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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Statistics of Omission

Note: The image of the Archbishop of Wales is disproportionate to average Sunday attendance to ensure his visibility.
In the 2011 Census, Christianity was the largest religion, with 33.2 million people (59.3 per cent of the population) here

The video in my 24 June entry, + Richard outlines his survival strategy, gave some clues to the dismemberment of the Church in Wales as the bishops implement Abp Barry Morgan's strategy for their survival, ie, retain all the bishops with their expensive diocesan structures, get rid of paid parish clergy and fool the laity into running the ministry areas nobody wants apart from Barry and his bench sitters.

Despite all Dr Morgan's political posturing the secularised Church in Wales (CinW) is barely significant in Anglicanism representing less than 0.04% of the Communion. If he were to be represented in the above chart in proportion to the average number of people attending CinW services the Archbishop of Wales would be invisible. According to CinW published figures the average adult Sunday attendance in Wales is 31,048 (Table 1 here) out of a population of 3,063,456 (1%). With seven bishops supported that works out at a mere 4,435 attendees per bishop.

When it suits them the CinW hierarchy refer to other provinces such as in the Church of England as examples of good practice as they did in support of their women bishops legislation. Archdeacon Peggy Jackson referred to CofE proposals when she conned the CinW Governing Body into accepting the Jackson/Wigley amendment which gave Barry Morgan a free hand to do exactly as he planned. Having secured the vote to appoint women bishops, he made no alternative sacramental and pastoral provision in the CinW Code of Practice, contrary to proposals in the Church of England and his bench sitters went along with him.

Following the CinW example I have been looking at the Church of England's Statistics for Mission 2013. The population of Wales is about the same size as the population of the diocese of Chelmsford but with a greater average Sunday attendance. They manage with one diocesan and three assistant bishops. Alternatively, based on population density, Wales with 381 people per sq mile, is similar to the diocese of Lincoln. They manage with a diocesan bishop and one assistant.

In the Table below I have included the diocese of Oxford, occasionally referred to in this blog and said by some commentators to be Dr Morgan's favourite diocese. These three dioceses together have 11 bishops with an average 90,000 souls regularly attending Sunday services or 8,182 attendees per bishop, almost double the number the bishops in Wales have in their charge yet the number of dioceses and bishops appears to be the only area off limits in their 2020 Vision strategy. A strategy which is being implemented under the heading "Serving community, inspiring people, transforming church". Serving and inspiring, no; transforming the church, yes, but not in a manner recognised by the vast majority of the world's 80 million Anglicans of which Wales makes up a mere 0.039%. Yet Dr Morgan would have his Church members believe that it is he who holds the keys.

Diocese/ Population Pop Density Average Sunday Number Attendees
per Sq Mile Attendance of bishops per bishop

Chelmsford 3,060,000 2,000 34,100 4 8,525
Lincoln 1,051,000 390 12,200 2 6,150
Oxford 2,313,000 1,040 43,700 5 8,740

WALES 3,063,456 381 31,048 7 4,435

Canterbury Ave. Sunday attendance  622,000
York             "           "           "            227,400

CinW            "           "           "              31,048

In Wales it has been not so much a case of Statistics For Mission but the consequences of omission. Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age".

Rather than "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you", the Church in Wales has become obsessed with a mission to reflect society, misusing the Bible in the process. Questions such as, What did Jesus say about women priests/homosexuality/gay marriage, etc, etc? are posed to provide the predictable answer, "Nothing", ignoring what has been commanded. A faith based on what wasn't said rather than what was said is doomed to fail. *

The same mistakes have been made in the Church of England, also in steep decline as they too follow the path set by the US Episcopal Church (TEC) but the rot has been more severe in the Church in Wales. Read the Rev Dr Peter Mullen's "The meaning of TEC" for his assessment: "those modernising more rapidly are also failing faster".

If Wales were a Church of England parish rather than a separate province the faithful would still have the benefit of alternative Episcopal oversight. But the bench of bishops seem determined only to feather their own nests at the expense of everyone else.

Clerics who have seen the light are already departing for the Church of England. Ideally the 2020 strategy would be for the province to return to the Church of England where honouring promises ameliorates the sins of omission. That would give all an equal chance of survival since equality is the name of the game.

