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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Holy smoke

Celebrating Llandaff style                                         Source: Naked Truth/BBC

Apparently there is smoke without fire. That is the conclusion of the eagerly anticipated Llandaff Cathedral report. It reminds me of the Church in Wales Standing Doctrinal Commission telling the former bishop of Llandaff what he wanted to hear but it is as it is.

The hand-picked review team describe Llandaff Cathedral as "a wonderful place with committed clergy and staff. It has a healthy attendance at services with many young people and a wealth of skills and experience in the congregation. The reviewers recognise that the Cathedral is now in better shape having stabilised its finances and controlled its operating costs, as well as having fully recovered its rich tradition of music. It also has one of the best organs in the country."

Nevertheless, the challenges ahead "require a better business model that is more sustainable to help finance the repairs and the redevelopment of key areas of the building whilst also helping to fund the mission and ministry of the Cathedral. The reviewers recommend major changes to the way the Cathedral is governed for it to shape and deliver a bold and extensive strategy. Key to that restructuring will be the involvement of more lay people with specialist skills."

No doubt many commentators who have used this blog to air their grievances will not be satisfied with the findings but perhaps it is time to draw a line and move on.

If commenting on this blog, may I implore commentators to refrain from using derogatory pseudonyms which serve only to detract from what is intended to be a legitimate commentary on the direction of Anglicanism today.

A word about comments. These are sent from the anonymised address "". There is no information which identifies the sender. Consequently I am unable to reply to commentators directly when asked, neither am I able to amend comments to remove what some readers may find offensive. 

Over the last few days I have been experiencing a problem with the receipt of comments. I apologise in advance if you try to comment within the rules (see leading Blog notes) but without success.


  1. Thank you, AB, for your wise remarks concerning restraint in making comments. Your blog is an invaluable forum of free-speech and counter-opinion that is often spoilt by unsavoury terms of personal abuse. No more of this ‘Ciaphas’ and ‘Gerwhine’, please. The sorry state of our once loved church is a serious matter. Silly personal point-scoring will not help to restore it.


  2. And I thought the tambourine was the problem.

    I have also been having trouble receiving notification of new comments via the usual e-mail. I have to check my "Comments"/"Awaiting Moderation" on Blogger's control panel.

    1. That's interesting, thank you UP.

    2. I think I have a solution to the problem of not receiving email notifications in the nominated address UP.
      If you tick the 'Notify me' box in the Comments section a notification is sent to the 'Blog authors' email address (Settings/Basic). Using the facility 'Automatically forward Gmail messages to another account' the comments can be copied to the nominated email address used for moderation requests (Settings/Posts, comments and sharing).

      Some readers are unable to comment because the comment vanishes when they press the 'Publish' button. I have found no definitive answer to this problem but Googling suggests some commentators have resolved their problem by changing the browser used, eg from Safari or Chrome to Firefox. Another suggestion which worked for some is to enable third party cookies in the browser settings. HTH AB

  3. "having fully recovered its rich tradition of music"?
    "a choir which compares well with other cathedrals"?
    Check the progress when it comes to financial support from the Dean & Chapter.
    Where's the sick bucket someone mentioned a few weeks ago?

    1. Less than one third of the relatively modest sum of £3000 raised.
      Oh dear.
      Perhaps Mr Moore ought to consider some simple conclusions to be drawn - there is little or no appetite in the Parish for a new CD of the "Cathedral" choir and even less among the Dean & Chapter.

    2. Anyone daft enough to write that Llandaff without its establishment of lay-clerks has "...fully recovered its rich tradition of music..." is either brown-nosing , cloth-eared or quite possibly both.....fruit of the Parry-tree. One look at the service sheets show you where Llandaff is now.

      And if they successfully drive out Graham Holcombe.....they will lose not only a man who truly understands the priestly vocation but the only priest who can sing the responses in the middle of the note.

    3. Well readers, the final result is in and it isn't good.
      Closed 29/06/2018
      £1,585 raised of £3,000 target by 51 supporters

    4. What an awful situation for Mr Moore and the choristers.
      Mary was correct.
      That it's necessary to hold out a very public begging bowl in the first place is embarrassing enough but to raise only half of the required sum is a humiliation.
      But at least the ladies in the Cathedral shop won't find themselves left with hundreds and hundreds of CDs in stock that no-one wants to buy.

    5. Unless anonymously, not one single member of the Diocesan Clergy has made a contribution.
      One wonders if Mr Moore might have greater success obtaining funds from the Bishopette if he had arranged for the recording to take place in Santiago de Compostela?

    6. £10 million is available for wishy washy crap but Gerwhine and "she who must not be named" can't stump up £3 grand to perpetuate the propaganda that the music tradition is alive and well in Llandaff??

      What a crock of crap.

    7. The rot in Llandaff made it to the TV today.

      Row upon row of seats removed from the front of the Nave but still plenty of empty seats to be seen.

      As Patron of the Organ Appeal, it is widely rumoured that on his way in, HRH was overheard asking the Bishopette "Now then, lovely girl, where's that missing £3/4 million?".

  4. One doesn't see anywhere in the much lauded Review by June's stooges any attempt to answer the vexed question posed by His --Darkness;
    Where's the missing £3/4 million?

    1. Subversive Canon30 May 2018 at 23:59

      The Reveiw is riddled with inaccuracies, deceits and deceptions.

      Paragraph 67
      "The cathedral suffered a lightning strike in 2006 which seriously damaged the organ."

      The lightning strike occurred in the early hours of 28th February 2007.
      June's three stooges were clearly too lazy to use Google to verify the facts independently for themselves, but swallowed what they've been spoon-fed by the Capon et al.

      Paragraph 67
      "The unanimous view of advisors was that Nicholson & Co. Limited should be appointed at an estimate of £1.2 m".

      This is a lie.
      Referring to my notes again, I am remindedthe figures quoted were £989,500 for the instrument (that is the complete instrument including the 4th manual, pedal stops and solo organ) plus £50,000 for the organ case and another £66,000 for the workers lodgings, board and other ancillary work.
      Total £1,105,000
      Not "£1.2m".
      The three stooges are no better at arithmetic than Peggy the Pilate.

      Paragraph 68
      "It was reported at Chapter on 27 Feb 2007 that the contract had been signed"
      I confirm this is correct.
      But the stooges neglect to mention that the deposit had also already been paid to Nicholson's before that Chapter meeting occurred.
      How was that possible when the appeal wasn't even launched until Friday 13th July 2007?

      Therefore good people of Llandaff, have you yet woken up to the FACTS that the contract had been signed and the deposit paid to Nicholson's BEFORE, yes, I say again, BEFORE, the storm occurred and the lightning strike had even hit the building?
      The Chapter meeting to which the three stooges refer took place the afternoon BEFORE the lightning storm.

      Has anyone thought to ask why an appeal was launched for £1.5 million to pay for an organ that in total, was supposed to cost £1,105,000?

      Draw a line and move on?
      Pull the other one, things are just about to start getting really interesting.

    2. Lux Et Veritas31 May 2018 at 08:10

      Doing some light reading over my morning cornflakes, two things immediately jump out from the pages.
      Top of page 10, para 38, the Organ project was not dealt with either consistently or as a restricted fund and separate project and that has been and remains one of the biggest problems.

      And the reason it wasn't set up as a restricted fund?
      You'll find the answer on page 16 in para 81.
      'The balance remained in general reserves, without which the Cathedral would have run out of cash, given the deficits.'

      Money was being siphoned away from the organ appeal money to keep the place afloat and Bonaparte would never have obtained permission from the RB to liquidate the trusts or sell 9 The Green if he'd told the truth, that he needed money to pay the wages and keep the lights on.

    3. A whiff of indecent haste pervades all mention of timescales for suggested changes with 2019 the odds-on favourite but, as ever in Llandaff, the rub is money.

      "Significant funding must be raised before going ahead with any element."
      "The latest Quinquennial Inspection requires essential work of £1.5 million up to 2025, plus £400,000 of desirable work." and "The review estimates the cost of refurbishing Prebendal House at £2-4 million."
      "Therefore £4-6m is required in the next 10 years."
      "Fundraising capability is a priority - little can be done without it."

      No shit Sherlock!

      Remember this readers?
      Leaked report shows Church in Wales was warned in December 2012 that Llandaff Cathedral faces bankruptcy
      Dean Capon said Prof Jones’ report had been shared with the Chapter and the Parochial Church Council. He described the report as making “suggestions” rather than recommendations and, regarding the role of a fundraiser, said: “We are considering this possibility but I have been in post for just 18 months and feel that there is ground work to do first.”

