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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Women's ministry: laughing all the way to the top

The newly announced Archdeacon of Bangor will be among the story-tellers
at an event in St Asaph Cathedral to celebrate 21 years of women priests
 in the Church in Wales.    Source: CinW Press release

There is to be another celebration of women using the church for 21 years to further their careers at the expense of others when they meet in St Asaph Cathedral to recount stories of "uncertainty, inspiration and creativity".

The occasion is being organised by MAECymru, a self-promoting group of people who claim to have a vision of the Church in Wales as "a community of God’s people where, regardless of gender, justice and equality prevail". It is a vision of a church which misrepresents any opposition with spurious claims of prejudice, misogyny and inequality.

No wonder they are offering a 50% discount to entice new members to their gang.

"Welcome !  to  MAECymru"                                                                                  Source: MAECymru 

The newly announced Archdeacon of Bangor will be among the story-tellers. Her contribution to the debate on women bishops in the Church in Wales can be found in an essay following her trip to the US where she saw a woman celebrant wearing a pointy hat. That convinced her that she was right about women's ministry and the vast majority of Christians were wrong in their belief that the ordination of women to the priesthood was contrary to scripture and tradition.

The new Archdeacon has much to say about "women's ministry" but she completely misses the point. Women's ministry has become a process for the self-advancement for women in the church. Not ordinary women who worship quietly as they keep the church running but the minority of women who shout the loudest and are content to use the church for political gain at the expense of others.

Compare what she  has to say about ministry with this extract from A Noble Task by Bishop David Thomas who was asked to reflect on his experience of ministry as Provincial Assistant Bishop and how it might change if the episcopate in Wales  were opened to women:

 "Another  dangerous misconception concerns the nature of the objection to the ordination  of women as priests. People sometimes assume that the real problem has to do  with the ministry of women in the Church. This is not the case. The assumption  arises from a failure to differentiate clearly between ministry in general and  ordained ministry in particular. Perhaps I can illustrate the point from my  liturgical responsibilities. Sometimes, for instance when a document is being  prepared for Governing Body, I have to spend hours poring over the minutiae of  a revised liturgical text. This was how I spotted that, in the ‘gold book’  Eucharist, the heading of Preface 23 (for use at ordinations, institutions,  etc.) was ‘Ministry’. The heading has been corrected in the 2004 equivalent  (no. 30) to ‘Ordained Ministry’. This contemporary, very common, tendency  unconsciously to allow ordained ministry to get submerged in the much wider  concept of ministry, leads to all sorts of mistaken perceptions. All I can say  by way of comment is that the wisest (and toughest!) spiritual adviser I’ve  ever had so far was a woman; I benefited enormously from working in my last  parish alongside a woman deacon; I made it my business to increase the number  of female eucharistic assistants in my last parish, and I worked very happily  there with a quite outstanding woman churchwarden – added to which, I am well  aware that there are some situations, perhaps many, where a woman will be  better qualified to give pastoral care than any man. I have very good reasons  for accepting, affirming, valuing and rejoicing in the ministry of women in the  Church. The difficulty for me, as for others including many women, has to do  with that distinctive aspect of presbyteral ministry which we call eucharistic  presidency."

Bishop David Thomas was the first Provincial Assistant Bishop (PAB) appointed to provide acceptable sacramental and pastoral ministry to those who, in conscience, were unable to receive the ministry of women priests. He also proved to be the last PAB after Abp Barry Morgan and his bench sitters reneged on the agreement which eased the path to women's ordination in the Church in Wales.

The bench had achieved their objective and that was that despite the overwhelming desire expressed at Diocesan meetings for similar pastoral and sacramental provision to be restored.

MAECymru shares the duplicity of the bench of bishops. They have a vision for a Church in Wales in which justice and equality prevail but it is a cloak under which secularisation has taken hold, advancing minority causes.

They couldn't care less for the countless women and men who find their church has left them.

Justice and equality for those left with no church will be quietly forgotten as the story-tellers relate their sob stories.


  1. J S B Monsell would be so disappointed A B. Where is the beauty? Where is the Holiness? Non est Jubilate. So drab so mundane so self destructive.

  2. Church in Wales Pie (with apologies to Don McClean)

    A long, long time ago,
    I can still remember
    How the bishops used to make me smile.
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those bishops dance
    And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

    But the theology made me shiver
    With every paper they’d deliver.
    Bad news on the doorstep;
    I couldn’t take one more step.

    I can’t remember if I cried
    When I read about Episcopal pride,
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the Church in Wales died.

