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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

+ Richard outlines his survival strategy

That is, a survival  strategy for the six diocesan bishops of the Church in Wales (CinW) whose membership can't stretch to 1% of the population of Wales and continues to shrink based on the CinW's own figures. 

From the 2013 Membership and Finances Report quoted in Highlights:
"The trend is down across the board. There is no set of figures which indicate a rise in physical numbers in any single category. There are no positive indicators—every field shows decline compared with previous years, and in some cases that decline is significant. Our core membership continues to fall year on year."

In senior manager positions implementing strategies for growth in a declining market the bishops are far more secure than they would be if considering the continuing need for six dioceses with six Bishops and an Ass Bishop, six Deans, numerous Archdeacons, etc, etc. Clearly top heavy but in management terms spot-on in mirroring society today which has become the primary aim of liberal Anglicanism

Bishop Pain explains that "as time has gone on we need to be more focused": There's lots of changes happening in the Church and in society and there are challenges which we are facing and I think any organisation needs to have a clear understanding about where it is going. The key message is to harness our develop ministry in new and exciting ways.

And here is the crunch, "but you need to have a plan for that. You need organisation. And you need resources for that. There are tensions I think between what parishes want and sometimes what the diocese needs and you need to hold all those together and that is what the plan is trying to do."
Without any hint of irony the bishop says that he would be very surprised if you didn't have any organisation which was working well that didn't have focused leadership. [My emphasis - Ed.]  Working well doesn't sit comfortably with the bishop of Bangor's comments when he introduced the Finance and Membership Report. He said, More money today is being spent on ministry than at any other time in the history of the Church in Wales. That means less on buildings, more on people. For a Church that wants to orientate itself towards mission, that is very, very good news. The bad news comes with membership.   

According to the bishop of Monmouth, because of the economic stringencies we are facing at the moment, we have to have a clear understanding of how we manage the money, so that we can have the right resources in the right place. This will mean cutting the number of clergy down but hopefully having good teams which will enable us to go forward in the future. 'Hopefully' being the operative word.

The Diocese of Monmouth's new strategy is headed: "Monmouth 2020: Becoming the people God calls us to be. The bishop says that the roots of the Church go back "hundreds and hundreds of years" but "plants go in different directions at times". He claims that the diocese is "going back to the roots of what the Church is about". But what "the Church is about" is not what the Church in Wales is about, or the Church of England for that matter. Plants which go off in different directions are often regarded as weeds to be plucked out or left to wilt after hoeing, a process already in evidence in England and Wales having spread from the US.

How much more deluded can our career focused bishops become? The "people God calls us to be" are those Anglicans who have remained true to the Catholic faith along with our brothers and sisters in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. 

What the Church in Wales fails to realise is that in departing from the Catholic faith they have set themselves apart from the Apostolic Church. The roots are in the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Any survival strategy which ignores that will protect only its senior strategy managers at the expense of their flock.


  1. I think that +Richard is barking up the wrong tree!

    1. 'because of the economic stringencies we are facing at the moment, we have to have a clear understanding of how we manage the money, so that we can have the right resources in the right place. This will mean cutting the number of clergy down but hopefully having good teams which will enable us to go forward in the future.' Sounds like a dog's dinner to me!

  2. "The roots of the Church go back hundreds and hundreds of years " No , Bishop, the roots of the Church go back 2,000 years.! So instead of adhering to the tradition and faith of the One Holy Catholic Church (to which the C inW claims to belong) , I guess the Bishop and the C in W aligns itself the Protestant reformation?
    And he says that managing the money means cutting the number of clergy - well the reduction is happening anyway.
    Don't they all talk like politicians?
    What a lot of waffle.

  3. So "managing the money means cutting the number of clergy"?
    Start at the very top and get rid of spendthrift Barry Morgan and his "discretionary" spending for a start.