      So since his installation on 28th February 2014, we find ourselves 4 years and three months later being told by June's stooges that the Cathedral has been run for "the last few years without a strategy", "A new bold and extensive strategic vision is now required", "A clear brief for the work to produce the Strategy is required with proper project management, led by a member of staff (to be appointed) with relevant experience" and "Significant funding must be raised before going ahead with any element".

      Isn't that pretty much what Eleri Jones told them in 2012?

    4. One's good lady wife has remarked how obvious are the knives that are out for the long-serving and long-suffering Canon Residentiary.

      The three stooges have, it seems, been so insightful as to have identified, (all on their own you understand) that "The position of the Residentiary Canon in governance or in the day to day management of the Cathedral is unclear." and "we recommend that this is reviewed by the Bishop and the Dean."
      His "role" needs to be defined and "some consideration should be given to how his time might be better used".

      One would think that Byzantine Bazza would have made the Canon Residentiary's job description clear at the time he was appointed.
      Failing that, that any one of either Bonaparte or visiting Dean Bazza, or briefly Dean Janet or acting Dean Peggy the Pilate or antiques-dealing squatting Dean Capon would have considered providing good old Canon Holcombe with a job description sometime in the almost 20 years he's been doing the job?
      If not, one might be forgiven for thinking that's quite an oversight on the part of all the Bishops and Deans that have come and gone over the decades.

      One hopes the good Canon is already getting himself "lawyered up" for his imminient Employment Tribunal.

    5. Graham Holcombe, Graham Holcombe, Graham Holcombe2 June 2018 at 21:42

      If June’s three “Review” stooges want to know what the role of the Canon Residentiary is, they need look no further than the Weekly Notes published for tomorrow.
      after TRINITY
      3rd June 2018

      7.30AM SAID MATINS
      Psalms 28 & 32

      President & Preacher: Canon Graham Holcombe

      9.00AM PARISH EUCHARIST (followed by tea /coffee)
      President: The Dean
      Preacher: Canon Graham Holcombe
      Readings & Offertory Procession: Charlotte Davey

      President: The Dean
      Preacher: Canon Graham Holcombe
      Palestrina Missa Aeterna Christi Munera
      Ave Verum Byrd

      12.30PM HOLY EUCHARIST (Lady Chapel)
      President: Canon Graham Holcombe

      Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake Hilton
      Responses: Smith
      Hymns: 150(19ii), 334
      Psalm: 35(vv1-10)
      Stanford in A
      Jubilate Deo Halls

      The good Canon is almost certainly down to lead Choral Evensong because, as Eleri Jones’ Report noted again, he’s the only one that can sing and that's another issue over which there has been zero progress in six years.

    6. James Richards3 June 2018 at 13:29

      To be fair to the reviewers, and in the light of the workload he carries, their point about a job description and clarity of role may be about giving Canon Holcombe a level of authority commensurate with his responsibilities. Of course, the Golfer would never have made him Sub-Dean or anything like that, because he wouldn't want to be seen to be rewarding a traditionalist. But, given that Canon Holcombe is the de facto Precentor, and was originally brought in as 'Canon at Llandaff' to run the place on a day-to-day basis, because Napoleon was failing to do so, I don't read their comments as being necessarily negative - or sinister. I see it as a case of 'you've got a good person here with skills and experience, now make something of it.'

    7. The stated basis for Canon Holcombe's appointment is correct and your conclusion might well be right James but would require a complete reversal of the way the Canon has been treated since Gerwhine's arrival.

      The 'Canon at Llandaff' did used to run the place on a day to day basis but his responsibilities have been eroded or removed altogeher.
      The Canon was essentially the line manager for the Music Department, liaising with the Organist and Master of the Choristers over music, selecting the Hymns for services, booking visiting choirs to cover school holidays when the Cathedral Choir were away, running the voluntary Merbecke Choir that was disbanded by Gerwhine without consultation, reviving and directing the Llandaff Music Festival for the duration of the dodgy Organ appeals and so on.

      The one good person with skills and experience has been undermined.
      Sidelined by the Capon and Mr Toad for years, the time has come where the Canon is now in a position to retire any time in the next 20 months to suit his convenience.

      The chance to make something of it was lost when the wrong Dean was appointed.

    8. Gerwyn must go!3 June 2018 at 20:32

      The proof of that pudding was on display twice this morning Cymru’r Groes - the cringeworthy spectacle of the Capon crowing from the top of its dunghill.
      I was at the 9 o’clock which was bad enough and I went home feeling nauseous but I hear matters were an order of magnitude worse at the 11 o’clock.
      The slimy Mr Toad led the gay cabal in an obviously pre-arranged and choreograhped round of applause.
      Only the sycophants took it up.
      Those who know better and how to behave with dignity in the House of God remained still and silent.

    9. @JR & C'rG
      The way Canon Holcombe has been treated in recent years in any other line of work would be classified as constructive dismissal.
      It is to the Canon's credit and the benefit of the Llandaff Parishioners he is still in The White House waving two fingers at the Deanery.

    10. Lux Et Veritas4 June 2018 at 13:28

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Our Lord himself cleansed the Temple of robbers, thieves and money changers.

    A great deal of money has changed hands somewhere down the line. But I wouldn't expect the modern-day Pharisees and Sadducees to investigate themselves.

    Let's not forget the "real world" example of Carillion. Its auditors KPMG gave it a clean bill of health just before it spectacularly collapsed:

    Carillion also had a "a bold and extensive strategy" which involved convincing clients it was nowhere near bankruptcy.

    Maybe a diocese that has money to burn on jollies to Spain is trying to paper over the cracks in its credibility? All I see is a bunch of disconnected priestly non-entities living high on the hog at other peoples' expense.

    If you're expecting pastoral care or moral guidance from a bunch of portly prelates and NSMs in Mission Areas where no-one's seen a parish priest in decades, don't hold your breath!

    The only solution? Stop giving money to this shower.

    1. If the nature and quality of the Review is any means of judging then it's going to take the second coming to shift the shower of sh*te posing as clerks in Holy Orders from Llandaff Cathedral.
      But who knows, the Holy Ghost moves in mysterious ways.

  6. 'Major changes to the way the Cathedral is governed'. If this is acted on, there is a chance we could at last see the end of the present inadequacy and his friend ordering all things - and causing so much damage.

  7. Reports of 'organ-gate's' demise have been exaggerated! The corpse liveth!

  8. PP: Did anyone expect anything else? When you give a review panel a remit, but put "independent" in the mix, you get "hog wash", as one of the esteemed above makes plain.
    If the maths are that skewed to protect the mismanaged cathedral team, then I suppose its always going to be so. But,I also have a hunch, there is much more evidence unseen. You dont wash dirty vestments in public, but quietly dispose of the soiled garments.

  9. It seems to me they spent 1/2 the £3/4M on the organ and half running the cathedral. It was all appalling financial management below the standards expected of trustees but no-one need be held to account.

    Job done, that's the ball game, let's move on.

    1. Run that by me again Whamab - no-one need to be held to account?

      Paragraph 13, Llandaff seems to have had more than its fair share of problems.
      Because of the morons on the Chapter.
      Who put them there including Bonaparte and Peggy the Pilate?
      Bully boy Bazza!

      Paragraph 27, As far as we are aware, the Cathedral has never had an approved comprehensive strategy.
      Because of the morons on the Chapter.
      Who put them there?

      Paragraph 33, The most striking feature is that for 8 of the 11 years considered, the Cathedral ran a deficit, a total of £485,000 of deficit in those 8 years.
      Because of the morons on the Chapter.
      Who put them there?

      Had the Review gone back just one more year to 2006 they would have been obliged to mention the £270,000 loss on the re-wiring and new lighting project, taking the total deficit to £755,000 in 12 years.

      Hey, have you noticed it yet?
      Guess what?
      Isn't that near as damn it the amount Barry Morgan told the Friends' AGM had gone missing from the Cathedral's coffers on 27th June 2015?
      Do you still believe in coincidences?

      Paragraph 41, But the significant deficits and the sale of assets do not appear to have been part of a plan. There is no evidence that Chapter carefully considered plans for deficits or asset sales. This can only be described as EXTREMELY POOR FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, CERTAINLY WELL BELOW THE STANDARD EXPECTED OF A CHARITY TRUSTEE.
      Because of the morons on the Chapter.
      Who put them there?

      But here's my personal favourite, wait for it..... Since 2013, the Archdeacon of Llandaff's work, and that of the dean and his team, have brought better financial management.
      Peggy the Pilate was installed on 31st May 2009, so what was she doing in the four years before 2013?
      The highlight of her time at Llandaff was getting rid of the Choir that Eleri Jones described as the "Jewel in the Crown" of the Cathedral.

