You are here . on the pale blue dot

Blog notes

'Anonymous' comments for publication must include a pseudonym.

They should be on topic and not involve third parties.
If pseudonyms are linked to commercial sites comments will be removed as spam.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Episcopal trick or treat?


Bishop Joanna with some Halloween prop suggestions added   Original photo: Christian Today/CiW

One facet of Halloween festivities that few of us can avoid regardless of our attitude is 'Trick or Treating'. 

Given her penchant for matters secular the bishop of St Davids could enter fully into the festive spirit by swopping headgear and staff for something more suited to the expectations of trick and treaters.

More importantly for the Church in Wales and Anglicanism in general is whether Joanna would have chosen trick or treat. 

'Away from work' until the end of October Joanna could have treated Anglicans by announcing her retirement rather than trick the Church again by returning to duties, such as they are given her devotion to party politics.

Sadly she is reported to be more eager to trick the Church and treat herself by beginning 'a phased return to work from November 1'.

This is a problem not confined to the Church in Wales with their unaccountable bishops. 

The Scottish Episcopal Church is in a similar position: "The Times reports the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is in fear of being deposed by the members of the church’s College of Bishops over his handling of the Anne Dyer affair. An independent investigation recommenced the Rt. Rev. Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney be placed on a terminal sabbatical leave for mismanagement. The primus, the Most Rev. Mark Strange, is being blamed by his brother bishops for Dyer’s appointment and the public relations fiascos that have ensued."

Meanwhile, before the election of the next Archbishop of Wales can take place, the appointment the bishop of Swansea and Brecon is awaited with uneasy anticipation  

Given the mess in which the bench finds itself after successively appointing like-minded individuals they should realise that they cannot afford another botched job. But I doubt it. 

More likely they will have another trick up their sleeve to take the Church in Wales even further from its roots.

Postscript [29.10.2021]

The 'Away from work' link in paragraph 4 above has been removed. A new notice under the original absence date 'Posted: 21 June 2021' has appeared advising that "Bishop Joanna is to make a phased return to work following four months of ill health. She will return to her office on Monday November 1st."

Having abandoned her Twitter account on which she spent so much of her time, presumably her duties will be light. The nature of the bishop's ill health has not been disclosed. 

Coinciding as it did with breaking news of her party political Twitter activities many will draw their own conclusions as she brazens it out without any sign of contrition other than being sorry for being caught out.

The whole episode stinks to high heaven but the Church in Wales carries on regardless.

Joanna's absence has not prevented her from adding her name to those of other bishops' joint statements, eg, Statement on COP26 . 

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Slowing the death of Anglicanism in Great Britain

General Synod                                                                                            Source: Church of England

An analysis of  the votes for membership of the Church of England General Synod Elections 2021 shows a majority of the House of Clergy to be revisionists while the House of Laity reflect more orthodox Anglican views despite intensive canvasing by Inclusive Church to elect revisionists:

 House of Clergy

Orthodox – 79    (40%)
Revisionist – 83  (42%)
Unknown – 34    (17%)

House of Laity

Orthodox – 73    (37%)
Revisionist – 69  (35%)
Unknown – 55    (28%)

(Analysist's note: The labels Orthodox and Revisionist refer to the member’s position on blessing same-sex unions.)

As in Scotland and Wales bishops in the CofE are out of touch with views in the pews but in England there is some hope for Anglicanism in the House of Laity.

Commenting on the results the Rev Peter Ould wrote, "this puts to bed finally the misconception constantly spun by those wanting a change in the church’s teaching that the average person in the pews supports their position. In reality, the representatives of those in the pews were more likely to back someone who took a traditional stance than someone who wanted to revise the church’s teaching."

In Christian Today a different analysis led to the conclusion that "Church of England conservatives on marriage and sexual ethics have held their ground in this month's elections to the General Synod but have not made significant gains" leading a co-creator of the Thinking Anglicans website to predict "It is likely that following the Church in Wales vote to allow services of blessing for same-sex couples a similar proposal will go before the new Synod within the next two years."

