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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A cabbage by any other name...


A rose?                                                                                  Source: Wikipedia

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" wrote William Shakespeare but 'love' as used by progressives in the Church is stinking to high heaven.

No matter how crazy the idea, stamp 'love' on it and anyone disapproving is labeled a bigot.

"Love"                                                             Source: Reuters/Christian Today
The people of Australia are the latest to be persuaded that marriage can be redefined to mean other than joining one man and one women by using 'love' as an umbrella. As their  Prime Minister said "they voted yes for love". Who wouldn't? But that is not the question.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, said he was 'deeply disappointed that the likely result will be legislation to further deconstruct marriage and family in Australia'.

Not so with most of our Anglican bishops in Great Britain who take a more secular view.


Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?"

That will be all Greek to the bishops so they should know that Éros was not what Christ had in mind when he pressed Peter to understand what tending His flock would entail.

In their latest jaunt into secularism the bishops of the Church of England have issued transphobic bullying guidance. In their logic, bullying must be tackled head on, gender difference can give rise to bullying, therefore "Primary schoolchildren should be free to dress up in a tiara or superhero cloak without comment from teachers or pupils". 

No wonder Stonewall, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group, said the guidance gave "clear advice" to teachers on recognising and combating bullying in Church schools.

 The number of children who underwent transgender treatment in the UK's National Health Service jumped by 1,000 percent in the five years to 2016. One would have thought that would cause the bishops some concern. Instead they use this tragic upsurge to bolster their secular agenda.

A question I often hear asked is What has happened to the church? I suspect many readers will know clergy who changed their minds over the ordination of women when they saw which way the wind was blowing. A convenient career choice which put them in the ascendancy to the detriment of those who fought to keep the faith. The Anglican church has gone downhill ever since. Faith and logic no longer apply.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Welsh bishops relegate unity


The bishops of St Davids, St Asaph, Llandaff, Swansea and Brecon (archbishop), Bangor, and Monmouth having a laugh          Source: Premier Christian Radio


The Church in Wales has placed an advert in the Church Times for a Director of Faith, Order and Unity. 

This looks suspiciously like an empire building re-jig of an advert which resulted in the 2014 appointment of a WCC staff member to the post of Unity, Faith and Order Director for the Anglican Communion while relegating unity to third place.

No surprise there since the Church in Wales slammed the door on any hope of church unity in the conventional sense many years ago when Barry and his bench sitters chose to ignore most of Christendom and apply their own version of faith and order by choosing instead an alliance with Nonconformist churches, thus causing further disunity within the Anglican Communion and beyond.

The Church in Wales already has its own Doctrinal Commission to tell its bishops what they want to hear. They also have their own version of unity - being a 'big' fish in a very small pond. As there is no hope of unity with the much larger Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches there should be little for the successful applicant to do unless the object of the role is to continue re-interpreting the Gospel to promote gender equality and parity in place of suitability, the main thrust of the newly enthroned women bishops.

At the last meeting of Governing Body of the Church in Wales, the new Archbishop John Davies promised ‘more of the same’ — but faster! The Scottish Episcopal Church is following suit with the recently appointed first female bishop indicating that her first priority is to see the election of more women for high-profile roles. Their General Synod has already agreed to permit same-sex marriage.

As for the Church of England, they are still trying to work out what they believe with their 'Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Sexuality' (here) while preaching a message that is contrary to Christian belief based on scripture.

Given the continually shrinking regular attendance figures at Church in Wales Sunday services (28,291 and shrinking) one has to wonder what the bishops  do these days. The latest figures show confirmations fell by 21% between 2015-2016  to 872.

Much of their time has been diverted towards the propagation of feminism and, contrary to scripture, formerly establishing homosexuality in the church as the expression of God's love, a situation neatly summed up on BBC Radio 4 [@18.01] when Ed Stourton speaks with Lorna Ashworth, a highly regarded evangelical, who has resigned her place in General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council over the issue, and Jayne Ozanne who "campaigns for gay equality within the Church of England and the wider evangelical community" using our need to love one another as her passport to acceptance of deviating from the Gospel.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who jointly oversees both the general synod and the Archbishops' Council alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said he was 'sad' Lorna Ashworth had resigned. He added, "However, I do not share her doubts that the Church of England will be part of God's renewal of the Christian faith in this nation" indicating the problem faced by Lorna Ashworth and those of us who share her concern for the Christian faith in this country.

Empire building in a declining church appears to be high on the list of priorities for the bench of bishops even though the Church in Wales Review recommended a reduction in the number of dioceses and the associated administrative costs.

From Section 15 of the Review:

"...there is a widespread sense across the church that the Church in Wales is top heavy, with too many committees and too much time spent on simply keeping the institution going as it is."

The problem for the Anglican Church is that most of the bishops in Great Britain are so busy trying to satisfy the desires of the flesh that they are blind to the needs of the spirit. As a consequence they are fishing for minorities while many of the faithful feel excluded from an organisation that has lost the Way and the truth and the life. They leave and giving goes down creating the current crisis.


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Day 2017




December 19, 1916: A French officer stands near a cemetery filled with recent graves of soldiers
killed on the front lines of World War One, at Saint-Jean-sur-Tourbe on the Champagne front,
eastern France REUTERS/Collection Odette Carrez/IBTimes


A mother plans to be reunited with her only son. Source: GETTY/Express

We will remember them

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Newspeaking of love


George Orwell  statue unveiled outside BBC Broadcasting House                                                                                                                    Source: Telegraph


The First Minister of Scotland sounded utterly convinced that only her views could possibly be correct when offering her "unequivocal" apology to gay men convicted of sexual offences that are no longer illegal.

