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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.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

It's a funny old world

Christina Rees CBE (Photo: Guardian)                 Bishop Anba Angaelos OBE (Photo: Cranmer)

Ebola scarcely warrants a mention in the media these days thanks to the selfless individuals who literally put their lives on the line in their fight to halt the spread of this highly infectious and generally fatal disease. The Queens Birthday Honours 2015 included a wide variety of people with carefully scaled awards. One of those in the news was a poorly paid Ebola nurse Will Pooley. He was awarded an MBE.

Contrast Will's lowly award for risking his life for the benefit of others with the higher accolades handed out over the years to over-paid footballers for kicking an inflated bladder around a large, grass covered spittoon in front of worshiping clones who clap and gesticulate in unison with hands held aloft, cheering or jeering as the mood takes them while chanting their local mantra, all in the name of sport!

There was less publicity for the Women and the Church (WATCH) starlet Christina Rees who bizarrely was awarded a CBE for "her services to the Church of England". How involvement in the campaign for women bishops is seen as a service to the Church of England is not explained but deluded as ever, Ms Rees said she was "thrilled" by the honour which to her shows the campaign was "recognised as a service for the whole Church, not just about women".

The "whole Church" includes the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the majority of Anglicans who view her campaigning as a disservice to the Church which has resulted in a steep decline in Church attendance as the feminisation of the Church of England accelerates.

But do not despair says the Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral and former NHS Chief Nurse, Dame Sarah Mullally, who was recently named as Bishop of Crediton: "Empty pews are not the end of the world" (here). Perhaps not but the end of the Church of England.

Again, contrast the CBE award to Christian Rees for "her services to the Church of England" with the lesser OBE awarded to Bishop Anba Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, honoured for services to international "religious freedom", not something that WATCH is renowned for except on their own terms.

Meanwhile in Wales there was no honour for the Archbishop of the Church in Wales who like Ms Rees has used every device to secure the admission of women to the episcopate. But he has been invited to deliver a keynote speech exploring the "ethical dilemmas faced by decision-makers when investing billions on behalf of charities". Not know for his own charitable views towards anyone who disagrees with him, he has plenty of experience of how things can go downhill. It is interesting to note that charities for the advancement of religion account for about one fifth of all registered charities. One pound in six given to charity goes to religious charities (here).

Dr Morgan said, "How and where we invest our money can say a lot about us. If we believe in values such as justice, equality and respect for others we need to reflect that as much as possible in our investments – literally putting our money where our mouth is." It is thought unlikely that the Archbishop's discretionary funds will be referred to.

As Margaret Thatcher said at her last cabinet meeting after being ousted from office, "It's a funny old world". Not words a compliant bench of bishops is likely to hear.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Help make it happen

Swimmers hit the near freezing water at Blackroot Pool in Sutton Coldfield Credit: Express & Star

Whether braving the icy waters on Christmas Day,

Escaping the summer heat in China.                                                                  Credit: Telegraph

escaping the Summer heat,

Do you shower or bathe every day?                                                                   Credit: Guardian

taking a shower,

How on earth can I use a Canadian toilet without splashing myself?                      Credit: Travel

or simply doing what comes naturally.

Millions of people around the world do not have the luxury of choice. Dirty water and inadequate sanitation spreading disease which leads to the early death of over 1,400 children a day.

This is the reality for over 750 million people who live without safe water.

Two and a half billion people don't have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world's population.

Over 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

WaterAid need our support to gather 100,000 signatures to get taps and toilets to everyone, everywhere by 2030. Please help by signing their petition #MAKEITHAPPEN.

They are half-way there.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The cost of compassion

Mary Portas' brother is the 'biological father' of her son. Story here.

The permissive society has descended into chaos. Free love became free lust resulting in the rampant spread of STDs and AIDS followed by bending traditional marriage to accommodate all sorts of sexual permutations, few of which have any regard for the ultimate feelings of the children caught up in these relationships.

