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Monday, 17 July 2017

More of the same

"Thank you for your kind applause", as Madame Edith used to say in 'Allo 'Allo! after her star turn                                                          Source: Church in Wales

No altar cross or candles on the nave altar when the appointment of the Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, was confirmed in Sacred Synod last Friday. Instead the altar was used as a microphone stand. Apt for another political rally!

The first reported utterance of the new bishop on the occasion of her consecration the following day was to urge "sexuality-row" Llandaff diocese to move on, again drawing unwelcome attention to the Electoral College row after the Western Mail re-hashed the Jeffrey John self-promotion story on 11 July, an episode the bench had been trying to bury with their appointment of the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Rev June Osborne as bishop-designate.

More successfully buried had been the Church of England Osborne Report on homosexuality which should have been published in 1989 but surfaced in 2012. Some believe this report damaged Osborne's chances of preferment in the Church of England. Not so in the Church in Wales.

Pursuing another pet theme, bishop June offered her view of the church as a secular institution given over to the advancement of women in a BBC interview which formed part of their coverage of her consecration. She said:

 "Isn't it fantastic, Wales becomes the Province of the Anglican Communion that has the highest percentage of women bishops in it and that has to feel right because one woman is great but more than one woman in an organisation, people know this, really begins to make a change for the better because gender parity, gender equality, women feeling that their voice is respected just as the men's voices. It's what the Church in Wales has been working on for some years now and so I just think that bishop Jo in St Davids will be a fantastic colleague but it will also mean the the workings of the bench of bishops and the whole church will just become more normal. It's what people know in the normal life is mixed gender teams."

Yet more of the same in a radio interview here (advance to 51.12).

Rather than the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ has become the stepping-stone for women to pursue their careers in the church, demanding parity rather than spirituality. 

Stand by for more of 'what the Church in Wales has been working on for some years', substituting politics for faith when bishop June and her 'fantastic colleague' bishop Jo 'make normal the workings of the bench of bishops and the whole church'.

What bishop June failed to mention when she referred to the 'whole church' was that she had in mind the Church in Wales, one of the smallest provinces in the Anglican Communion, and possibly the Church of England. The vast majority of the world's 80 million Anglicans, along with the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, regard provinces such as the Church in Wales and the Church of England as being in error which puts her views into context.


  1. Same Circus, Different Clown17 July 2017 at 09:22

    Llandaff Cathedral, Llandaff Diocese and the Church in Wales sect of less than 29,000 regular worshippers have become the laughing stock of the Anglican communion.
    "Normal" in Llandaff would be a most welcome change but rather like the definition of "Marriage" has been redefined, I suspect "Normal" has or is about to be redefined.

  2. Get out asap. It is going to get worse

  3. Same old, same old17 July 2017 at 10:02

    "New bishop urges sexuality-row Llandaff diocese to move on"

    Doesn't bode well.

    1. If June and Jeffrey are such good chums will she have invited him to come along to LLandaff for her enthronement next Saturday?
      I'd be tempted to part with some hard cash for a ticket to watch John Davies, Gregory, Jeffrey, June et al all nodding and smiling at each other like parcel-shelf Churchills.

  4. Jeffrey John as assistant Bishop, perhaps? Now that would solve all issues - a man for the traditionalists and a gay for us gays. Truly a man for all seasons and a good chum for the new bishop. Win! Win!

    1. Talk about a "mixed gender team". That would be a real mixed-up gender team.

    2. ‘Now that would solve all issues’. Not too sure about that Scapegoat. Sorry Jeffrey we can’t make you Bishop of Llandaff because you are thought to be too toxic. However, you can fulfil your burning ambition of ‘please, please, please make me a bishop because I’m soooo desperate to be a bishop’, but it will be playing second fiddle to the job you didn’t get! Could Bishop June trust him not to undermine her every move because in his eyes she usurped his job? I think not. She doesn’t need an assistant bishop. Let her do the job she was given. As for the traditionalists, they’ve had their day, they are an ever-decreasing number who very soon will not need any pastoral provision.

