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Saturday, 6 January 2018

The slide continues: Scottish Episcopal Church

The Most Rev Justin Welby announced sanctions against the Scottish Episcopal
 Church  at a news conference in Canterbury.  Source: BBC

"A major row is erupting in the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) with half the paid clergy in one region rebelling over the appointment of their new bishop" reports Christian Today. This follows the appointment of Canon Anne Dyer to be the first female bishop in the SEC. Canon Dyer is "strongly in favour" of gay marriage.

The protest follows the failure of the normal nomination process where church members within the  largely conservative Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney failed to name the required minimum of three candidates. The SEC bishops then took over the process and nominated former business/systems analyst Canon Dyer but without first consulting clergy or churchgoers in the diocese according to the report.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said last October that the SEC would be excluded from ecumenical and leadership roles in the Anglican Communion following the decision of the SEC to begin marrying same-sex couples.

The first same-sex Anglican church wedding in the UK took place in Edinburgh in September 2017 after the SEC voted in June to amend canon law and allow same-sex couples to be married in church.

Following the vote the Most Rev David Chillingworth, then Primus of the SEC, said: "A new chapter opens up and inclusion takes a particular form. This new canon affirms there are different understandings of marriage in our church. We affirm we are a church of diversity and difference bound together by our unity in Christ."

Bound in unity in Christ they may be but that is no excuse for deviancy. There is only one understanding of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and for life.

Chillingworth retired at the end of July 2017. His successor the Rt Rev Mark Strange said in response to the sanctions imposed on the SEC: "We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that love means love."

Love means love in many forms. That the English language uses one word to convey different meanings of love is too convenient for those pushing same sex marriage.

Another ploy is to suggest that people will become accustomed to same sex marriage in time as they have to re-marriage of divorced people', a false analogy because divorce is about the absence of love, complicated by issues of annulment, consummation and the effects on offspring.

Carrying on regardless, the Anglican church is striving to reflect rather than inform society. Empty pews are the result but the new bishop of London was not bothered in her response to the problem in 2015 when the former nurse and midwife was appointed bishop of Crediton - hence her ascendancy in today's Anglican church no doubt.

Her attitude echoed that of Jan McFarlane, former Speech and Language Therapist, now Bishop of Repton. In response to the revelation that Norwich was the most godless city in England, the then Archdeacon of Norwich said that people were "doing their churchgoing differently" - staying away!

Postscript [08.01.2018]

Primus hits back after open letter criticises the appointment of Scotland’s first female bishop.

The Primus would be better employed examining his own conscience after seeking to justify same sex marriage using the simplistic slogan "love is love".

He now says. “Whilst, it would not be appropriate to disclose the internal discussions which took place among the bishops, suffice it to say, that the bishops fully believe and trust that they have been led by the Holy Spirit in their election of Canon Dyer."

 So the Primus stamps the SEC's gay marriage agenda with the approval of the Holy Spirit. The Church of England and the Church in Wales have been there before. If the Holy Spirit were to motivate anyone the signatories to the open letter would be more likely candidates having been informed by Holy Scripture rather than fashionable secular trends.


  1. It would make a change and show some independence of mind if just a single female bishop or even cleric disagreed with same-sex 'marriage'.

  2. Meanwhile in North Wales, the former Archdeaconry of Bangor and Anglesey is now being advertised as two separate posts that combine the role of Archdeacon with that of Ministry Area leader. Cost saving and a certain sign of decline.

    Rumours are that Bob the Builder is currently spending a lot of time in Llandudno!

    Menai Drudge

    1. Peering-out from Penmaenmawr12 January 2018 at 10:58

      This is indeed a sign of a diocese running around like a collective headless chicken, despite the 'spin' put on the reasons for this split appointment on the diocesan website and the claims of 'consultation' that were limited and selective. The first fact is that they failed to appoint a new incumbent of Llandudno when they advertised in September. Brand Bangor (or Tim Deiniol as the 'kids' now call themselves) is toxic and anyone with any brain or experience is giving the place a wide berth. The second fact is that Paul Davies's departure (the second Archdeacon of Bangor to leave for an archidiaconal post in the Church of England in 6 years) took Crap and his sycophantic 'bishop's council' by complete surprise.

      Anyone reading the job descriptions for these two posts will immediately conclude that the scope and level of responsibilities is totally unrealistic and unsustainable. No-one with substance or experience will apply (leaving aside the question of how on earth they imagine the two major parishes of the diocese can be sustained in mission by an incumbent who is moonlighting as an archdeacon). Read on a little further, and you begin to see that this is all about imposing the Mission Area model on reluctant parishes. Andy Crap may have become more liberal-leaning since his marriage broke up, but his evangelical instincts for heavy shepherding and micromanagement are still intact. Which begs the question: if this is about speeding up the transition to 'Mish-Mash' areas (as they are being called) what on earth is the point of the 'Ministry' Archdeacon (affectionately known as 'The Floater')? Just think of it, the weakest diocese in the Church in Wales, certainly in terms of clergy numbers and overall decline, paying FOUR archdeacon's stipends! You couldn't dream it up. Back in 2007, when the late and lamented Tony Crockett was our bishop, the diocese was buzzing, people were flocking to serve here, and we only needed two archdeacons. Quality was the watchword, not quantity.

