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Thursday, 12 July 2018

They do it their way

Having a laugh at Confirmations in Church of England Mercia Deanery led by @BpRepton                                                                    Source Twitter @gprutter

Readers of this blog may recall a 2013 entry headed Archbishop opts for delusion after Justin Welby appointed Jan McFarlane, then Archdeacon of Norwich, to be to be his acting Press Secretary.

I wrote at the time: "As Communications Director for the Diocese of Norwich the Venerable Jan McFarlane is not simply being reunited with her former theological college fellow student, Justin Welby. She has demonstrated her skill as a communications person by her ability to turn a disaster into a success, well illustrated in an interview here after the news that according to the 2011 census, the City of Norwich was rated the most godless city in England but apparently the good people of Norwich are 'doing their church-going differently'!" - ie, staying away.

As a bishop in the modern Church of England McFarlane continues to do things differently from holding her crosier in the wrong hand to losing her pectoral cross, possibly in Morrison's she thought!

The Bishop of Repton mislays her pectoral cross and fears she may have left
 it in Morrisons  Source: Twitter@BpRepton

Following in the footsteps of Rachael Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, Jan McFarlane is another former Speech and Language Therapist by training. Read about the speech therapist, the oil executive and the midwife in Divinity? - Who needs divinity, we've moved on!

Commenting on her appointment as bishop of Repton the bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, said: “She has been a fine communicator of the Christian faith in the local and regional media, and an archdeacon who has won the confidence and affection of lay people alike. We will miss her enormously in this diocese but we are thrilled that she has been called to be a bishop in God’s church.”

Another communications failure there.

The Church of England may be God's church to them but for the majority of Christians, including Anglicans, it has become another do-as-you-please church following the road to ruin along with the Church in Wales and The Episcopal Church in the US.

Divorced from the teaching and tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, they simply do it their way. It's such a laugh for some being an Anglican bishop today.

The bishops of St Davids and Gloucester share a laugh.     Source Wales Online 


  1. CinW and CofE poker - "I'll take your £10 million and raise you."

    The Church of England will create more than 100 new churches to “revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates” in the face of a record low number of people identifying as Anglicans.
    The £27m plan is part of an ongoing drive to refocus the church on evangelism amid a dramatic decline in the numbers of people regularly attending services and to reform some of its archaic rules.
    Despite forecasts that church attendances will continue to fall for years to come, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, insisted churches across the country were “bursting with life”.
    The new churches would be in “the places of greatest need in our society”, he added.
    “These projects are wonderful examples of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God – and faithful to their communities in love and mission. Through their innovation, they signal a growing determination in the church to share the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that make sense for those in our most deprived communities.”
    Among the recipients of grants will be nine new churches modelled on Ignite, a café-style church in Margate, Kent. It was founded 10 years ago to work with marginalised and deprived communities.
    Three of the new churches will be in coastal towns: St Peter Port, Guernsey; Herne Bay, Kent; and Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.
    Another three churches will be created on housing estates on the edge of Plymouth, and a further nine in market towns in eastern England. In Swindon, a former railway works building will be converted into a church aimed primarily at people aged under 40.
    Up to 50 new churches will be established in the diocese of Leicester and 16 in the diocese of Manchester.
    The C of E’s “renewal and reform” programme, aimed at modernisation and growth, includes diverting funds away from struggling rural parishes to new evangelical churches in towns and cities.
    The programme has been championed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York and senior church officials. But some critics say the new priorities risk alienating the C of E’s traditional backbone.
    Two years ago, John Spence, the C of E’s finance chief, said the decline in church attendances was expected to continue for another three decades, with the number of people regularly attending church falling to just 1% of the population.
    Last year, the British Social Attitudes survey found that only 3% of adults under 24 and only 5% of 25-34 year-olds described themselves as Anglican.
    The new places of worship will add to more than 16,000 C of E churches across the country, most of them in rural areas.
    On Tuesday, the C of E’s general synod, meeting in York, approved measures aimed at strengthening the governance of England’s 42 cathedrals following a crisis at Peterborough cathedral that resulted in the acrimonious departure of the dean and several redundancies.
    The synod backed a proposal to establish senior executive teams to oversee the day-to-day operations of cathedrals and to ensure a majority of non-executive members on their governing bodies, known as chapters.
    A report from the C of E’s cathedrals task force said “a large number of cathedrals [were] under significant financial pressure”.
    It added: “Whenever cathedrals get into debt and serious financial difficulty, this presents a reputational risk for the entire church, especially where a cathedral is unable to pay its creditors in full … The insolvency of a cathedral would be exceptionally difficult to manage.”
    Cathedrals attract about 11 million visitors each year, but running costs and maintenance bills are enormous. Only nine charge an entrance fee, with the remaining 33 relying on donations, legacies and grants and, increasingly, income from commercial activities.

    1. Lux Et Veritas16 July 2018 at 12:06

      That's chicken feed to the Catholics 1662.

    2. Et in terra pax24 July 2018 at 00:16

      My prediction: in the end the C of E will just comprise the cathedrals - maybe not even all 42 we now have - plus a few major parish churches. All the rest will collapse within a generation. Only the evangelicals are growing at a local level, perhaps at the expense of other forms of worship.