* Postscript [12 July 2015]

A further example of what wasn't said from York Synod:

"Elliot Swattridge, who represents the Church of England Youth Council on the Synod, said: "When Jesus instituted the first celebration of the eucharist during the last supper his words were simple: 'Do this in remembrance of me’.
"In this characteristically simple statement he instructed the entire body of his disciples to participate in not only receipt but also the administration of communion.
"Note that Jesus did not state 'do this but never administer it unless you have been ordained'. Neither did he state 'do this but only of you are over 18 years of age'."

Therefore, children and worshippers who have not been confirmed should be allowed to administer the sacrament at Eucharist services! Story here.


  1. Desperate Disco11 July 2015 at 17:17

    Regardless of the depths to which they plumb, the numbers just don't show up!
    A success to rival the 'Sneak-a-Peek' day at Llandaff.

  2. "So Dr Barry Morgan visited the faith garden at Peterston-Super-Ely Church in Wales school, said some prayers of blessing and then sat down with the children to answer their questions about his role, faith and the nature of spirituality."
    Here's hoping the children had the insight to treat the words of the false prophet with the contempt they so justly deserve.

  3. Llandaff Pewster11 July 2015 at 18:05

    AB, the figures you quote are from the 2013 report.
    The smart money on The Green is that the Sunday numbers are now well below 30,000 (judging by the rapidly declining numbers in Llandaff on a Sunday).
    Parking here has not been a problem since bully boy bazza imposed his glove puppet on us!

    1. Knight on the Green11 July 2015 at 18:54

      @Llandaff Pewster - I heard similar. A figure of sub-28,000 is doing the rounds! Ouch!!!

    2. It is just as well Ancient Briton did not carry out a comparison on Christian Theology, preaching and intellect.
      His ++Irrelevance would not have made it onto the graph paper.

  4. Number Cruncher11 July 2015 at 21:18

    It would be interesting to break down the figures by Diocese. I suspect Bangor and Llandaff will come out of this worst, relative to their populations and geographical area. The Canterbury Province figures are obviously swelled by London, Chelmsford, St Albans, Chichester and Guildford dioceses which are growing - and growing disproportionately to, say, Derby, Lichfield, Lincoln and Truro. In fact, Truro is near-bankrupt despite its trendy Bishop. Where you have an orthodox bishop, the life of the church is flourishing. The York figures are low because the C of E, historically, never made in-roads into the industrial Northern heartlands (except where the Oxford Movement and Evangelical revival was strong). However you interpret these figures, Morgan has some explaining to do. How come there has been a near-suicidal decline on his watch? It could have something to do with him being a divisive figure within the church, and the wider population beyond the church simply not trusting him. Despite the Anna Morrell propaganda machine, he is a bit of a laughing stock among the media set, who tend to assume he talks drivel which doesn't connect with the non-golfing population. The fact that he has micro-managed the C in W, imposed his own blue-print on his fellow bishops, and is widely derided among the intelligent clergy, is simply compounding the malaise.

    1. Not exactly what you are looking for Number Cruncher but you may find this old analysis interesting:

  5. Thank you for your interesting comparison between the Church in Wales and the C of E. Church decline is sadly relentless and all too predictable. However the Church of England is not declining as fast as other Anglican churches, see You might find it useful to compare with your work. Best wishes. John

    1. Thank you John. I have added your blog to my blog list in the right hand column.

  6. Two points need to be noted from this your recent blog Ancient Briton, for future interest.

    First, the idea of too many Welsh bishops and diocesan boundaries had already been brought to the attention of Barry (Bangor) in 1994- 95 by the former Rector of Benllech. His 'Irrelevance' was not too impressed that this incumbent had the nerve to stand up and question his bishops view on mission areas, clergy pensions and the cost of running 39 Cathedral Road. Copies of correspondence, now available within the public domain, between Williams and the Provincial Board of Finance, prove the level of threat Rector Clifford Williams was considered to be by Barry and the PBF Chairman His Honour Michael Evans QC. Within less than 2 years he was stitched up with and adultery allegation and deposed by the infamous Provincial Kangaroo Court in 1997 of which its President (Judge / Chairman) was none other than Michael Evans himself.

    Secondly, Ancient Briton, Barry is not Archbishop of Wales. He is the 'Archbishop of the Church in Wales' and its members, or, according to private domestic law, his own club. The title 'Archbishop of Wales' is a myth, invented by, and, for an institution with an over enlarged ego.

