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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Any chance of a true man of God?

The Church in Wales' Bench of Bishops. (Facebook/ The Church in Wales)                                                                                                        Source: Pink News

The Church in Wales meets tomorrow (1st September) to elect/appoint the 10th bishop of Swansea and Brecon following the retirement of archbishop John Davies pictured above in the gold chasuble and mitre.

The chances of electing a spiritual man of God who bears witness to true biblical teaching appears unlikely given the current trajectory of the bench.

Obsessed with the promotion of same sex relationships it is likely that the bench will seek again to further strengthen their hand in readiness for the forthcoming vote on same-sex blessings at Governing Body. 

Now that women have achieved parity on the bench they will have to think of another reason for appointing a fourth woman. Based on experience so far the church in Wales cannot afford to make another mistake. 

The bishop of St Davids has managed to offend many in her diocese while occupying much of her time campaigning as if she were still a Labour candidate having previously failed badly to get elected with just 5% of the vote in 2015.

The bishop of Llandaff has resolutely 'done it her way' here, here and here, to mention a few examples. Like the bishop of St Davids she is a strong LGBT+ campaigner who has condemned others as guilty of prejudice and hatred for not agreeing with her liberal views.

The bishop of Monmouth celebrated and preached on Saturday (28th August) at a Pride Cymru Eucharist held at St John's in the centre of Cardiff where the vicar is transgender. The Gospel reading was taken from Mark 12, The Greatest Commandment which presented the bishop with the opportunity to justify her same-sex civil partnership. *

The divorced and re-married bishop of Bangor claims to have found Biblical support for church gay marriages. If past practice is followed he will be the next archbishop of Wales.

The Electoral College and Governing Body need to reject self serving interpretations of the Bible and take a stand against bishops who reject traditional beliefs as a means of pushing their queer theology in the Church in Wales.



* Bound together in love. Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth, reflects on 'Love' in her address at the Pride Cymru Eucharist. 


Doers of the Word? - Definitely not. 

The sorry state of the Church in Wales and its 'woke' leadership is summed up in under 5 mins on Anglican Unscripted 683 starting around 13.30 mins.


The decision about the next Bishop of @Swanbrec will be made by the Bench of Bishops.

The senior bishop, Andy John, explains

Based on their previous performance the Church in Wales is spiritually dead.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Shhh - don't mention Islam

Shhh                                                                        Source: The Catholic Thing

The so-called 'religion of peace' looks anything but peaceful as refugees attempt to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban swept to power. They promise an 'inclusive government' that is compatible with Islamic law so the sting is in the tail particularly for women and girls based on previous experience of Taliban rule. 

Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) has claimed responsibility for the latest slaughter of innocents outside Kabul airport. The suicide bomber will not have regarded his own death as suicide but as having been slain in battle as a warrior for Islam with the promise of 72 virgins in the after life.

The killer's victims were mainly Muslims legitimised by rival interpretations of their faith.

Mass slaughter by Islamists is not an isolated event. 

In June BBC News reported that armed men killed at least 160 people in an attack on a village in northern Burkina Faso. The fight against West Africa's Islamist insurgency was reported to be at a critical stage. 

In January BBC News reported that "around 49 died and 17 were injured in the village of Tchombangou, while another 30 died in Zaroumdareye". Several violent incidents in Africa's Sahel region had been carried out by 'militant groups'.

Currently, Christians in Nigeria are living in fear of another attack according to House of Lords member Baroness Caroline Cox. "There are reports on the ground that Islamic terrorists are planning an attack on Jos, capital of the Plateau state in central Nigeria", she said.

Whether or not this attack takes place or when there other atrocities in Africa, based on previous experience it is unlikely that there will much if any media attention. Hence the scale of the problem is not as obvious as it should be.

According to Islamist terrorist attacks in the world 1979-2019 "at least 33,769 Islamist terrorist attacks took place worldwide. They caused the deaths of at least 167,096 people. We can also say that Islamist terrorist attacks account for 18.8% of all attacks worldwide, but that they are responsible for 39.1% of the lives lost due to terrorism; or that, during the years studied, there has been an intensification of this violence and that the deadliest period is the most recent: from 2013 onwards, in our opinion, Islam has become the main cause (63.4%) of deaths due to terrorism in the world. We identify and quantify operating methods and targets. The vision of the phenomenon improves, the image becomes clearer. In this way, we show that the majority of the victims of Islamist terrorism are Muslims (91.2%).

