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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Fit for purpose?

Archbishop of Wales, Rt Rev Barry Morgan, at the National Eisteddfod                      Credit: Daily Post

In a 2011 BBC video clip (here) the Archbishop of Wales claimed that we needed to look to see if the Church in Wales (CinW) is "fit for purpose" and if we are using our resources in the best possible kind of way because investment income is falling, the pension bill is rising and therefore more money is needed by the church. Dr Morgan said the organisation needs outside help to cope with the decline in clergy, waning investments and falling congregations. He warned that the Church needed to be ready for significant change and take whatever proposals the Review may come up with seriously to make it fit for a future in Wales.

Unsurprisingly in 2012 the Review duly reported that the Church is “burdened and hampered” by too many aspects of organisation, and the parish system, as originally set up with a single priest serving a small community, was no longer sustainable.

No time has been lost in dismantling the parish system while cutting parish clergy but the top-heavy management structure remains in tact and peripheral appointments abound. For an example see the Llandaff structure here. No wonder the CinW has no future.

According to research reported in the 'Church Growth Modelling' Blog, the CinW will be extinct within a generation. The date of "around 2040" may prove to be optimistic. If a rumour circulating proves to be correct, CinW regular Sunday attendance figures are down by a massive 10% on the 2013 figure of 31,000 to only 28,000.

There are a number of factors. There is a limit to the willingness of members to support an organisation which has become so divorced from their Credal beliefs that it ceases to be credible. Many orthodox Anglicans have remained in the CinW because it has been their spiritual home since their baptism. They have found no suitable alternative but there comes a point when habit becomes unsustainable.

Also, the sense of 'belonging' to ministry areas, which will depend for their existence on lay worker assistants, does not have the same spiritual dimension as being able to call on one's parish priest if needed. *

It is obvious to many that the decline of Anglicanism in Great Britain has accelerated as the Church has become 'more relevant' to society. If this trend is continued and the Archbishop successfully convinces the Governing Body that same-sex marriage is the best thing since sliced bread, steeper decline seems inevitable.

So fit for purpose? No. Money may make "the world go round" but it does nothing for the "prosperity of the soul", a point seemingly lost on the Bench of Bishops.

* Postscript [11.08.2015]
   See 'Lots of Lay Leaders Licensed' here.


  1. Contrary to the expectation that the extensive managerial team will grow the Church,with this and that 'advisor','director' and Uncle Tom Cobley officers : these are mostly non-jobs which will bankrupt the Church in Wales,heralding its demise.
    Such (alleged) 'managers' should be working at parish level,being seen out and about in the community and not stuck in an office with a filing cabinet and computer.

    Ministry Areas are unlikely to work,simply because it is going to be difficult to find lay persons acceptable to everybody. People want to speak to the organ grinder not the monkey!

  2. Talking about organ grinders and monkeys, the ears in the walls report that Bonaparte was spotted yesterday within the environs of the Cathedral with a flustered-looking Capon in tow. Clearly a mission of some urgency! One wonders what pleasantries were exchanged?

  3. What ever happened to the days when the Bishop's staff consisted of his crosier and his horse?

    1. You forget the Revd. Mr. Obadiah Slope ?

  4. Llandaff Pewster8 August 2015 at 08:09

    The grumblings on The Green report that not to be outdone by Rev Giles Fraser (ex canon of St. Paul's), His ++Irrelevance has invited them to bring their church and camp outside the West Door of Llandaff Cathedral.
    Perhaps he's paying for their Visas with his "discretionary" Mission Fund?

  5. Ok then. Sounds like a jolly good project for mission areas. Only, do remember what happened when uninvited protesters camped in the 'Wise One' ' garden at Ty'r Esgob.

    The 'Hubris' syndrome my friend - from which there is no known cure.

  6. This weeks good news story.

    One more Barry Morgan stooge on his way out.

    1. And another one to take his place....

    2. Perhaps not Voxpop.
      The ears in the walls of Llys Esgob report Darth ++Superbia is incandescent with rage to the point his complexion now matches his shirt.
      Apparently it has now dawned upon him that he just might have hired the wrong people to run his PR machine and wants to employ the Ancient Briton team of investigative journalists because they are so much more effective than the Morrell & Young duo.

  7. Just tonight I discovered that His ++Irrelevance has been pursuing a parallel career in entertainment Down Under. Prepare yourselves for the joys of Barry Morgan, salesman extraordinaire, and his World of Organs!

    Or read about him here:

    1. Since the Nicholson's instrument started shaking Bazza's world apart perhaps Barry Morgan could advise Barry Morgan about a replacement electronic wonder?

  8. I have just spotted a much better money spinning idea for 'His Darkness' Ifor Bach. Just google 'Barry Morgan Ringtones T Shirts. Brill.

  9. 'Fit for Purpose'? Did anyone notice the empty pews at Llandaf Cathedral on the Welsh News this evening? No sign of the Grand Mufty at the remembrance service just the 'Boy Capon'. Bless!!!!! And what about the 'Vicar of Dibbley' choir?

  10. Bazza's glove puppet reveals himself to be all chirp and sh*t again!

    Leaked report shows Church in Wales was warned in December 2012 that Llandaff Cathedral faces bankruptcy
    16:43, 23 AUGUST 2015
    The Dean of Llandaff says it is 'totally irresponsible' to suggest the Cathedral is facing bankruptcy, and that the question of appointing a professional fundraiser is still under consideration.

    1. Cymru'r Groes27 August 2015 at 05:26
      23rd August 2015
      "Dean Capon said Prof Jones’ report had been shared with the Chapter and the Parochial Church Council. He described the report as making “suggestions” rather than recommendations....."
      26th August 2015
      "Sir - Its recommendations were published in the parish magazine (which is put on the website).
      The Very Revd Gerwyn Capon
      Dean of Llandaff, Cardiff"

      Barry, where are you?
      Barry, what do I do next?
      Barry, they're all laughing at me Barry, tell them to stop Barry!
      Help me Barry!
      Tell me what to do now Barry!
      Barry, I don't know what I'm doing.
      Are you still there Barry?

    2. What a pathetic attempt to mislead the good people of Llandaff again.
      "the will of the congregation to see the cathedral thrive".


      What congregation?

      Communicant numbers are down yet again - plummeting would not be too strong a word.
      (Figures taken from the relevant editions of The Bell)

      June 2014
      Total Communicants for the month = 1842
      Average Communicants for the month = 368

      June 2015
      Total Communicants for the month = 1324
      Average Communicants for the month = 331

      July 2014
      Total Communicants for the month = 1301
      Average Communicants for the month = 325

      July 2015
      Total Communicants for the month = 1228
      Average Communicants for the month = 307

      Indeed, for the two Sundays following the masonry falling from the Clerestory the number of communicants at the 9am were 98 and 88 respectively.

      Chirp and sh*t indeed 1662.

    3. £5,000 for 29 recommendations = £172.41 per recommendation

      Which, if any, have been implemented to good effect and improved the situation in Llandaff?