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Saturday, 6 May 2017

Take it or leave it!

Churches coming together (CNS)                                                                                                         Church moving apart (Church in Wales)

As the Catholic and Orthodox Churches continue to come closer together the Anglican Church in the UK drifts further away from the unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church with every ill-advised congregationalist move it makes.

During his visit to the Coptic Church in Egypt, Pope Francis joined with the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual head of the Eastern Orthodox churches, in placing flowers, lighting a candle and praying at the site where dozens of Coptic Orthodox Christians were killed by an Islamic State militant last year. Video here.

Christian Today reported: "As Christians face an increase in violence around the world and especially in the Middle East, there are significant signs that the major Churches are coming together, with the blood of martyrs acting as the 'seed of unity'." - But not the inward looking Anglican Church.

The contrast could not be greater. Coptic Christians are regularly attacked and killed in Egypt. Christians throughout the Middle and far East are constantly targeted by Muslims but in Great Britain Islam is affirmed as a religion on a par with Christianity while the Anglican Church pursues its fixation with secular matters.

As Scottish Anglicans move towards same sex marriage their leader has warned that GAFCON should "stay out of our territory" while the Church of Ireland is split over whether it should liberalise its stance on same sex marriage. Meanwhile the Church of England continues its shared discussions before its expected capitulation to the LGBT lobby in opting for secularism.

The bishops of the Church in Wales will still be smarting over their failure to lead the charge towards same sex marriage but they lost the plot years ago. Many congregations are elderly with little sign of younger people joining them. Indeed, for many youngsters in Wales religion has become a no go area. Some are even petitioning for an end to compulsory prayers in Wales' schools. They gained more than 870 signatures of support in less than two weeks. Without new blood collapse is inevitable.

Perhaps the experience of readers is different to mine but from what I hear, any faith visits to children in their formative primary schools are often carried out by female Methodist ministers, sometimes by an evangelical nonconformist but never by a traditional male Anglican priest.

I had hoped to be more positive in my outlook after Barry Morgan's retirement but I fear I was too hasty in my April entry, A promising start, when I reported that the bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the senior bishop on the bench of bishops, told the Governing Body to "put evangelism at heart of ministry".

My positive outlook crashed with the appointment of the bishop designate of Llandaff who has made it clear that her priority is to appoint more women to senior roles until parity is achieved. That is feminism, not evangelism. An appointment which, incidentally, has been met with a stunned silence in Llandaff after the clamour created by claims of homophobia, subsequently disproved, because the Dean of St Albans failed to secure the votes he needed.

So no new broom to address the disillusionment created by Barry Morgan as he bent the church to accord with his own views. Just more of the same. Take it or leave it. Many have decided to leave it, doubtless with more to follow. As Church of England rejects have been appointed in Wales the best of Welsh talent has left for England while the laity have opted simply to leave altogether.

One wonders how all those clergy who abandoned their former colleagues and faithful parishioners for a career in the Church now feel as they look at the state of the Church in Wales and see that they have no prospects in Wales.

Many more clergy and laity will be examining their consciences after the appointment of two female bishops. Doubtless many red lines will become distinctly pink but for others it will be the end of the road. A sorry, unnecessary predicament. In that, Morgan and his bench sitters have been cruelly successful. Opposition has been virtually wiped out in some areas, but at great cost, ignoring the expressed wish of the majority in consultations for alternative provision, leaving the fate of the Church to the Jackson/Wigley/MAE Cymru cohort.

Does anything matter anymore in the do-as-you-please Church in Wales? What of those who broke their Llandaff Electoral College oath of silence and the shameless campaigners including the unnamed bishop who put LGBT issues before the Church? No doubt that will be swept under the carpet by the bench along with everything else.

While some will find reasons to stay put, others will continue to leave. Evangelism is fine but for what? A church in which faith managers have shattered the parish system, interpreted the Bible to justify their own secular desires and ignored the wishes of its members when asked for their views while still claiming to be members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

How many more must leave before the bishops get the message? Without acceptable alternative provision, leaving is the only option for anyone who wants to keep the faith.


