|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?
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?