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Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Six green bishops sitting on the bench

Church in Wales bishops 2022 from left: Bishop John Lomas, Bishop June Osborne, Bishop Gregory Cameron, Archbishop Andrew John, 
Bishop Joanna Penberthy, Bishop Cherry Vann and Bishop Mary Stallard.                Source: Church in Wales

According to the 2021 census for Wales, 46.5% of the 3,063,456 population have no religion. Christians represent 43.6% while 6.3% declined to answer the 'Religion' question.

From Wikipedia, three Roman catholic dioceses, the Archdiocese of Cardiff, the Diocese of Menevia and the Diocese of Wrexham care for 209,451 Catholic souls (nearly 70,000 per bishop).

The (Anglican) Church in Wales with six dioceses has become rather shy in publishing statistics. In 2018 the adult average Sunday attendance was 26,110 giving a figure of 4,352 souls per bishop. Today the attendance figures must be very much lower.

Illustrated above are the seven Church in Wales bishops who were to attend the 2022 Lambeth Conference giving them "a chance to 'speak and act for the good of our world'." Sadly their view of the world is no longer in step with the majority of Anglicans.

Assistant bishop Mary Stallard was appointed by the archbishop to assist him in the management of Bangor diocese because he was said to be too busy in his capacity as archbishop. Stallard has since replaced the bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne who retired amid allegations of bullying.

The diocese of St Davids has had to manage without a bishop as a result of Joanna Penberthy's long periods of sick leave documented in Church Times suggetsing that they are not that busy after the long absence of the former bishop of Monmouth.

From published sources it appears that the archbishop's 'busy schedule' is mainly political with a spot of PR beach cleaning thrown in. 

He would have more credibility as archbishop if he turned his attention to the spiritual life of the Church in Wales. Instead he chose to promote the Energy Footprint Tool in his presidential address to the Last meeting of the church's Governing Body. 

He also announced that "the Church would hold an Environmental Summit next year to bring together key stakeholders with the aim of making Wales 'an exemplar of good practice'." - Unlike their position in the Anglican Communion, part of the 15% criticised for 'dragging the Church into apostasy'. 

The archbishop has since been invited to join the Gorsedd by accepting the Honorary Druid Order, the Blue Dress, which is for Service to the Nation!

It is expected that a new bishop of St Davids will be elected in October following Joanna Penberthy's retirement at the end of July. So no more politics please. 

Joanna in St Davids and June Llandaff fulfilled an agenda which has seen the first partnered lesbian bishop in Great Britain being installed in the diocese of Monmouth.

The rot has deepened. A Christian teacher was dismissed from The Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales School, Cardiff, after sharing his beliefs on marriage at a staff training seminar. He had been urged to talk about his beliefs on marriage but was sacked the next day for 'hate speech'.

The teacher called his dismissal an "attack on Christianity" and “an affront to freedom of speech and freedom of thought".

He is not alone in his views. Many souls have been lost to the Church because there is no room in the Church in Wales for Anglicans who maintain their traditional Christian beliefs.

A revival is needed to regain them and slow the Church's decline. That will require a holy man of God, not an apostate.

The Church in Wales can not afford to fluff the election of the next Bishop of St Davids, The motto of the patron saint of Wales was 'Keep the faith' not abandon it.

"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?"

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Llandaff Cathedral

Llandaff Cathedral                                                                                                                                              Source: Twitter 

The Dean and Chapter of Llandaff Cathedral are seeking to recruit a Chief Operating Officer in a newly created post as a key member of the Cathedral’s senior staff to support them in 'developing and delivering strategy and leading the Cathedral’s administration'. 

Salary: £50,000 up to £65,000 for an exceptional candidate. Closing date tomorrow, 17 May 2023. 

A Chief Executive/Chapter Clerk  was appointed in 2021.

Salary: £50,000 - £60,000 per year.

Ten years ago Llandaff Cathedral worshippers were asked to increase their giving amid a 'major financial crisis'. Apparently the Cathedral can now afford £100,000+ to assist senior clergy in the performance of their ministry.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Some reflections

Source: Evening Standard

For me, the expression on the Bishop of Durham's face said it all at the crowning moment. - Or was it the bishops' ill-fitting copes that troubled him?

Down, right a bit, up a bit, down a bit before the final inspection shown above in case further adjustments were needed. It has been calculated that the archbishop of Canterbury took 10 seconds to crown King Charles.

Queen Camilla looked almost petrified when it came to her turn before using a finger to poke her hair back under her crown. She looked frightened that the archbishop might stand on her feet to crown her.

Inevitably comparisons will  made with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The BBC has produced a video comparing both, side by side. 

Charles' coronation service was a cut down occasion designed to appeal to all faiths. Few will have given thought to the expression of Christian faith, going along as necessary.

The Leader of the House of Commons, Lord President of the Council, Penny Mordaunt, attracted considerable praise as she stood holding the Sword of State but I was moved to laughter when someone was heard to ask why she was wearing an air-hostess uniform. 

I thought the mid-service construction of an Anointing Screen rather than the more traditional canopy looked particularly awkward. 

Also the 'Alleluia' sung by a gospel choir appeared designed specifically to make the liturgy an inclusive service.

