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Monday, 15 May 2017

"A noble task"

The bishops of the Church in Wales, Llandudno 2012

 ‘The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he  desires a noble task.’  I  Timothy 3

In his Theology Wales paper 'A Noble Task' Bishop David Thomas reflected on his experience of ministry as Provincial Assistant Bishop and how this might change if the episcopate in Wales were opened to women.

Bishop David died suddenly last week in the knowledge that the first woman bishop had been enthroned in St Davids and the imported bishop-designate of Llandaff is to be consecrated in Brecon Cathedral next month. Neither of the women bishops is a Welsh speaker, a language dear to +David's heart.

One can imagine the pain and the hurt felt by this faithful priest, bishop and pastor as his noble task was pushed aside to make the Church more relevant to society, principally by prioritising sexual minorities and gender issues. 

Bishop David's paper makes interesting reading in retrospect. Listed alongside it on the Church in Wales site are back papers including one by the Rev’d Joanna Penberthy, now bishop of St Davids, 'Learn from the past and build for the future', illustrating just how much theology has been replaced by politics in the Church in Wales.

It remains to be seen if loyal Anglicans who have been encouraged against the odds to 'Be joyful and keep the faith' can any longer survive in the Church in Wales. There has been a deathly silence since the Credo Cymru 'Conference to Preserve the Breadth of Anglicanism in Wales'. The divisive 'Code of Practice in relation to the Ministry of Bishops following the Canon to enable the Ordination of Women as Bishops' has yet to be tested. 

This will be the ultimate test of sincerity by a bench of bishops who "unanimously committed to securing a continuing place in the life of the  Church for those who cannot in conscience accept the new situation created by  the ordination of women to the priesthood." For others it is already over.

"People sometimes ask me how I imagine my ministry as PAB might change in the event of women being admitted to the episcopate in the Church in Wales. The only honest answer I can give is that it would not change; it would be over."  - 'A Noble Task'.

+David Thomas RIP


  1. Reading your final quotation from Bishop David -'A Noble Task' confirms my thoughts that Bishop David died with a heart broken.

    1. Sadly you are probably right SS but Semper Fidelis - his light shines on in these dark and desolate days for the Church he loved so well. Bydded iddo atgyfodi drachefn mewn gogoniant. RIP.

  2. North of Llandrindod17 May 2017 at 09:06

    Think of the generous, sacrificial catholicity Bishop David stood for, and the abysmal failure of Barry's Babe's to keep their ordination vows and provide the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church in Wales. How embarrassing to read about Bangor Cathedral locked-up, like a non-conformist chapel, on Saturday with no public recitation of the Offices or celebration of the Eucharist. How many clergy are staffing that place at the moment, with more to come? The account in the latest edition of "New Directions" shows how pathetic a Church we have become. Rest in peace, Bishop David, and pray for us during our long exile.

  3. What an insult, at such a sensitive time. The arrogance of +Andy Pandy Bangor strikes again. Announced this week, whether you like it or not, a full time chaplain for the homosexul, lesbian and transgender within the diocese of Bangor. Celebration service to be held at St Deiniols Cathedral. No mention of 'Sunday closing' being implimented for this one. Two fingers to everyone.

    If Barry Pontcanna Fields maintains that there is no need for an extra bishop for the catholic Credo Cymru, are we also assured that there will be no gay bishop for the homosexual,lesbian or transgender among us, since they are part of the same 'one catholic church'? The answer is probably, an emphatic "NO, you are not - infidels".

  4. Apologies AB. For just one fleeting moment I forgot, we are no longer part of the one holy 'catholic' Church. Problem sorted.Anymore bishops anyone?

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  6. There is no need for Maureen to withdraw her comment. One word describes them all. Shabbies.

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  8. Ancient Briton, it is one thing paying the deserved homage to Bishop David Thomas but another to follow his example and conviction. His words concerning his future as bishop of PAB should a female be ordained bishop were, "it would not only change, it would be over".

    Is it not time to disconnect from this liberal cross gender 'Pirates of Penzance' style of an episcopacy, who have hijacked and pillaged the faith of this anglican denomination, where the articles of faith are no longer honoured, let alone believed.And is it not time to consider assets, and if not assets, then fraud. The rot set in at the first ordination 1997. Now it is truly "is over".

    As the chairman of the P.F.B maintained in 1994, " If Benllech was allowed to do this, it would be the end of the Church in Wales as we know it" ('Scandal and Offence' Google. Archived letter to a diocesan secretary from the President of the Provincial Court 1997 and Chair of Provincial Board of Finance 1997 at the same time.) Get the gist anyone?