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Friday, 31 December 2021

The Church in Wales 2021

Bangor wedding                                               Source: Facebook

My first blog entry featuring the Church in Wales in 2021 posed the question, The next Archbishop of Wales? 

The entry led with a Facebook photograph showing a divorced father of four with his new bride, one of his female priests. The groom was, of course, the bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Andrew John, who would be the most senior bishop in the Church in Wales following the retirement of archbishop John Davies.

If, for some, 1 Timothy 3 came to mind, no matter. The Church in Wales had already decided to put the Bible to one side and do things their way, something that was to become a habit.

In 2004 'fury' and 'anger' surrounded the appointment of Britain's first divorced bishop in North Wales when the Archdeacon of Carmarthen was declared the unanimous choice of the church's Bench of Bishops after the electoral college failed to agree on the most suitable candidate. This procedure has since become a habit resulting in of a self-perpetuating clique.

The Daily Post, North Wales Live reported at the time that a member of the original secret electoral college said the appointment was a shock and unexpected: "There may be controversy over this," he said. "My own view is that the scripture does say that a bishop has to be married to one wife."

Responding to criticism from within the diocese of Bangor, the then archbishop, Barry Morgan, said that the appointment was "in accord with the Church's view on divorce."

Moving on to June 2021, the only woman bishop not to be appointed by the bench is proud Corbynista Joanna Penberthy, bishop of St Davids. 

She caused uproar following a 'private tweet' about Conservative Party supporters in which she said Never never never trust a Tory. Many commentators thought that was the end of the road for Barry Morgan's chosen one but showing no shame she simply carries on after a few months off work. 

Mentored along with the bishop of Llandaff by TEC's former presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, it appears that no embarrassment for the Church is too great to shift her as she remains doggedly stuck to her throne.  

On the plus side the Church in Wales bade farewell to another of Barry Morgan's Church of England rejects, Peggy (the pilot) Jackson, Archdeacon of Llandaff. If she had had her way this spiteful woman would have barred from ordination anyone who objected, on grounds of conscience, to women clergy thus making a mockery of the promises made to allow the ordination of women.

Jackson was supported in her endeavour by the now disgraced bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy, and the bishop of Bangor, Andy John. The two other bishops present, John Davies (Swansea & Brecon) and June Osborne (Landaff), signalled their lack of opposition to the measure by abstaining.

September 2021 saw the Church in Wales risking suspension from the Anglican Communion as its Governing Body voted to accept same-sex blessings. Again putting scripture aside, the decision was based on a lie

The Liturgy for the Blessing of a Same-sex Civil Marriage or Civil Partnership was authorised for use from 1 October 2021. It is A wedding in all but name.

In November the troubles at Llandaff Cathedral resurfaced with claims and counter-claims as the bishop and dean continued their battle, dragging the Church through the mire with nobody apparently able or willing to get a grip of the situation.

The Archbishop, the Deanery, the  Archdeacon of Llandaff and a can of worms.

A letter to the Church Times today from a brave member of the clergy claims that there is "a culture of fear in Llandaff diocese. Curates, vicars, ministry-area leaders, and lay diocesan staff tell me that they fear their Bishop. Although many say privately that they have been ignored, reprimanded, moved sideways, paid off, invited to take early retirement, or that their resignation is referred to as a retirement, I imagine they would be too fearful of repercussions from the Bishop to put their signature to this letter."

The Church impotent?

In calmer waters, the appointment of the new bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Lomas, former Archdeacon of Wrexham  was confirmed at Sacred Synod and Buggins' turn prevailed again to see the bishop of Bangor, Andy John, elected archbishop.

This cleared the way for the Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report dated 13 July 2021 to be published in December. That is when the dung truly hit the fan.

The Report exposes the fragile state of the Church in Wales after decades of manipulation by the bench under the influence of archbishop Barry Morgan. It refers to inadequate clergy disciplinary procedures, a 'prevalence of swearing and an excessive intake of alcohol among bishops and senior clergy' in a culture that was likened to that of an 'old boys' club.

Commenting on the 'Culture' in the Church in Wales the Report states: "However, we were also told that dioceses in the Church in Wales were surprisingly independent of one another and that a monarchical episcopate was still alive in the Province." There is plenty of evidence for that.

Happy New Year!

Friday, 24 December 2021

Happy Christmas to all my readers

The Holy Night                                                                                                                        Carlo Maratta (1625 - 1713)

Very Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Caption corner 21 December 2021


The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Andy John                                          Source: Herald Wales

Publishable captions will appear under comments.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Another Bleak Midwinter

Of all the Christmas carols the Church of England could have chosen to update for their  #AtTheHeartOfChristmas campaign they chose Christina Rossetti's In the Bleak Midwinter

That is what the Anglican Church does best, tinkering with the familiar to replace timeless, simple beauty only to end up with something traditional worshippers barely recognise.

