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Thursday, 31 March 2022

The writing on the wall

Writing on the wall - with apologies to Rembrandt
                                    MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
                                    TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
                                    PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Interviewed on the TV programme The Hour in April 2018 the first woman to be made bishop in Wales, Joanna Penberthy, branded anyone who disagrees with her as prejudiced. No debate. No theology. Just unsubstantiated accusations of prejudice.

There is much to question. For a start, on the validity of her orders Joanna Penberthy simply dismisses the question. She remarked, such 'prejudice' is 'water off a duck's back to her', probably because the Church in Wales has no defence for going their own way in defiance of the overwhelming majority of Christians in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

The ordination of women is a political tool used by feminists to further their own selfish interests. They are not interested in the welfare of the church. They care even less for the many cradle Anglicans who have found themselves excluded. Pleas not to go their separate ways were water off a ducks back to them.

They base their case on false notions of equality, distorting the meaning of Christ's redeeming love while appealing for secular support to undermine the faith of the Church. So successful has this strategy been in the Anglican Communion that feminists are now using similar tactics to attack the Roman Catholic Church.

Feminists used to claim that the Anglican Church should set an example to the secular world by breaking the stained glass ceiling as if there was no difference between the sacred and the secular. That argument is now being reversed in the Roman Catholic Church: There are female presidents and CEOs. Why are we still asking if women can lead in the church? 

Our children and grandchildren are having to cope with the fallout of the new order. There are fewer male role models for boys to identify with. Women dominate primary education. Three quarters of secondary school teachers are women. The GP and the dentist are likely to be female along with the parish priest. 

Girls and boys are forced to ignore their birth assigned sexual identity and cope with unnecessary problems of self identifying genders coupled with imposing the use of preferred pronouns. Then there is distress that can be caused following the imposition of unisex toilets and the presence of intending but not yet transgendered pupils in girls changing rooms, all of which defies logic and panders to wokery .

Anglican experience has shown that feminists are not to be trusted. They have inched their way forward with false promises to achieve their objective before undermining any agreements as they seek to get rid of any opposition.

The Church in Wales is a typical example. It prides itself as being a leader in diversity. Not in spreading the Gospel but falsely using the Gospel to achieve its ends by interpreting scripture to suit themselves. 

The bishop of Monmouth uses her patronage, enthusiastically supported by the rest of the bench, in promoting LGBT minorities, while the 'first transgender priest' wasted no time in using the Church in Wales to spread transgender propaganda, an utter distortion of the Great Commission.

The bishop of St Davids has been busy spreading party political propaganda with her motto, “Never, never, never trust a Tory”. As Dominic Lawson commented in the Mail Online "With Tory-hating political bishops like this, the church hasn't got a prayer".

This is not the first time the bishop of St Davids has brought her office into disrepute. Her Dear John letter caused great offence to elderly clergy, raising suspicions that it was her way of getting rid of faithful traditionalist clergy. She busily backpedalled after adverse publicity

According to commentators responding to a previous entry That was the Church that was, it's over, let it go?, undeterred, Joanna has been meeting clergy and lay people to explain her position. 

There is nothing more to explain. Joanna's extended absence looks increasingly like a cooling off device, hoping that her flock would forget so that she could return to duty as if nothing had happened. 

Others viewed her behaviour differently.

Angela Tilby wrote in the Church Times, Bishops have to sacrifice privacy: "The public nature of episcopal office has been understood from antiquity. Bishops are meant to be visible, to be seen and known, to be a focus of unity in the Church, and a point of mediation between Christian communities and civic authority. “He must be well-thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace. . .” (1 Timothy 3.7).
The writing was on the wall from the start. Penberthy's was a political appointment engineered by archbishop Barry Morgan. Others have followed. 

The rot deepens but the writing was on the wall from the start.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Mothering Sunday

Screen capture from video of a Russian soldier captured by Ukrainian forces. (YouTube)                                                                      Source: The Times of Israel

Mothering Sunday, now more commonly referred to, commercially, as Mothers' Day falls on 27 March in the United Kingdom this year. Other countries celebrate the event on different dates. In Ukraine it falls on Sunday, 8 May 2022. In Russia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November by when many more mothers will have lost their sons in a phoney war.