      There will be more diocesan mergers like that of Leeds/Ripon, Bradford and Wakefield, and obviously parish mergers further down the scale. Eventually the merged dioceses will pare down their structures to match their falling income and maybe some cathedrals will go bankrupt. (Of course that happened to Bradford and Peterborough teeters on the edge: ) At that point it will be clear what the future holds.

      The remnants of the C of E will continue in a ceremonial role, officiating at state events until the church is disestablished. I think our bishops should look across the border at the C in W to see what happens next.

      If the Church in Wales is to survive in any form, it needs to pre-empt its own inevitable collapse by merging into just two dioceses (one in the North and the other in the South) and consolidating its operations. Drastic measures e.g. closing 4 out of 5 churches in all but the most thriving areas, might offset the decline a little. Trimming down the baroque structure of Canons, Area Deans and all the bureaucracy of the current dioceses would be essential. The glut of useless HR, safeguarding, education and other lay posts that bloat diocesan payrolls should be eliminated.

      Such a slimmed-down C in W might survive a bit longer. In its current form it will go to the wall much sooner than the drain-circling C of E.

      The death of "grassroots Christianity" is upon us.

  2. There could be a follow up to the "Vicar of Dibley" where a flabby comedienne becomes a bishop... hang on a minute, females of the portly persuasion are already sporting mitres (see below).

    Why are all these women bishops obsessed with trivia and social media? From the Bishopette of Llandaff to the Disaster of St Davids, the Church in Wales leads the way over the cliff.

  3. The Honourable Schoolboy14 July 2018 at 14:40

    Talking of the Bishopette, this has just appeared on the Church Times' website:

    Canon Precentor, Llandaff Cathedral
    Contract: Permanent

    If you are ready for the challenge of developing the Cathedral’s liturgy by joining a small, dedicated team of clergy and laity, we would like to hear from you.

    For an informal conversation about this exciting opportunity,
    please contact The Dean, The Very Revd Gerwyn Capon
    Tel: 029 2056 4554 • Email:

    The application pack is available from
    Llys Esgob, Cathedral Green, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2YE
    Tel: 029 2054 2400 • Email:

    What an exciting opportunity! But as readers of this blog will recall, this is pretty much the same job that appeared over a year ago and received precisely zero applicants. No-one in the big wide world was willing to chance their arm in Llandaff. I wonder why?

    Let's face it, would you feel confident about a job advert that gives virtually nothing away apart from joining a "small dedicated team of clergy"? Even the least discerning might think "hmm, they aren't even advertising the salary or conditions... what do they have to hide?"

    So, dear AB readers, I suggest one of you sends an email enquiring about this splendid position to our friend The Dean (and then another one to Sarah Rogers when the Dean fails to reply). If you can get hold of the details, please post them here for all to see.

    It amazes me that Llandaff can't even be transparent about its job adverts. How on earth do they expect to raise the £6 million they claim to need for repairs?

    1. Having failed to attract a Precentor with the job title and salary of a Minor Canon, Gerwhine and "she who must not be named" have been forced to up their game.

    2. Simon Stylites15 July 2018 at 22:44

      According to this list of the Llandaff Cathedral Chapter, Philip Masson is still Canon Precentor. Unless of course he's quietly announced his retirement and is packing his bags at Newton Nottage?

      I hope they told Rev Masson that they were going to advertise his job. It'd be a bit of a blunder if they somehow forgot to mention it!

    3. Canon Precentor?
      What a joke. Has anyone ever heard him perform a Choral evensong?
      The sooner that moron disappears the better.
      I don't understand why he wasn't shown the door after his botched attempt to influence unduly the Electoral College and shoe-horn his old chum Jeffrey John into Llys Esgob.
      He will only be remembered in Llandaff for his leaked Jeffrey John email and helping Peggy the Pilate destroy the proper Llandaff Cathedral Choir.

  4. No takers for the job eh? Advertise on Craigslist instead!

    And rewrite the description to make it a bit more, er, enticing?

  5. I have had two 'phone calls in the space of 24 hours asking me who the real Dean is (Him or Her)? And, if this is how they treat Graham Holcombe, who in their right mind would want to risk playing second fiddle to an intellectual inferior (in both cases) who will micro-manage and undermine in favour of a certain member of the lay staff. I have been glad to play my part by advising all enquirers to steer well clear.

    My only anxiety is that someone who doesn't know the lie of the land in Wales (after the example of Janet Henderson) might end up getting their fingers badly burned, and have to make a swift exit.

    1. Sadly, the same is still true of the music department Hymn Singer.

      Following Peggy the Pilate doing away with the Lay Clerks & Assistant Organist, the antiques-dealing Deanery squatter doing away with the Merbecke Choir and cheesing off some visiting choirs plus Stephen Moore's failure to raise the target for the CD funding or get the job conducting the Llandaff Choral Society, there's a recruitment drive on to launch "The Cathedral Consort" - "an auditioned group of adults (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) who join together to sing for services, concerts and other events at the Cathedral and further afield. Rehearsals will take place on average twice a month, at the Cathedral, on Friday evenings from 7:30pm-9:30pm.