      As for the Dean and his team, they are damned with false praise in paragraph 42, Despite the realisation of these assets for these purposes, total general reserves have risen from £3.5m to £5.4m, as a result of the Organ's values in the accounts, and paper gains on property of almost £1m.
      As Gerwhine is often heard to be saying when it suits him and his cabal, the Organ was nothing to do with him since it predated his time as Dean and are the 3 stooges expecting anyone in Llandaff to credit the Capon with paper gains on property values?

      Move on?
      Not bloody likely!
      I agree with 'Subversive Canon' above.

    2. I hope you know I was being sarcastic. Of course, the trustees who have been castigated for their abject failure should have to consider their positions.

    3. Cheering for Janet1 June 2018 at 00:12

      Consider their options?
      If it were up to me not one of them would be given the option to consider anything.
      Run a bath?
      They couldn't run a tap.
      As for the prospect of raising £4 to £6 million by 2025, the chances of that happening are the square root of sweet Fanny Adams.

    4. @Whamab, apologies friend, you had me going there for just a moment or two.

    5. dim problem, being a bit of an 'agent-provocateur' there!

  10. Amazing that the Residentiary Canon should be singled out - the clergyman with the most integrity, sense of duty, ability and authority. I hope the reference is to the post and not the person, or there can be no confidence in this report.


    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Quite right Battleaxe.

      Eleri Jones had it right.

      The star of the show is clearly Canon Graham Holcombe: "without who we would be in a much worse state". Indeed, Canon holcombe was singled out by eight people and for one person he was not just one of the three best things but the three best things were: "Canon Graham Holcombe, Canon Graham Holcombe, Canon Graham Holcombe".

      Only when he decides to retire will they discover jut how much he does and the Parish discover how little the dud in the Deanery does.

  11. I agree with you 1662. "Move on" my arse. But hey, has not the Enforcer warned you enough by now "We continue as we please", (His Hon Michael Evans QC 'Scandal and Offence' 1997). The Welsh Judiciary is central to your problem 1662.

  12. PP. If all the details above are fact, it would bring any charity to its knees, where is the RB, I thought they were the guardians of financial strictures? If, all this is correct, then surely this has to move into the public domain and light shined on the darkness. Or, some cabal members have teflon undergarments. It is wicked both as a fact and as if, flagrant gossip mongering if the cabal are to be believed. What is the cathedral members, friends and communicants doing?

  13. Simon Stylites1 June 2018 at 00:29

    There's much of interest in this report. As some of the esteemed commentators above have noted, the devil truly is in the detail!

    Firstly the Cathedral's deficit during the John Lewis years was even worse than previously reported at £485,000. One has to question why things became so bad under the former Dean. How on earth did they burn through money so quickly? The question needs to be answered.

    Secondly, it seems pretty clear to me that this figure correlates closely with the "missing" £400K of the Organ Appeal for which the sale of the house was required (after requesting that loan from the RB). Now more than ever the finger of suspicion points at those Cathedral officers who requested the loan "to cover the shortfall in the Organ Appeal." Obviously this falls under the former Dean's responsibility as well.

    Thirdly, the Report now claims that "The latest Quinquennial Inspection requires essential work of £1.5 million up to 2025, plus £400,000 of desirable work." Well, the 2009 Quinquennial had almost £1 million of essential work in it. Why was it not carried out? Again, we find that John Lewis abolished the Fabric Committee in 2006.

    Not only was there a vast deficit, essential work to the Cathedral was stopped and then under the pretext of an Organ Appeal, it seems that money was diverted to pay this off.

    This isn't just "bad practice", this is far far worse. It's malpractice.

    The Church might think they can sneak these figures into a rushed report that tries to gloss over the bad stuff. What they've done instead is supply ammunition to those of us who want full transparency about what went on at Llandaff between 2004 and 2014.

    We should've known about this enormous financial problem 8 years ago. But lo and behold, all those who tried to inform the pewsitters about it were shouted down. The Eleri Jones report ("the Cathedral is nearing bankruptcy") was canned.

    Bottom line: this isn't ancient history. Llandaff's financial problems are ongoing and if the Cathedral has repair liabilities totalling £4 million it is in serious trouble.

  14. My incredulity at this is the CiW website report presents the report as though the organ project was run 'entirely properly'. If I were one of the three report writers I would not be happy about that since they state clearly that the financial management and planning was so seriously deficient (I have read the report).

    Is there no public recognition of the negligence that has occurred? This report was far from a clean bill of health yet Llandaff communications seek to give a false impression on the website. Has the diocese and Cathedral learnt nothing from this debacle?

    1. Lux Et Veritas1 June 2018 at 09:32

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. Commentators should be aware that moderation has become stricter and comments are likely to be removed by a blog administrator if derogatory pseudonyms are used or if comments are regarded as gratuitously offensive. The blog owner is unable to amend comments to make them acceptable so re-submission without offensive labels is recommended if commentators wish to contribute further to discussions. Thank you for you co-operation. AB

    4. Spoilsport!

    5. Agreed LG.
      Come on, AB, since the demise of the Llandaffchester Chronicles, where else can we turn to rub clergy noses in their own mess, call them out for what they are, enjoy a little satire and just generally take the p*ss?
      Most if not all the "derogatory" pseudonyms have not only been well-earned but published on your threads for years.
      Why so coy now?
      Have you been got at or threatened by minions of His --Darkness?

    6. Dick, rubbing their noses in their own mess is not aided by the use of pseudonyms which cause offence to other readers. It devalues what is intended to be fair comment and provides detractors with unwarranted ammunition. Pegasus makes the point succinctly in the first comment on this thread.

    7. Ex 9 o'clocker2 June 2018 at 04:37

      Other readers being 'precious' and deliberately seeking to be 'offended' is offensive to me.
      Who the hell is Pegasus that you would take such notice of (as far as I can tell and recall) their first and only contribution to your blog, ignoring the majority of your supporters and contributors, all of whom have helped make this blog the success it has become.
      It occurs to me, precisely because it is the first comment on this thread, that 'Pegasus' is highly likely to be one of the minority of those in Llandaff who seek an end to or at least to muzzle your blog.
      As far as I am concerned, Dick and Laughing Gas are correct and if your blog becomes politically correct or loses it's cutting edge then it will wither away and die as quickly as the Church in Wales and that would be a great shame.

    8. Lux Et Veritas2 June 2018 at 07:12

      Just a tad harsh "Ex 9 o'c".
      In the last 5 years, "Pegasus" has made a total of four contributions to Ancient Briton's esteemed blog - two in January 2017, one in January 2018 and the one above, all of which appeared on threads relating to the bench sitters and all of which were critical of them.
      But your remarks concerning some being 'precious' and the suggestion of some possibly deliberately seeking to be 'offended' most surely strike chords.

    9. You have put the cart before the horse Ex9. Pegasus commented with greater clarity on what I had written, "If commenting on this blog, may I implore commentators to refrain from using derogatory pseudonyms which serve only to detract from what is intended to be a legitimate commentary on the direction of Anglicanism today."

      When detractors condemn this blog it is often for some of the characterizations used rather than for the blog content. While some predate this blog I have heard complaints that some of the more recent characterizations are regarded by some as gratuitously offensive. That does not help our cause.

      All I ask is that commentators, regardless of their opinions, make their point by following a few simple guidelines to help defend traditional Anglicanism.

    10. Ex 9 o'clocker2 June 2018 at 10:07

      Thank you Lux Et Veritas.
      I stand corrected and should have checked my facts before getting on my soap box. My apologies on that point to 'Pegasus' too for my error.

      The dud in the Deanery writing poison letters to members of his flock and describing them from the pulpit as "subversives" is gratuitously offensive to so many.

      The Bishopette pointing her finger at members of her flock and saying "I am the accuser" is gratuitously offensive to so many.

      I recall the characterisation 'Gerwhine' was coined by a BBC radio announcer one Sunday morning because I heard it live on air.
      But it stuck.
      Perhaps AB might provide a list of authorised/acceptable terms so contributors can avoid falling foul of the new stricter moderation.
      Is 'Bonaparte' off limits now?
      What about 'Captain Peacock', 'Mr Toad', 'His Darkness', 'Darth Insidious', 'His Irrelevance', 'bully boy Bazza', his 'glove puppet' and 'golf caddie', 'Peggy the pilate'?
      Or is it merely 'Gerwhine' and 'Caiaphas' that have suddenly become gratuitously offensive?

      My small contribution will not be missed so goodbye and thanks for all the fish.

    11. Very droll Ex9. Some characterisations extend beyond parody which is why references to Caiaphas are considered by many to be unacceptable. I am sure you can appreciate the difference regardless of how offensive you may find the comments of the bishop and her dean. Thank you for contributing to the debate.