    3. The "traditionalists" have had no provision for years which is why Llandaff Cathedral is so empty.

    4. The 'traditionalists' didn't all use the PAB when they had one, so why do they need pastoral provision now? The game has moved on. We are on the threshold of a new episcopal ministry in Llandaff. There are lots of exciting things for Bishop June to do. Regenerate the diocese. Inspire our worn out, hard working priests. Sort out the unfortunate mess in her cathedral. Establish an effective youth ministry and chaplaincy, especially to the thousands of university and college students in her diocese. And then there's the ministry to the poorer areas of the diocese. With all of that to do, I think looking after a few traditionalists will be very low on the agenda. I'm sure that the Bishop of Monmouth, or the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, could help out in those very few parishes who would refuse hospitality to Bishop June. Does anyone know how many such parishes there are in Llandaff? Could we have list to see the numbers involved? And of those parishes, is it just the priest who is a refusenik, or do we know that the majority of the parishioners are anti-June? I reckon that the numbers are very small, and certainly do not justify an assistant bishop with a separate ministry isolated from the diocesan.

    5. Preaching to the perverted17 July 2017 at 17:08

      Jeffrey John's arrival wouldn't satisfy you; only when everything has been totally dumbed down and completely queered up might you be happy.

    6. My posting was meant as a joke. To be honest I was amazed to see this article appear on the blog. Bishop June has yet to actually sit on episcopal throne and AB is spinning a pro-gay/anti-traditionalist stance to her ministry. In the previous blog article I thought AB was appealing for us to give Bishop June a period of grace to establish herself in her new role.

      I would like to formally ask AB to back off his criticism of Bishop June and allow her the fresh start she deserves in her post. Let her speak for herself. You say she is demanding 'parity not spirituality' - her ministry in the Diocese has not even begun!

    7. With all that 'Natural right constitutionalism' you are just far too clever for this blog Scapegoat, no wonder your jolly little jokes get misinterpreted.

    8. Subversive Canon17 July 2017 at 18:01

      If June wants to get off to a fine beginning the first thing she could do at 9am next Monday morning is to order Rowena in Bridgend to put an end to the "Discretionary" slush fund so beloved of Darth --Insidious and announce the immediate cessation of the dipping of hands into collection plates at confirmations and ordinations.
      After coffee at 11am she could then announce a Visitation to Llandaff Cathedral, ordering Gerwhine to hand over the general accounts, Organ Appeal accounts Quinquennial report and books of Acts.
      Following a light lunch and brief inspection of the aforementioned documents she could be handing the Capon and the oily Toad their P45s.

      Now that's what I'd call a good start.

    9. Hear, Hear Subversive Canon, well said Sir.

      Speaking of collection plates June just might reap unexpected dividends by reviewing and revising the current arrangements for storing/counting/banking offertory cash in her new Cathedral.

    10. I see Martin Shipton has been busy on page 10 of today's Western Mail.

      "Bishop 'has appetite' for task of running diocese".

      No sign of Jeffrey John though!

      And no sign of any working link online again sorry Ancient Briton.

    11. Lux Et Veritas17 July 2017 at 20:53

      Her statement makes it sound as though she's about to roll up her sleeves and get busy draining the swamp.

      "She said: "Leading a diocese that is so diverse, in an area that is both historic and beautiful, will be challenging but I have an enormous appetite for the task and am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to join a diocesan team which is strong and imaginative. These are turbulent times across the world and the need for faith, and for the confident, distinctive leadership of the Church has never been more important."

      Gerwhine, be afraid, be very afraid.

    12. Scapegoat, bishop June has spoken for herself, hence my commentary. She began her episcopal ministry in the diocese by twice advancing her views on parity. If you followed the BBC links in my report you would have heard her views clearly expressed.

      To quote Archbishop Cranmer in a recent post:
      "And so this blog is also a tool of Satan: every word written drips with hate, hypocrisy and bigotry. Merely to question some people or to expose their modus operandi invites such allegations. O, they won’t provide actual quotes of such offence in order that you may sit and reason with them: they will simply assert that it is so, and that will make it so."