      The only witless sycophants who will apply for one of these posts is either desperate for preferment or an archdeacon's pension - or both. Bob is indeed an obvious candidate, but so are one or two others I could name. In the meantime, it is patently obvious that, because the diocesan bishop is not bringing people with him and is meeting with widespread resistance at the coal face (despite the attempts at spin by the 'Communications Director' as Bob is styling himself these days). In any other sphere of public life, lack of strategic leadership at the top would result in the removal of the person whose incompetence is fuelling decline and malaise. Now, there's an idea...

  3. Aberdeen and Orkney is surely Sheffield in reverse.

  4. Why did they fail to appoint to Llandudno in October? Did no one apply?

    Lady Augusta Mostyn

  5. I heard there were applicants but neither of them were suitable.
    Nothing further to report.

    Menai Drudge

  6. It would be interesting to know what makes a person suitable or unsuitable for Llandudno. The word on the street is that it is a dying parish, demonstrates a very poor level of congregational stewardship, and is financially propped up by a car park.

    Lady Augusta Mostyn

  7. Dylan from Dolgellau14 January 2018 at 16:14

    Any hope of attracting candidates of substance as 'Senior Colleagues' (how un-egalitarian!) to the dying diocese must have gone out of the window if anyone remotely interested in either of these fantastical posts listened to Radio Cymru, this morning. Crap was being interviewed, having reached a 'significant birthday', by veteran BBC anchor man, Dewi Llwyd. Asked about his failed marriage, there was a predictable degree of episcopal evasion. More significantly was the fact that the C in W's only 'Welsh-speaking' bishop revealed that his is spoken Welsh is... well, absolutely crap. What an embarrassment. Interestingly. the interviewer is the elder sibling of a former archdeacon of Bangor (one of the two to have jumped ship from that once-prestigious job in the past 6 years, and widely tipped to be the only person capable of sorting out the piles of poo that have accumulated once Crap has pushed off to run a sports shop).

  8. There are so many points here:

    The Diocese of Bangor is unattractive to outsiders.

    The rate of hierarchical departure has been quite high as well as expensive.

    The culture of 'bestowal' and perpetual 'excitement' is unreal.

    The activity of a Mission Area is very different to the action of the Holy Spirit.

    The real bishop, the de facto bishop is lay and salaried.

    In terms of stewardship it is time to return to the old system of just one.

    The shutting down of the active priesthood has created a mountain of undisclosed money.

    Judgement has to begin within the diocese.

    The Tomkins entourage - Anonymous

  9. But to give them their due, the Diocese of Bangor has produced some very lovely books of late.

    Menai Drudge

  10. Peering-out from Penmaenmawr15 January 2018 at 14:07

    Yes, Menai Drudge, the de-facto 'Lay Bishop' living in the Deanery (on weekdays - and tax free from any benefit in kind) which the current Dean felt would be too invasive a dwelling, especially when she's only working part-time. But isn't it strange that, amid all the desperate flapping about Mission Areas, we're hearing nothing of the Ministry Archdeacon. He is no longer a member of the so-called Bishop's Council according to the new-look diocesan website (which has been cleverly designed so that you only see the information 'they' want you to see). So what is his role - and what is he doing about Mission Areas? Is he still an archdeacon in Bangor diocese? Is he still alive? One or two of us are getting worried in case Cyanide Sue buried him under the patio in the Deanery before she debunked to the East Midlands.

    Seriously, though, has there been another archidiaconal departure that has been hushed-up?

  11. As far as I'm aware Peering, Archdeacon Mike West is now working mainly for the St Padarn's Institue, where he is styled Revd Dr Mike West.

    For those who don't know about St Padarn's - it is a 'critical part' of the mission of the Church in Wales, as it 'pursues its 2020 Vision of flourishing churches serving local communities.'

    Over to you.

    Menai Drudge


  12. Peering-out from Penmaenmawr16 January 2018 at 14:16

    So, my hunch is right. Mike West has abandoned the sinking ship, too. How interesting. Not two, but three archdeacons have left the diocese of Bangor in the past 6 years. The fact that West's departure was hushed-up is just another sign of the pathetically weak leadership of Andy Crap and his smiling sycophants. I suppose I would be completely wrong to conclude that this happened 'on the quiet' whilst Barry the Golfer was running the provincial operation, and he decreed the suppressing an announcement? True to form.

    Assuming no-one will be appointed to the two 'senior' vacancies currently being advertised (presumably, if Bob had wanted one of them he would have been given it without all the expense of recruitment?), we will be left with a puppet bishop, the de-facto lay bishop, the lavatory attendant and a part-time dean. The future is looking brighter already.