The threat of Islamist attacks greatly disrupted our lives long before the arrival of Covid-19. 

As The Catholic Thing put it in Religion and the Re-classification of Islam:

"Air travel is not what it used to be. In the 1980s and 1990s, you could accompany your relatives or friends to the terminal, sit and talk with them at the gate while waiting for boarding, give your kisses and hugs, and leisurely head back for home. Teenagers and some “20-somethings” will have no such memories. Now it’s the baleful experience of security lines, searches, removing stuff for the metal detectors, and full body pat-downs for people who – like me – have metal implants.

"Mosques are being built everywhere. Saudi Arabia has funded the building of thousands of mosques throughout the world and has supplied massive funding for the more than 2000 mosques in America. Christian churches are forbidden in Saudi Arabia – and are being destroyed in Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere, where their existence was previously allowed.

"And we learn of the unusual “cultural” proclivities of Islam – execution of apostates and homosexuals, ideological and legal relegation of females to inferior status, female genital mutilation, divorce without appeal, rape without defense, honor killings, stoning for adultery, etc."

There is much to fear from a such threatening, political ideology. 

Another member of the House of Lords, Lord Pearson, was condemned as Islamophobic merely for discussing the fear of Islam.

Here is an extract from what Lord Pearson said as published in Hansard and reproduced in the Archbishop Cranmer blog:
 "So I submit that it is not phobic to fear Islam, which is responsible for by far the most violence on our planet today. However, if we so much as even try to learn and talk about Islam, we are immediately called Islamophobic by the Muslim Council of Britain, Tell MAMA and other suspect organisations, yet we can say what we like about any of the world’s other religions and nobody turns much of a hair." 

Free speech is under threat. 

Church and state leaders who embrace Islam as a religion of peace should take note.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Their hypocrisy!

Source: Church in Wales

"There can be no room for seeking to undermine sincerely held views. Neither should we seek to walk away from each other." - Church in Wales bench of bishops.

The hypocrisy of it. 

Highlighted in Provincial News, top of the Agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales from  September 6-8 is a Bill to authorise a service of blessing for same-sex partnerships. 

"Same-sex couples will be able to have their civil partnership or marriage blessed in Church in Wales churches for the first time if new legislation is passed next month (September)."

No doubt seeking their usual secular support an article has already appeared in BBC News

The bishops have issued a set of ‘Pastoral Principles’ intended to 'guide people towards thoughtful and considerate discussions'.

Introducing them they say: “There can be no room for seeking to undermine sincerely held views. Neither should we seek to walk away from each other. Our union in Christ is at the heart of our life and the bonds and character of our baptism hold us together; sharing a commitment to each other as together we seek the Kingdom of God. We hope these materials will stimulate this quality of engagement.”

But that is precisely what they have done to faithful Anglicans who have not been swayed by secular desires. Undermined for years they have been ignored by the bench and left with no hope.

Clearly regarded as less worthy than same-sex couples desiring a blessing of their union, the bishops have walked away from traditionalist Anglicans who hold sincerely held views with no thought for their spiritual welfare.

One has to wonder if the bishops of the Church in Wales really do believe in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

The New Unchurched

The answer to that question tweeted by the Church of England is, for increasing numbers, None.

As church attendance figures decline, the definition 'not belonging to or connected with a church' has come to embrace increasing numbers of former attendees who have been side-lined by revisionists or who feel unable in all conscience to remain in an organisation that they no longer recognise as the Church they joined. 

Some will have conscientious doubts over the ordination of women or unbiblical episcopal oversight while others have been frustrated by the direction in which their Church has been taken to further liberal causes, redefining scripture as revisionists deem necessary to support their case.  

The unchurched has been defined to mean "an adult (18 or older) who has not attended a Christian church service within the past six months" excluding special services such as Easter, Christmas, weddings or funerals. The Barna Group reported that there were 75 million "unchurched people" in the United States as of 2004.

