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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Jeffrey John's gay chorus augmented by quartet


"Gay dean is in the running to become Bishop of Durham" The Times 6 May 2013 Photo: Chris Harris

Harry Farley has reported in Christian Today that a second complaint has been lodged as "pressure builds" over alleged homophobia by the Church in Wales after a senior gay cleric was blocked from being appointed a bishop.

Where one wonders does Farley obtain his information? The hymn sheet is always the same. One sided, all singing in unison ♫homophobia, homophobia, homophobia ♫. Who is the conductor?

In his Kiwianglo's Blog, an Anglican priest and LGBT advocate wrote a resume of the position of the Church in Wales as seen by the recently retired Archbishop Dr Barry Morgan. He emphasised "the Church in Wales has apologized unreservedly for its mistreatment of gay and lesbian people and strongly indicated it could allow or bless same-sex marriages in the future".

The Church in Wales is not homophobic, it is very gay friendly with LGBT chaplains. An over emphasis which is becoming all too obvious as the LGBT lobby tries to call the tune. There have been complaints from MPs, Cathedral Chapters and Electors with the list growing. Given the absence of any contrary view one suspects that the complainers are either gay themselves or sympathetic lobbyists. Much has been made of the weight of requests for John to be made bishop which merely suggests an orchestrated campaign. Others think it would be  a disaster but they were not asked for their opinion.

This is what one unpublished (anonymous) commentator had to say "I am assured by someone who was present that no homophobic remarks were made in the electoral college. (Already in the public domain so he felt he could concur.) Also that there are a lot of lies being told about what happened."

Jeffrey John has been rejected many times. Originally he had my sympathy but no more. Others dioceses have come to the conclusion that Jeffrey John would be more of a distraction than an asset. He claims that the Church does not speak with authority, advocates same sex marriage claiming that God does too and controversially interprets the Bible to suit his circumstances. Previously he threatened to take the Church of England to court after he was blocked from becoming a bishop contrary to 1 Corinthians 6:7 "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"

Why not rather be wronged, indeed? Nothing good can come out of this. The diocese, the province and the Church are suffering for one man's ambition. If he were to succeed in his outrageous campaign everyone else would be the loser.

Postscript

From ECCLESIASTICALLAW

Electing the Bishop of Llandaff: Propriety and Privacy

"The Thinking Anglicans website relates that the objection ‘has now been referred to the Legal Sub-Committee, which is a body in the Church in Wales assembled to consider legal and governance matters’.

However, it is difficult to see what this Sub-Committee can achieve, however legally learned its members.  Absent proper authority from the Governing Body, it has no power under the Constitution to investigate the deliberations of the Electoral College.  And to be effective in practice, any investigation of the objection is bound to contravene the constitutional rule of privacy concerning the Electoral College meeting.  One procedural impropriety is remedied by committing another."

In full here.

Postscript [31.03.2017]

Two interesting letters have appeared in the Church Times.

The first from the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales, The Welsh Bishops on the Dean of St Albans and the see of Llandaff, responding to an "ill-informed, unbalanced" leader comment,

the second from the Rt Revd Dr Barry Morgan objecting to false allegations by the Dean of St Albans that Dr Morgan  blocked his nomination to the sees of Bangor and St Asaph in 2008 and 2009.

LATEST

Church's legal subcommittee advises that complaints are without merit and bishops can proceed with appointment. Details here.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Not another victim!


Bishop steps down after speaking of campaign forcing him to quit - Christian Today

The Ass Bishop of Llandaff is resigning after speaking of a "sustained campaign forcing him to quit". David Wilbourne, a strong supporter of gay cleric Jeffrey John, will step down on Easter Sunday after 'considerable and increasing pressure to relinquish' his post for the past 18 months.

The Ass bishop of Llandaff knows all about victims. Back in 2011 when he was justifying his appointment by the Archimporter of PC persons, Barry Morgan, he claimed that the ordination of women would rid the world of homophobia, misogyny, brutalisation of women in all situations including those in war zones.