  7. Beleaguered of Bangor12 July 2015 at 17:38

    Enforcer has gone to the heart of the issue. Despite all the bilge about compassion and forgiveness (and the 'God of Jesus' this and the 'God of Jesus' that) Barry Morgan is, basically, a grudge-bearer par excellence. He is threatened by the talent, intelligence and vision of those more able than he is. He cannot bear to be challenged. The only bishop who has ever had two big enough to tell him where to go was Tony Crockett. When Tony died, Barry Morgan colluded, connived and conspired with the low-lifers of Bangor Diocese to ensure we had a spineless sycophant imposed on us. The disaster which has unfolded is comprehensively discussed on the previous thread. Meanwhile, if it is 28,000 and falling, a lot of people can kiss goodbye to that pension.

    1. One Archdeacon had the cheek to declare that too many retired priests of the Church in Wales were living far too long, were an unwanted burden and should do the the CinW a favour by dying as soon as possible.
      However, the aforementioned Archdeacon's own retirement seems to be stretching on and on and on......

    2. Gabriel - cannot detect much of an association with Christianity there?

    3. Simple Soul, there's precious little that goes on in Bazzaland that has anything to do with Christianity!

  8. Is there anyone in the pot who can turn the Church in Wales around?
    The ship is sinking?

    1. Simple Soul, the present Captain has a history of blaming others and not himself for wreckage.Soon, (like the rats), he will be gone.

    2. Is there anyone left that would want to?
      Long ago I reached the conclusion that the best thing to do was stop my giving and let bully boy Bazza's toxic regime collapse in on itself as quickly as possible.
      Once that has happened and Bazza, his coven of the unholy trinity and their ilk have long departed to leech from some other poor b*stards, then those of us who are left standing can come in, pick up the pieces and get on with God's work.

  9. Apologies if this is off-thread, but given its coverage in a previous one, I thought you should have a report on yesterday's proceedings in Llandaff with Exeter Cathedral Choir. After rip-roaring concerts in Swansea and Eglwys Dewi Sant, Cardiff, the choir came to Llandaff on Sunday morning. There were more people there than usual (mainly choir supporters). The nave seating was (just) two-thirds full. David Davies, the Sub-Organist of Exeter, made the organ sound like a completely different instrument. However, a few of us were bewildered by the girls sounding slightly flat throughout - especially after we had heard them sing so spectacularly in the previous two days. Answer: they were having difficulty hearing and pitching to the organ. According to the eminent Professor Davies, there is a fundamental flaw in the design of the organ. Too little consideration was given to its role as an accompanying instrument. The acoustics of the Cathedral, coupled to the design of the instrument, means that it is not doing the job it is supposed to do.

    Well done to everyone involved!

    1. I think to be fair, the organ's role in the cathedral may have been more dictated by tradition and CADW rather than modern acoustic considerations. It's been my experience in the CoE that organs (especially the pipework) were usually installed/put/shoved anywhere in the church they'd fit, or where the donor thought they'd make a good show. The best installations I've seen (and played) are where the console *and* mechanism were within myopic eyeline and earshot of the choir - usually adjacent to the choir stalls. Where the console and the mechanism are separated, the more the distance and the more you're playing the building rather than the instrument. Sound travels at 343 m/s, so you can get some quite interesting effects in large spaces once you factor in reflections, reinforcements and cancellations. We used to observe with interest in my parish church at weddings the point at which a processing choir would synch up with the organ. Our point of observation was the open ringing chamber (yes - a bell-ringer - get over it) which was more or less half way between the organ and choir entry point. As for the intonation; that doesn't normally happen unless one or other of the choir or organ was moving apart - the Doppler effect.

    2. Perhaps Barry's friend, BBC News Reader Hugh Edwards , might have been an adviser?

  10. Llandaff Pelican13 July 2015 at 10:42

    Rarely do I take issue with AB, but I think a touch of theological nuance is called for in your post-script about children being authorised to distribute communion. For Roman Catholics, Orthodox -and Anglicans - baptism is the rite of entry into the full sacramental life of the Church. The RC and Orthodox admit children to communion before confirmation (in the case of the Orthodox from the moment of baptism). So the proposal to authorise children (who have themselves been admitted to receive communion) to distribute it seems logical. Many Roman Catholics, who are life-long communicants, have never, in fact, been confirmed. Historically, Confirmation never was necessary for the reception of communion: it is only in recent Anglican history (well after the Reformation) that it became so in the Church of England. We tend to forget how recent a development it is against the backdrop of Christian history. I hope it's helpful to draw-out the distinctions.