She said "the simple fact was that parliamentarians in Scotland had, over many decades, supported or at least accepted laws which "we now recognise to have been completely unjust... Hundreds of people in Scotland were liable to be convicted as criminals, simply for loving another adult."

If Ms Sturgeon feels secure enough to condemn previous law makers as in error, why did she twist the facts? She was correct only in that it took law makers in Scotland more than a decade to catch up with reforms to the law in England and Wales in 1976.

My understanding of the legislation to which she objected was that convictions were not for loving another adult but for buggery. The law was changed after the Wolfenden report recommended that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence".

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 granted civil partnerships rights and responsibilities in the United Kingdom very similar to civil marriage. A reform welcomed across the political spectrum but not good enough for activists who demand that marriage be redefined in the name of supposed equality.

The LGBT lobby has had considerable success with newspeak. Constant repetition of the words 'love' and 'equality' in relation to same sex marriage has provided a smokescreen to achieve an objective which undermines the basis of family live, the joining together of a man and a woman for the procreation of children without which civilisation as we know it would end.

But what about infertile couples? they claim, before advocating adoption by gay couples, the use of surrogates and more recently, womb transplants allowing men to have babies. There is little if any thought for the effects in later life on the children resulting from such unions.

Gay couples can live together in circumstances similar to civil marriage without fear of prosecution but acceptance has turned into demands. Now the tail wags the dog. Even Anglican bishops are content to demean the sanctity of marriage by agreeing to legitimise that which is contrary to Christian teaching.

The First Minister's misuse of the word love was a precursor to linking same sex marriage with equality, condemning supporters of traditional marriage as lacking integrity, wisdom, compassion and justice using words such as wrong, homophobia, hate, fear, discrimination, prejudice and bigotry, the implication being that opponents of same sex marriage are bigoted, prejudiced people who lack compassion and a sense of justice.

There is no justice in condemning people simply for having an opposing view. In years to come as the Church crumbles and society further disintegrates, another First Minister could be standing in Ms Sturgeon's place condemning others for supporting or at least accepting laws which "we now recognise" to have been completely stupid.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The irony of it


Metropolitan Bishoy and Bishop Gregory Cameron sign the Agreed Statement on the Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit during a special evensong
service in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.  Christian Today / Lynn Glanville / Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough 


Taking timeout from the advancement of all matters  LBGTI+ in the Church in Wales, the Bishop of St Asaph has been involved in matters spiritual, a hangover from his years in the Church of England.

Appointed Director of Ecumenical Affairs at the Anglican Communion Office in 2003, he became Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in 2004. He was elected as the 76th Bishop of St Asaph in 2009.

Unsurprisingly the report 'Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox agree on doctrine of Holy Spirit' appears not on the Church in Wales website but in Christian Today .

The controversy dates back to the 7th century, when Eastern theologians objected to the statement the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father 'and the Son' ('filioque'). Anglicans inherited this reading from the Roman Catholic Church. Agreed Statement here.

 One might have thought that resolving this impediment to Christian unity would have merited at least a mention but the Church in Wales abandoned matters spiritual in favour of politics long ago under their previous archbishop

Many of the faithful who would have appreciated this agreement have also been abandoned by the Church in Wales which may explain why Church in Wales reports are dominated by the advancement of feminism, homosexuality and same sex marriage.

This report shows what might have been before the bench of bishops and, indeed, the house of bishops in the Church of England opted for deviancy over unity.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The fall of the flag


History restored at the Hundred Stone!                                                                                                                    Source: Church in Wales/Picture: Alison Evans


The symbolism says it all in this Diocesan press release, 'History restored at the Hundred Stone'. The Cross of St David lying in the dirt.

Historically the fall of the flag meant defeat. It could be a metaphor for the Church in Wales.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

"What is marriage?"





My thanks to Anglican Curmudgeon for posting this excellent homily on his blog under the title Is It Man over God, or God over Man?

The blog author, A S Haley writes: This is an outstanding homily on last Sunday's Gospel reading recounting Jesus' skill in handling the Pharisees and the Herodians who tried to entrap him on the payment of taxes to the government (Mt 22:15-22). The Very Rev. John Lankeit, dean of the Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude in Phoenix, Arizona, shows Christians how to use Jesus' logic to refute the trick assumption behind the question: "Do you believe in gay marriage?"

Superb.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Local Mission Areas mask decline


A tranquil looking St Thomas a Becket Church in Haverfordwest, one of 12 redundant buildings being sold                BBC/DYLAN MOORE/GEOGRAPH


In September BBC News reported that data from the Church in Wales showed 115 Anglican churches have closed over a 10-year period, about 8% of the total, with 1,319 still in use.

One of twelve redundant churches currently being offered for sale is the former St Thomas à Becket’s Church, illustrated. It is a Grade II listed building in Haverfordwest in the diocese of St Davids. There are three others in the diocese, the former St Cain’s Church located in the village of Llangain, Carmarthenshire, the former St Mary’s Church, Ambleston 9 miles north-east of Haverfordwest and the former St Mary’s Church, Bryngwyn near Aberporth. 

The BBC report highlighted the fact that "the last census revealed Wales had the highest number of people with no religion in the UK" but instead of mission and evangelism the Church in Wales is re-organising into Local Ministry Areas (LMAs), something nobody wants but was nodded through by Archbishop Barry Morgan's followers after the change was recommended in the Church in Wales Review. The policy is being put into effect at varying speeds in the six dioceses.

By contrast there has been no action on diocesan structure (Section 15. Dioceses: their number and administration) which supports six diocesan bishops, six deans, numerous Archdeacons and an ever expanding number of LMA facilitators, coordinators, etc, not to mention their expensive administrative supporting structures.

