the Church in Wales. Even if the Archbishop becomes incapacitated by infirmity from the due performance of his duties as Archbishop that will no longer be an impediment. Chap V 7 (2) which provides the Bench of Bishops with a remedy is to be repealed! (See here (Appendix 2)). Presumably the next stage will be to remove the retirement age.

The Governing Body must decide. Are they for the Church or for Barry?

28 comments:

  1. What about Messy Church Ancient Briton? I have never witnessed such , but should it not be included in 'non traditional' forms of ' worship ' or this now an accepted norm?
    I am very interested in amphibians but what on earth is 'frogs sole sisters tadpoles'. Does David Attenborough know about this!

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  2. Messy Church has its own section in the Membership and Finances Report 2013, see page 4 http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/11-MembershipAndFinance.pdf

    The Report says, "It is not a club to cater exclusively for existing church members, nor a one off event. It is a different form of church reaching out to who, for whatever reason do not attend traditional church services."

    As the Communications Director for the Diocese of Norwich said after news that according to the 2011 census, the City of Norwich was rated the most godless city in England, the good people of Norwich are "doing their church-going differently"!
    http://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/archbishop-opts-for-delusion.html

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    1. But Ancient Briton, it has long been established (1920) that the Church in Wales is 'exclusively' governed as a club regardless the impersonating.

      There is no 'Archbishop of Wales'. His Darkness presides as Archbishop of the Church in Wales only, regardless what voices he may hear. He is not my Archbishop neither is he yours by the sound of it, save only 1%, if that, of the population. The Arch Druid has a far bigger following.

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    2. What complete and utter b*ll*cks!!! These trendy management types have wrecked our church as they have climbed the greasy management pole by ignoring the basics of teaching the Faith. Now they have got to the top and the membership numbers have collapsed they want to inflict cr*p half witted stupid dumb *rsed trendy/messy church stuff on us. When will they learn that this mucking around will not work? What ever happened to that half-baked idea of church clustering? The ideal model was run by Archdeacon Peggy-the-Pilot. Has her former cluster of parishes worked? Is there growth there?

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    3. The Lady Archdeacon never did any pastoral work in her clustered parish, we never saw her, so it is not surprising that there was no growth here. She was only ever interested in talking about her circle dancing.

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  3. Did Peggy dance or merely call the changes!

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  4. " The Governing Body must decide. Are they for the Church or for Barry? "
    It is very easy to be taken in and flattered by the charm that ++ Barry extrudes, and many will not challenge him for fear of losing favour.

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  5. As a member of Governing Body, I find it an interesting body. Having been to a few meetings now, it seems to operate as some kind of club or clique within the Church. Everyone sits with their cliques and those of us who are not 'of the majority opinion' are ignored. I was certainly one who was very vocal in my opposition to both the legislation and the amendment, in a debate that was poor and badly chaired. I don't believe that such at General Synod in England such a poor debate would have been permitted. I was ignored by the hierarchy when I raised an objection. The cheers that went up were both inappropriate, disrespectful and insensitive. I find it objectionable that the code of practice has not been made available at least to members of the GB, prior to the meeting, it only makes one suspicious that it will be inadequate, however, I don't think it was every going to be. No company or Chief Executive would act in such a manner.

    New ways of worship are all very well, but then where is the place of the central message of the Church, the Eucharist in all that. As far as women priests/bishops are concerned, the statistics say in all. No increase and in the period since the bill was passed, has there been a big increase? I think not. Whatever your view, those who used the equality arguments for women bishops, won't do the same when it comes to sexuality. Consistent, no. Hypocritical, Yes.

    I was shocked a year or so ago to see that a Parish in Cardiff was having circle dancing led by the Archdeacon of Llandaff on Remembrance Sunday. Disgraceful.

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  6. Bourdon- It is most interesting to read of your impressions of the Governing Body - depressing but I think it is as many of us feared.
    "The Governing Body is the supreme legislature of the Church in Wales, broadly speaking the Parliament of the Church in Wales." : a quote from the C in W website.