  11. A fair point Llandaff Pelican. I have often felt uncomfortable at the Altar when children are passed over with a 'Bless you' but the point I was trying to make was using what Jesus did not say as justification for policies for change where the possibilities are endless.
    Having said that I am with the Liturgical Commission. Among concerns they cited was that “Children often lack the skills of co-ordination required to go through the tricky tasks of administering a chalice and this could lead to spillages and vessels being dropped."

    1. I appreciate that all we are told is that Jesus said "do this in remembrance of me".
      As with all the teachings of Jesus ,we look to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to enhance our understanding. As with everything in life ,we do not expect children to undertake and take part in tasks without some depth of understanding.
      At a Mass or Eucharist we are taking part,I trust, with a shared focus of understanding of what we are doing. For my part ,in order to share in the Eucharistic celebration I look to the Eucharistic Minister (as well as the Priest ) to know we are of a common mind.
      Children should firstly be taught and encouraged to grow spiritually as we all strive to increase the depth of meaning and understanding of this wonderful Sacrament.
      We shall need to be cautious in lining up children ,who have not yet been given the grace to commence their understanding of this profound act in administering the consecrated elements ; such development risks subordinating the Sacrament.

  12. Evans the Song13 July 2015 at 13:31

    So let me get this right. The organ in Llanduff is exactly that - duff. Are we going to discover next that the design was drawn-up and the scheme approved without any external advice from an organist of repute? I would never want to say that an organ in a church was ever a waste of money. But, heck, this one looks as if it is. All that property sold to pay off the debt, too. Who is going to be held to account for this? Falling attendances, falling income, falling pension pots. It's turning into quite a saga, isn't it?

  13. As an aid to your readers and comparing with the Diocese of Westminster, the average adult Sunday attendance in Wales is 31,048.
    7 bishops (233% more than Westminster Diocese.).
    Average attendance per bishop 4,435

    From the 2015 Westminster Yearbook:
    Average Sunday Mass attendance for the Diocese 149,933. (483% more than Wales) One Archbishop and two bishops.
    Average per bishop 49,978. (1127% more than Wales.)

    Comparing like with like? Don't you just love statistics!

    Joseph Golightly

  14. Llandaff Pelican14 July 2015 at 11:30

    To be fair, this is not comparing like with like. The (Arch)Diocese of Westminster is Roman Catholic for one thing. Second, like the Orthodox churches in London and the main British conurbations, Roman Catholicism is benefiting from inward migration - especially from Eastern Europe and Africa. If those figures were whittled down to just native British Mass-goers, I suspect they would tell a different story. None of this lets Byzantine Barry off the hook, of course. The Welsh statistics are an abysmal reflection of his self-interested grip on power to the detriment of the well-being of the whole Province. Let's hope he doesn't even make it to his big farewell bash at The House in Oxford next year. How long, O Lord; how long?

  15. Superficial Healing14 July 2015 at 18:20

    Another dwindling congregation can be found in Bangor Cathedral, despite claims to the contrary in recent sermons.

    Not only has the Archdeacon of Bangor shut two city churches his heavy handedness is rapidly pushing people out of the cathedral too.

  16. Spinning wheel15 July 2015 at 10:48

    Dwindling indeed. Even more noticeable is the number unwilling to greet the clergy at the end of the service. How awkward it must waiting for the people to kiss your hand ... and so few come!

  17. The situation in Bangor Cathedral is, frankly, pathetic. After bullying her episcopal poodle to stuff the place with clergy and close down St David's Glanadda (where the previous Archdeacon of Bangor had doubled the congregation) and St Mary's, Cyanide Sue clears off to the Peak District, leaving the Cathedral in a state of total dysfunction. We're rapidly approaching the deadline for applications for the post of Dean to be in. A fiver says that the only one is from Robert-the-greasy-pole-climbing-Townsend.

    May be Bangor and Llandaff Cathedrals should enter into some kind of twinning arrangement so they can pool their ignorance and go down the plughole hand in hand?

    1. What about the University Anglican Chaplaincy / Church Hostel, a place once dear to ++Bazza, the latest in the list of casualties in Bangor diocese?

      Ted Horsely