    12. One reads Caiaphas was a false accuser.
      "In the Gospel of Matthew 26:57-67, Caiaphas and others of the Sanhedrin are depicted interrogating Jesus. They are looking for false evidence with which to frame Jesus, but are unable to find any. Jesus remains silent throughout the proceedings until Caiaphas demands that Jesus say whether he is the Christ. Jesus replies "I am: and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." 14:62 Caiaphas and the other men charge him with blasphemy and order him beaten."

      One believes "I am the accuser" of Llandaff is a worthy inheritor of the epithet.
      If anyone finds this gratuitously offensive it should be those she falsely accused.
      It has stuck.
      To coin a familiar phrase, "as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen."
      Of course, she could always apologise to those she falsely accused but one suspects Hell mightl first freeze over.

    13. Alternatively Episkopos, as I have pointed out once before; Caiaphas was happy that one man should die, than the whole nation be destroyed (John 11: 49-50). If the Dean of Llandaff is as bad at his job, as people have claimed, and if, as a result of his truculent and negligent behaviour, he is about to bring about the demise of the Cathedral; surely, the Bishop of Llandaff in her "Caiaphas" role would get rid of him. It appears to me that the Bishop for whatever reason has decided to stand by him. Caiaphas was most certainly not prepared to stand by Jesus. Therefore, the epithet is a pointless one.


    14. What would Jesus say?3 June 2018 at 20:06

      Au contraire Seymour Dimly.
      Caiaphas chose to stand by Barabbas the known criminal and call for him to be saved whilst being willing to see the innocent man before him falsely accused, condemned to death and crucified.
      The epithet stands.

    15. For shame Seymour, when have you ever known senior clergy to do the right thing and get rid of a bad apple?
      The usual MO is to close ranks, deny everything, pretend nothing is wrong, look to the future, put the reputation of "the Church" above all else and quietly move the troublesome cleric to continue their "ministry" elsewhere.
      How do you think so many paedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Australia and the Boston area got away with it for decades?

    16. WWJS and Ruth, I see the points you are making, but Caiaphas was about saving his institution. Barabbas was a notorious bandit, but he was no threat to the institution; Jesus was. When Judaism became a threat to the good ordering of the Roman Empire in AD70, Rome marched in and destroyed the institution that mattered so much to Caiaphas - i.e. the Temple. Because of his popular following, Caiaphas realized that Jesus could bring about the downfall of what mattered to him. Barabbas was merely a pawn in Caiaphas' game to get Jesus out of the way. If the Bishop of Llandaff was a true Caiaphas, she would happily sacrifice the Dean, and anyone else who got in the way, in order to save the institution. She wouldn't get in a team to write a whitewashed report to vindicate him.


    17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. The Arcbdeacon of Llandaff also inherited a thoroughly traditional, Catholic-inclined parish at St Fagans, which has now been turned around. Curiously, the parishioners are standing to it.

    1. Llandaff Pewster1 June 2018 at 10:20

      The role of Peggy the Pilate in the Llandaff omni-shambles requires greater scrutiny. Ancient Briton readers will no doubt remember the Vision Day she led for the PCC and Chapter on 1st June 2013 to discuss the recommendations made by Prof Eleri Jones in her report. Here is a selection of the outcomes recorded in the "Summary of Activities and Feedback Sheets".

      Page 4-Chapter expectations of PCC (and of those they represent)
      . Transparency
      . Serve the common interest

      Page 5-PCC Expectations of Chapter (and those they represent)
      . Proper management
      . Transparency of process (minutes & meeting)
      . Trustees:- but what does that mean? Legal responsibility to Charity Commission

      Page 6-Responses from Mixed Groups to these Expectations
      . Revive Committee Structure
      . Joint membership of Committees
      . Identify people with skills to contribute
      . Communication – open and transparent through exchange of minutes
      . Transparency of working – minutes – report.

      Page 7-‘Ambitions & Aspirations’
      . Report finished November 2012, copied to Exec and Chapter, expected we would organise a launch event, with publication of an executive summary and the recommendations, making full copies available if requested.
      . But......... Some critical matters arising in choir, cathedral arousing press interest. Therefore we hesitated in order not to invite any more press speculation and possible adverse publicity
      . Also negative press and publicity issues around the choir being aggravated
      . Even now, in the last week, a Western Mail reporter has asked Anna Morrell about a report which “is believed to be critical of the cathedral” and “why it has been suppressed”
      . There are copies here (10) if PCC members wish to see them. Chapter’s (and Exec’s) feelings now are that it would be unwise to give it up to a wider public – not because we want to suppress anything but because the Report adopted a style of direct questioning from contributors, and reproducing verbatim what was said, including some very immoderate remarks. Eleri didn’t really do any objective evaluation of what she heard, but gathered it together. She also deliberately didn’t apply any editorial control,

      Page 8
      . The executive summary had never materialised
      PJ went on to say:
      In some ways now, the Report seems both a little dated .... and to be not something which deserves to receive a great launch with attendant publicity – especially since we’re now in a world where the press are itching to stir divisions and make headline stories out of a few people’s individual grievances. But maybe we can think together what line we should take.....
      The suggestion was made that the Report would be regarded, not as an end in itself, needing to be published and reproduced, but as a Working Document, to inform the processes such as the work of this Vision Day. And after today, it will have accomplished its task, and there are now new agendas and aspirations...

      (to be continued)

    2. Llandaff Pewster1 June 2018 at 10:21


      Page 11
      Recommendation 3
      Undertake a review of the cathedral’s property portfolio
      Recommendation 5
      Undertake a review of the former committees and reinstate those of value to the future development of the cathedral
      Recommendation 8
      Complete the work on the organ and develop a portfolio of activities featuring the organ so that it becomes part of the solution to the Cathedral’s position
      Recommendation 10
      Complete the Quinquennial Review works as a matter of urgency. Consider reinstating the Men’s fellowship Group and reinvigorating the Working Party

      Page 17 Following through
      a)Re Prof Eleri Jones Report, a Concensus was reached:
      . The report reflects accurately the views of the individuals and groups who responded to Eleri Jones
      . That the situation now is significantly different from the situation in October/November 2012 when the responses were given
      . That the 29 recommendations are either being acted upon or have today been assigned to Cathedral Groups and Committees to take forward
      . That the report has been a valuable working document to inform the work of this vision day by PCC and Chapter
      . That there is no need now to publish the report in full since the Cathedral’s agenda has moved on
      . That Archdeacon Peggy would prepare a suitable document for the Cathedral’s weekly notices on 9th June and be ready to offer a statement to the press officer if requested

    3. Well played Llandaff Pewster.
      Your document confirms another agenda, but certainly not transparancy, was afoot.

      Another reminder of what the Capon had to say on August 24 2015.
      Remember this readers?
      "We have nothing whatever to hide - the Cathedral is gaining a new confidence and we are excited about the future and serious about the challenges that face us.”

    4. Cheering for Janet3 June 2018 at 12:52

      Another small reminder for the small dean.
      08:56, 26 AUGUST 2015
      Report on Llandaff Cathedral
      “There are many positive initiatives taking shape in the cathedral that are bringing a renewed optimism; we hope to share the outcomes of these plans in the not-too-distant future.”
      The Very Revd Gerwyn Capon
      Dean of Llandaff, Cardiff

      It is not the role of the Canon Residentiary in the management of the Cathedral that needs to be reviewed.
      Shame the 3 stooges failed to ask the dud squatting in the Deanery for his definition of "the not-too-distant future", tit would have to be greater than 33 months and it's always "Jam tomorrow".

    5. Ah yes, the positive initiatives, what were they?
      Scrapping the Parish breakfasts?
      The 'pop-up' Cathedral Café experiment?
      Remind us Gerwhine, how did they work for you?

  16. PP If all this factual accounts are in fa t true, which appears the case. Why has there never been a legal, criminal or charity comm enquiry. Its odd the media is deafeningly silent too.


    SEE PAGE 13 OF TODAY'S Western Mail.

    Bravo Martin Shipton

    1. Llandaff Pewster2 June 2018 at 14:24

      I have yet to find a link to the article online, but here it is.

      Western Mail

      Bishop defends her charter-plane study ‘pilgrimage’ to Spain

      Saturday June 2, 2018
      By Martin Shipton, Chief Reporter

      The Bishop of Llandaff had defended a decision to charter an aircraft to take more than 100 clergy to Spain for a five-day study session. But some members of local congregations are unimpressed and say they will stop putting money in the collection plate.