The Church in Wales has since ordained sufficient women to illustrate the nonsense of his comment. With so many women now in place, accusations by Jeffrey John of homophobia must be absurd.

After his appointment vicars in Landaff  received a letter from Wilbourne instructing clergy how he was to be received. Suitable parking was to be provided and a bag carrier was to conduct him into church. Perhaps unsurprisingly his symbols of office were to be displayed on the Altar to emphasis his authority. It proved never to be obvious otherwise. In an unwise move the Ass bishop also let it be known that he would be honoured to made the diocesan.

Wilbourne mentioned nothing in his statement about a sustained campaign forcing him to quit, or of the alleged considerable and increasing pressure to relinquish his post for the past 18 months. He was brought in by someone with no scruples and supported a candidate with no scruples. He has been part of the say anything, do anything campaign to advance the liberal cause that has so damaged the Church.

Pray that the bench has the imagination to recognise the errors of the past. No more of the same please.

Going, gone, gone. Ass bishop Wilbourne and the briefly Dean Janet Henderson
with their appointer Archbishop Barry Morgan.      Picture credit; Church Times

Friday, 24 March 2017

Exactly!




In a brief interview with Christian Concern the Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden explains why he left the Church of England. He could be speaking for many.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Westminster - a plea


The suspected Westminster attacker being tended by medics                                     Source: Sky News

The Westminster attack has already triggered the response on BBC Breakfast programme, "This has nothing to do with Muslims".

Perhaps not but it has everything to do with their Islamic ideology. Some progress has been made since world leaders such as Barak Obama, Tony Blair and David Cameron claimed "Islam is a religion of peace" - see  my earlier entry Spitting in the wind - but people are mistaken when they accord Islam the same standards as Christianity.

"Muslims believe that, unlike Moses and prophets who heard from God directly, Muhammad heard through an intermediary, Gabriel. In these revelations Allah changes his mind many times leaving followers with the problem of abrogation which results in taking the more recent (violent) verses in preference to earlier (peaceful) verses. Consequently the religion of peace in the Quran gives way to the sword:  "The later verses, known as the “Sword Verses” (9:5 and 9:29), were considered by Muslim scholars to have cancelled the previous verses mandating kindness and persuasion. Expansionist jihad became the explicit norm."

By contrast with uncorroborated revelations received by Muhammad, Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of eight Old Testament prophesies. The probability of fulfilling all eight prophesies has been calculated as 1 x 1028 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000."

The Sky News picture shows the suspected attacker receiving the same medical assistance as his victim would have received. That is because we live in a Christian country. In an Islamic state he would be more likely be tied to the back of a truck and dragged through the streets.

There are regular reports form Pakistan, Egypt and the like about Muslim mobs attacking Christians for no other reason than they are not Muslims. If not attacking Christians they are attacking each other for being the wrong sort of Muslim.

Islam is a supremacist ideology. We must stop making excuses. Instead of saying it has nothing to do with Muslims we should be saying that it has everything to do with Islam and explain why. There is only one way to the Father. If we not believe that, how can we convince others?



Postscript [27.03.2017]

Taken for a Ride? Islam and Religious Liberty

President Erdogan, who is rapidly turning Turkey into a Caliphate, once said that “Democracy is just the train we board to reach our destination.” Is religious liberty also a train that Islamists ride until they reach their stop?....Full article here.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

World Water Day 22 March 2017




Today, 22 March 2017, is World Water Day.

WaterAid is asking people in the UK to spring into action and email their MP to help raise awareness for the 1 in 10 people still living without safe water? Link here.


Monday, 20 March 2017

The Victim




Women in the Church were victims, allegedly. Gays, lesbians and transgenders in the Church are victims, allegedly. 

