They are being asked to mark November 16 as 2020 Vision Sunday by supporting and praying for the Church in Wales’ strategy for growth.
Major changes are well underway in the Church in Wales as it responds to the challenge of making the best use of its resources to serve Wales today. These include expanding traditional parish boundaries into create larger “Ministry Areas” and encouraging lay people to take up leadership roles. The strategy is called 2020 Vision as it looks ahead to the Church in Wales’ centenary in 2020.
Prayers, readings and a sermon themed around 2020 Vision are being sent out to all churches in time for the special Sunday and are also available online.
Vision Sunday is a precursor to The Time Is Now Conference when "about 200 people from churches across Wales to share their stories of how their churches are responding to changes.They will be joined by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, and the six other Welsh bishops. There will also be conference theologian who will reflect on the issues under discussion. Dr Christina Baxter CBE, is a former Chair of the Church of England’s General Synod’s House of Laity, former Principal of St John’s Theological College, Nottingham, and a lay canon of Southwell."
Call me an old cynic but one has to question the validity of any consultation organised by the bishops after they ignored the consultation designed to inform the Bench about the Code of Practice and meekly did just as Barry wanted them to do to the detriment of the Church in Wales.
Any strategy for growth should be encouraged, including those where churches are thriving. As the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry said when speaking in the Commons about the Church of England, previously cited as an example of good practice: "the Church of England is deeply committed to the flourishing of all those who are part of its life in the grace of God...Indeed, I think we would all hope that every part of the Church of England can now flourish and thrive." So why not the Church in Wales?
Barry's strategy has become a familiar pattern. The Governing Body were presented with a procedure designed to secure the desired result on the admission of women to the Episcopacy. Then they were handed for consideration a loaded question about homosexual people being made to feel unwelcome with a similar rouse being used to gain acceptance of same-sex marriage in Church. Members are also being encouraged to consider their approach to assisted dying. All part of Dr Morgan's mission rather than His mission.
If the Church in Wales genuinely wants a strategy for growth it should truly be His mission is our future, not Barry's. The fate of the Church in Wales under Dr Morgan's rule is painfully clear. I hope at least one of the 200 or so people from churches across Wales will pluck up the courage to ask if the outcome of the conference is predetermined as were the 'consultations' on the Code of Practice, or will they be hand-picked to avoid any opposition?
This is a suggested Collect for used for 2020 Sunday, including the unsaid thoughts of the Bench:
Generous God, thank you, that you bless us with so much love. Help us to recognise and celebrate all the good things that you have given. Lead us to be wise and just stewards of all your gifts so that, inspired by your grace, the Church in Wales may grow in love and service of others and be living signs of your reconciliation and hope in our communities and for all creation - so long as they are not faithful Anglicans remaining true to the Catholic faith! Amen.