    So bye-bye, bitter Anglican pie.
    Took my mitre to the River,
    But the Taff, it was dry.
    And the bishop of Monmouth was drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that we die.
    This’ll be the day that we die."

    Did you write the book of love,
    And do you have faith in God above,
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Do you believe in unity,
    Can bishops set your soul free,
    And can you teach me how to lead real slow?

    Well, I know that you’re in love with him
    making bishops' faces look quite grim.
    From the closet you both leapt.
    In their chambers bishops wept.

    I was a lonely Christian in the pew
    With a prayer book and hymnal, both brand new
    But those coming out were just too few
    The day the Church in Wales died.

    I started singin',
    bye-bye, bitter Anglican pie.
    Took my mitre to the River,
    But the Taff, it was dry.
    And good old bishops drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that we die.
    This’ll be the day that we die."

    Now for a hundred years we’ve been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
    But that’s not how it used to be.
    When Barry spoke from the Primates' floor,
    In a cope he borrowed from Thomas Moore
    And a voice that left out you and me,

    Oh, and while Barry was looking down,
    John stole his pointy crown.
    The meeting was adjourned;
    A harsh verdict was returned.
    And while Jesus offered words of grace,
    The bishops gathered in one place,
    And they said "No!" to his face
    The day the Church in Wales died.

    Helter skelter in the coming summer swelter.
    Schismatics flew in from a TEC shelter,
    Eight miles high and falling fast.
    It landed foul on the grass.
    The players tried for a forward pass,
    With Barry on the sidelines in a cast.

    Now the spring-time air was sweet perfume
    While the bishops played a marching tune.
    We all got up to dance,
    Oh, but we never got the chance!
    `cause the laity tried to take the field;
    The House of Bishops refused to yield.
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the Church in Wales died?

    We started singing,
    bye-bye, bitter Anglican pie.
    Took my mitre to the River,
    But the Taff, it was dry.
    And good old bishops drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that we die.
    This’ll be the day that we die."

    Oh, and there we were all in one place,
    A whole Church lost in space
    With no time left to start again.
    So come on: Barry be nimble, Barry be quick!
    Barry give John a swift kick
    Cause schism is the devil’s only friend.

    Oh, and as I watched her on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
    No angel born in hell
    Could break that satan’s spell.
    And as their hands climbed high into the night
    To celebrate their schismatic rite,
    I saw satan laughing with delight
    The day the Church in Wales died

    He was singing,
    bye-bye, bitter Anglican pie.
    Took my mitre to the River,
    But the Taff, it was dry.
    And good old bishops drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that we die.
    This’ll be the day that we die."

    I met a new Bishop who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news,
    But she just smiled and turned away.
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where I’d heard the good news years before,
    But the man there said the news wouldn’t play.

    And in the pews, the people screamed,
    The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
    But not a word was spoken;
    The church bells all were broken.
    And the three men I admire most:
    The father, son, and the holy ghost,
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the Church in Wales died.


    1. Wonderful.
      But it won't appear as one of Gerwhine's hymns in this week's "Weakly Notes"!!!

  3. Recently came across this by a John Michael Greer - "I’m far from the only person to notice that something very strange has been happening to Christianity for quite a long time now. The liberal denominations that used to be the mainstream capitulated to atheism back in the 1950s - you’ll have to look long and hard to find ministers in any liberal church who actually, literally believe in the objective reality of the God whose weekly worship they’re paid to conduct - and now function mostly as charitable foundations and political-action committees with a sideline in rites of passage". The theology of the new liberated CinW to a 'T'.

  4. Well written Geraint. You've got it in one. Social workers not priests is the new ideal. And political activists, predictably, boringly leftward looking.

  5. MAE Cymru, CATAC, LGBTQIA+ chaplaincy - when can 'orthodox' & 'catholic' Anglicans in Wales have some webspace on the CiW website to campaign for their beliefs?

    1. You've had it Whamab! There is obviously no place for orthodox and catholic Anglicans in Wales any more. The writing was on the wall when the Archdeacon of Llandaff said that people who are uncomfortable with the changes being made would have to "find accommodation as best they can." In other words "Get lost!" As far as I can tell from recent developments, the watchword of MAE and similar groups seems to be "Look at ME!" All you can look forward to under this regime is circle dancing, sparklers and tambourines... and of course the continuing pressure for SSM. A truly theological outlook has been absent from the C in W for some years and the deterioration unfortunately continues. Sorry to be so pessimistic but I can see no hope for a resurgence of true orthodoxy or catholicity under the present regime. We are facing a candy floss organisation which lacks any true sense of direction and which simply chases the prevailing secular mood. Miserere nobis!