The true Victim was left hanging on the Cross. His words have been twisted to justify sectional interests to the detriment of the Church. The latest episode is witnessed by the LGBT campaign to have the high profile gay cleric Jeffrey John elected bishop of Llandaff.

Dr John says the bench of bishops is guilty of homophobia. This is the bench which wrote:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced.  We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence.  We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed."

Jeffrey John claims in an open letter to the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon that his situation is exactly similar to that of the Bishop of Grantham who is also in a same sex relationship. It may be insofar as civil partnerships are concerned but I have found no record of Bishop Chamberlain supporting the Out4Marriage campaign, twisting the Bible to support his stance.

Dr John also suggests that same sex couples are no different to infertile couples, or couples who are beyond the age of childbearing. He is badly mistaken. Addressing gay people directly in his Out4Marriage video Dr John claims that "the official church doesn't speak with integrity... so frankly doesn't deserve to be listened to". That does not bode well for the mission of the Church or for bench collegiality. It is a  pick and mix form of Christianity which leads John to claim that "God is Out4Marriage too"!

In his letter to the bishop of Swansea and Brecon who is the Church in Wales' most senior bishop, Dr John said he had been told by "a bishop present at the meeting of the electoral college" that “a number of homophobic remarks were made and were left unchecked and unreprimanded by the chair”. [My emphasis - Ed.]

For members of the Electoral College to leak information is a serious breach of confidence but for a bishop? He or she should seriously consider his/her position.

Regular churchgoers are dying out, literally and metaphorically. Those who have not been pressured into leaving and battle-on are fed up with gays and feminists claiming to be badly treated when the Church clearly has so many women clergy and gay people in their midst.

In England Archbishop Justin Welby appears to have sold out to Women and the Church (WATCH) despite their shameless campaign against Bishop Philip North because he is an orthodox Anglican. Read the history of this sorry saga here.

In Wales Archbishop Barry Morgan led the bishops into battle against Church members promoting same sex marriage. At the same time he was desperately engineering the election of the first woman bishop in Wales before he retired. His candidate also complained of discrimination. On investigation it proved to be nothing of the sort. One stitch-up is one too many.

I hope that the Bench has at last come to its senses. People need to hear about Christ crucified not false claims of victimhood.

Postscript [21.03.2017]

Unsurprisingly given the gay men's chorus which is singing ever louder to Jeffrey John's tune, the LGB pressure group OneBodyOneFaith this morning published an open letter (here) expressing their "concerns" about the way the process to appoint a bishop for the See of Llandaff has been handled. One of the signatories is the Rev Jeremy Pemberton, Chair for the Board of Trustee. It was he who thumbed his nose to the Church of England over the gay marriage issue.

OBOF have only Jeffrey John's word for what took place. That is second hand. There is no context, merely accusation. "The reported unanimity of the Llandaff electors is a strong indication of what they wish to happen" they write. There are two points here. It was common knowledge that many in Llandaff were desperate to avoid a woman bishop. Their best hope of avoiding that eventuality was to support Jeffrey John. Also, given the strong gay presence in Llandaff, the impression given is that many if not all form part of the chorus demanding that Jeffery John should be the bishop-elect.

As we approach Passiontide  the baying crowd becomes louder. There are echoes of "Give us Barabbas". The crowd had it wrong. So does OBOF and the media. Pray that the Bench withstands the media onslaught.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bishop of Llandaff: Stage 3


 Epstein's Majestas,  Llandaff Cathedral                                                                                                                                                            Source: Cool Places


The tense wait for an announcement from the Bench of Bishops is over, for now. The Bishop-elect of Llandaff is to be appointed after meeting the short-listed candidates.

Following three days of deliberations by the Church in Wales (CinW) Electoral College from 21st to 23rd February, no nominated candidate received the necessary two-thirds of the votes cast to be declared Bishop-elect. Under the CinW Constitution the task falls to the Bench of Bishops. Their meeting this week is a step in that direction.