      A statement issued by the Church in Wales said the Llandaff Diocese was embarking on “an ambitious Year of Pilgrimage to reinvigorate its work and worship as part of the Church’s 2020 centenary celebrations”. In 1920 the Church in Wales was disestablished and ceased to be a state institution.
      To launch the programme, Bishop June Osborne has announced that the next “Clergy School” will take the form of a pilgrimage, with priests from more than 100 churches travelling to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain – the location of the shrine of St James the Apostle, which for many centuries has been the destination of pilgrimage routes known as The Camino.

      Bishop June said that visiting such a significant site of Christian pilgrimage in May 2019 would represent confidence in the future mission of the Diocese: “We really value and appreciate the hard work of our clergy and know that such an uplifting project will benefit both them and the people they lead and serve,” she said. “I recognise that such a bold initiative is likely to raise eyebrows but it does represent an injection of hope and confidence – and joy – for the present and future of the Church in Wales. Our focus in Llandaff is using pilgrimage as a means of spiritual renewal, as well as a demonstration of our work within a modern Wales. This exciting venture is different and ambitious, and I am sure our priests will return refreshed and renewed, ready to work with their congregations and communities towards the centenary and beyond.”

      A spokeswoman for the Church in Wales would not say how much the trip would cost, but said it would be “within budget”. Llandaff clergy school is held every three years.

      The decision to fly clergy to Santiago de Compostela has been criticised on the Ancient Briton blog. In a posting, the anonymous author of the blog wrote: “June thought some may find it bizarre to go to Spain when we have so many magnificent pilgrim routes here in Wales. Spot on. As clergy become thinner on the ground with lay leaders taking up the reins, how kind of Jolly June to treat those remaining to a jolly in Spain. Paid for by savings on stipends?”

      One comment beneath the story on the blog said: “They obviously don’t need my meagre weekly contribution or the annual amount I give to support a well-known parish music foundation.”

    2. Caiaphas must go!2 June 2018 at 17:13

      Does anyone remember the concerns ++John Davies was revealed to have been writing about earlier this year?
      Emails reveal Welsh Bishops’ anxieties over potential appointment of gay dean Jeffrey John

      An email dated 8 February, which appears to be from Bishop Davies, states: “My instinct is that JJ’s stance on the matter of same-gender relationships and his own situation might be un¬¬welcome to many in the Diocese who would suspect that Barry’s [the former Bishop of Llandaff and Welsh Primate, Dr Barry Morgan] evident liberal agenda was being perpetuated by his election. It would probably do the perception of the Bench, at home and elsewhere, no particular good either. Personally, I also think that his elec¬¬tion would be an immense dis¬traction in the Province at the wrong time.”
      In an email dated 17 February, Bishop Davies takes this advice to influence his own diocesan represent¬¬atives. “I will be meeting with my electors in Cardiff, probably on Mon¬day evening, and expressing my an¬xi¬eties.”
      He also writes: “I am still of the view that JJ’s election could set off a media circus.”
      He returns to the state of the Llandaff diocese: “Whilst neither sexuality nor age are con¬clusive factors here, I think that the depth of problems in Llandaff has yet to fully emerge. . . Getting to grips with all this, becoming known and trusted and turning things around will take a deal of time, possibly more than JJ has given his age.”
      Dr John is 64. So is Dean Osborne.
      Bishop Davies concludes the email: “I am not sufficiently anxious to think that, at the College, I would need to say that there are anxieties or cautions which need to be taken into account. I tend to think that those who might have these are better at sharing them privately with our electors.”
      Two hours later, he again writes to the other bishops that he has heard of Llandaff’s continued support for Dr John: “What is clear is that, if there are to be candidates proffered by other dioceses, the homework on them needs to be well done and that they need to be well presented as very credible. Heigh-ho!”
      Two days after their letter’s publication, on 2 April, Bishop Davies writes to a correspondent about the “mind-numbingly grotesque” public fallout, but concludes: “As for the Jeffrey John saga, I (and a number of people, not least some C of E bishops) am of the firm view that we have had a lucky escape and that the Holy Spirit spoke (at least to some!).”

      Avoid “a media circus”?
      “The depth of the problems in Llandaff has yet to fully emerge...”
      Who anticipated they could be made even worse?
      “Becoming known and trusted and turning things around will take a deal of time, possibly more than JJ has given his age”?
      How much longer before she’s given the “HEAVE-HO”?

    3. Lux Et Veritas2 June 2018 at 18:01

      Nothing much seems to have changed since your thread of 30th June [pun unintended] 2014 Ancient Briton.
      Discretionary Funds [Guidance from the Church of England]
      “There is increasing need for openness. The greater the degree of confidentiality, the greater is the suspicion of the possibility of misappropriation.”

      For the junket to Spain ‘A spokeswoman for the Church in Wales would not say how much the trip would cost, but said it would be “within budget”.’

      Whose budget?

      From where or from whom did the budget come?

      From where or from whom will the budget be replenished?

      [Note to self and others – withhold all giving at the Confirmation and Ordinations services scheduled for the end of this month at Llandaff Cathedral!]

      Same Circus, different Clown.
      Or should that be Clownette? Clownesse maybe?

    4. Caiaphesse?

    5. Good point well made Lux Et Veritas.
      If your suspicions are correct then it hasn't taken Juno very long to be tainted by l'eau de --Bazza by getting right in the middle of the swamp with him.
      As "discretionary" funds were done away with years ago by the Church of England, distributing largesse with other people's money might be a heady new experience.
      The one surefire way to keep the clergy quiet is to buy them off with a nice little free holiday to Spain for a week paid for out of the same unaudited "discretionary" funds.
      And so the grotesque and twisted patronage goes on unchecked.

      Regardless of where the spokewoman's budget originates, she's waving goodbye to my meagre monthly contribution too as well as the Gift Aid it used to attract.

      And Gerwhine needn't bother coming knocking on my door (not the the idler ever has) for a contribution to his needed £4 to £6 million.

      Someone needs to get their priorities in order.

    6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    7. Someone in purple hasn't thought through the potential downside of their ill-advised strategy. The Llandaff DBF "discretionary" funds have not been wound up. A completely unnecessary jolly to Spain is booked accompanied by a PR splash to justify it. The usual nonsense of "ambitious", "reinvigorating", "uplifting project", "bold initiative", "injection of hope" and "spiritual renewal" is dross guaranteed to stick in the craw of Parishioners in the Llandaff Diocese (and wider Church in Wales community) who are still expected to stump up their Parish share whilst remaining without a Priest to minister to them.
      The remark that "We really value and appreciate the hard work of our clergy and know that such an uplifting project will benefit both them and the people they lead and serve" will be a source of boundless comfort to the abandoned. The Church in Wales spokeswoman who declined to let us know how much the trip would cost, but said it would be “within budget" expects us to unquestioningly swallow the party line that nothing embarrassing is being concealed.

    8. @Gabriel – put in a ‘Freedom of Information’ request to the Diocese of Llandaff asking how much this jolly will cost. The FoI will go one of two ways. Either the answer will be given, and we will be able to judge for ourselves whether this is a value for money exercise, especially in light of the massive generosity exercised by many parishes in paying their quota and not having a full-time clergyman. Or, the diocese will say that they are not bound by a FoI request, and that this is a private matter. To which the response is that the church is happy to use FoI to hold government to account, it is time that the pewsitters enjoyed the same FoI transparency. Another example of clerical hypocrisy? Berty.

    9. There is perhaps a more direct (and certainly quicker) route available, adding to the woes of the blushing Bishopette's, which yields the added benefit of revealing the statement “Llandaff Clergy School is held every three years.” to be inaccurate.

      Looking up the figures for “Clergy School” under Notes to the Financial Statements called “Charitable Activities: Support For Ministry” in the Llandaff DBF annual reports, one finds thus:-

      2004, page ? - £1,443
      2005, page 15 - £14,978
      2006, page 15 - £0
      2007, page 16 - £0
      2008, page 18 – None recorded.
      2009, page 19 - £39,909
      2010, page 19 - £0
      2011, page 20 - £0
      2012, page 21 - £3,750
      2013, page 21 - £49,682
      2014, page 21 - £16,000
      2015, Accounts not yet available on the Charity Commissioners website.
      2016, page 24 – £20,000
      2017, Accounts not yet available on the Charity Commissioners website.

      Occasionally, fact-checking for oneself proves most rewarding.

    10. Only if the accounts are to be believed.
      If it was the Organ Appeal, well, who knows?

    11. It has become most tedious to see so many comments removed by the blog administrator because use of a certain epithet for the one wearing purple in Llandaff has suddenly been deemed gratuitously offensive.
      Therefore from henceforth, let her be known as "she who must not be named".

  18. PP All one can say is, someone has scored their own goal. I always thought pilgrimage was taken in a humble heart, taking the hard root. Surely they could walk the coastal path and stop off at St Davids or, charter the harbour boat to Caldy. While I admire the sentiment its is a very rum business indeed.