  4. Llandaff Pelican25 June 2015 at 10:38

    2020 is considered the 'Make or Break' year for the C of E and +Richard Monmouth is piggy-backing on that with an emphasis on economics. It is utterly uninspiring. The Bench-sitters have lost the confidence of the infantry. Where is the spiritual energy in all this? This is a classic case of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    It is time for Byzantine Barry to clear his golf clubs out of the garage at Llys Esgob and, for once, do the Church in Wales an act of selfless service (... ok you can stop laughing now) and clear off into retirement. We need a successor who is on speaking terms with God (Tree-eating +Gregory of Llanelwy the only qualified candidate there), who understands the complexity of the Church's history (ditto) and is generous enough to unite the Church (double ditto). He will also be able to draw-in (and draw-back) some of the gifted talent that jumped ship after Byazantine Barry's illiberal purges, who will inspire confidence in the infantry. Cutting clergy is no answer. Nor is filling parishes with failed, divorced, 50-something ex primary school teachers. It just compounds the lie that 'Church is for children.'

    Meanwhile 2020 draws ever closer...

    1. Bet you it will be + John Davies when the day comes!

    2. Darth Luxuria +Gregory will be back off to the CofE as fast as his fat little stumps will carry him as soon as the "right" vacancy arises.

  5. Many dioceses in the CofE have tried these dopey strategies, and have lost significant numbers as a result. The only ones which are growing are the ones which put mission and growth first, and direct the modest and precious resources to where they have most effect - in parishes and parish clergy, rather than employ any more advisers, PAs, archdeacons, swanky office buildings or company cars.

  6. Meanwhile in Bangor ....

    1. Readers who wish to comment should note that 'anonymous' comments are not normally published.
      I have made an exception in this case to emphasis the point that significant comments are often unpublished because a pseudonym has not been added to identify the author of one 'anonymous' comment from another.

    2. “It is standard practice for senior clergy to discuss job descriptions with congregations before new priests are sought and appointed."

      Is it indeed Andy?
      If this is so in Bangor then it is not in Llandaff. If it had been so in Llandaff we would not have ended up with the Arch dope Barry Morgan as "acting" dean, the 9 week wonder Henderson, Peggy the Pilot as archdeacon and "acting dean or the prize chump glove puppet Capon.

      The people of Llandaff made their choice for Bonaparte's successor patently clear in their responses to the infamous questionnaire from Prof Eleri Jones, but because bully boy Bazza didn't like the answers he was given her report was never made public.

      The way things are going the CinW will be lucky to make it to 2016 never mind 2020!

  7. Beleaguered of Bangor26 June 2015 at 22:13

    Not sure why the Daily Post thinks Cyanide Sue's departure from Bangor Cathedral is a cause for lament. I've never so many happy faces up here. Good riddance to her. Derby's loss is our gain. Nia Williams' resignation (with no job to go to) suggests a combination of exasperation or burnout - coupled to a hope that people will forget that she was ever one of the Dean's acolytes. So now that another Welsh-speaking priest deserts this particular sinking ship of Welsh Anglicanism (that's 20% of the stipendiary cohort since Andy Pandy was imposed on us in 2008) who's left?

    Well, there's the ex sex-offender Archdeacon of Meirionnydd (late of the Gentlemen's Easement Facility of Llandaff Fields circa 1995). There's the unctuous Robert Townsend who's gathering a portfolio of grand-sounding jobs with the word 'Director' in their titles - and all because he's bored with being in a parish. He's got more Brown Nose awards than Fr Ted has got Golden Clerics. There's Randolph do-bugger-all Ellis, who pops his head around the door and Marks and Sparks in his capacity as (deep breath now) High Street Chaplain, as he ministers to those working in the ladies lingerie section ("I hear it's the largest in Europe...") And let's not forget Alun Hawkins, the ex-Dean's predecessor, who did so much to ensure Cyanide Sue succeeded him at the Deanery. Now he's retired, he now spends more time in the Diocese than he ever did when he was 'working'! And that's it... apart from Fred (sometimes known as "Mike") West who's got the grandest title of them all - Archdeacon for Mission. He accumulates gigantic mileage expense claims as he drives around the Diocese putting everyone's backs up and then going home to watch the cricket. Oh, I nearly forgot. There's the smattering of 50-something ex-teacher, ex-social worker, and ex-amateur painter divorcees who have been trained on the course instigated by Sour Sue (her other pet name) and her boyfriend the Potty Prof. What's the betting we won't be seeing much of him in Bangor now?