This is an anxious time. Many Anglicans will be hoping that their preferred choice will be successful to extend sectional interests. It is gratifying to note that, on the face of it, extensive lobbying has not pushed the Bench into a hasty decision.

After the tragic episode which saw Bishop Philip North withdraw from Sheffield, a period of prayerful reflection is needed.

Many people in Wales know the hurt being felt in England. After Bishop David Thomas was not replaced following his retirement in 2008 relations have continued to sour and Church attendance has declined.

Pray that the Bench will have the imagination to appoint a bishop who is conscious of the need for the two integrities to flourish if Anglicanism as we have known it is to survive.

Postscript [17.03.2017]

"Leading gay cleric Jeffrey John left off shortlist to be bishop"

It has been reported on the 'Christian Today' web site that the Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, is not on the new shortlist to be next Bishop of Llandaff. While it will disappoint some of his supporters the news comes as a welcome relief to many more.

Also, the sad news that "Former Queen's Chaplain Gavin Ashenden quits 'liberal' Church of England" here.

Postscript [19.03.2017]

'Christian Today' reports

 Gay cleric Jeffrey John speaks out: My homosexuality was the only reason I was blocked as Bishop of Llandaff

Not only is it too convenient to blame his rejection on his homosexuality, it is absurd. The weight of homosexuals in the Church lobbying for Dr John's appointment is testament to that. He mentions another reason, "namely that my appointment would bring unwelcome and unsettling publicity to the diocese". I am sure he has heard that before. Self promotion is no recommendation for the Episcopacy.

Postscript [20.03.2017]

The latest headline from 'Christian today':

Jeffrey John: Pressure mounts on Church in Wales after allegations of homophobia

Allegations are not facts. It is noticeable that pressure groups such as One Body One Faith accuse the Church of 'unjust and discriminatory behaviour' but they completely overlook the criticism of Dr John's unorthodox interpretation of the Bible. Now why could that be?

Postscript [21.03.2017]

Today's headline from 'Christian Today'.

More calls for Welsh church to make Jeffrey John a bishop

After the Chapter of St Albans Cathedral branded the treatment of their Dean, Dr Jeffrey John, 'wholly wrong' the clergy of another Anglican cathedral have "thrown their weight behind calls for a senior gay cleric to be made a bishop in Wales". The Chapter of Ely Cathedral has now added its 'unanimous support' to the growing calls for the Welsh bishops to reconsider Dr John.

I can understand the media taking Dr John's charges of homophobia at face value but for Cathedral Chapters to do the same suggests a parallel with will no-one rid the Church of England of this troublesome priest?

Critics should pause for thought. If Dr John felt aggrieved he should first have written privately to express his concerns after confidential information was scandalously leaked to him. Instead he chose to go public setting the mob loose crying "Homophobia!" when it is nothing of the sort. The pit is getting deeper. These people need to stop digging before the Church falls in.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Women in the Church


The 'dark' side.


"Women bishops would humanise the priesthood" said the then Archbishop of Canterbury in 2011. Dr Rowan Williams warned the Church hierarchy to prepare for the “culture change” that would come with the “full inclusion” of women. Not the full inclusion the Archbishop would have expected. Instead it is inclusion to the exclusion of anyone with views not in accord with Women and the Church (WATCH) and their fellow travellers as highlighted by the "Sheffield controversy".

At the time Ann Widdecombe was closer to the truth when she said,  "Christianity in Britain today is under severe persecution. And it will get much worse. I do not resent this persecution. I welcome it. For it will weed out the pseudo-Christians, the wimpish bishops and the caved-in Synod. By persecution we discover who our true friends actually are." In 2017 that has come to pass.

Feminists have mercilessly used the Church for their own political ends. On the face of it WATCH ran a legitimate campaign, as they saw it, for the ordination of women. But, as with the world wide web, there is a dark side. A deception which has been gnawing away at the soft underbelly of Anglicanism. Say anything, do anything to gain the advantage. Thus the five guiding principles were agreed allowing women to become bishops in the Church of England. Perhaps they were crossing their fingers behind their backs as they voted but either way, they have reneged on the agreement rendering the whole procedure untenable.