Anyone watching the BBC TV's Newsnight programme on 2 June would have heard Evan Davis introduce a discussion on transgender: " With such rapid change in social attitudes to sexuality, the LG&B, are we witnessing a change in our attitude to the T of LGBT? The story (here) initially focused on the all-American sporting superstar Bruce Jenner who won gold for the decathlon in Montreal in 1972. Jenner announced that he was transsexual saying that for all intents and purposes, "I'm a woman", revealing that her new name was Caitlyn.

Answering a question posed by Evan Davis' one of his guests replied that people are talking about transgender more and more. "The 'trans' thing is about where we were with the gay community twenty years ago".

In that passage of time the strategy has become all too clear. Exploit the “victim” status; use the sympathetic media; confuse and neutralize the churches; slander and stereotype Christians; bait and switch (hide their true nature); and intimidation. Read 'The six ways homosexual activists manipulate public opinion' here, the same formula as used by the feminist movement to devastating effect in the Church. See also previous entry 'To be joined together' here.

Davis' other guest, a journalist and transgender activist, complained that while it is very important to emphasis that we should "praise" and "affirm" women like Caitlyn, it requires a "certain amount of money" and "privilege" to present oneself as a transgender woman as Caitlyn had. "People perceive that as reality but it is also really important to recognise that transwomen, especially in the US, have very little access to surgery."

But compassion is not always the answer to change. Read here about the "dark and troubling" history of the contemporary transgender movement, with its enthusiastic approval of gender-reassignment surgery which has left a trail of misery in its wake. "The beginnings of the transgender movement have gotten lost today in the push for transgender rights, acceptance, and tolerance". Eighty percent of the people who want to change their gender shouldn’t do it. "There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery…Too many end in suicide."

'Transgender' is following the same path as other 'equality' issues and it is downhill all the way. Here are some recent issues:
  • Gay Vicar pushes Church of England to celebrate Transgender Identity like a Baptism; sex change surgery is 'absolute trauma' Clergy Must Mark Occasion (here).
  • Irish baker fined for not promoting illegal gay marriage (here) while 13 Gay Bakeries refuse to make a traditional marriage cake with the message: 'Gay Marriage Is Wrong' (here).
  • Idaho city’s ordinance tells pastors to marry gays or go to jail (here).
  • Mary Portas reveals that she cancelled her son's baptism after grilling a Catholic priest who she thought was 'uncomfortable' with Portas' marriage to a woman (here). - The couple's son calls Miss Portas 'Mama' and Miss Rickey 'Mummy'. The father, Mama's brother, is referred to as 'Daddy'.
Fertility specialist and IVF consultant Dr Geetha Venkat said, "Usually with same-sex couples, one partner will give an egg and the other will carry the baby and then for their next child they swap roles – meaning they have babies from both the families’ genes. In ways, this is similar to that."

The big losers in these arrangements are the children. The cost to them of compassion will become evident in later years when they are able to assess for themselves the price of 'equality'.

For the rest of us it is already evident. Gay activists target opponents of same-sex marriage as if only gays are entitled to an opinion while conscience in the Church is frowned upon, particularly by Church in Wales bishops.

But the ultimate affront must be to Almighty God whom the compassionless, feminist, pressure group, Women and the Church (WATCH), wish to transgender. Their stupidity is well expressed by Jennifer Leclaire:

"Make no mistake, God is not a woman. He never has been and He never will be. Indeed, such a notion is especially disturbing in the gender-bending world in which we live; a world where the Girl Scouts are letting boys who identify as girls join their ranks and where Bruce Jenner appears on the cover of Vanity magazine in a leotard; an age in which some are declaring transgenderism is the new black in Hollywood.

"Let's call it what it is: a strong delusion (2 Thess. 2:11). It doesn't take a prophet to see the wave of deception sweeping through the church. Some denominations are allowing gay and even transgender clergy take the pulpit and, now, a group within the Church of England is calling for God to be referred to as female. God forbid."

"Make no mistake, God is not a woman. He never has been and He never will be. This, though, is just another symptom of a greater problem—a perversion of the Word of God that will lead many astray and even into a Great Falling away. I beseech you in this hour to be a lover of the truth, speak the truth in love, and pray for the church in this hour. Consider the words of Jesus and put your hand to the plow: "I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4). Full article here.

Amen to that.