  19. But Mr Shipton, it isn't clear whether you have an opinion on the matter. Is this because you have no one to taste your coffee before you drink it?

    1. I disagree Enforcer.
      Mr Shipton's opinion on the matter is suggested very effectively by the word 'pilgrimage' appearing in quotation marks.

    2. Hello again 1662. Concerning Mr Shipton I take your point. However, in matters of the 1920 Disestablishment Act he possibly applies the handbrake when referring to the Church in Wales 'ceasing to be a public body' whilst continuing (regardless issues of human sexuality, ordination of women, same sex marriage) to behave as if it hadn't even heard of it. Instead, we get a bit more of the same, Western Mail 2/6/18, which is "give me the verdict that I want" Come on Martin, you're a big strong socialist lad, give it a bit of wellie. This lot are still within the Star Court era when it suits them. A little closer to the wind please Mr Shipton.

  20. Llandaff Pewster5 June 2018 at 14:01

    AB, is there any reason for the letter to the Charity Commission not appearing.
    I assure you that it is genuine.
    There is more to come too.

    1. As mentioned in the Blog notes (above) LP comments should not involve third parties. The letter clearly does. Added to which such reports take up a lot of space when many readers will not have the patience to read verbatim accounts preferring brief summaries of the essential facts. May I suggest you contact Martin Shipton to see if he is interested. As an investigative journalist who is showing interest in the Llandaff saga he is able to ask questions which may result in the answers you seek.

    2. What would Jesus say?6 June 2018 at 00:39

      Since when did Ancient Briton become such a pussy and worry about the number of pages a leaked document?
      Since when did Ancient Briton worry about the attention span or "patience" of readers?
      "Comments should not involve third parties"?
      If I have understood Llandaff Pewster correctly, this is not "comments" but a document of record and fact. Am I wrong?
      Since when has a letter become a "verbatim account"?
      Since when has a "brief summary of the essential facts" become preferable to the complete record of a formal document?
      Who are you and what have you done with the real Ancient Briton?

  21. Llandaff Pewster7 June 2018 at 19:24

    Martin Shipton will be working overtime.

    CF37 2AF
    7 June 2018

    An open letter to the Archbishop and the Diocesan Bishops of the Church in Wales

    My Lord Archbishop and Bishops

    On the face of it, the establishment of a ten million pound fund (£10m) for evangelism by the Church in Wales (CinW) may appear to be good news, but a cursory examination of some of the other recent expenditure gives a rather different picture which concerns me greatly. Within the last year, the CinW has spent funds that most parishes in the Province of Wales would consider enormous, to pay for what may well be described in other circles as glamour or vanity projects. These parishes struggle to pay their quota or Parish Share and individuals in many communities struggle equally as much to make their weekly contributions to the collection plate.

    This expenditure has included:

    • The creation of several extra posts of archdeacon status in dioceses across the
    Province. These attract a salary of £37,116 pa, plus additional ongoing costs to the
    CinW such as employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions, expenses of
    office and support. Notwithstanding any incumbency duties of these posts, chiefs and
    indians, and the numbers thereof, spring readily to mind;
    • New leasehold premises in central Cardiff to house the CinW offices in a development
    acknowledged to be one of the most expensive in the entire city. Perhaps
    unsurprisingly, there is considerable reluctance to disclose the annual rent, but,
    in the absence of transparency from the CinW or the Representative Body, informed
    estimates put the annual CinW rent at around £350-400K per annum, based on currently
    vacant office accommodation in the same block as the CinW offices available at a
    total cost in excess of £36 per square foot. It is, of course, open to the CinW to
    counter this figure if it is incorrect by revealing the real cost, or at least a
    reasonable approximation, thereby ending speculation;
    • The whole Bench of Bishops of the CinW decamped to Rome during the Week of Prayer
    for Christian Unity this January. I cannot imagine that this was paid for by the
    members of the bench personally, and have no doubt that the trip was funded
    completely by the CinW;
    • The Electoral College which failed to elect a Bishop of Llandaf last year was
    accommodated for its three days of deliberations in an upmarket Cardiff hotel. A
    conservative estimate, based on charges in the public domain, put this at some
    £40,000, when other costs of the whole debacle are taken into account. Again, it is
    open to the CinW to counter this figure if it is wide of the mark. In any event, the
    empty accommodation at St Michael’s College near the cathedral would, no doubt, have
    proved more cost effective, and less of a drain on CinW finances, and, many would
    argue, a more appropriate venue.

    (Page 1 of 2)

  22. Llandaff Pewster7 June 2018 at 19:26

    The acquisition of a new Deanery…
    • The acquisition of a new residence for the Dean of Bangor, away from the cathedral,
    allegedly because the old Deanery, alongside the cathedral, is in too noisy a
    • Looking ahead, the news that the Diocese of Llandaf is planning to hold its Clergy
    School for 2019 in northern Spain, with all stipendiary and non-stipendiary clergy
    invited to attend, is thoroughly unbelievable and insensitive. The cost of this
    extravagance should be put side by side with the suitable venues and facilities
    available within Wales for holding such an event, which, again, would be more cost
    effective and also support the local economy of the Province you all are purportedly
    called to serve. You should also be mindful that many of the people in the Diocese
    of Llandaf, and indeed across the Province, can hardly afford a weekend in a
    caravan. The lack of appreciation of the public perception of this is

    There are other examples, but suffice it to list those at this stage.

    The whole point of this letter is to ask the members of the Bench of Bishops how all of this expenditure is justified and how it has benefitted me, an ordinary but loyal member of the Church in Wales continually since I joined the choir and Sunday School in St John’s in Nelson at the age of four, some sixty-two years ago, or, indeed, the thousands of other loyal and regular members like me across Wales. Sadly, on the evidence I see so plainly, the answer is very little if, indeed, any at all. I draw a comparison here with a commercial enterprise, where I spent my working life and where large expenditure would need to be justified to the shareholders and seen to benefit customers; in that sense, I suppose, I am similar to both a customer and a shareholder.

    Some have called this expenditure excessive, or even extremely profligate; however it may be described, it is certainly straining to the utmost limit my steadfast loyalty as an active communicant who never misses week by week. I know that I am far from alone in this, and my views enjoy considerable and lively support. An obvious effect of this central expenditure, be it provincial or diocesan, is the damaging impression of excess that it gives to those who strive to make their contributions to their local church each week. It is on those contributions that the parishes themselves depend to continue the sterling work of the church in their own communities. It can serve only to discourage worshippers from donating, as it creates a feeling that money is not being well spent at a higher level.

    Moreover, I would argue that you owe the whole membership of the CinW absolute clarification and transparency on the governance and justification of all of these decisions and a full explanation of the accountability and ownership of them. I have searched diligently on the website, and can find no reference in these regards. Providing this clarification publicly would help put an end to the criticisms and grumblings of people such as me and show greater respect to those whom you serve, particularly the hard workers who work (and contribute!) to keep the witness of the Church alive in the less affluent parts of our Province and nation.

    This is an open letter and it will, therefore, be generally available.

    Yours sincerely


    1. It looks like "she who must not be named" is in deep doodoo now - the Taffia have taken sides - so perhaps she should chosen at least one Welsh hymn at her installation after all!

    2. Just a little reminder to the bunglers on the bench of some previous comments concerning "stewardship of the resources of the Church in Wales"

      23rd October 2013, RB website
      "Putting your money where your conscience is" is the theme of a conference chaired by the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon this weekend.
      Finance: What’s Faith Got To Do With It? will focus on the real value of money and the ethics of how and where we invest it.
      The free event on Saturday (Oct 26) is organised by the Church in Wales with Fair Trade Wales, the international fair trade finance organisation, Shared Interest, Cardiff Business School and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR).
      Five panellists, one from each organisation, will explore the issues in a debate chaired by Bishop John Davies.
      Bishop John said, “Investment is a hugely important part of the stewardship of the resources of the Church in Wales because the returns on our investments play a large part in enabling the Church to function. However, it can’t be investment in just any way, shape or form and simply for the best return – we believe that all our investments must be ethical and we have an Investment Policy which sets high standards for us and our investment fund managers.
      Investing ethically doesn’t just mean avoiding companies we disapprove of.
      We can use the influence our investments give us to ask difficult and probing questions and to press companies to raise their standards. Just as we want our direct spending to do the most good possible, so we want our investments and the power they give us to reflect our Christian principles of care for the wellbeing of people and of the environment, at home and abroad.”

      So bunglers, will you answer the "difficult and probing questions" from Mr Pockett when he presses you to "raise" your "standards"?