Gustav Holst's In the Bleak Midwinter has a timeless beauty with a clear message which has not been bettered despite the rise of the new version top of the classical charts.

Similarly the beauty of the Book of Common Prayer has not been surpassed by attempts to modernise it. Its language is timeless and comforting, presenting an otherness which modern attempts at revision frequently lack.

Ecumenical News reports that In England and Wales number of Christians falls to half the population, while in US similar pattern shows:

"Figures from 2019 show that only 51 percent of people in England and Wales are Christian, while those with no religion account for more than one-third., Christian Today reported on Dec. 17.

"A few days earlier, Pew Research Center published a survey showing that about three-in-ten U.S. Adults are now religiously unaffiliated, and self-identified Christians make up 63 percent of the U.S. population in 2021, down from 75 percent a decade ago."

This is in marked contrast to the #TeamBelieve campaign which would have us believe that everything in the twitter garden is rosy. 

It probably is for career women in the Church who now have everything they wanted - while it lasts!

Source: Twitter

Postscript [26.12.2021]

Royal approval? 

"While Covid again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions. Be it the singing of carols (as long as the tune is well known);..."

Monday, 13 December 2021

The Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report: Senior staff team exonerated


St Woolos Cathedral, Newport,  'an oasis of quiet and peace'                                                                                                                    Source: South Wales Argus

There is much to absorb in the Monmouth Enquiry Report: Report from the Review Panel.pdf

First things first.

In a Statement following the publication of the Report, the current bishop of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, writes:
"I am particularly pleased that the Report exonerates the current Archdeacon of Newport, Jonathan Williams, and the former Dean, Lister Tonge and the former Archdeacon of Monmouth, Ambrose Mason. I want to pay tribute to them and to the office staff, clergy and people of the diocese who continued faithfully with the work of Church whilst feeling left bereft and abandoned."

From the Church in Wales Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report: An Overview:

"The role of the Senior Diocesan Team. The Reviewers describe in detail the role played by three senior colleagues of the bishop. They conclude that throughout the investigatory period and immediate aftermath, they acted in good faith and responded properly to their concerns about and for the bishop. Their concerns were considered to have been well founded and they acted professionally in the way they reported these concerns. Moreover, throughout difficult investigations they maintained the confidentiality required of them and participated in good faith in the processes established, trusting that these processes were adequate and appropriate. This was particularly commendable when their reputations were being traduced and rumours circulated that the bishop’s absence was due to a breakdown in relationships between him and his senior team. These rumours included the belief that the senior team were looking for a way to oust him. The Reviewers do not believe that this was the case and were impressed that they have said so little publicly and have stoically borne false accusations."



South Wales Argus report.

Church Times: "Review lists catalogue of errors in Monmouth and the Church in Wales."


Western Mail (Pressreader), Martin Shipton: CHURCH IN WALES CULTURE CHANGE URGED


Western Mail (Pressreader), Martin Shipton: Worshippers urge inquiry on leadership


The bishop of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, addresses The Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report in her Christmas message 2021 on YouTube starting at position 2.35.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Just a job!

Former Gogglebox star and a priest in Nottinghamshire
Photograph: @revkatebottley

From the Guardian: "It’s a job that comes with a range of uniform options...The retailer’s women’s black jumper with the word 'Believe” emblazoned in bold colours is a hit with female priests, leading one Church of England bishop to describe it as “the new clergy uniform'...

"Rev Kate Bottley, the former Gogglebox star and a priest in Nottinghamshire, also posted a picture using the hashtag #TeamBelieve. '​​Never one to shy away from a bandwagon, like most of the clerics I know I’ve bought this jumper,' she wrote."

But believe what? 

More or less whatever they like these days. The creeds have become something to recite in religious rituals. Clergy believe what they want influencing laity to do the same.

In the Church in Wales "the Bishop of St Asaph is among four senior religious leaders and Parliamentarians recognised for their 'ground-breaking work' in the area of sexuality, gender identity.

"The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron received an award for his leadership within the Church in Wales in bringing it to a point of enabling same-sex blessings.

"Jayne Ozanne, whose Foundation instigated the new awards, said: 'It is so important to recognise the role that leaders have in tackling prejudice and discrimination at an institutional or national level.  So many of us yearn for change, but few know how to achieve it.  I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of our unsung heroes who have given so much in the fight for equality'.

It is not prejudicial and discriminatory to belief other than these people would have us believe.