    It does not seem from your analysis,Bourdon, that there is any hint of democracy in this so called 'parliament'. It seems that if one's point of view varies in any way from the direction the Archbishop intends ,then you are shouted down or ignored.
    In other words a monocracy .
    If the 'charm'of Barry does not work with you, then you will be ignored or bullied into submission. Word has it that Bishop David Thomas as PAB ,had a hard time being excluded ,sometimes by other members of the Bench and also by the RB.
    As far the Code of Practice goes, ++Barry has made it absolutely clear many months ago ,that the decision of 'The Bench' will be final. Thus ++ Barry sees no reason to make the 'Code' available to members prior to the meeting, because I believe it will be a statement and no discussion permitted ( fait accompli!)
    In a clever, sly and threatening way ++Barry abuses the Oath of Canonical obedience .
    Thank you for your effort at the GB, Bourdon : you are clearly disappointed at banging your head against a brick wall !

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    1. Re: ++Barry abuses the Oath of Canonical obedience. I often hear clergy say that they disagree with the archbishop on a variety of issues but are afraid to oppose him because of their oath of obedience. Surely such an oath is a two-way contract? This is one for the canon lawyers - what does the archbishop have to do to invalidate that oath? Or is it that once the oath has been taken the archbishop can do whatever he likes and he will always be able to hold a cleric to that oath? Remember though, that we the laity (i.e. those who bank roll the CinW) haven’t taken an oath of obedience to the archbishop, so we can tell him to s*d off!

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    2. Re Oath of Canonical obedience : ++ Barry said to me on one occasion " they ( referring to priests) can't do a thing without my permission ".
      He truly believes that his role is one of an autocrat.

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    3. I wonder what Fr Alfred Tooth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Tooth would make of this generation of priests and their unquestioning adherence to the flawed oath of obedience? At their inductions they promise to only use the authorised rites of the church, meaning the Anglican Church. They make that promise with crossed their fingers, or muttered additional words, because they argue that the Roman Rite they will be using in its entirety is authorised by ‘The Universal Church’. So it is acceptable to break that promise but the oath of obedience is a different matter.

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    4. The Vicar of Kentish Town has been heard to say that the only Anglican thing about him is his salary. So no adherence to an oath of obedience there if it clashes with his catholic interpretation of his ministry. Perhaps the concept of an oath of obedience to a bishop is an out-dated concept? May be it ought to be replaced with a contract of employment. That way it would be easier to determine whether either side was in breach of the contact. Given His Darkness’ ability to pick up law cases against him that should keep his law officers busy.

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    5. Canonical obedience to the 'bishop and his successor' can only be understood in the context of 'In all things honest and lawful'.

      We have long been familiar with the lies and deceit of the one known to us in these last days as 'His Darkness' when he was bishop of Bangor in 1997. From whence this Grand Mufty and personification of evil fled to Llandaf.

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  7. Bourdon – you only confirm what many of us have known for so long. The GB is managed like Barry’s private club. The total impotence of the Bench only enhances the archbishop’s power. It is ironic that for one who is so anti-Catholic and anti-Rome, and has peddled his own brand of liberalism, he cannot abide dissension and behaves like a hybrid jumped up tin-pot dictator and an infallible pope. The fact that his leadership style has failed is illustrated in the recently published CinW membership data. Every single measureable indicator is down.
    And look what happened when he showed us that even as an exalted archbishop he still had the pastoral touch and could run a parish – his micromanagement of the cathedral has destroyed it. Every cathedral in the UK has reported growth, except Llandaff under His Darkness. Up and down the land cathedrals have become centres of excellence for pastoral care, diverse ministry, music, liturgy and the arts. But not Llandaff under His Darkness’ stewardship. That very rare, almost extinct breed, the tourist visitor to Llandaff Cathedral once they find cathedral can’t even refresh themselves with a cup of coffee because such luxuries of hospitality are unknown within that dark establishment.
    Bourdon, if you remain on GB you are complicit in the archbishop’s actions, if you resign you will be a lone voice, but at least you will display integrity and honour. If enough of you were to resign and bring the GB to a halt by triggering fresh elections that could be interesting. That would require a concerted, co-ordinated effort, and you only a few days left. No doubt His Darkness and Dementors would crush any such opposition.

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  8. It won't be long before the entire Church in Wales really can meet in one room, as depicted in the photo. It will consist of the Bench, their hangers-on, and their PAs. Everyone else will have long transferred to churches which continue to uphold and teach and practise the Christian faith.