In addition to appointing the first woman Dean of St Davids, the first female bishop of St Davids has 'promoted' another women to her senior staff, the Revd Marianne Osborne, as the diocesan Ministry Area Development (MAD) Officer. In an earth shattering announcement the Bishop "stressed that the harsh realities of a changing world meant new ways of working are now essential. We simply don’t have the money to sustain the existing pattern of ministry, she said". Odd that she has money to expand her senior staff! Well, there will be even less money as the oldies die and the disillusioned follow the sane and stop funding a church that lost its way while trying to be relevant to an indifferent society.

The differences by diocese are marked. In Monmouth where dissent earns a black mark, its CEO bishop has been racing ahead, beating parishes into the desired LMA shape as their Diocesan Conference 2017 Edition of Grapevine illustrates. Googling 'Local Ministry Areas' suggests that apart from St Davids the other dioceses have much catching up to do. One can understand Llandaff being behind with the  more pressing need to keep their Cathedral functioning but no doubt bishop June will want to catch up when she has finished working on her parity policy to ensure that ability and seniority are replaced by women and gender issues (see previous entry).

The bishop of St Asaph has been busy with his more important LGBTQI+ agenda, ensuring that the allegedly unwelcome in our midst are more visible and well supported. This follows the well tried policy that normality springs from familiarity. The bishop of Swansea and Brecon will of course have had other things on his mind with the Jeffrey John affair and the vacancy which he has now filled as Archbishop of Wales. 

Bangor? Well who knows what is going on in the Diocese of Bangor but their bishop comments on  an ITV Report to be broadcast this evening on S4C that "the main Christian denominations in Wales are suffering 'an alarming decline”'in membership leaving some fearing Christianity 'will disappear'."

The report claims that the Church in Wales "remains the largest denomination" with 45,759 members on its electoral roll which compares with 98,878 in 1990 - a drop of 54%." The reality is worse with regular Sunday attendance down to 28,291 according to 2016 figures.

"The Church in Wales are currently implementing a plan named ‘2020 Vision’. This plan is intended as a growth strategy to re-energise the Church before its centenary in 2020. 

"Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Andy John is a member of the 2020 Vision strategy implementation group. He told the programme changes are afoot to make the Church 'more appealing'."

From another report a quarter of Anglican churches childless: "Twenty-five per cent of Church of England services do not have a single youngster among their congregations". I would imagine that the position in Wales is no better and probably worse given that Wales has the highest number of people with no religion in the UK.

'Fiddling while Rome burns'?

Postscript [26.10.2017]

Mathematics to solve Monmouth Local Ministry Areas problem.

The bishop of  Monmouth has proclaimed that  "A third archdeaconry is to be created in Monmouth Diocese following overwhelming support for the move at this year’s Diocesan Conference (21 October)". He said, "As Bishop I am charged with the leadership of this Diocese.  Faced with such a challenge I could ignore it and almost certainly let the Anglican presence in the Valleys fade away. Or I could do – what any organisation would do – let alone the church – invest in the area and try and turn it around."

Currently, the Archdeacon of Monmouth is working with 8 Ministry Area Leaders, while the Archdeaconry of Newport, which includes the Valleys, has twice that number at 16, a total of 24.

The solution? Divide 16 by 2 and hey presto, 3 x 8 = 24.
Also, 16 - 4 = 12, 8 + 4 = 12. 12 + 12 = 24 the number started with at no extra cost.

Ah! But “We need mission and evangelism otherwise this Diocese will find it difficult to survive,” bishop Richard warned. Back to 2005.

Monmouth has been here before. In 'Hope for Monmouth, the diocesan strategy document' which was launched at the Diocesan Conference in October 2005 the previous bishop wrote at length in his Preface, including this under 'Mission':

 "Mission includes evangelism but it also includes pastoral care, social concern, teaching the faith, peace and justice issues and worship. What is important is that we connect with all of them! A church that has fine worship but no social concern will become like a cult; a church that is good on pastoral care and social action but is weak on the study of the scriptures and worship will be a church without a gospel. Our worship must connect with our own discipleship, with evangelism and with the suffering world."

What happened?

From my entry Church in Wales attendance down 5% 2014-2015

Attempts to bolster numbers by adding 'Non-traditional Acts of Worship' such as Animal blessings, Café churches, Teenscreen clubs and Interfaith engagement have served only to emphasis the decline: "Overall, it would seem that just over 30,000 people in total participate in some form of nontraditional worship, compared with 36,000 in 2014".

The Membership and Finance Report (pdf) is way down the Agenda at item 19 for the next meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to be held 14 - 15 September 2016. There will be a Motion: That the Governing Body do take note of this report.

Given the seriousness of the situation one would have thought that 'taking note' of the Report is somewhat short of the mark but with "Evangelism" coming last on the agenda it puts the current state of the Church in Wales in context.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Next, LGBTQI+ takeover?


The Golden Calf, with apologies to Poussin


"Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing" - BBC
"Synod’s ‘welcoming’ transgender motion asks Bishops to consider liturgy" - Church Times
"Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples" - Guardian
"Church of England to consider same-sex blessing services" - Pink News

The pressure to accept blessings leading to same sex marriage on a par with the marriage between a man and a woman is everywhere but is it justified? The Church of England is to debate holding services for same-sex couples for the first time.

The plans have been put forward by the diocesan synod in Hereford, which voted in favour of an "order of prayer and dedication" following a marriage or civil partnership, in response to couples who said they wanted it.