      Read it all at

  5. Edeyrn is quite correct. Very few Llandaff priests used +David Thomas for confirmations when he held Episcopal office, preferring blind obedience to the Diocesan. Those priests are now reaping what they have (failed to) sow.

    - Across the Tiber

  6. When the chips are down ,the alleged traditional parishes will go for June.
    Edeyrn is close to the truth : parishioners in Anglo-Catholic parishes are not of one mind,and some just tolerate the traditional way because it is 'their church' and would not wish to separate themselves from their 'social home'. This situation is such because teaching from the pulpit has been secondary ,for fear of literally offending some in the pews. At this stage of the game wavering parishioners will take the line of least resistance, and that is falling in with the majority.
    As a postscript -did not Jeffrey John campaign for the ordination of women?

  7. Isn't this talk of gender parity passe.
    When the trannies get going, the men will be back with a vengeance, somewhat changed of course here and there but deep down still men.
    Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

  8. 'The traditionalists have had their day'- I think that is true and they know it. They can see that the game of being anti-women priests, in a church that has decided to ordain women, is up. I am perfectly happy with women priests but I have had to work hard to understand this theologically. The theology of women priests is sound but I understand why it is difficult for some. The key for the CiW in future (and Llandaff in particular) is not to lose those who find women's sacramental ministry difficult as (apart from a few awkward so-and-sos) they are holy and devout priests whom I admire and are doing wonderful ministry.

    Christian Badger

    1. Hear hear CB, I am entirely in agreement with you. Many of the women clergy are an inspiration, not all mind you, but some are outstanding pastors and priests.

  9. Edeyrn, you mention "inspiring our poor worn out hard working priests"
    I agree with you but the management push to force ministry areas everywhere, is doing the opposite. Team leaders here in Monmouth are hard to come by as no one wants to run 3-4 parishes with less and less team members. Cwmbran, became a ministry area and went from 4 full time clergy, to two, the curate recently was moved to Malpas Ministry Area as no one would apply for it, so the remaining ministry team leader has resigned and is off to Llandaff as a team vicar. So soon no full time clergy......but hey plenty of lay readers who have been ordained...........(is it me or is that bad theology?)
    I gather Llandaff has a chap going round full time, telling PCC's how wonderful ministry areas are.......

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  11. So sad that a forward looking concept like ministry areas has merely become a means of cobbling together parishes to try to reduce stipendiary clergy.

    1. Subversive Canon19 July 2017 at 08:52

      It was only ever a (mis)management tool but never forward-looking Whamab.
      A reduction in stipendiary clergy and the associated overheads has certainly been achieved but have the annual Parish Shares also reduced proportionately?

    2. IT is a grave mistake to buy into the fiscal protocols of the 'world'. Reducing ministry simply locks churches/parishes/ministry areas into a vicious cycle of decline - look at Non-conformism in Wales. Like you say SC, I would suspect the parish share would reduce even more than it is already due to the downward curve. A false economy if you ever saw one.

      It saddens me even more that the suggestion that ministry areas were never about faith, mission and reforming churches and parishes ready for growth but a cynical device to cut costs.

      Is there an example of a fully staffed and resourced ministry area with great staff in a diverse team of ministers, lay and ordained? Was this ministry area planned and prayed for with congregations taught about the need and benefits of them? Are these congregations enthused and excited about the possibilities before them?

      And have they seen even modest growth and new outreach and networks established in their communities? I'd love to know because I believe that such a ministry area is possible and able to make a difference in the power of the Spirit.

      In other words I'm convinced the model makes sense but if they become a parody of what they ought to be then ministry areas are doomed. Save money at the centre and redirect to the front-line in resourcing ministry areas properly.

    3. In theory, ministry areas do work. They are called parishes. But parish life has declined at the expense of a bloated, top heavy senior management structure in the Church in Wales. How many dioceses have clerics sat doing admin jobs 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, rather than being in front line ministry? There are officers and advisors for this, that and the other. It is almost as if the senior management team have forgotten what ministry is all about. It is not jumping on the latest bandwagon, trying to catch up with the worldly zeitgeist that has already trundled by. It is about having properly training clergy in each community ministering to the people. Senior managers forget that at their peril – they have killed off the real church, and ineptly managed decline. It happened on their watch, and they expect us to pay for it two ways. One, by the crippling quota payments to keep them in post. Two, by the decay at parish level caused by their managerial incompetence.