In the US the Episcopal Church (TEC) is facing a major challenge. Virtue Online reports that TEC faces inevitable collapse with 'collaboration plans afoot in many dioceses'. The report continues: "Financial challenges and membership decline are a common concern across TEC. The language is about 'collaboration'. When things get worse, it is called 'juncturing'. When the diocese eventually dies, it is called merging."

The Church of England is in a flap leading Giles Fraser to write in UnHerd in response to Justin Welby's claim in July 2012 that "We don’t preach morality, we plant churches. We don’t preach therapeutic care, we plant churches": 

"The Church is abandoning its flock. The CofE's great leap forward will cull clergy and abandon parishioners.

"The latest Great Leap Forward for the CofE looks like this. Get rid of all those crumbling churches. Get rid of the clergy. Do away with all that expensive theological education. These are all 'limiting factors'. Instead, focus relentlessly on young people. Growth, Young People, Forwards. Purge the church of all those clapped-out clergy pottering about in their parishes. Forget the Eucharist, or at least, put those who administer it on some sort of zero hours contract. Sell their vicarages. This is what our new shepherds want in their prize sheep: to be young, dumb, and full of evangelistic… zeal."

The Church in Wales had its great leap forward in 2012 following a Review by the former Bishop of Oxford,  Lord Harries of Pentregarth, and others. Little time was lost in the establishment of Ministry Areas (Recommendation VI) but consideration of whether the Church in Wales is best served by six dioceses with three administrative centres or whether it would be more effective to reduce to three dioceses, together with four area bishops is, as far as one can tell, in the long grass.

In a Province the size of some dioceses one has to wonder why the Church in Wales needs so many bishops. Monmouth managed without for months as is St Davids where it emerged that the current holder spent much of her time tweeting to advance her socialist agenda before being signed off on extended sick leave.

Meanwhile the new unchurched are worshipping at home.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

God Save the Queen - and the CofE

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell. By Bashereyre (CC 3.0)     Source: Nation Cymru

Nation Cymru reports that the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, has called for Wales to sing God Save the Queen before international sports games.

He also complained about Scotland singing Flower of Scotland, the Scottish national anthem, before its Euro 2020 match with England.

Singing national anthems at international events has become standard practice but with no specifically English national anthem, England often chant the African-American spiritual song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot at international rugby matches.

The archbishop made his suggestion in a column in the Telegraph. He said many people in England feel left behind by "metropolitan elites in London and the South East".

Rather like the Church of England and its bishops.  

The Archbishop Cranmer blog puts it this way after the Archbishop of York called for the Church of England to be a church for England, rather than just ‘of’:
 "The Church of England tolerates you, but it isn’t for you. It is there for you to come and go in common worship and to feed on Christ by faith, but thousands upon thousands of its clergy (including 99% of Bishops) truly despise everything you believe and represent, and quite a few of them can’t wait for you to leave so the liberal new order might arise and their theology be consummated.

Having already alienated many with their current LLF obsession, Living in Love and Faith, the Church of England has created fury with "an ambitious target of planting 10,000 new, predominantly lay-led churches by 2030".

The recommendations come in a briefing paper GS 2223 [Simpler, Humbler, Bolder. A Church for the whole nation which is Christ centred and shaped by the Five Marks of Mission] issued by the Church of England’s Vision and Strategy group. 

The church-planting initiative’s leader, the Rev. Canon John McGinley of New Wine, touched off a firestorm of criticism when he labelled stipendiary clergy, church buildings, and theological college training as “limiting factors” for growth at a church planting conference.

The strategy was outlined thus: "Lay-led churches release the Church from key limiting factors. When you don’t need a building and a stipend and long, costly college-based training for every leader of a church . . . then actually we can release new people to lead and new churches to form. It also releases the discipleship of people. In church-planting, there are no passengers."

As reported in the Guardian, Traditionalists in the Church of England have launched a campaign to defend the centuries-old parish system against plans to promote innovative church gatherings in unconventional settings:

"At the campaign’s launch this week, Father Marcus Walker, the rector of St Bartholomew the Great in central London, said parishioners were facing the 'last chance to save the system that has defined Christianity for 1,000 years'.