Critics of WATCH were accused of misogyny from the earliest days when Canon Lucy Winkett said in a keynote speech, "Never mind Gordon Ramsay, we have in modern society a new F-word: Feminism." Extracts from her speech can be read here, eg,

Now women are on the inside, are exercising authority in
state and church, although the power is not yet equally
shared and the pay is certainly not equal. We are in a
new situation; I am not here to make a case for women
to be bishops – that case is obvious...

From the historical perspective of exclusion, women are
able to speak with authority from long centuries of marginalisation,
to bring these perspectives into the decision
making structures of society and church.

In the West, we live in a half changed world. There are
now very few areas of public life not open to women –
except those protected by organised religion."

In their campaign WATCH have used Christian values as a weapon to secure an advantage over their target audience, secularists and Anglicans who have been brought up on 'love thy neighbour', 'turn the other cheek', etc. Many have been bullied into submission for fear of being branded un-Christian while the majority outside the Church either do not care or have become so secularised they no longer understand the issues. When Bishop Philip North withdrew from his appointment as Bishop of Sheffield a BBC News reader said it was because 'his congregation' had complained.

Similar tactics, including false accusations, are being used by LGBT campaigners to bully the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales into appointing the Dean of St Albans to Llandaff. In an undignified campaign Members of Parliament have become involved. They have been led to believe that Dr John has suffered discrimination because he is in a civil partnership.

The MPs wrote "We understand that Dr John, a fluent Welsh speaker, was born in Tonyrefail in 1953. He grew up there and went to Hertford College, Oxford where studied both Classics and Modern Languages and was awarded a First. He was ordained to a title at Holy Nativity, Penarth. From Penarth he went back to Oxford to study for a DPhil and became Dean of Divinity to Magdalen College."

Many Welsh Anglicans have been asking themselves why, as a fluent Welsh speaker, Dr John was not appointed to St Davids in what looks more than ever like the politically motivated appointment of the first woman bishop in Wales. A gay priest and friend of Dr John’s for 40 years said "There’s homophobia everywhere but that’s no reason to stop a gay person from becoming a Bishop."

It is not homophobia and not because Dr John is gay and living in a civil partnership. The reasons why Dr John was rejected are open to speculation but for Church members who have been alerted to the controversy it is because he has campaigned for same sex marriage in Church which was rejected by the Governing Body. Moreover, he has used an unorthodox interpretation of the Bible account of the healing of the centurion’s servant in Luke 7 to justify his stance.

Looking to feminism, to gay rights or any other secular cause to swell congregations is not what the Church is about. That has failed. Decline continues. False claims by campaigners are leading astray a politically correct audience for selfish, political ends. That is not the Way of the Cross.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

International Women's Day



"Women In Sheffield Mark International Women's Day With Humorous Protest At Their New Bishop." - Christian Today

Humorous? - I despair. No wonder so many have given up on the Church. 

Louise Haigh, the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley, wrote in an open letter to Bishop Philip North: 
"As you will be more than aware, more than a third of Sheffield's clergy are women.  I was born, baptised and confirmed in Sheffield, I have felt fortunate to have been Ministered to by two women priests and I am proud that the Church in Sheffield is a progressive actor not only on equality but on issues of economic injustice and poverty also."

A "proud trade unionist", Louise Haigh served as a shop steward for the Unite Union representing workers where they faced "discrimination, harassment, the threat of redundancy or unfair dismissal and organising to help bring about change in the workplace".

Clearly there is no difference between Church and workplace for some people but even if there were, discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal are not universally applied by feminists. Ms Haigh expresses everything that is wrong with Women and the Church (WATCH) and their sympathisers. Feminists and the Church would be more more appropriate and respectful to women at large.