This is how "a gay member of the Synod", Jayne Ozanne, explained the move to PinkNews:
She was “thrilled” at the “overwhelming support the motion has received”.
“It provides an important step on the road to ensuring we are all treated equally by the Church of England.
“I know that many are incredulous at the time it is taking for the Church to understand that we are all loved equally by God, but things are changing and given the strength of support we know that exists I hope this will be debated as soon as possible by the General Synod.”

The Bishop of Hereford, the Right Reverend Richard Frith, said:
"Clergy are already encouraged to respond pastorally and sensitively when approached.
"The motion which is part of a much wider debate asks for guidance on materials to be used in affirming and praying with same-sex couples."
The general synod will now debate a form of service described as "neither contrary to nor a departure from" the doctrine of the church.
Individual churches and priests would be able to opt out of holding the services if they wished.

The pressure is summed up in Church Clarity: "an online database that 'scores' (mainly) US churches according to whether they are 'affirming' or 'non-affirming' of LGBTQ persons, and how clearly they communicate their policy. Its stated aim matches its name: it wants to challenge evasiveness and obscurity on what is to many a central, and personal issue." The group comprised mainly of progressive leaning Christians, says: "No person should have to wonder the limits of their 'welcome'."

It is difficult to see how people can claim to be unwelcome when they are established members of a church which permits them to propose a motion which is contrary to biblical teaching. An Introduction to General Synod and how the parish and deanery relates to it can be found here.

The tactics are familiar. If you are not for us you are against us. Such words as equality, love and affirming imply the moral high ground when the object is, in biblical terms, immorality. What they demand in the name of love is the seal of approval no matter what the consequences for the Anglican Church.

Marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. "It is the very basis of the whole fabric of civilised society." That is it. To claim that members of the Church of England will be treated equally only if same sex blessings are affirmed is absurd.

To expect others to sanction that which is contrary to church doctrine is an act of utter selfishness modeled on the movement for the ordination of women. The liberalism they brought with them was based on the notion that there was no biblical objection to their ordination.

They cannot use the same argument in favour of same sex marriage or blessing gay relationships. That bishops of the church can think it acceptable shows just how far the Anglican Church is sinking below the waterline since women were ordained.

The Church of England lost another 34,000 worshipers last year, far more than all the regular worshippers in the Church in Wales and they still fail to see the problem!


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Women's and gender studies and more serious matters


"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts." - Professor Camille Paglia


I spotted this video of Professor Camille Paglia on Twitter @YeyoZa explaining why women's and gender studies departments should be defunded. I found it rather amusing after all the feminist claptrap which has infected the Anglican Church over recent years.

The so-called glass ceiling in the secular world was broken years ago. There is no shortage of women presenters, commentators, interviewers, interviewees, etc, etc, etc but still Women And The Church (WATCH) and their allies whinged on, insisting that the church followed to set an example! So the stained glass ceiling has been shattered, as has the Anglican Church in Great Britain with further decline shown in the latest report.

For people who follow the downward spiral of the Church in Wales, the name of the Archdeacon of Llandaff will spring to mind. She torpedoed any meaningful alternative provision with her phony Code of Practice and is now a leading light in MAE Cymru, the WATCH sister organisation in Wales.  MAE Cymru stands for ‘Merched a’r Eglwys’ (‘women and the church’). Their priority is parity dressed up as equality to ensure that merit plays no further part in the selection process.

The  bishop of St Davids and the bishop of Llandaff are happily obliging with their first appointments, the first female Dean of St Davids and the bishop of Llandaff's new female chaplain. Both bishops are keen on advancing LGBTQI+ issues leading to more confusion especially among the young and vulnerable as the traditional male role model ceases to exist.

Reported in the GuardianMore than 60 children a day calling Childline with suicidal thoughts. Figures from Childline represent a 15% increase on the previous year. They list four main HELP categories: Sexuality,  Peer pressureFaith and religious bullying, and Sexual abuse.

Social networking provides opportunities for contact undreamed of by a generation which recalls the age of the Telegram as the deliverer of urgent, often unwelcome, news. Today children can be in contact with anyone anywhere in the world and there are plenty of predators eager to exploit any opportunity leading children, literally, to expose themselves creating a vulnerability to be exploited.

Quite often children are much smarter than their parents when it comes to IT. They have tablets to aid their school work and smartphones to keep in touch, but with whom? The Xbox and similar consoles provide further opportunities for exploitation by the unscrupulous with parents often unable to keep tabs on all the electronic opportunities which many parents do not understand or ignore so long as their children are occupied.
 
Added to this, image, particularly among girls has reached crisis proportions. I often find it incongruous listening to an overpaid, excessively made-up presenter reporting on women struggling to feed their children. No heavy make-up with plucked and painted eyebrows for them. They are the grim reality, the victims in a society obsessed with image. So much so that if a boy prefers to be seen as a girl or vice versa he/she is actively encouraged while ignoring the well documented dangers suggesting a re-run of the problems complained of by Professor Paglia.

I see from the Telegraph in that the latest twist in the transgender debate is about to engulf the Monks of Mt Athos who fear that a new law will allow people to change their gender letting women into their all-male sanctuary.

Amidst all this so-called equality, inequality has become more marked. Just try joining a women's group as a man if you doubt it. Where will it end?

Postscript [19.10.2017]

'Heartbreaking' rise in self-harm among young teenage girls
Self-harm among young teenage girls rose nearly 70 per cent after 2011, due partly to “extreme” obsession with social media compared to boys, a new study has found. Full report here.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Depression! Time to get a grip


Archbishop Justin Welby,  "a risk-taker and reconciler by nature".- Gurardian/Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA


From the Guardian, Thursday 21 March 2013 08.00 GMT:

"Justin Welby doesn't do fluffy spirituality – he's the tough leader the church needs

"The new archbishop of Canterbury will not be easily fazed by the burdens thrust upon him. Welby is a decisive man of action.