    4. The entire Church in Wales has been locked into a vicious cycle of decline and been a parody of what it ought to be for decades with the Morgan era guaranteeing it.

      Have you posed your questions with your answers all ready to hand merely to score a point or two?
      If so please do tell us.
      "Is there an example of a fully staffed and resourced ministry area with great staff in a diverse team of ministers, lay and ordained?"

      Even if one exists, I'd bet my Biretta it will be down to the hard work of one or two visionary traditional clerics who don't buy into all the 2020 and 'Seven Sacred Spaces' stuff and nonsense.

      Of all the ministry areas brought into existence, how many could truthfully answer all your questions positively?
      The model might make sense to you but then I suspect you're not a clergyman having to deal with looking after 4 or 5 merged Parishes.

    5. I think ministry areas that used to be rectorial benefices do seem to be fairing slightly better, but often not.
      In reality as there are less clergy, they simply get bogged down with endless funerals. People don't get pastoral visits, even in hospital. Mission is no where to be seen.
      I don't know any lay people who agree with ministry areas, or clergy. Most also don't agree with 2020 or seven sacred what nots but won't risk careers to say so.
      As for Parish shares going down, certainly not . They are staying the same, although people seem baffled by how, if you lose your full time priest as in Cwmbran, see your Vicarage up for sale (with no discussion) and have a local ordained minister, why is your parish share the same?
      Ah yes, to pay for the many many full time diocesan officers who apparently help and enable the Parishes/ministry areas (can we take a vote on that as Parishes?)
      I have seen the Monmouth training for Ministry area leaders and it could be management training for Tesco. Priesthood is not an exercise in management or at least never used to be.
      Many thanks AB for letting the real folk in the pew debate this, as the CiW is not interested in hearing our voice.

    6. Quite so Danny, bravo.
      In Llandaff though we were provided with an opportunity to express our opinions, charged £5,000 for the privilege of doing so and then ignored by the pompous prat in the Deanery.

    7. What people seem to have forgotten is that following the Governing Body's acceptance of the Harries Report which brought about Ministry Areas, the Bishops were adamant that the Report had to be implemented. It was the will of the Governing Body, or so they said. The Report recommended a reduction in Diocesan Offices, with Bangor/St Asaph, Llandaff/Monmouth, and Swansea and Brecon/St David's sharing offices. Has anybody noticed how that recommendation was quickly dispensed with by the Bishops, never to be mentioned again? Yet the pewsitters of Wales are expected to pay for this bureaucracy. It is high time that the pewsitters found some bottle to say "NO" to the Bishops' demands for exorbitant Parish Share, until the Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons numbers are reduced by 50%. After all, the congregations have been reduced by 50%, so why shouldn't the top brass? The Bishops have dispensed with the need for Confirmation, so they are not travelling around their dioceses doing confirmations; which begs the question, what are they doing with their time?

      Mr Inquisitive

    8. Good points Mr I.
      It's not as if they're over-run with Ordinands either!

  12. Your introductory comments highlight the socio/secular attitude of the charlady from Sarum Cleansing Services A.B. when she calls upon Llandaff to "move on" as if all the hurt and betrayal suffered by the good and faithful followers of Jesus Christ is a mere management problem or a sociological phenomenon.
    What Llandaff needs is a cleansing, repentance, absolution and a reaffirmation of the Creeds of the Church universal not psychobabble and twaddle.
    The Church in Wales has wounds that need binding!


    1. Many Watchman. But the Church in Wales does not begin and end in Llandaff. Guess whose blaming the 'Iorn Maiden' for his marriage break up?


  13. I am in complete agreement with you Abercynon and you intrigue me. Perhaps the individual to whom you allude should make a really thorough effort and try to find himself a copy of the Bible. After blowing off the dust and cobwebs he might care to reflect, together with all the other (FOUR) Welsh Bishops, upon 1 Timothy chapter 3 verses 1 to 5. (King James version)