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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Thresholds


Sources: C of E Hereford Diocese, Catholic Church and Church in Wales


In my youth, crossing the threshold meant holy wedlock combined with jokes about whether one would be strong enough to carry one's bride across the threshold - or vice versa! It was thought by the superstitious that the groom must carry his new wife across the threshold of their new home to prevent bad luck. Predictably that advice has been amended to: "if you consider that each partner is as equal and valuable as the other, why not step over the threshold together?" Now of course anything goes.

The the sill of a doorway, 'threshold' implies a new beginning, a definition used well in 2013 by the Diocese of Hereford. Their 'Crossing the Threshold' was a "Community development approach to the use of church buildings". In 2003 the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff, in which the Anglican Dioceses of Hereford and Llandaff find themselves, used 'Crossing the Threshold' to address their urgent problem of non-churchgoing Catholics.

'Crossing Thresholds' in the Church in Wales has a predictably parochial approach as it dwells on the "history of women’s ministry in Wales". An unfortunate phrase which, reading the the Press release, implies that women exercised no ministry "from the first deaconess in 1884 to the vote enabling women to be ordained as bishops". In characteristically ridiculous comments devoid of any hint of belief in the Apostolic faith, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan said, "Crossing the thresholds of ministry has been a long and arduous journey during which a generation of women has had to endure inequality and prejudice against them as they served first as deacons, then priests, before finally breaking the stained glass ceiling to be allowed to be ordained as bishops .They are the ground-breakers and ground-breakers are the people who throughout history are the ones who have built our Church and formed our faith."

On that basis, the universal Church other than in pockets such as Barry's little patch in which Provinces have unilaterally voted against scripture and tradition, the wider Holy Catholic Church is guilty of inequality and prejudice! 

The Church of Wales has been here before giving the impression that there is nothing more important in the Church in Wales than feminism. That would be wrong. There is. 'Crossing the thresholds' was launched by Dr Gill Todd. She Chairs the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon's Safeguarding Committee doing valuable work in 'keeping people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults safe from harm'. The Diocese of Swansea & Brecon is in the lead in Wales with Dare2Care which focuses on dementia for which they are to be congratulated but social work does not require an ordained ministry.

In 2011 at the Church in Wales' Governing Body (GB) Dr Todd introduced a report on Women’s Representation in the Church in Wales illustrating how representation of women in the Church in Wales has generally improved at various level other than worshipping. In 2010 the GB had been presented with a report illustrating steep decline under every heading. Responding to the WalesOnline headline 'Church attendance in Wales 'plummeting', Dr Morgan said: "All over Wales you can see parishes and churches transforming themselves and the community around them. They are fully engaged with their mission to the community in many different ways, with new and exciting initiatives, risks being taken, new avenues explored and new ways reinvigorated."

Since then the plight of the Church in Wales along with the Church of England and other Provinces which decided to do things their way have gone from bad to worse with attendances declining ever further. It is not that 'a generation of women has had to endure inequality and prejudice against them'. Rather, a generation has had to endure the prejudices of the likes of Dr Morgan obsessed with their liberal agenda. There's the rub.

2 comments:

  1. As you say the Church in Wales is obsessed with the social status of women. This obsession has not fulfilled what should be the Churches' real ambition,which is to ensure that more souls 'cross the threshold' of a church door.
    Do they think that women will be more able to organise bizarre bazaars ?
    What does ++ Barry mean by saying that women are ground- breakers.....and ground breakers have formed our faith?
    I shudder to think that the Archbishop thinks our faith is not 'formed' , and I shudder to think that the Archbishop believes our faith need 'reforming'.
    However ,the evidence is that Archbishop Barry does wish to change the faith of the church, by his denial of the Apostolic ministry in his quest to appoint ecumenical Bishops , and by his re- designing of the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the institution of "The Gathering" ,when the Church in Wales,Methodists,Baptists ,United Reformed and Presbyterian all share bread and wine together .The bread (from the bakers ) may be blessed by any member of one of the churches present. What a mess? Archbishop Barry is certainly watering down the faith of the church.
    Of course ,once the 'Church Uniting in Wales' is established,Archbishop Barry will remain the top dog and miraculously there will be a fantastic increase in the numbers of his new organisation.
    Is there not for us a new threshold which we should find the courage to cross?

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  2. Your Archbishop seems to have forgotten both his ancient and his modern church history when he says,

    "...ground-breakers are the people who throughout history are the ones who have built our Church and formed our faith..."

    Let's see, there was,
    Audius
    Donatus Magnus
    Marcion of Sinope
    Montanus
    Pelagius
    Apollinaris of Laodicea
    Arius

    And ther have been the modern,
    Borg
    Spong

    Groundbreakers all. It seems that it is hard for the Archbishop to differentiate between deal breakers, church breakers and ground breakers.

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