"Rowan Williams' parting wish, as he bid farewell to Lambeth Palace after a difficult decade, was that his successor might be blessed with "the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros". Many are wondering how the new archbishop of Canterbury will cope under similar stress. Justin Welby, a risk-taker and reconciler by nature, is gifted with unusual mental toughness, shaped through personal suffering. His background at Eton, Cambridge and Kensington gives the impression of untroubled privilege, but must be set alongside a broken home, an alcoholic father, and the tragic death of his firstborn daughter aged just seven months."


Fast forward to the Telegraph, 11 OCTOBER 2017 • 9:45PM:

"Archbishop of Canterbury opens up about 'black dog' as he reveals he suffers from depressive episodes 

"Justin Welby has opened up about suffering with a "black dog" as he reveals for the first time that he has suffered with depressive episodes. The Archbishop of Canterbury revealed that he has only recognised that he experiences the bouts of feeling "hopeless", which have not been formally diagnosed, within the past year.

"Asked in an interview for GQ Magazine whether he had been depressed, he said: "I think if you had asked me a year ago I'd have said no, and ten years ago I'd have said absolutely not. "But what was that phrase Churchill used? 'Black dog'. There is an element of that. I think as I am getting older I am realising it does come from time to time."

In his customary, forthright manner the Rev Dr Peter Mullen says it as he sees it when writing in his  'All Things Considered' blog. He writes, "Welby admits he’s hopeless" before going on to illustrate how the teaching of Scripture concerning sexual relations turns darkness into light, something Dr Mullen assumes Archbishop Welby has not done:

"Difficult as this might be to believe, it seems that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not thought to look at the 3000 years old tradition of Judaeo-Christian ethical teaching to help him settle his mind on the matter of sexual relations."

Depression has been described as a "common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration". Anyone who suffers from it deserves sympathy and understanding.

Less severe but also debilitating are periods of stress and anxiety, especially when brought on by others. So consider all those poor souls whose religion has been their only solace, taught from an early age to leave their problems at the altar to be borne by Him, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light". How are they expected to cope when their church has left them?

One would think on that basis that many bishops, particularly in the Church in Wales, would be feeling depressed at the misery they have caused to others. There is no evidence of contrition as they sideline the many while elevating the vocal few who allege injustices despite a church presence which is out of all proportion to their numbers in society (2%). Perhaps the bishops today have problems with numeracy as well as biblical erudition.

Looking wider, according to Pew Center Research, "Five Centuries After Reformation, Catholic-Protestant Divide in Western Europe Has Faded". From their August 31, 2017 Report:

"As Protestants prepare to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the prevailing view among Catholics and Protestants in Western Europe is that they are more similar religiously than they are different. And across a continent that once saw long and bloody religious wars, both Protestants and Catholics now overwhelmingly express willingness to accept each other as neighbors – and even as family members.

While some Catholics look down their noses at the Ordinariate and over zealous converts dismiss Anglicans who, for many legitimate reasons, have not followed them across the Tiber, there are also new Anglicans who see no problem in defining faith according to their own desires rather than as it has been received.

How ironic, then, that while the average (often lapsed) Catholic and Protestant has come closer together, the new 'liberal' Anglican church is tearing itself apart over the LGBTQI+ ascendancy when they account for just 2% of the population in the United Kingdom leaving many cradle Anglicans excluded because they remain faithful to biblical teaching.

Christianity in the UK is approaching crisis point as illustrated by the headline: An Oxford College has banned the Christian Union from its freshers’ fair on the grounds that it would be “alienating” for students of other religions, and constitute a “micro-aggression”:

"The organiser of Balliol’s fair argued Christianity’s historic use as 'an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism' meant that students might feel 'unwelcome' in their new college if the Christian Union had a stall. Freddy Potts, vice-president of Balliol’s Junior Common Room (JCR) committee, said that if a representative from the Christian Union (CU) attended the fair, it could cause 'potential harm' to freshers".

While Christians face "worse persecution than at any time in history" according to a new Report, 'progressive' Anglicans are happy to reject other Anglicans who remain faithful to scripture and tradition resulting in an alarming drop in numbers regularly attending church services put at only 1.4 per cent of the entire British population.

If we don't get a grip, Christianity which has formed the basis of Western society will become something for academics to ponder over in secular institutions and madrasas.

According to a 'Christian Today' report, the supermarket chain Lidl has edited out the Christian cross from churches in its Greek food range because it 'does not wish to exclude any religious beliefs'.

I wonder if they are have read about the boy in Mosul who was buried alive because he "steadfastly refused" to throw away the small cross he was wearing around his neck when ordered to do so by "IS terrorists". Read The Last Christians: Priest Describes Horror, Courage of Christians Being Killed for Their Faith

Depressing, isn't it.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Feminizing the Church in Wales continues at what cost?


 Springtime at St Davids Cathedral


In Spring 2018 there will be an unwelcome change for many in what they regard as the holiest site in Wales. A place of pilgrimage beyond politics. The Rev'd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, LVO, OBE, currently Priest-in-charge of Cardiff’s city centre civic church of St John the Baptist, will take up her new post as Dean of St Davids. 

That is no reflection on her ability. It is not a question on whether she can do the job but whether she should given that the Church in Wales is merely the current custodian of this place of worship when the Church in Wales represents only a tiny minority of Christians who believe that the Church has been wrong on scripture and tradition for two thousand years.