Already leading the way on same sex marriage the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church continue to show their contempt for orthodox Anglicans in the way they are handling the behaviour of their appointee, Anne Dyer, bishop of  Aberdeen & Orkney. Two reviews have recommended she “step back permanently” from the episcopate with immediate effect. Instead the bishops have chosen a mediation route to resolve the case, that is, to provide the result they want which is typical of revisionists. They persist until they win. 

The long suffering laity in Wales know only too well that their bishops regard themselves as the Church, manipulating Governing Body to do as they please.

The extending absence of the bishop of St Davids, who, like her Scottish counterpart, seems incapable of doing the decent thing and resign, calls into question the cosy structure the bishops have created for themselves. 

Following the extended absence of the former bishop of Monmouth, the review of which is still being massaged before release, one would have thought that the extended absence of another bishop while awaiting the appointment of a third would have at long last triggered a response to the recommendations of Section 15 of the 2012 Church in Wales Review

Recommendation XXII
There should be three administrative centres, one in the North
and two in the South and South West.

Recommendation XXIII
The Dioceses served by the three administrative centres should
form joint committees for all areas of work, unless there is an
overwhelming reason to keep a particular committee separate. 

Recommendation XXIV
The administrative centre in the North should also be the base for
the provincial work that relates most naturally to those offices of
the Welsh Government that are located in Llandudno. 

Recommendation XXV
The recommendations XXII, XXIII and XXIV should be reviewed
after three years and a judgement made about 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.

While the Church in Wales has been turned upside down the bishops continue to do it their way, ignoring any recommendations that upset their privileged position.

Orthodox laity in England have shown that they can slow the death of their Church. Others should follow suit to protect the Anglican Church from its bishops.

Postscript [21.10.2021]

"Results of the General Synod (national church parliament) election in the Church of England indicate that conservative evangelicals will have the numbers to block changes such as authorising same-sex blessings or wedding ceremonies." Eternity News

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Highlights September 2021 - the big fix

Church in Wales Governing Body September 2021                                                                                                                                                   Source: YouTube

Highlights of the Church in Wales (CinW) meeting of the Governing Body, September 2021, have been published. 

Highlights for bishops of the CinW they may be but for the vast majority of Anglicans, they will be anything but that. Attracting widespread criticism, the process has been a gigantic fix.

Built around a Bill to authorise a service of blessing for same-sex partnerships, the meeting's opening prayers invited us to show "love, compassion and concern for all those who are anxious about the day's debate, especially for the members of the LGBTI+ community." Especially for the LGBTI+ community! Do others merit no concern?

Even the response 'In your love and tenderness, remake us' was geared towards voting in favour of the measure. The cleric leading the prayers was far from neutral having already been remade, 'living happily' in a civil partnership with a younger man, he is a noted LGBT activist in common with all three women bishops.

One of the more illuminating speeches came from the Revd Dr Jonathon Wright (S&B), who submitted an amendment that, according to the Chair, Judge Andrew Keyser QC, 'touched on a fundamental part of the Bill'. Dr Wright wanted to have it delayed until it could be considered holistically as part of the Church’s doctrine on marriage, and introduced with same-sex marriage at some future date.

The bishops were in no mood to stop and reflect on their actions, typified by the response the bishop of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, also in a same sex civil partnership, said that it would be "a huge missional and pastoral opportunity lost for yet another generation. . . The cry will go up, ‘How long, O Lord, how long?'"

Not the Lord, bishop Vann but GB members. The amendment was lost by 77 votes to 27, with no abstentions. 

The Bill itself was proposed by the bishop of St Asaph who was "conscious that some members saw the Bill as a departure from Biblical teaching and the historic faith of the Church", probably his most accurate statement, but nevertheless he asked if members would be “bold enough to take a decision in favour of faithful love and mercy, which will bring hope and joy?”

The bishops won, the Bill passed. The Church in Wales lost.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Bottomley feels the pinch

Sir Peter Bottomley with his Knight Bachelor medal, presented by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on March 10, 2011
 (Image: Getty Images) Source: Sussex Live

Ten years ago in an entry Honour and Dishonour I compared two honours for loyal service. A knighthood for Peter Bottomley after 35 years as a Member of Parliament and an MBE for eighty-three year old Kathleen White who had worked at Claverley Post Office near Wolverhampton for 68 years.