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  9. Philippe -
    Since we almost need to cross our fingers when we recite "we believe in One Holy Catholic Church" ,when do you think that the liturgy committee of the Church in Wales will decide to remove this phrase from the authorised affirmation of our faith in the Creed?

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    1. Simple Soul, I have no doubt that the Church in Wales will retain those words, as they are part of the Church in Wales "brand" which they will never relinquish, however absurd the claim becomes. Even if the membership falls below 1000, there will still be the same number of Bishops and Dignitaries and Cathedrals, masquerading as "the Church in Wales", funded by the endowments which are sufficient to keep them in the style to which they are accustomed, whether or not they have a congregation in reality when the doors open on Sunday mornings.

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  10. As the saying goes "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"! Whereas in the Church of England, membership of the General Synod is dominated by the sad individuals who have nothing better to do with their lives (and is therefore totally unrepresentative of those who worship on Sundays); in Wales, it is now a politburo of self-selecting puppets for Byzantine Barry's protestant sect. That the GB could be said to be an instrument which expresses the mind of the Church is laughable - just like the dictator who presides over it. After the hype of women bishops has died down, he will go back to being bored with being the archbishop of a declining institution because he will not actually be able to consecrate one himself - unless, of course, he comes up with some ruse to create a suffragan see in Llandaff! And still, we continue to cry, Arglwydd trugarha.

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    1. It was far too easy for Barry to dominate what was already a small-scale, rotten borough and it is hard to see how it can now ever recover, once his schemes are institutionalised in the Church in Wales.

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  11. Whatever happened to the Uniting Church In Wales? It seems to have disappeared from view. Yet another damp squib perhaps! I have spoken to several non-conformist friends who know nothing about the proposal and are totally opposed to it. Clearly there has been no consultation or discussion with ordinary members of those congregations. If an attempt is made to present a "fait accompli" it will undoubtedly lead to mayhem.

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  12. So within the 'Code', to put it simply, traditional members are offered a Bishop wearing trousers.

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  13. Women's Ordination as a stalking horse for liberal religion. This is the case in the CoE and CinW. It is why approving this measure seals the fate of the established church. The advent of women bishops will solidify the control of liberals over the church hierarchy and thus trigger the inevitable outflow of conservatives from the CinW. It will become a self-reinforcing dynamic. As more conservatives leave, the liberal agenda will become easier to enact - thus driving out more conservatives. There are plenty of liberals who want to see this happen but most of them won't join let alone contribute towards the resulting church. They are only interested in removing an opponent of the post-modern worldview. Within 20 years the CinW will be either deserted, bankrupt, or both or deserted and funded by the Welsh Assembly as a worthy cause.

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  14. Phil Roberts, again I repeat what I have commented several times on this blog which is that the Church in Wales is a private body regardless of the trappings. It impersonates the establishment in some of it's ceremonies and constitution. It belongs within public law only in part, namely the marriage Act and it's church owned graveyards. There are no problems in a cemetery - all are dead. Get it?

    When the legal establishment parade their outfits of wigs and gowns at ordinations and enthronements it is merely akin to children playing cowboys and Indians. It is a non judicial event. They impersonate the establishment. Unlike the Church of England, the Church in Wales is a denomination just like any other religious body within Wales, regardless what first minister Carwyn Jones (Mr 45%), or Barry Bonk, would like us believe.

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  15. Where's the theology in this blog. You guys just trot out your prejudices one after another without any theological substance whatsoever. Add to that, some of you really do need to get out more - simple soul - does it really matter that much to you? You're all just a world away from the person in the street is not to mention Jesus

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    1. Fart wants theological substance. Would he like to offer some which rises above and beyond the angry outbursts of stale air he has offered so far? It would be good to read his original, rigorous and cutting-edge contributions.

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  16. I would not offer my theological musings here - it's not the place as it's clearly not what you lot want. This blog has descended into vile vective and shameful gossip. The lot of you should feel deeply ashamed. Deeply ashamed.

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    1. Well, Fart, perhaps you would like to tell us where you do express your 'theological substance' and then we can all have the opportunity to be enlarged, enlivened and inspired by your rigorous intellectual engagement with the challenges and opportunities of belonging to an 'inclusive' church. I would hate people to think that you are, in nature as in name, a rather sad and angry processor of stale air.

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