Canon Jones says in the Church in Wales Press Release today: "The Cathedral and its surroundings so strongly convey the sense of being holy ground. For so many, over so many centuries, it has been a sacred place to sense the presence of the living God who is beyond time and space, and yet who is also intimately close to each of us with the offer of redeeming love. It will be a tremendous privilege to join the community of those who today bear the responsibility of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with pilgrims and visitors from near and far".

For many this sacred place will become a museum used to advance the cause of feminism rather than a place of pilgrimage and worship. The Church in Wales plays a dangerous game. St Davids Cathedral is unlike any other in the province. "Nearly £2,000 per day" is needed for the maintenance, upkeep and running costs of "this wonderful working Cathedral" to quote from their web site. Visitors are essential for survival 

As women in the Church in Wales increase their power, with 'quota' appointments to gain parity, they play a very dangerous game.

The new Dean of St Davids, the Rev'd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones  (CinW)

Friday, 6 October 2017

Anglican Primates on Same Sex Marriage





This videoed press conference which was included in a press report on the acceptance of same-sex marriage by the  Scottish Episcopal Church must rank as one of the most excruciating performances of all time. Like Archbishop Rowan before him the Archbishop of Canterbury must have been wondering why he took on the task.

Archbishop Welby seemed paralyzed by a perceived need for political correctness leaving it to the  Rt Rev'd Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, to spell out the Christian faith in response to demands to accept same sex marriage as the norm on a par with the union of one man and one woman, thus validating that which is contrary to Christian beliefs.

As if paddling his own canoe, Mark Strange, the Scottish Primus, who had "previously made headlines by calling for gay marriage in church in 2015 and revealing he had been in love with a man", rebuked Anglican leaders for sanctions on Scots saying, "You should have greater concerns".

How easily that trips off the tongue when love (sex), often relating to one's personal desires, becomes the excuse to sidestep Christian doctrine.

It was left to Archbishop Freier to explain that the doctrine of the Anglican Church concerning marriage is clear.

He said:
"It is determined by our historical formularies, by our Prayer Book, and is about the life-long marriage of male and female persons together under God so that's a clear section that we have and was one that bishop Mark, the Primus of Scotland, confirmed remains in the doctrine of the Scottish Episcopal Church so I think we've got a strong centre in the Anglican Communion which is supporting an unchanged position on the doctrine of marriage but we also know across the Communion we represent places where, in some cases, homosexuality is unlawful. It can be punished by harsh sentences sanctioned by the State.

"To other communities where it's already been legislated, same sex relationships have an equal status in law with heterosexual relationships so where as a church family  spanning the different operation of conceptions about human sexuality and seeking to make some sense of it and keep the cohesion of or community strong, whilst recognising that these are not simple matters at all to do, so it is challenging, but in its centre there is a strong consensus that the doctrine of marriage in the Anglican Communion is clear and unchanged."

When pressed on "the pain that many feel that those who are proposing to accept same sex marriage are breaching the authority of the scriptures and are ignoring the truth of the word of God", Archbishop  Welby  admitted that what was being proposed was contrary to the scriptures, that it was a tear in the fabric of the Communion. "It made walking together much more difficult".

It would not be so difficult if the doctrine of the Church on same sex marriage were simply maintained instead of trying to accommodate the selfish desires of those who do not care about tearing the fabric of the Communion so long has they have their own way. Their gain is others pain.

Instead of informing society, the progressives would have the church mirror society thus validating their own feelings at the expense of the church. Each 'gain' leads to more demands, pressing forward to make the abnormal appear normal as it becomes more familiar.

The diocese of St Asaph in the Church in Wales is a prime example. An evening of celebration and reflection to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality is to take place in St Asaph Cathedral.

The event, entitled Coming out the Shadows, will "remember the pain of those who fought for the change in the law and whose lives were blighted, and share their hopes for the future."

Many heterosexual people fought for a change in the law but it was to remove the stigma of criminality, not to promote same sex marriage.

When successful, the progressives go on to use their slender majorities to stifle opposition with false accusations. “The theme, Coming out the Shadows reminds us that for many LGBTQIA+ people, life is still difficult with discrimination, homophobia and antipathy persisting.” Where is the evidence? The church is full of gay people.

This is yet another LGBTQIA+ promotion. The event at St Asaph Cathedral is "open to all with representatives of police and local authorities in attendance. It will begin with drinks and nibbles and a rainbow cake is being made specially for the occasion. The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nigel Williams, will welcome everyone to the event". The money could be better spent.

Holding the event in St Asaph Cathedral "signals that the church acknowledges the pain that the criminalisation of homosexuality caused so many and how members of the gay community suffered just for being themselves – the person God created them to be.”

The progressives claim that love is all but it is self-indulgence. Where is the love when the fabric of the Communion is torn, causing pain to so many more, 98% more? As the Scottish Primus said, they should have greater concerns.

Rev’d Sarah Hildreth-Osborn (LGBTQIA+ Chaplain). Source Church in Wales
Postscript [07.10.2017]

1.   ‘I am copping out’: Archbishop of Canterbury refuses to say if ‘gay sex’ is sinful

2.   "Senior bishops have hit out at moves from some rebel conservatives to launch rival Anglican structures, accusing them of subverting the authority of the Church" (here). Pot, kettle and black spring to  mind.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Too little, too late?


  "Be joyful and keep the faith!" -  The motto of Credo Cymru   


Lay and clergy members of the Church in Wales who subscribe to the traditional Anglican understanding of faith and order are being invited by Credo Cymru (Forward in Faith, Wales) to Register as members of Y Gymdeithas, a Society for Wales under the patronage of the Welsh Saints similar to The Society in the Church of England. It is hoped that the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, will serve in due course as Visitor of the Society in Wales.