A commentator wrote in response to my previous entry, "The decline predates liberalisation. Liberalising was thought (by people including myself I confess) to be the answer but it is not. The real problem today is that society just does not believe in God whether explained by conservatives or liberals."

The tragedy today is that many who do still believe in God find themselves unchurched by political groups entering the Church, urging the adoption of secular standards, such as they are, in place of spirituality and worship.

If Bishop North decides against Sheffield, there is still Llandaff!

Postscript

Statement from the Bishop of Burnley, The Rt Revd Philip North
"It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield."  Statement here.

Postscript [10.03.2017]

The fall out following Bishop Philip North's decision not to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield continues. Two excellent blog entries from 'ignatius his conclave' and 'Archbishop Cranmer':
Sheffield formula and
Those who attacked +Philip North have made same-sex blessing compromise impossible

See also the BBC's Church of England at war after Bishop Philip North's U-turn and
The Conservative Woman Feminism is corrupting the heart of the Church

Emma Percy, Chair of WATCH, attempts to defend her position in a radio interview here.

Suffice to say that I and other traditionalists have long been criticised as being misogynistic and homophobic, the two main weapons in the progressives' armoury, simply because it was possible to see this coming. Progressives have used every trick in the book, complaining about persecution, harassment, lack of equality, etc, etc, etc. Women and the Church (WATCH) deserves to be banished from any further dialogue. No hope of that but any more complaints about unfairness from these women and the LGBT+ campaigners can be taken with a pinch of salt.

Postscript [10.03.2017] (2)

The Rev Mike Jones, one of the starlets of 'All One in Christ', the Changing Attitude Iris film farce commended by the bishop of St Asaph, appeared on BBC Wales Television News this evening in an item speculating on a leak from the Llandaff Electoral College.

Yet another well placed item after 'Captain Underpants' asked a question in the House of Commons pleading the cause of the Dean of St Albans who failed to secure the necessary votes to become Bishop of Llandaff.

The influence of the LGBT+ lobby appears to have no bounds but most of us have had enough of LGBT+ and WATCH turning the Church to their own advantage. The Church in Wales does not need a divisive character in Llandaff, or elsewhere. Progressives have failed the Church. It is time to begin anew.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Dodgy legal advice leads to Eucharistic free for all


Source: New Directions
Readers of the March 2017 edition of Forward in Faith's magazine New Directions (£) will have read the worrying conclusion by a leading law expert that the Pastoral Letter from the bishops of the Church in Wales authorising the reception of Holy Communion based on Baptism alone was based on dodgy legal advice.

This is the conclusion of the Rev'd Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin, a former Professor of Law at Cardiff and Bangor and former First Welsh Legislative Counsel to the Welsh Government. Between 1981 and 1998 he served as Legal Assistant to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales.

Professor Watkin writes: "The interpretation placed upon the rubric  by the Legal Sub-Committee not only circumvents the Church's due processes for alteration to rites and discipline. In its consequences, it displays a scant respect for - or an inchoate understanding of - the rule of law in Church affairs."

Professor Watkin wrote at the beginning of the article: "In a letter to the Church Times on Friday, 27 January, His Honour Judge Andrew Keyser QC responded to my letter in the edition of 13 January concerning Confirmation and Admission to Holy Communion in Wales. In his lengthy and carefully-worded letter, he quoted the views of the Doctrinal Commission on the issues, but he revealed nothing of the reasoning behind the Legal Sub-Committee's conclusions. The two pieces of unanimous legal advice to which he refers, and the reasons why other interpretations were deemed "unpersuasive", remain firmly hidden from scrutiny,

In a February blog entry, Church in Crisis, a letter from Professor Watkin to the Church Times was reproduced. In it he wrote, "The Church in Wales Book of Common Prayer, enacted by various canons, declares that confirmation is a rite, and its rubrics provide that confirmation is generally necessary to receive holy communion. The Church's constitution provides that alterations to rites and discipline may be made only by canon.