Miss White became sub-postmistress in 1960. She also spent 38 years on the parish council and ran the Sunday school at nearby All Saints Church for more than 20 years.

Sir Peter Bottomley deserves recognition for his candour as a member of the parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee. 

I wrote in that earlier entry: "In 1992 the Ecclesiastical Committee insisted that provisions must be made for those opposed to women bishops, something conveniently forgotten when the Church of England submitted to the will of Women and the Church (WATCH) who have been determined not to honour pledges given. 

"In 2008 Bottomley's response to this duplicity was "Essentially everyone knew that when you had the ordination of women as priests that this would lead to the ordination of women bishops after a decent length of pause. Some would say it has now been an indecent length of pause." 

"An odd sense of honour for someone in a trusted position. Perhaps having served on the Parliamentary Standards Committee and knowing so much about honesty, openness, evasion, misrepresentation and lying he felt well qualified to distinguish between honour and dishonour."

Ten years later and now father of the House of Commons, Sir Peter has been pleading the cause of 'struggling MPs'. 

Sussex Live reports that "the Worthing MP called for a pay rise for MPs as living on £81k can be 'really grim'.

"Sir Peter made his comments as Brits - whose average full-time salary is just over £31,000 - face a cost-of-living crisis this winter with rising energy bills and soaring inflation."

Sky News reported: "Within 24 hours of his comments being published, a JustGiving fundraising page was created titled 'Please help feed struggling Sir Peter Bottomley!' - with all donations going to foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.

Sir Peter told LBC that a pay increase could be achieved by cutting the number of MPs by 10%.

Were the 77 year old MP to put himself at the head of the retirement queue after 46 years of unremarkable service he would have to manage on a final salary scheme pension. 

Poor soul.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Queering the Church in Wales

"Celebrating Faith, Hope & Love - An Open Table celebration of communion
with OTN Patron Bishop Cherry Vann "  Source: Twitter            

In a tweet from the Diocese of St Asaph applicants are invited to join the bishops of St Asaph & Monmouth for a special 'Open Table' event in November hosted by the LGBTQIA+ Chaplaincy in the Church In Wales Diocese of St Asaph.

In the illustration above the holy sacrifice of the Mass is merged into LGBT rainbow colours as if to emphasis the bishops' recent victory at Governing Body which approved the blessing of same sex unions.

Open Table issues its invitation to 'come as you are' to a 'Communion service led by Right Revd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph', a 'Reflection by Right Revd Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth, Patron of Open Table Network' which will  be 'Followed by a simple lunch, conversation and a chance to meet the Bishops'.

Bishop Cameron proposed the motion at Governing Body to allow blessings of same sex unions. In doing so he led Anglicans astray using unorthodox, poor theology which speaks volumes of the unanimous vote of the bishops and two thirds majority of clergy who voted in favour of the motion. 

The event is 'Supported by the Open Table Network, a growing partnership of Christian worship communities which welcome and affirm people who are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, & Asexual (LGBTQIA) + our families, friends and all our allies'.

Other Church in Wales worshippers are left out in the cold. 

If you keep the faith as a traditional Anglican or, more recently, as an evangelical you have to "find accommodation as best they can" as the Ven Peggy Jackson put it with all the charity she could muster.

What is the driving force behind queering the Church in Wales? It has become the Great Commission in reverse, driving out the many to welcome the few who interpret the bible as they please to achieve their own ends. 

One clue may be in the same-sex extracurricular activities in the St Michael's class of 1984 from which three students were to go on to comprise 50% of the bench of bishops. A bench that would later go on to appoint two LBGTQIA+ campaigning women as bishops followed by a partnered lesbian who is to share a reflection at the Open Table event. 

That is not to point the finger at anyone, rather it is to query whether such non-biblical practices became accepted as normal behaviour at theological college.

Whatever the reason, the current position is beyond parody when LGBTQIA+ people and their supporters are courted as the faithful. 

CinW bishops have lost all credibility.