This puts into practice the suggestion of the Bishop of St Asaph in September 2016 following the Conference to Preserve the Breadth of Anglicanism in Wales that such a body be established  "to explore the possibility of a 'double belonging' to the society and to the diocese. Priests would continue to owe a duty of canonical obedience to the bishop with jurisdiction, who is the  ordinary, but they could have an affective loyalty to an Episcopal Visitor chosen for the society."

For many it has proved difficult to 'be joyful and keep the faith'. So difficult that many have given up on finding that the church had left them, seeing no point in paying to maintain an 'inclusive' institution that excluded many cradle Anglicans. 

But be that as it may. The appointment of two women bishops has placed conscientious clergy and laity in Wales in a difficult position, one from which they could see no escape. This move provides hope and a belated glimmer of understanding. Pray that it is not too little, too late.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sociology replacing religion


The Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne delivering her first presidential  address
 to members of the Llandaff Diocesan Conference.      Source: Church in Wales

"As someone whose first love was sociology I’m fascinated by how people draw the various maps of their world so one of my earliest requests to help me understand the diocesan landscape was that we should have a large map in the office showing the physical shape of the diocese. It arrived last week and already I stand in front of it with colleagues getting them to explain to me how things work."
The Rt Rev June Osborne, Bishop of Llandaff 


The new bishop of Llandaff's first presidential address at a Llandaff diocesan conference makes informative reading. Strong on sociology but weak on theology and spirituality she should sit easily on a bench of bishops devoid of such talents. Formerly five of the bishops in Wales held Oxford Firsts in Theology.

Bishop Osborne said, "I will go on studying and using my map of the Llandaff Diocese but there’s another map going on which I’ve begun to study and that is the map of the diocese which we each carry in our heads. We’ve been doing some exploring of it today: and as I visit all the Deaneries in these next months I’ll be listening carefully to what you think ought to be our priorities because they’re writ large on your maps of how church should work."

This is far removed from the hype about the Dean of Salisbury beginning to transform Llandaff as soon as she crossed the Llys Esgob threshold. With parity high on her agenda her first move was to appoint a woman Chaplain as she began fishing for ideas on how to proceed in her new role.

Presumably the Archbishop of Wales had such imports in mind when he referred to the "huge range of talent, skill and faith" that the Church in Wales has among its people, both lay and ordained. 'Had' rather than has would have been more accurate. 

Archbishop Davies has promised  ‘more of the same’— but faster. In a pre- Primates’ 2017 conference video the Archbishop looked forward to learning from other provinces, ideas on new styles and new ways of delivering ministry, "something which we are seeking to do" in Wales he said. More of the same but faster can only mean accelerated decline. 

Consultation is a bench favourite to be ignored at will so the new bishop outlined how she was inviting clergy and lay people to help her draw up a common map of the diocese by pinpointing where they saw themselves and the part they played in it.

Sadly many of the most able clergy now see themselves in England while lay people play no part after the Church in Wales left them. 

The situation we find ourselves in is neatly summed up in the headline by Olivia Rudgard, religious affairs correspondent of the Telegraph: Number of new trainee priests hits ten-year high as 'celebrity vicars' make the Church look 'normal'

Celebrity vicars like the Reverend Richard Coles and the Reverend Kate Bottley have "made the church more accessible" according to the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, bishop of Repton. She also highlighted the BBC's 'Broken' and 'Rev' as good media portrayals of the clergy. 

Perhaps she was not aware of the BBC series about church in Wales ordinands 'Why we’re all represented in the Vicar Academy'.

The report shows a "ten-year high" in trainee clergy with more women than men starting training as priests for the first time in sixteen years. One of the ordinands, a journalist aged 33 and mother-of-three, says she has been encouraged by moves to make the priesthood more inclusive to women, such as part-time curacies and courses that fit around childcare.


Another sociology job option of relevance to society.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Former Queen's chaplain Gavin Ashenden consecrated as 'missionary bishop'


Source: Twitter



Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain to the Queen who earlier this year resigned from the Church of England over its 'liberalising' trend, has been consecrated a bishop. 

He has been consecrated as a missionary bishop to the UK in the Christian Episcopal Church, one of the continuing Anglican churches that emerged in the United States in the ongoing disputes in The Episcopal Church over the ordination of homosexuals and women. 

Report here.


Congratulations and best wishes to Bishop Ashenden as he begins his mission among us.



Further details from Bishop Ashenden here.


Monday, 25 September 2017

A sad commentary


Source:Source: Daily Post 


This is one of twelve redundant churches for sale referred  to in a May entry Your new home? The former Christ Church is located in the centre of the village of Rhosybol between Llanerchymedd and Amlwch on the Isle of Anglesey. It is still on the market.

The BBC is reporting that 110 Anglican churches have closed in Wales in 10 years or, as Premiere succinctly put it: "Eight per cent shut their doors for good during the decade covered, the Church in Wales statistics show. The decline leaves 1,319 Anglican churches in Wales still open."

Using the latest regular attendance figures that gives an average congregation of just 21 souls.

A Church in Wales spokesman said "there was a move to take a regional look at churches rather than let each one deal with the issue on its own. We're grouping a lot more parishes and congregations together, about 10-15 churches in an area, and thinking which ones can we sustain.

"There's a little bit more strategy - what's a sustainable congregation and where's the best place to do it?" The National Churches Trust said the rate of closures in Wales was relatively higher than England, given relative population size, where about 20 close each year.