      Another reminder of the prescient words from the Rev Carol Wardman, the Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society no less.
      (You'll love this one yet again readers)

      "“Follow the money” advised the sinister informant in All the President’s Men; and so the implications of the Watergate burglary were laid bare when reporters Woodward and Bernstein traced the flow of cash. And funnily enough, the link between where the money goes and what the true motives are, had already been noticed some 2000 years before. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” observed Jesus, advising his followers to examine their wallets as well as their consciences. So what do you spend your money on? Do you have a weakness for the latest techno-gismos, or fancy a flash car? Do you find that simply walking past a department store causes tops or shoes to leap into your arms? Are you unlikely to begrudge spending on your children’s education, whether it’s a prestigious pre-school or music lessons or baling out the post-university debt? Or do you reckon that you can’t beat a well-maintained property as an investment, and put most of your treasure into your home?"

      Mr Pocketts list didn't include the recent trip to Devon for the "senior staff" of she who must not be named nor the, as yet, still missing £3/4 million organ appeal money His --Darkness was looking for in August 2015.

      Follow the money.

    3. Nice letter John, good for you.
      If you want to make a real difference, stop your own giving and seek to persuade as many others as you can to do likewise.
      There are plenty of worthier, needier and more deserving charities than these charlatans with their hands in the collection plate.

    4. Gerwyn must go!7 June 2018 at 22:10

      If that lot hits Martin Shipton's fan in the next couple of days it will be interesting to see what crowing the Capon will be doing from the top of its dunghill this weekend.

    5. Caiaphas must go!7 June 2018 at 22:35

      That will all depend on whatever script "she who must not be named" will have written for him.
      Will it be her resignation or his?

      Her judgement is flawed beyond doubt.
      She rushes out last weeks "Review" prematurely as a bungled means of heading off an anticipated Organ appeal scandal on WalesOnline that hasn't yet materialised.
      Then she gets slated over the charter jet junket to Santiago de Compostela. Now this.

      If John Pockett's name has been added to the list of "subversives" then Gerwhine might be busy putting poison pen to paper tonight writing to inform him that he has been sacked as a Cathedral Steward and that he needn't bother showing up in Llandaff this Sunday.

    6. Pockett is well known to be a big fan of and great chums with Darth --Insidious not to mention being a drinking buddy of Bazza's brother.
      Could this be Bazza's revenge on ++Davies for failing to get Jeffrey John into Llandaff?
      One hears Jeffrey John has also collected four faults and a refusal at Brechin.

    7. John Pockett hits the nail on the head on many matters but above all it comes down once more to the issues of openness and transparency.
      You'd think that Christians, especially clergy, would have no difficulty with either concept.
      Eleri Jones told the Dean & Chapter it was a problem in Llandaff back in 2012 but Peggy the Pilate and Gerwhine chose to ignore and discard that report because it wasn't what they wanted to hear.
      The organ appeal accounts, the Nicholson's invoices, Capp & Budd invoices, Mrs Hallinan's "costs", faculty appeal costs, the Quinqunnial Report all remain hidden from open scrutiny and no number of "Reviews" written by "independent" reviewers will satisfy those who seek the truth.
      At Diocesan level there remains the hidden unaudited "discretionary" funds and hands dipping into the collection plate.
      But JP has now confirmed the Llandaff septic tank has not merely started to overflow but it has burst with ordure and stink now spreading rapidly further afield.

      Will the challenges of openness and transparency prove too great for the other bench sitters?

    8. The other matter still hidden from view Mr Pockett is the price being asked for the old accommodation at 39 Cathedral Road.

    9. A possible reply from the Bench to Mr Pockett.

      Dear Mr Pockett,

      Thank you so much for your open letter to us, expressing your concerns and anxieties. We want you know that we take your concerns very seriously. We discussed the issues you raised via our frequent email exchanges, and below is our considered response.

      1. We would not want you to lose sleep over the expense incurred in our new headquarters. Whilst the sums involved are indeed large, they provide good value for money. With a third of the bench now being made up of women, Callaghan Square provides them with the perfect opportunity to nip into town to do a little shopping, either before or after meetings. You might also be aware that this Bench is deeply concerned with the injustices perpetrated against the LGBTI+ community by the Church of the past. With the Kings Cross pub just up the road from our new headquarters, it means Bishop Joanna and Bishop Gregory can advance our agenda in a meaningful way with the gay community. This is practical Christianity at its best and is highly to be praised!

      2. We now wish to turn to your concerns about the “pilgrimage” to Santiago de Compostella. Surely, you do not begrudge your bishop a break once every three years? Llandaff Diocese is a renowned hotbed of sedition within the Church in Wales. It is for this reason that we had to look outside of Wales to find a Bishop for the Diocese. The forthcoming pilgrimage will allow your Bishop time to becalm herself before she returns to face the next looming crisis. You may be aware of the saying “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” With this in mind, your Bishop felt that it was only right to give her clergy a break too. Besides which, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. For this reason, Bishop June is taking the mice with her.

      We feel it necessary to contradict your assertion that Llandaff Diocese is impoverished. The Diocese consists of half the population of Wales. If you were divide the cost of the pilgrimage by that goodly number, the cost to each person living in the Diocese is 2.5p. People spend more than that catching a bus to do their shopping!

      3. You may be aware that Llandaff Cathedral recently underwent an inspection. The Inspectors were most impressed with it, and their Report vindicated everybody, including the former Archbishop, the Dean and the Chapter (despite people like Ancient Briton and his cronies wanting to sound so negative about this wonderful establishment). One suggestion which has come forward from the Report is the appointment of Lay Canons. Such people would have to be of the highest calibre, who would seek the good of the Cathedral and the Diocese. It is clear to us that with all your years of service to the Church you could be a candidate for this post; but then, we would have to take into account your very public open letter. With journalists like Martin Shipton on the prowl, such a letter in the wrong hands could prove a problem to your Bishop appointing you to such a position. A way forward might be for you to write an alternative letter praising your Bishop’s ingenuity and frugality. It wouldn’t harm your case to speak up in favourable terms about the entire Bench. Perhaps you could also include a reference to the Llandaff Cathedral Report, stating that you are so pleased that the matter has been put to rest because you always knew that everybody involved would be vindicated.

      As bishops of the Church in Wales, we have to look to the good of the Church, and as you may be aware, this costs money. We would therefore encourage you, and your fellow parishioners to examine your giving. Your bishop has some adventurous plans for the years ahead, and this simple practical step will help her to realize her dreams.

      This comes with our very good wishes,
      + John Cambrensis

    10. Caiaphas must go!9 June 2018 at 19:14

      The ears in the walls report that "she who must not be named" disappeared last weekend on another five-day jolly with her Chaplain the Rev Dr Sarah Rogers.

      John Pockett might like to knock on the door of Llys Esgob on Sunday morning and ask for an explanation and itemised list of costs so he can add it to his list of profligacies.

    11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    12. What a shame your comment and link has been removed Laughing Gas, it's the funniest thing I've seen in weeks.
      The sad thing is that it just about summed up the hierarchy of the CinW
      Even sadder is that Ancient Briton felt it necessary to remove it.
      Fear not, it is doing the rounds by other means.

  23. The Honourable Schoolboy7 June 2018 at 22:15

    That's quite a broadside from the Pockett battleship! He hits a lot of targets that have raised the ire of people on this blog recently.

    The Bench and senior management at the CinW have been served a timely reminder that their priorities are very skewed indeed.

    More power to your elbow Mr P!

  24. For utter profligacy the worst one for me was Callahan Square. To waste that sort of money when there were perfectly good alternatives at half the price is reprehensible. And the folly is year on year. By year 4-5 it will be probably £1M wasted.

    1. Double that Whamab and you might be getting close.

  25. PP. With the greatest respect to fellow commentators, herein, we can all bleat on about the fiscal mismanaged, but silence from the top remains the answer, a case of "you give, we will spend as we see fit". Accountability, appears to be a very "dirty" word, if all is to be believed.
    If you look at one recent denominations fiscal debacle,when change to a centralized system, The Salvation Army, lost two senior officers and swiftly moved its UK leaders. The promptly reported itself to the Charity Commissioner.
    So why is the CiW any different and getting away with this disgraceful ability to be fiscally prudent.
    If every penny spent recently, or proposed to spent shortly, then every struggling parish, could be subsidized, and given greater assistance to evangelise and much more.
    The whole saga, if to be believed, the facts prove very much so,begging the question why have the detailed throughout this blog been taken seriously by regulators, Anglican Communion, Senedd, Westminster, Legal enforcement, the Media etc etc. I do not Mr Shipton's stirling article, but will this hit a high note, who knows?