The Times of Israel reports that Ukraine has "invited the worried mothers of Russian troops captured on the battlefield to come and collect their sons, in an apparent attempt to embarrass Moscow."

Sadly mother Church in Russia, in particular Patriarch Kirill has sided with his friend Vladimir Putin, turning his invasion of Ukraine into a holy war.

The Russian people have been deceived. Many more sons and daughters will be sacrificed in Putin's war, his so called 'special operation'. 

On Mothering Sunday spare a thought for mothers in Ukraine and in Russia who are needlessly suffering while we celebrate.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

That was the Church that was, it's over, let it go?

A new order? The bishop of Monmouth at Sacred Synod in 2020 with her civil partner                                            Source:Twitter

 Older readers may recall the 1960s BBC TV satirical programme That Was the Week That Was which opened with Millicent Martin singing "That was the week that was, It's over, let it go ..."

Similar feelings have been expressed for the Church in Wales. It's over, let it go. But it is hard to do so while watching self-serving groups use the Church to advance their own particular agendas at the expense of loyal Anglicans who have been shut out.

Revd Stella Bailey, the new Archdeacon of the Gwent
Valleys and Director of Mission.          Source: C in W
Monmouth news has a message from the newly appointed Archdeacon of the Gwent Valleys and Diocesan Director of Mission, the Revd Stella Bailey: "I am passionate about shaping the church to enable it to preach the gospel afresh for this generation...I keep up to date with emerging social needs and seek ways that I can creatively respond. Sometimes this involves giving a voice to those who are voiceless, acting as an advocate or using my platform to highlight the issue and help bring about change. I teach about the issues of injustice, prejudice and unconscious bias so that the church can be more Christ like in its appearance."

Stella will be moving to the diocese of Monmouth from England with her partner Karen and their two dogs, Lyra and Stewie.

It cannot be a coincidence that the new archdeacon's bishop is also a lesbian living in a civil partnership with her same sex partner. The bishop of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, is Patron of the campaigning Open Table Network (OTN). Along with her sister bishops in Llandaff and St Davids, they preach the gospel 'afresh' to promote secular causes.

An unpublished comment put it this way: "Not sure I fully agree with this, the incoming archdeacon of the valleys has no prior knowledge of the area, the people, the problems let alone the machinations of CiW. But she has one common factor with +newport they both have female partners. A case of like picks like rather than the best suited person. With such people running the church it deserves to be terminated." 

There is nothing 'Christ like' about complaining of alleged "injustice, prejudice and unconscious bias" to advance the LGBTQIA+ cause at the expense of other Anglicans who follow traditional Christian teaching in common with the vast majority of Anglicans and other Christians.

Sadly such tactics are not only accepted but are championed by the bench of bishops who are pushing forward their same sex relationship policies whether pew sitters agree or not.

According to a recent Church Times article Ten years on, Harries review has changed the Church in Wales, the Review found "warm, friendly and welcoming communities", not the injustice, prejudice and unconscious bias alleged. But it also found that the Church in Wales was in crisis which led to replacing the universally recognised parish system with unpopular ministry areas. 

That policy has been pursued by Church in Wales bishops with gusto while ignoring the recommended reduction in the number of diocesan bishops and restructuring of diocesan administrative areas. 

Instead senior staff levels have increased with an un-elected assistant bishop who will, reportedly, join the diocesan bishops on the bench, some of whom are also unelected to this self perpetuating coterie. 

It is over but hard to let go.

[Commentators are reminded that anonymous comments submitted for publication must include a pseudonym.]

Thursday, 10 March 2022

How bad must it get for a bishop to resign?

 No economy at the top: "Bishop Mary and Bishop John join the Church's Bench of Bishops"                                                                    Source: Church in Wales

The Vicar of Radyr has announced that she has submitted her resignation as incumbent and Ministry Area Leader to the bishop of Llandaff. 

The Reverend Vicki Burrows said that she could no longer, with integrity, knowing the many things she knows, serve in the diocese where she believed a 'culture of fear' exists. A diocesan survey conducted after her initial exposure 'brought up the same results'. The senior leadership team acknowledged there was room for improvement. See the vicar's statement in this video link  starting at position 1.00.15  

The problem for the vicar and those for whom she is sacrificing her ministry is that the bench ditched integrity as soon as they had their own way on the ordination of women. See Brood of vipers!        