Meanwhile in one of the buildings remaining open, at least for the time being, in the Church of England, the Rev Richard Coles, "radio presenter and Strictly Come Dancing 2017 star", has been seen entertaining his congregation with some mincing steps in a preview of his performance on Saturday evening.



The verdict? From the Telegraph: Ruth Langsford and Reverend Richard Coles were also down there at the bottom of the scoreboard but they possess both the entertainment value and fan base to keep them in the contest. We shall see next Sunday. 

After the launch of this year's series which includes a lesbian comedian as well as a gay vicar, there was a debate over whether gay contestants should be coupled with a dancing partner of the same sex prompting a previous gay contestant, Judge Rinder, to protest that the same-sex partner idea was 'absurd'.

If only the Archbishop of Canterbury could have been as forthright when he was asked in a LBC radio interview what his reaction was to a six year old boy being sent into a Church of England school dressed as and identifying as ‘a girl’. The Archbishop's reply was a boy wearing a dress to school was 'not a problem' indicating how far Anglican bishops have strayed like lost sheep.  A more profound response to the theology of cross-dressing amongst 6 year olds can be read here.


Back in Wales they have at least one claim to fame. According to 2011 census figures, Wales had the highest number of people in the UK with no religion. As attendance continues to fall more closures can be expected. Something for the bishops along with the Representative Body to ponder over in their spanking new Provincial office in the heart of Cardiff as the remaining 28,291 worshippers are encouraged to give far more than the average £9.41 per Sunday attender according to the latest (2016) membership and finance figures.

The Church in Wales recommends that its members should "give 5% of their take-home pay to the Church". For a single pensioner with no other source of income that amounts to £7.98 out of a weekly State Pension is £159.55 per week.

The current model is unsustainable with increasingly elderly congregations, that is, where the church still functions. Apart from toddler groups, messy church and the like, the traditional family where children sang in the choir, became servers, joined youth clubs, Scouts, Guides has become as scarce as the traditional parish church.

Traditionally the parish church has been at the heart of local communities. From the Church in Wales' Introduction to The Cure of Souls (1996)

"The Church is at one and the same time a spiritual, moral and institutional community. Any attempt to isolate one aspect from the others misrepresents its reality.

What distinguishes the Church from other communities, at least in its own self-understanding, is that it is a ‘spiritual’ community – a fellowship/community of the Holy Spirit. That is, it claims to participate in the Spirit of God and to be established as the community it essentially is by the Spirit of God."

That should be the 'strategy' but Anglican bishops have decided to follow the failed TEC model, plodding along while becoming irrelevant to society as the edifice crumbles. What a sad commentary.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Hurricane crisis: Debt Relief



  






DEBT RELIEF FOR HURRICANE-HIT ISLANDS



Several countries in the Caribbean have been devastated by hurricanes. Some of those countries are already heavily indebted, partly due to rebuilding efforts following previous disasters.

Please sign the petition asking all creditors, including the IMF and World Bank, to suspend debt repayments.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, has said: “We have lost all that money can buy and replace.” But tiny Dominica is due to make over $2 million of debt payments to the IMF and the World Bank in the next year.

With climate change, such devastating disasters are only likely to get worse, including in the Caribbean. And except for Haiti, Caribbean countries have been excluded from past debt relief initiatives.

Take action today.

Thank you for your support,

Sarah-Jayne Clifton

Director

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Silencing the lambs


Source: Infowars


The Facing Islam Blog reports that Google is enforcing Sharia Law by blocking ads containing the keyword 'jihadwatch'.

From Infowars in 2015: After I made a video in which I explained that executing gay people and stoning women to death was a bad thing, and that this may indicate Islam is not a very “peaceful” religion, someone on Facebook reported me to the police for committing a hate crime.
“You do realize that spreading hate is illegal in the UK….I’ve reported you stupidity to facebook, the police, and several online hate crime organizations. Best of luck in the future ya tool,” wrote the individual.

On a more trivial level but equally important in terms of free speech Gavin Ashenden recently reported the latest muzzle being used by modern liberals is Twitter blocking:  "I just love it that you can block people on twitter. What a joy.  'Bigotry'- block. 'Hatred' -block. 'Stupidity-block.  'Ad-hominem'-block!!"

With their feet firmly under the table, conditioning minds with their political correctness and twisted views on equality progressive liberals are having a field day. The devoutly Christian tennis legend Margaret Court, who takes a conservative view on gay marriage, has been denied renewal of her local club membership in Australia.

One would think that same sex relationships are the natural order, that there is something really rather quaint in the belief that marriage is the natural union of men and women for the procreation of children. There is nothing natural about a transgender male giving birth to a child from the womb she was born with even if she does believe she is a man. The liberal buzz word is 'love' which 'normalizes' everything

When it comes to 'equality' there can be little more bizarre than when a "senior Anglican academic" calls on the Church of England not to appoint any 'traditionalists' – those opposed to women priests – until a third of all bishops are women. Warning the Church is damaging 'its public witness and Christian credibility' by promoting those who oppose female ordination, Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, says the CofE 'needs to embrace equality unequivocally'. I wonder how he would feel if his position had been part of a quota system with parity the first consideration.

Percy's church is not the Body of Christ. It is one of many parts, barely a toenail. Even in Anglicanism it is barely a toe yet insidious liberalism has so infected Anglicanism that the progressives would have people believe that they represent Christian thinking. They do not. They are on the margins but they have succeeded in marginalising traditional Christian faith and values while turning the Church of England, and the Church in Wales, into secular institutions to further political causes such feminism and LGBTQ+.

To comment contrary to progressive liberal values is portrayed as hate which must be suppressed. The irony is that hating hate has become more hateful than hate itself so the lambs are silenced while the wolves are left to rampage.