"The Welsh Bishops wish to allow those who have been baptised to receive the sacrament without need of confirmation. They are attempting to do this by pastoral letter, without any authorisation by canon. The Archbishop has written in this paper (Letters, 25 November) that the change makes confirmation 'a service of response and commitment to God's grace given at baptism and at the Eucharist for those who want to make such a commitment'.

"...The Welsh Bishops state that they have legal advice assuring them that the 'step does not require any change in the present Canon Law or Constitution of the Church in Wales'. A polite request to make public that legal advice met with an equally polite refusal. That the alteration is controversial is clear from recent correspondence in these columns (Letters, 14 October and 23/30 December)."

The Article Riding Buckleshod over Canon Law in New Directions gives a fascinating insight into how the Church in Wales under Barry Morgan seemed able to receive the advice they wanted to hear to justify their actions. Professor Watkin is not alone in his concern. Some of the highlighted text from a previous article in New Directions by the Venerable Martin Williams, the former Archdeacon of Margam: The Civil Law was all that mattered; Canon Law is swept away; These are existential concerns about our identity; Not once in the documents is "Eucharist" used; and, It is hard to imagine what the bishops have in mind. The Archdeacon concludes, "The Church in Wales is in a very deep crisis indeed."

The Church in Wales claimed to be "re-adopting the practice of the early church on admission to Communion – the sharing of bread and wine – in an effort to strengthen ministry to children and young people in particular". Ministry to children and young people will not be strengthened by making Holy Communion commonplace. It is the mystery and awe that counts. Something deeply spiritual. The 'otherness'.

The Doctrinal Commission's seal of approval was used to authenticate the former Archbishop's divisive views on same sex marriage. Always careful to implicate the bench with 'collegiality', Barry Morgan's views have prevailed by one means or another. Sadly I hear that he can be seen still lingering around Llandaff Cathedral like a bad odour, no doubt trying to exert influence on his form minions.

Much discontent is apparent from comments received under previous entries. If ever there were a time for a fresh start this is it, starting with the new Bishop of Llandaff, not tainted by political intrigue but steeped in holiness and righteousness. Someone the bench will look up to, not kowtow to.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Three bullets+ for Llandaff


Three of the 'Current Challenges' facing Llandaff. Source Church in Wales 


"At a meeting of the Electoral College of the Church in Wales held from February 21st to 23rd, no candidate nominated received the necessary two-thirds of the votes cast to be declared Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Llandaff.

Under the provisions of the Constitution of the Church in Wales, the right to fill the vacancy has passed to the Bench of Bishops, and the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, as the Senior Bishop and President of the Electoral College, has determined that there should be a process of consultation before names for possible appointment are considered...." (See Provincial press release: Bishop of Llandaff – appointment process)

The press release has a link to the 'Llandaff Diocesan Profile' and 'Person Specification for Bishop of Llandaff', and a note on the provincial perspective, all here.

LGBT+ people have been busy commenting under a previous entry, Llandaff stalemate with their usual vitriol about lack of inclusion due to homophobia. Their campaign has even reached the floor of the House of Commons (see the Thinking Anglicans site). Former Anglican priest, Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab) - AKA Captain Underpants MP - put the Question:

But discretion is not always good in the Church, is it? Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, has been barred from becoming a bishop in the Church in Wales, which I know is separate from the Church of England, because the other bishops have refused to do what they have done in every other case—accept what the members of the local diocese have wanted.

Let us put this into perspective. Historically, some gay people suffered for their sexuality but there are gay people and there a gay people. Most quietly get on with their lives while others constantly agitate for greater acceptance making life difficult even for people in their own community. Society has moved from a position of  intolerance to tolerance and understanding to harassment by LGBT+ organisations making false accusations. This is evident in the Church. They are using the same tactics which resulted in the ordination of women as part of a liberal agenda which was supposed to grow the Church but it has had the opposite effect with a steep decline in Church attendance in England similar to that in Wales.