"He said: 'In the last 10 to 15 years, particularly under [the archbishop of Canterbury] Justin Welby, there has been heavy skew away from traditional parishes with a relationship to a church building and local community, to a style of church set up in a cinema or barn or converted Chinese takeaway'."

Lay led 'house groups' within the parish system are one thing, groups set up outside traditional parishes are something else. 

With no properly ordained priests to administer the sacraments the Church of England will drift further towards nonconformity before she expires.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Monmouth review. All has been revealed!

The Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain, celebrating Petertide 2018 ordinations in the unaccustomed manner                                         Source: Monmouth DCO

Yes, all has been revealed in the long awaited report of the independent panel set up to review events surrounding the retirement of the former Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain.

In December 2018 news broke on the five months silence over the invisibility of the Rt Rev Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth. As I wrote at the time, the absence of requests for prayers for the bishop and his family after missed engagements without explanation have been the cause of much speculation and rumours coming on the heels of staff movements and reports that the bishop was not sick.

Martin Shipton stirred up a hornets' nest when he published his article in the Western Mail, Unholy row in Diocese of Monmouth. It was short on facts so readers were left in the dark about the cause of the row but that has not prevented people from taking their chosen side.

Save for the select few observers are still in the dark:

From Provincial News:
"The Bench of Bishops and the Representative Body, which commissioned the Monmouth Enquiry and Review, thanked the panel for their work and said a period of consultation was now underway which was expected to take until the autumn.

"The panel, which began its work in May 2020, was chaired by Bishop Graham James and the other members were Lucinda Herklots and Patricia Russell. Bishop Richard retired in May 2019 due to ill health. He had been Bishop of Monmouth since 2013."

 The following statement was added:

"Dear Friends,

We are writing to inform you that the Reviewers, commissioned by the Bench of Bishops and Representative Body to consider the matters which occurred prior to Bishop Richard Pain’s retirement, have now completed their work. Mr James Turner, Chairman of the Representative Body and I are immensely grateful to them for their meticulous work and considered judgements.

It is important that we now agree the next steps and we are therefore consulting those most closely associated with these events in order to determine what these should be. We expect to make progress quickly over the summer period and to complete our work in the autumn. We are grateful to Bishop Cherry with whom we are working closely and continue to hold the diocese in our prayers following its recent sadness and bereavement.

+Andrew Bangor, on behalf of the Bench of Bishops

Mr James Turner, chair of the Representative Body " 

Taking the flack at the time were the Dean of Monmouth, the Archdeacon of Monmouth and the Archdeacon of Newport. Following retirements, including that of archbishop John Davies, only the Archdeacon of Newport remains in post.

 The Review panel made 'considered judgements' after 'meticulous work'. Now it seems the reviewers' judgements are to be reviewed in consultation with those most closely associated with the events, conveniently kicking the issue into the long grass until after the 'gay blessings' meeting of the Governing Body while prompting further speculation that there is something to hide.

Friday, 6 August 2021

The future of the Church in Wales from the Archbishop in waiting?

Archbishop in waiting? the Bishop of Bangor. Picture: Church in Wales. Source: The National Wales

The future of the Church in Wales, or, more accurately, the future of the Church in Wales according to Andy John, Bishop of Bangor, is predicted in an 'exclusive' interview with The National Wales. 

Others insist the Church in Wales has no future. Not surprising given the mess created by the bench of bishops with their secular obsessions. 

In 2015 the Church Growth Modelling blog forecast that attendance figures for the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC), indicated extinction dates around 2040. 

Aged 57, if Buggins' turn prevails, Andy John will be the penultimate Archbishop of Wales leaving another to do the final sweeping up. Gregory Cameron, the next most senior bishop after Andy John is 62 so he is likely to miss out as is the Tory loathing bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy who is 61.

At 68 the bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, will soon be drawing her pension leaving only Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth, who is 62.

Depending on his/her age the next bishop of Swansea and Brecon could also be the last Archbishop of Wales.

The new Bishop of Swansea and Brecon is to be elected this month* leaving the way for the election of the new Archbishop but if St Davids were to become vacant there would be a further delay. 