    Meanwhile, Andy just grins in that vacant way he always has. If you challenge him and suggest things are not going as well as the impression given in the Diocesan rag (Neck Sex or some silly title like that) he gets very angry and defensive. He even told one correspondent that Cyanide Sue was (deep breath again) "much loved"! With such a grip on reality, we can only assume that when 2020 comes, he'll be there in the pulpit of Bangor Cathedral, preaching to one of his pet dogs and then turning out the lights before the developers move in.

  8. It doth not yet appear that His Grace will be coming to Andy's aide on this one . This sort of thing does not get published in the Daily Post unless its a paid editorial from Cardiff.

    Perhaps His Irrelevance has change in mind for 'Ty'r Esgob'? How does 'Angelino Bangor' grab you folks? Now there's a wee garl to put bums on seats.

  9. This whole episode is Barry's revenge on Bangor. He was - and is - so angered by the way he didn't get his own way when Bishop of Bangor, and presided over such dire decline, that he's had it in for us ever since. He sent in Tony Crockett thinking he would put the boot in, but Tony was far more intelligent and gracious than Barry ever will be. He ran a tight ship, but people loved him and he attracted clergy of real quality to the Diocese. They've all now left for the C of E. Barry was furious that Tony was succeeding where he had failed miserably. So he rigged the 2008 electoral college (with the help of Sour Sue and her lying rage to stop the candidate who would continue Tony's policy and stand up to Barry's nonsense) to give us a Dead Duck par excellence. The man is a complete joke. He is as dull as dishwater. He can't inspire anyone. He lurches from one disaster to the next. He surrounds himself with a**e lickers like Robert Townsend (who will do anything to get preferment) and 'honest' Andrew Jones ("Did I tell you I was once professor of theology at Cambridge?"). To say the Diocese is at a low ebb is the greatest understatement yet. The whole thing is a total joke.

    1. Thank you correspondents, we’ve had the ‘state of the nation’ from Barry-land Llandaff and Andy-land Bangor. The old hound-dog Richard Monmouth has condemned his own diocese in his super slick, media savvy video presentation. How about the other three dioceses? How’s Shirley Swansea & Brecon doing? And what about Gregorios Maximumus and dear old Wyn St David’s?

    2. My reading of the situation is this. +Wyn is doing a grand job of resisting Barry's 'Desperate Dan' strategy of stripping-out clergy and turning parishes into meaningless 'Mission Areas.' +Wyn realises that this means nothing to the people on the ground and, thus far, we've been spared much of the worst excesses of the Lord Harries ruse. The clergy seem in good heart, too, which tells you a lot! St Asaph like +Gregorius Maximus. He's intelligent, caring of his clergy, and actually inspires them (unlike +Bangor who leaves them jaded and despairing). The lay people of the Diocese have confidence in him and there's very little of the 'backs against the wall' culture which is in Bangor (via Llys Esgob, Llandaff).

      Now. +Shirley Swansea & Brecon. We all know he's a slippery ex-solicitor who engenders about as much trust as a second-hand car salesman. The problem is that quite a lot of people seem to be buying his goods and chattels. He's hardly in the first division intellectually (unlike +Maximus). He ducks and dives his way around the Diocese like someone avoiding an arrest warrant. No-one trusts much of what he says. But (and this is the funny thing), things seem to be chugging along fairly well. +Shirley has made sure he's touched-up the landed gentry of Powys for a few quid for various pet projects, so things don't seem to dire in the banking sector of the Diocese.

      All this leads me to conclude that Llandaff, Bangor & Monmouth are in need of Special Measures - a sort of Ecclesiastical OFSTED. Andy C*ap could be retrained as a ticket collector on Arriva Trains Wales (he could still live in Bangor and continue to make boring announcements - instead of in the pulpit it would be over the PA system on trains). Richard Monmouth could become a trouble shooter for the Westminster government as it tried to cut £12m from the benefits budget. And Barry... Well what do you do about Barry? Answers on a postcard, please. The winning entry get's free life membership of Radyr golf club!