    The who saga reminds me of a Barchester Chronicles, surely this new epic tail should be screen in the autumn, lavishly produc
    ed and serialised on the BBC!

    What I am following in this blog,as fact, is beyond comprehension. Several questions spring to mind: Is the whole story just sour grapes to any of us? No! Are the facts correct? They appear to be so. Why is the church fielding concerns/questioning/scrutiny, with the silent treatment? Where is this whole situation going to land next and finally who is going to be strong enough to stomach the massive fallout?

    1. They can't spend what we don't give them.
      If everyone stopped their giving they would soon change their tune.

  26. If I recall too, weren't all Parish's asked if they'd like to help give to the Llandaff organ appeal? And of course endless fundraising for the same cause. If half the money then went to run the Cathedral or on anything other than the organ appeal, isn't that fraud?

    1. In the real world it is certainly fraud Danny.
      In the invented world of the Church in Wales it is at worst an inconvenience and more usually a mere trifle of sleight of hand involving the transfer of funds from one budget to another.
      The gullible pew-sitters need not know but if any of them dare to ask difficult questions then they can be ostracised or even excommunicated like Ceirion Gilbert.

    2. Trouble with a stitch, it becomes undone. (Scandal and Offence 1997).

  27. Big time, but all was handled 'entirely properly' so no need to worry.

    1. The report said the proceeds of the property had to go into general funds so it could be spent on whatever (i.e. running the Cathedral) even though it seems that they were promised to the organ fund. That is my understanding simple as it is Danny.

    2. Brethren, it is taking a long time to sink in, but, " We continue as we please". ( Michael Evans QC, Stuart Batcup QC 1997 ).

    3. The Honourable Schoolboy13 June 2018 at 23:48

      That phrase is the CinW equivalent of "Let them eat cake."

      After all, they can only continue as they please whilst they hold all the cards. That might have been the case 20 years ago but I suspect it's not so now.

  28. Anyone giving money to the CinW at the moment must want their bumps felt. Stop giving until there is full transparency in respect of every pound spent in the Llandaff diocese. Why is this not automatically the case?

    1. Because the pew-sitters have been gullible fools.
      But no more.

  29. PP. Surely this "accountability" is a requirement of being a registered charity, ICO registered and GDPR compliant? Suggestion: if the HQs (diocesan and provincial) offices were sent Freedom of information requests by as many pew sitters as possible, surely they would have to reveal the detail? If this happened in every diocese, it would send a very serious message to CiW leadership.

    1. One wonders if John Pockett has received the courtesy of a reply from any of the bench?

    2. This one wonders if Martin Shipton has asked them for a comment.

    3. Well John Pockett has had an answer on page 13 of this morning's Western Mail. Essentially he's been told to go forth and multiply.
      As usual, if you don't like it the answer is "tough"
      Vote with your cheque book John.

    4. Llandaff Pewster17 June 2018 at 09:37

      For anyone who failed to obtain a copy.

      Western Mail
      Parishioner vexed by ‘vanity projects’
      Saturday June 16, 2018
      By Martin Shipton, Chief Reporter
      A prominent worshipper at Llandaff Cathedral has accused the Church in Wales of spending “enormous sums” on vanity projects.
      In an open letter to Archbishop John Davies and the Church’s other bishops, John Pockett states:
      “On the face of it, the establishment of a £10m fund for evangelism by the Church in Wales (CinW) may appear to be good news, but a cursory examination of some of the other recent expenditure gives a rather different picture. Within the last year, the Church in Wales has spent funds that most parishes would consider enormous to pay for what may well be described in other circles as glamour or vanity projects. These parishes struggle to pay their quota or parish share.”
      Mr Pockett, the director of a consumer organisation, goes on to list examples of spending which he finds unacceptable:
      The creation of several extra posts of archdeacon status.
      He says:
      “These attract a salary of £37,116 pa, plus additional costs to the CinW such as employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions, expenses of office and support.”
      New leasehold premises in central Cardiff to house the CinW offices in a development acknowledged, says Mr Pockett, to be one of the most expensive in the entire city.
      He states:
      “Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is considerable reluctance to disclose the annual rent, but, in the absence of transparency from the CinW, informed estimates put the annual CinW rent at around £350-400k per annum. It is, of course, open to the CinW to counter this figure if it is incorrect by revealing the real cost, or at least a reasonable approximation.”
      The whole bench of Bishops of the CinW decamped to Rome during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January.
      Mr Pockett states:
      "I cannot imagine that this was paid for by the members of the bench personally, and have no doubt that the trip was funded by the CinW”.
      The Electoral College which failed to elect a Bishop of Llandaff last year was accommodated for its three days of deliberations in an upmarket Cardiff hotel, says Mr Pockett, who adds:
      “A conservative estimate, based on charges in the public domain, put this at some £40,000, when other costs of the whole debacle are taken into account. Again, it is open to the CinW to counter this figure if it is wide of the mark. The empty accommodation at St. Michael’s College near the Cathedral would, no doubt, have proved more cost effective.”
      The acquisition of a new residence for the Dean of Bangor, away from the Cathedral, allegedly because the old deanery is in too noisy a position.
      Mr Pockett states:
      “Looking ahead, the news that the Diocese of Llandaff is planning to hold its Clergy School for 2019 in northern Spain, is unbelievable and insensitive. The cost of this extravagance should be put side by side with the suitable venues and facilities available within Wales.”
      A spokeswoman for the Church in Wales responded:
      “Mr Pocket’s complaint seems to be: We shouldn’t be spending more on organisation. We shouldn’t invest in the resourcing and development of our leaders. We shouldn’t treat our people well. Failing to invest in our people and our facilities would be an indication that we have no expectation for the Church in Wales. However, our vision is a little more positive. We believe in effective support for hard-working clergy. We believe that effective Christian leadership is resourced by times of spiritual refreshment – hence the retreats. We want to attract and retain exceptional staff, work efficiently and effectively and gain all the team-working benefits that an open-plan office brings. We are organising ourselves with an expectation of growth.”

    5. "We are organising ourselves with an expectation of growth".


      Electoral Rolls?
      Has the spokeswoman not bothered checking her facts again?

      The membership and attendance figures have been in terminal decline for years and continue to plummet, Churches are closing and the Misery Areas experiment is a disaster.

      The only area of growth is the number of funerals and who's going to carry out those during next year's jolly jaunt to Spain?

    6. Lux Et Veritas18 June 2018 at 09:46

      Such an arrogant but unsurprising response from the Bench via their highly paid mouthpiece.

      While they're concerning themselves with obviously vital stuff like "team-working benefits that an open-plan office brings" in their £1/2 million a year penthouse, some people in Cardiff are getting on with what really needs to be done.

    7. Hole in one Laughing Gas!
      There's no growth in Llandaff.
      The humiliating begging bowl exercise to be found at
      has stalled and is stuck on a dismal £1,200 so the faux Cathedral Choir is going nowhere fast.
      As if that's not bad enough, the ears in the walls report the imminent demise of the pitiful remnants of the Parish Choir with an emergency meeting held the Sunday before last.
      Gerwhine cancelled Compline and the Book of Common Prayer services and the next cunning plan is to introduce the Parish kids to singing "Worship Songs".

    8. One believes the Parish Choir will soon go the way of the Lay Clerks and the Merbecke choir as surplus to requirements.
      Because one suspects moves are afoot to combine the 9am Parish and 11am Eucharists.
      The antiques-dealing dud squatting in the Deanery won't be able to cope when the Canon Residentiary decides to retire.

    9. The Honourable Schoolboy20 June 2018 at 01:03

      Llandaff is truly cursed with a leadership culture of laziness and mendacity.

      Mind you, if the Parish Eucharist and Cathedral Eucharist are merged, the question is whether the upper crust types who attend the 11am service will be able to put up with the screaming toddlers of the 9am.

      Or conversely what will the Yummy Mummies of the 9am make of the Rum Pansies from the 11am!

  30. Llandaff in a nutshell.
    Angela Tilby: We need to talk about cathedrals
    Although the report is bad news for cathedrals, I have sympathy with some of its concerns. I have been involved with six very different cathedrals over the years. The truth is, there are ineffective deans who preside over chaos, and there are prima donnas among cathedral clergy.
    But there are also chapters where the members actually like each other; deans who are both highly competent and courageous, unafraid to speak truth to power. The ecology derived from monastic rules is designed to enable levels of trust and candour far beyond those that the report deems possible.
    Even so, musicians are rarely integrated as they should be. The new arrangements can make this only worse. Suppose the cathedral is required to adopt a money-making strategy that prioritises selling the cathedral space for evening functions: this means cutting back on regular evensongs. Several lay clerks are sacked. Gifted musicians see the way the wind is blowing, and look for other jobs.