Otherwise more traditional choral music enhanced the ceremony in all its glory. The coronation procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace was a masterpiece of synchronisation.

It was heartening to see Catholic involvement in the Coronation especially given the involvement of people of other faiths and none.

Pope Francis' coronation gift of relics from the True Cross were incorporated into the processional cross, the Cross of Wales, a centenary gift to the Church in Wales from King Charles. 

The wording on the reverse of the cross are the words of St David: "Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain," which means in English: "Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things". 

Keeping the faith is precisely what the bishops of the Church in Wales have failed to do, the same path being trod by the majority of bishops in the Church of England but not the Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham who continues to view marriage as "a union between a man and a woman". 

Lambeth Palace described the role played by a key element in the ceremony - the Queen's Ring - an octagonal mixed-cut ruby surrounded by 14 diamonds which bears the symbolism of a ring exchanged in marriage.

Some hope for the future.

Postscript [11.03.2023]

A lesson from the Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis

Friday, 5 May 2023

Coronation thoughts

Their Majesties King George VI, Queen  Elizabeth II and King Charles III.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

I remember the shock of hearing that King George VI had died. It was a time of great sadness. 

Along with Prime Minister Winston Churchill the king set an example of fortitude which did much to encourage those of us huddled around the wireless listening to the endless WW2 news broadcasts, so many in fact that I wondered how the BBC would fill the airtime after the war. 

My lasting memories of Queen Elizabeth's coronation are of the Westminster Abbey entrance procession to Parry's, I was glad, and of Queen Sālote of Tonga shunning the rain, smiling and waving to the crowds from her open carriage in a procession of carriages with tops firmly closed.

Charles III's coronation will be different. It has been scaled down. Security is a greater risk but the processional route is much shorter. 

It will be a multi-faith occasion. I understand the motives but, as I mentioned in my previous entry, I doubt the wisdom of including believers of different faiths and none in what is essentially a Christian service.

On a more positive note, Pope Francis will be represented inside the abbey this time. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. the papal representative had to observe the ceremony from 'an especially-built stand outside Westminster Cathedral', because he was not allowed to enter a non-Catholic church.

Pope Francis has also sent a coronation gift, two shards of wood said to have come from the cross on which Christ was crucified. The shards have been incorporated in The Cross of Wales, a new processional cross presented by King Charles as a centenary gift to the Church in Wales.

An ironic choice since the bishops of the Church in Wales have abandoned the received faith of the Church in favour of secularism. 

The Pope's apparent obsession with taking the Catholic Church down the same path as the Anglican Church, deciding doctrine by committee, is not encouraging. He has only to look at the Church in Wales to see where that leads. Neither has the Church of England heeded the lesson, allowing revisionists to change Church beliefs for their own ends. 

They achieve this by introducing change gradually so that people become accustomed to it. It has happened in Church and State. A glaring example will be the crowning of Queen Camilla alongside King Charles. 

Much has changed since I heard of the death of King George VI. I can't imagine what the world will be like when Prince William is crowned, assuming the monarchy is not abolished.

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Canterbury calling?

Archbishop of York (Source: Diocese of York)                                         Bishop of London  (Source: Crediton Courier)

Rumours abound that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will resign after the coronation of King Charles III.

He has said that he hoped to remain the Archbishop of Canterbury until he reaches retirement age in 2026, if he is in "good health" and "people are happy" with him in the post. 

Very many people are unhappy with Welby's performance as Archbishop of Canterbury, including the majority of Anglicans. Schism looms. Will he go?

Welby's role in turning a Christian coronation service into a multi-faith event has not gone down well. 

His 'off-piste' oath plan has backfired. "Buckingham Palace officials fear the Coronation oath could cloud the ceremony due to the criticism surrounding the 'Homage of the People'."

Those of us old enough to recall the solemnity of Queen Elizabeth's coronation will witness a different ceremony, one built around wokery to include people with entirely different beliefs, some of which reject the Christian message.

The Coronation Liturgy shows that the Epistle (Colossians 1: 9-17) is to be read by a Hindu Prime Minister. Hindus worship many gods so which god will the Prime Minister have in mind? 

Nothing seems to matter in the Church of England other than being conformed to the world.

On that score, if Welby were to retire, the Archbishop of York and the bishop of London have both shown themselves to be unsuitable.

Bishop Sarah Mullally ended  her Living in Love and Faith Presentation  with the words:

"I hope that we will not just ‘look to your own interests, but to the interests of others.’
...May God hold us in the redeeming love of Christ and bless us with the guiding
presence of the Holy Spirit.

The guiding  presence of the Holy Spirit is evident not in the Church of England  but in GAFCON:

"Despite 25 years of persistent warnings by most Anglican Primates, repeated departures from the authority of God's Word have torn the fabric of the Communion. These warnings were blatantly and deliberately disregarded and now without repentance this tear cannot be mended."

The Archbishop of York has not heeded the message. In his presidential address at the April 2023 York synod he claimed that "We are not judged by 'doctrinal orthodoxy' but 'love', reminiscent of TEC presiding bishop Michael Curry's Love is the way!

What the Church of England needs is an Archbishop of Canterbury can bring the Church back to faith as neatly explained here by Calvin Robinson in his Common Sense Crusade.