    3. I don't know if your readers visit the Thinking Anglicans blog. They should do. This has comment on the Anglican Communion and sexuality has just appeared:

      "This week the bishop of Bangor ( who describes himself as a liberal evangelical) appointed a vocations officer who is in a civil partnership. ( see diocesan web site) When I inquired was it celibate, I was informed that in 2005 the Bishops in Wales (by-passing the Governing Body ) decreed that clergy could be in civil partnerships and there was no need for a celibacy pledge."

      Really? How can an issue like this be by-passed? Or is this Andy C*ap talking the proverbial? Certainly, evidence yet again that Barry Morgan is treating the Church's elected representatives like mushrooms.

    4. Of course Gareth, this is the revenge of the Dark One who knows no allegiance towards a fellow bishop or priest in matters appertaining to personal ambition. Should we be surprised at His lack of support for bishop Andy?

      For the former bishop of St Davids and his female chaplain support from on high was not forthcoming, presumably because of his virility. For poor Andy, it appears to be an issue of uselessness.

      One can't help but wonder, if He, the Most Wise, does sense a window of opportunity for a woman bishop in Bangor before he retires ? Now then ladies, here's your opportunity, so cease the day, The Ice Maiden may yet return with all the splendour of a piece of wet tripe. .

    5. Beleaguered of Bangor27 June 2015 at 19:38

      The Return of the Ice Maiden (what a wonderful nom-de-plume!) would indeed spell the end for Bangor. My information is that the allegations of bullying were mounting up and Andy Pandy's policy of ignore-it-and-carry-on was creaking under the weight of evidence. I am told that a journalistic enquiry to the HR honcho at 39 Cathedral Road about bullying in Bangor Diocese was greeted with the kind of defensive short shrift we expect from Ty'r Esgob when unwelcome questions are asked. I'd say Cyanide Sue's card is well-marked in Wales and, having created havoc here once, she will hardly be welcomed back with open arms.

  10. Tommyrot +Richard.
    If you wish to cut clergy-- Why ordain ten women this weekend?

  11. Llandaff Pelican27 June 2015 at 21:45

    All this talk of desperation from Bangor is in danger of eclipsing the dire financial picture being painted by the former Golf Caddy (aka the Dean) in this month's Llandaff Cathedral magazine. Picking one up after the "ordination", this morning, the Capon is clearly desperate for a few more coppers on the collection plate. He's banging on about 'a recovering tradition of excellence' in music and liturgy (like a recovering alcoholic, I guess!). By the tone of his article, the place won't last until 2020. So desperate is he, that he's inviting people to correspond with him about the state of the finances. Here's the chance we've all been waiting for...

  12. Talking of "Ordinations" how many of those having episcopal hands clapped on them this weekend have been ordained without any training under the so-called Local Minsitry plan? Certainly one in Shirley Davies's Diocese was a lay reader who had been turned down by the provincial panel three times, and then got ordained without any further selection or training. I'd like to bet a tidy sum that some of those in St Davids (so many that there had to be several ordination services, to quote the Riechstag website) also fall into this category. With clergy of that quality, no wonder +Richard wants to cut them!

  13. Fascinated Outsider29 June 2015 at 08:04

    'Recovering tradition...' It's enough to make you weep. What he should have said is that, if ++Darth Insidious and Peggy the Pilate had not been so arrogant and incompetent - and downright dishonest to boot - there would be no need to 'recover' anything. There was a perfectly good (I won't say outstanding) choral tradition at Llandaff Cathedral. What all this has cost in terms of redundancy payments, hiring 'interim' directors of music (one of whom never showed up after he realised he was being drawn in to a poisoned chalice), let alone a diminishing public perception of the Cathedral (i.e. it's a joke among the cultural and musical circles of Wales) is incalculable. Oh... and, of course, there's the human cost, too. But I don't imagine that counts for much when you're campaigning for equality and justice for women but no-one else!