That may account for Andy John's extraordinary statement:

“I think the question whether Bishop Joanna resigns is done and dusted”, Bishop Andy states. “She made clear that she regretted what she had to say… I think if we cannot provide a way in which people can acknowledge wrongdoing, learn from their mistakes, and come back, then it begs questions about whether we believe people can change. Whether or not we think the Christian faith is about second chances. To me, fundamentally, it’s about that. And those who are baying and frothing at the mouth seem to me to be part of what I think is quite pernicious in society: which is that we dress up in virtue – or in the language of virtue – a kind-of campaign to persecute.”

Having found ''Biblical support for church gay marriages" the divorced and re-married bishop of Bangor can no doubt justify anything he fancies. 

In his interview for The National, Andy John was asked about the draft Bill which had been outlined at Governing Body (GB) in December. If passed by a two-thirds majority it would allow a five-year trial period for priests who would like to hold a service to bless a same-sex couple after their marriage or civil partnership.

Did the bishop of Bangor hope the motion will be approved? "Very much so", he replied before adding, "I think this will make us a more generous Church, which will make us a Church that provides space for people who demonstrate by their lives that they can be wonderful disciples of Jesus Christ when they want to live in love with a person of the same sex. I fail to understand… I fail to really understand why that is problematic.

Building up the pressure before the next meeting of GB, the former archbishop of Wales John Davies told ITV that it would be  a "slap in the face" for gay Christians if the church does not consider introducing services of blessing for same-sex couples.

"Simply to say", explained the archbishop, "that because it's always been so it must never change I think is a slap in the face to an awful lot of people who see something valuable in the church, but to some extent still feel rejected by the church."

That simply does not hold water. 

No generosity has been shown by the bench to an 'awful lot of people' who have been slapped in the face by a myopic bench of bishops, eager to impose their own liberal agenda at the expense of faithful Anglicans un-churched by the Church in Wales. 

As the recently retired Archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson, a late convert to Anglicanism, put it with all the charity she could muster, "individuals with conscientious difficulties over women’s ministry will simply have to make personal decisions and individual choices, to find accommodation as best they can." (The naked truth).

There have been no 'second chances' for traditionalists who remain outside in the cold in what the bishop of Bangor refers to as 'a kind-of campaign to persecute'. It is clear why. The Church in Wales is at odds with the vast majority of Anglicans, let alone Christians. Anglicans in the Church in Wales who seek to practice their faith in common with the majority of Anglicans are an embarrassment to a bench of bishops preoccupied with fleeting secular fads and fancies.

As bishop Andy told his interviewer: "The pandemic has reminded the Church of its purpose: to serve. “Our job is to argue for a more humane, compassionate, loving society, and to be unafraid and to be unapologetic about that." His colleagues have “done remarkably well” during Covid-19 too. And it is hard to disagree. Even more so considering that – in his words – that the Church in Wales is “a bit like an oil tanker: it takes ages to turn us around”.

In a nutshell. The Church in Wales has set its course - to extinction.

The interview ends with: "A very confident and unapologetic message from a bishop who is very confident and unapologetic. With the possibility of him at the helm, perhaps this Welsh oil tanker will chart the right course, after all."

The interview started with the interviewer's confession: "I don't generally do God, I tell Andy John." Exactly the sort of people the bench look to for support and justification.

If ever the Church in Wales needed a transfiguration it is now.

* Correction: Election of new Bishop of Swansea and Brecon
 The election is to be held in September.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Bangor ditches Dean

Rev Siôn Rhys Evans Sub-Dean & Canon Treasurer

After a period of discernment following the departure of the Dean of Bangor, Kathy Jones, the Bishop of Bangor has decided to delay the appointment of a new Dean for 'a substantial period of time'.

Instead a new Sub-Dean & Canon Treasurer, the Revd Siôn Rhys Evans, is to lead the Cathedral’s ministry and mission. He is also to act as the senior priest in the Ministry Area of Bro Deiniol.

Other appointments announced are:

  • a new Director of Music, who will have a vital role in reenergizing the Cathedral’s worshipping life
  • a new Family Minister to enhance the Cathedral and the Ministry Area’s ministry to children, families and schools
  • new members of the Chapter to oversee the Cathedral’s common life, including new Canons from within and beyond our diocese, and, for the first time, two Lay Canons

Quite a list for a Vaccination Centre!