Thousands of men convicted of offences that once criminalised homosexuality but are no longer on the statute book have been posthumously pardoned under a new law after the successful campaign to pardon Alan Turing. Gay and lesbian people can benefit from civil partnerships but there is no gratitude, just demands for more. The sticking point for the rest of us is the sanctity of marriage which is the union of a man and a woman but opposition to same sex marriage in church is met with cries of Homophobia!

Changing Attitude which campaigns for equality in the selection, training, ordination and appointment of LGBT clergy estimate that about 10% of clergy are LGBT compared with 1.7% of the UK population who identified themselves as LGB in 2015. There is no shortage of LGBT people in congregations yet the third bullet point in the extract from 'Current Challenges' is to increase the representation and inclusion of LGBTI Anglicans. This followed by another bullet point in the text:

"To commit to ensuring a safe space within the Church and within our communities where members of the LGBTI community can be honest and open, respected and 'fully affirmed as equal disciples' (Same Sex Pastoral Letter 2016)."

 Why? LGBT people are not under represented and are very vocal whereas traditional Anglicans  receive no support or encouragement. Could it be that LGBT inclusion was inserted so that an openly gay candidate would fit the profile? It fits the former Archbishop's political agenda following the stitch-up which resulted in the first woman bishop being appointed in the Church in Wales to a diocese she was unsuited for.

The first bullet point includes the statement "Caring for our existing membership is important, but a radically different approach to sharing the Gospel is needed to fulfil the mission of the Church at a time of declining attendance."

That is a lie. The bishop of St Asaph has assumed responsibility for advancing and ministering to LGBT people with the addition of a chaplaincy while care for traditionalists was withdrawn when Bishop David Thomas retired in 2008. One of the challenges (the second bullet point) "To recognise and affirm the wide range of traditions across the diocese" must do just that, affirm and recognise traditionalists, many of whom are cradle Anglicans.

The outcry being orchestrated following the rejection of the Dean of St Albans by the Electoral College is disingenuous. The Church does not discriminate against celibate men in a gay civil partnership. The problem with Dr John's candidature is that he is a focus of disunity. He favours same sex marriage in Church and has twisted scripture to add credence to the LGBT campaign. Also, in the view of many Church members he appears to be yet another pawn in Archbishop Morgan's manipulation of the Church.

The first bullet point stresses that, "Caring for our existing membership is important, but a radically different approach to sharing the Gospel is needed to fulfil the mission of the Church at a time of declining attendance." [My emphasis - Ed.]

If the bench wished to demonstrate the importance of caring for existing members at a time of declining attendance they would also recognise the importance of members who have struggled to keep the faith in the face of hostility over many years. Even 'the best bishop the Church in Wales never had' was told "There is no place for you in this Church". That must change. The time is now.

With hindsight the ordination of women has benefited career opportunities at the expense of plummeting attendance. Increasing the representation and inclusion of LGBT Anglicans to throw more abuse at loyal members of the Church is not the answer.

The Church in Wales has the opportunity to begin anew. No doubt the bishops will be bombarded by the LGBT brigade to appoint Jeffrey John. They must resist. In order to stop the decline the bench must appoint a bishop from among traditionalist clergy who will restore the mystery and the holiness of the Church.

Postscript [09.03.2017]

I have received news of one consultation in which an Area Dean invited nominations provided the nominee had agreed: "We can confirm that the Assistant Bishop David Wilbourne 'would see it as a great privilege to be Bishop of Llandaff' and therefore is willing to be considered."

Readers may recall that back in 2011 it was David Wilbourne who took the view that the ordination of women would 'rid the world of homophobia, misogyny, brutalisation of women in all situations including those in war zones'. Wrong there.

Asked in a BBC Radio interview before the election process why applicants should not apply, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon replied that anyone who wanted the job was unlikely to be suitable. That's Wilbourne out then.