It is not expected that the bishop of Llandaff will consider her position having already been engaged in a long running battle with her side-lined Dean and the new archbishop confirming his impotency in such matters. 

Bishop June also has the precedent of the bishop of St Davids sitting tight until the storm blows over after the Twitter scandal in which she insulted many of her flock. Bishop Joanna is now making more frequent appearances as if she had never blotted her copybook. 

Vicars are expendable it seems while bishops expand their empires despite Recommendation XXV for diocesan reform in the 2012 Harries Review.

Instead we have feminist triumphalism praising their latest 'successes'. Recently the Church in Wales tweeted: Our new bishops, Mary Stallard and John Lomas, join the Bench of bishops. We now have more women bishops than men, which we think is a first in the Anglican Communion @AnglicanNews @ChurchTimes.

This is somewhat ambiguous. Presumably they mean joining the bench for a photograph. According to the constitution the “Bench of Bishops” means the Archbishop and the other Diocesan Bishops but the gloating "We now have more women bishops than men, which we think is a first in the Anglican Communion" implies the prospect of an expectation of feminism influencing the Church in Wales even more.

It has been said that the hat makes the man so perhaps the mitre may be thought to make the women. That could explain the biggest mitre being sported by the assistant bishop. If I remember correctly she saw a woman wearing a mitre on a visit to the USA and was even more convinced that women bishops were right!

Postscript [01.04.2022]

Church TimesDean’s complaint of bullying by Bishop of Llandaff to be heard at tribunal:

"No date for the tribunal has yet been fixed. A spokeswoman for the Church in Wales confirmed on Tuesday that the tribunal panel was currently being appointed by the president, Mark Powell QC. It can have five members, and must include a diocesan or assistant bishop from another diocese.

"The Church in Wales has appointed Gavin Foster QC — joint registrar in the diocese of Salisbury, a former Crown Prosecutor, and former domestic chaplain to the Bishop of Winchester, Dr Tim Dakin — as Proctor to bring the case. The tribunal has considerable powers, ranging from absolute or conditional discharge, rebuke, or monition, to deposition from Holy Orders."

Friday, 4 March 2022

CofE same sex marriage: fake news

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary  Mr Stephen Knott and Major General
Alastair Bruce  outside St John’s Church 
Source: The Edinburgh Reporter

Quoting from The Independent, Church of England gay activist Jayne Ozanne claims that the majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right. Allegedly a survey commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation found that the level of overall support has risen in the past decade, from 38% believing in 2013 to 55% in 2022:

"The majority of Anglicans living in England support same-sex marriage, according to a survey. Some 55% of people said they believe in same-sex marriage, the poll found, while almost three quarters (72%) of those under 50 indicated their support. The level of overall support has risen in the past decade, from 38% believing it was right in 2013 to 48% in 2020 and 55% this year."

Not so says consultant statistician, the Rev Peter Ould. Writing in Premier Christianity he says: "The Ozanne Foundation has published a new piece of research, conducted by YouGov, that claims that support for same-sex marriage is increasing among Anglicans. But what does that actually mean, and are the Anglicans surveyed in any sense connected to the people actually worshipping in the pews of the Church of England?

"The survey claims that 55 per cent of Anglicans believe that same-sex marriage is “right” and The Times has a headline that the 'Majority of Church of England worshippers back gay marriage’. If you dig just a bit into the data however, you realise that the survey says nothing of the sort...

"This survey doesn’t tell us anything more than that non-Church attenders believe the same things as other non-Church attenders who are simply more honest about not believing what Christianity believes. The Church of England should be led by the Bible and God, not an opinion poll." 

Read Peter Ould's analysis here.

Nevertheless Pink News claims that a majority of English Anglicans now back same-sex marriage, despite the Church of England’s refusal to perform or bless them while the Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury and chairman of the [Ozanne] foundation, said the results show the church is “manifestly out of step with what the majority” of people think.

 Fake news, misrepresentation, half truths and appeals to public opinion form no basis for changing what the Church believes and has taught through the ages. That has wrecked much of Anglicanism and if left unchecked will bedevil the Catholic Church in the same way.