Gay couple receive 'landmark' Church in Wales blessing from the bishop of St Asaph   Source: BBC


More 'believers' or 'seasonal consumerism at its worst' as Richard Frith, canon precentor at Southwell minster described it.

Postscript [12.12.2021]

Thanks to Archbishop Cranmer for this video of a 'Believe' sweater wearing cleric explaining what believing means to her. 

The bishops of the Church in Wales clearly demonstrate that reciting one thing and doing another is what they believe.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Joanna Penberthy creeps back

Source: Church in Wales


From Church in Wales Diocesan news:  Join Wales' Christingle service and help Faith in Families led by the Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy.

Nothing it seems prevents bishops of the Church in Wales from continuing as they please. 

In a previous entry, The future of the Church in Wales from the Archbishop in waiting? I quoted  Andy John's 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.”

This may explain some of the facial expressions when the statement of Bishop Andy’s election as Archbishop of Wales was read out. Joanna Penberthy can be seen beaming but not quite as ecstatically as June Osborne who could not wait to signal her approval of the 'wonderful news'.

Looking markedly less thrilled were the bishop of St Asaph and his compatriot in the GB gay blessings saga, the bishop of Monmouth. Following their 'success' at GB perhaps they believed the Pink News article headline, "Cherry Vann, the Bishop of Monmouth, is in the running to be elected the Church in Wales’ first lesbian archbishop." 

Cherry may have been led to believe that her election would be another Church in Wales stitch up, a foregone conclusion as apparently was the GB same sex blessings vote when she arranged a victory dinner in advance of the debate. 

No doubt from his statements the "bullying" bishop of Llandaff and bishop of St Davids will feel more secure under archbishop Andy than they would have under their junior, Cherry Vann, but Andy could surprise everyone now he actually holds the reins of power, such as it is. 

Next though should be the long awaited Bishop Graham Jones report of the investigation into the departure of the former bishop of Monmouth. 

An August update claimed the bench expected "to make progress quickly over the summer period" and to complete their work "in the autumn". Presumably 2021!

Postscript [10.12.2021]

Something fishy again?

I see the fulsome acclamation of the election to archbishop of the bishop of Bangor by the 'bullying' bishop of Llandaff has been rewarded with a personal archiepiscopal tweet to the diocese. 

Perhaps June will now feel as secure as Joanna appears to despite their behaviour.

Monday, 6 December 2021

New Archbishop of Wales

Looking thrilled, the new  Archbishop of Wales, Andy John, Bishop of Bangor         Source: Twitter

Buggins' turn. It could have been worse

Pray that when the doors were locked the Holy Spirit was not locked outside!

Postscript [07.12.2021]

Saturday, 4 December 2021

It's not cricket (3)

'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me'. 

That was a familiar proverb, particularly for people of my generation, used to shrug off unwarranted taunts back in our school days. 

Children can be cruel. They can also be quite adept at working the system. 

Listening to stories from my own grandchildren I find it astonishing how many schoolchildren are able to use woke culture to manipulate their teachers, often to the detriment of other pupils, by following the latest fads such as the (ab)use of pronouns, bullying others into submission. 

The Yorkshire cricket racism scandal made news headlines about name calling for some time, unabated by revelations that the prime accuser had skeletons in his cupboard as did some of the accused who had their social media accounts scoured for incriminating evidence against them.

By contrast there has been almost no coverage of a report by International Christian Concern that "The United States has once again designated Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its egregious violations of religious freedom.

"The designation was vehemently criticized by Pakistani officials. The Spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Asim Iftikhar Ahmed, said that the CPC designation was completely against the reality on the ground. Despite his claims, though, most NGOs on the ground—as well as several governments—report that Pakistan is trending downward for religious freedom in recent years. Pakistan has historically lied about the country’s treatment of religious minorities while continuing to claim internationally that the country is in doing well on the religious freedom front."

A report of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Pakistani Minorities draws attention to the appalling "Abductions, Forced Conversions, and Forced Marriages of Religious Minority Women and Girls in Pakistan ."

One commentator who has referred to this scandal is Adrian Hilton who tweeted: "Christian or Hindu girls between the ages of 12-25, abducted, converted to Islam and immediately married to their abductors have been increasing steadily in recent years in Pakistan." We don't hear enough about this.


Back in 2014 it was reported that an estimated one thousand Christian and Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men in Pakistan every year but hardly a murmur. It is not cricket.

Postscript [10.12.2021]

From ACN: All of Pakistan’s Catholic bishops have denounced the lynching of a Christian Sri Lankan man by a mob who accused him of blasphemy, tortured him to death and set his body on fire.