  1. The question to ask of oneself is with regard to my spiritual health. Am I able to grow closer to God and by my example attract others to the faith, by adopting the way in which the teaching in the Anglican Church has been changed. It is undoubtedly a great distraction from our duty to worship and communicate with Almighty God when the fundamentals of our religion are askew .
    A priest of the Apostolic succession is part of our faith. (and ,of course, the people are absolutely necessary to the priest). It is true that any Christian may baptize,(although ordinarily this is undertaken by the priest) but to avail ourselves of the other Sacraments a priest is needed.The sacrifice of the Eucharist offered to God is the principle work of the priest. The priest stands at the altar as representative of Jesus. Jesus was a man,Jesus chose men as his disciples , and to suggest and decide that women may now be ordained is to be dismissive of God's order. We have been given a pattern for our lives in the Holy Family. Mary,the Mother Jesus remains the Icon for women.
    A great deal of confusion has been introduced into the Anglican Church and this seems to have arisen because Bishops have adopted a presidential role of first line manager and confidently believe they have the authority to change the set-up at will. There is no consistent authority and this breeds instability.
    Within the Orthodox and Catholic Churches changes in practice take place slowly . The Pope is surrounded by expert theologians and advisers. Changes are not made on a whim to appease the the yearnings of modern social fashion.
    I now rest my case.

    1. Simple Soul, you seem to be obsessed with Apostolic Succession. The truth is that very few, if any, bishops can trace their lineage back to the apostles. The Roman Catholic Church has a website called Catholic Hierarchy. 95% of Roman Catholic bishops trace their ancestry to one bishop named Scipione, Cardinal Rebiba. He was consecrated in 1541, but there are no records of his consecration. Every Pope since 1700 traces their lineage to him. Pope Clement XI is the last pope who does not trace his lineage to Cardinal Rebiba. He traces his lineage through Guilaume, Cardinal d'Estouteville. Unfortunately, there is no record of his consecration either; although it took place supposedly in in the mid-fifteenth century. Whilst Apostolic Succession is nice in theory; it is very elusive in practice.
      As for the sacraments, you also wrong. Bishops alone, can ordain and confirm, and God help any priest who tries to assume an episcopal role. As for the sacrament of marriage, the ministers of the sacrament are the bride and groom. An Anglican priest is only there to bless the union, and to act as a registrar for the state.

      Tomas de Torquemada

  2. AB, sadly I think #72's appointment smacks of short-termism and is nowhere near bold enough if the stated aim of putting evangelism at the heart of everything we do is real.

    We are not privy to all the pressures the bench face with the knowledge they have of the state of play. Maybe Llandaff was so in trouble it needed someone like June Osborne to come in and wield the sword with savage ferocity?

    I worry though, like you, mission and growth are not priority one, two and three but still way down the list under feminism, promotion of LGBTQ+ and any other social justice cause one can care to mention. Perhaps even more?

    What makes me really frustrated is that some think promoting these things will actually lead people to want to come to church. I mean in significant numbers.

    It won't - simple as that.

  3. I would hate to ruin anyone's day, but... I was strolling through The Hayes, just outside the market, this morning, towards a certain place of refreshment, when I met an old chum of mine who (infrequently these days) patronises the Parish Church of that vicinity. He had a broad grin across his face. Apparently, the incumbent of aforesaid church has submitted an application for a vacant English deanery (I am not talking about Salisbury, but one where the Dean was forced from office in less-than Christian charity last autumn). I am sure he has got the wrong end of the stick. After all, we want to benefit from many more years of manic nervous energy and declining worshippers. But, just in case it is true, we got the trebles lined up. I thought readers of this esteemed blog would like to be assured that they can always read it here first!

  4. Evans the Song11 May 2017 at 10:00

    I hate to spray waste bodily liquids on anyone's celebrations, but regardless of the veracity of FRCO's information, I think we can safely say she will be staying put. They need an Archie Norman figure in that particular cathedral who can balance the books, bring people along, and unite the Chapter. Somehow, I can't see her qualifying for any of those criteria, despite the glowing reference that Barry the Golfer will have doubtless supplied.

  5. Lest you think I'm the bearer of Fake News, I have also heard a whisper from a certain church in Cardiff, where there is a particularly fine organ and the language of heaven is only spoken, that there is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode concerning 'honest' John of Ely Tower, after he made some rather rash and ill-advised remarks concerning the Welsh language. I am reliably informed that a well-known composer of that parish was in receipt of an email from the hills, responding to concerns about Dean Osborne's inability to siarad Cymraeg. The language is, apparently, less than episcopal. I have been wondering to myself if, once the general election is over, and another ecclesiastical election is looming, this will all leak... to Gregory the Tree-Eater's distinct advantage.

    1. Oh I have no doubt whatsoever it can be arranged. Get Prof Norman Doe to cook something up for him.But keep an eye on Bangor same time.

      Llygoden Yard


  7. It's been suggested E stand not for England but for Europe - thus including Wales!!!