      No mention of terms & conditions or rates of pay.

    2. Simon Stylites15 July 2018 at 22:50

      Harold Darke, my sources tell me that our dear Dean was extolling the virtues of the Cathedral Choir at the Friends of Llandaff AGM last Saturday. Apparently the last four years have seen them get better and better (or possibly Moore and Moore..?) and the Dean has a cunning plan to improve things still further.

      The cunning plan is to bring back lay clerks. Or at least, contractually-obliged members of the back row. Provided the Friends (or sundry external funding sources) cough up of course.

      This fabulous piece of innovation could eventually bring a grand total of 3 "not-quite-lay-clerks" into the back row at Cathedral services. Imagine that!

    3. Llandaff Pewster16 July 2018 at 09:18

      The Friends of Llandaff Cathedral - AGM held Sat 7th July 2018

      The Dean: (some 15 minutes into the proceedings)
      "We are enormously grateful to the Friends for their support in two Cathedral areas; one is the music which has actually grown from strength to strength […] I can honestly say in the past four years the standard has gone higher and higher and higher.
      One of the things we are looking at doing as a Chapter is to see how we can begin to attract some major funding in order to try and put some kind of legacy down for a music foundation.
      You'll know that we are hugely blessed in terms of having the choristers from the Cathedral School, which is part of the contractual arrangement we have with the Cathedral School.
      Of course the back row is an entirely different matter; this is funded by the Cathedral and this is where the contribution of the Friends is so vital to us.
      What we would like to do is to put the back row on a more concrete footing, simply because those singers come to us service by service.
      There is no contractual obligation for them to turn up and this means there is a slight tension before every service as to how many will show up.
      The interesting thing, of course, is because the standard has got higher and higher and higher, the sense of commitment that the "new" back row have to the choir is growing as well.
      So there's a far greater sense of security.
      This is what we would like to support from the Friends and also seek external funding from other places, in order to solidify some contractual arrangements, possibly, by putting one or two or three adult singers in place over the next 18 months or so."

    4. So, after all the divisive fallout and widespread ill-feeling, the irreparable damage to the reputation of the Cathedral (and the CinW generally), the resignation of a capable Dean who 'had a pair' (unlike her successor), not to say the upheaval and hurt caused to the lives of the individuals involved, The Capon is, effectively, telling us that Peggy the Pilate (acting on the orders of her Golfing Puppet Master), was wrong to issue the Christmas redundancy notices to the Lay Clerks? Funny, that, isn't it?

      Er, no. It's absolutely scandalous that a pair of culturally illiterate Luddites wrecked the well-oiled machinery of a choral tradition; only to prove that you can't run a choral foundation in a cathedral with volunteer adult singers - not if you want to develop the standard and actually sing what is advertised on the music list.

      Of course, this was never about money. Why were the Friends not asked earlier to assist with funding Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars - or the Friends of Cathedral Music or the Pallant Trust?

      This was all about Barry Morgan doing his usual, minus anger-management training, abusing his power and hitting back at people who dared to challenge his sycophantic narcissism. The classic bully-in-the-playground syndrome. To hell with the impact on others. My need to be avenged of those who dare to tell me I am wrong must be satisfied.

      Remind me again: how many hundreds of thousands of worshippers did the CinW lose under the Golfer's self-congratulatory leadership?

      Meanwhile, this piece in a secular national broadsheet is telling us how important it is to maintain choral foundations in cathedrals, and the positive impact they are having on mission. More than the £10m swashing around Andy C*ap's bank account, the meaningless choruses and plasma screens, ever will.

    5. Subversive Canon22 July 2018 at 20:19

      Of course it was never about the money FRCO.

      It has been previously revealed that as a result of the selling of 9 The Green on false pretences on 1st April 2010, the Cathedral banked the surplus of £272k and then shortly thereafter a further £300k from the sale of the Memorial Hall.

      In reality, the Dean & Chapter had sufficient money in the general funds that the Solo Organ could have been paid for (and there would still have been £100k left) and the Solo Organ appeal never needed to be launched.
      That was always a scam to fool the mugs on the Organ Appeal Committee to replenish the coffers with the £270k that was overspent on the rewiring and lighting project.

      The real reason for doing away with the Lay Clerks was that Peggy the Pilate was informed by an Employment Tribunal judge at the beginning of December 2013 that she and Byzantine Barry were going to lose the case, even after bully boy Bazza had sacked Robertsons Solicitors and brought in a high flying Barrister (or Barista for all the good they did) from Bristol to have the case dismissed on technicalities.

      No, the real reason the Cathedral Choir had to go was that the Dark lord could not possibly tolerate the loss of face that coming second to two of his Lay Clerks in a court of law would have produced.

      You see FRCO, Bazza doesn't like to lose and the last thing on his "to do" list was having to write job descriptions and contracts of employment.
      Rather than lose, the luddite preferred to do away with the singers and to hell with the consequences.