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Monday, 19 September 2016

A Call to Persevere


The bishops of St Asaph, St Davids, Monmouth, Llandaff (Abp), Swansea & Brecon and Bangor.
 Credit: South Wales Argus


The Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Church in Wales to "all the faithful" concerning admission to Holy Communion of all the baptised "by virtue of their Baptism alone" has been published on the Diocese of St Davids web site. It can be read here. Its contents remained secret until it was introduced at the recent meeting of the Governing Body (GB) of the Church in Wales raising some suspicion that another round of duplicity might be expected from the Bench of Bishops.

Fine details have yet to emerge but whatever one's views on the subject one thing is clear, the Bench of Bishops has been inconsistent. They hark back to history and tradition to support their case in this instance while scripture and tradition have been confined to the bin on just about every other matter under Archbishop Barry Morgan's guidance.

Dr Morgan's final GB Presidential Address provided an excellent opportunity to sum up the current state of the Church in Wales as he prepares for his retirement as the longest serving primate in the Anglican Communion. That, instead, he chose to bend Holy Scripture to support his views on the divisive issue of same sex marriage rather than address the decline in membership of the church under his leadership suggests that his political agenda always takes precedence over the spiritual well-being of his flock.

Rumour has it that Dr Morgan wants one more liberal feather in his hat before he retires in January, the appointment of the first woman bishop in Wales. The diocese of St Davids will become vacant when Bishop Wyn Evans retires in October. Originally a monastic community founded c. AD 589 by Saint David, the Patron saint of Wales, St Davids has been a centre of pilgrimage since the Cathedral was built the 12th century. The shrine was regarded as so important that it was decreed that two pilgrimages to St Davids were equivalent to one to Rome, three were equivalent to one to Jerusalem. St Davids remains an important centre of pilgrimage to this day.

When David died in the year 589 the monastery is said to have been 'filled with angels as Christ received his soul'.  St David's final words to his followers were: 'Be Joyful.  Keep the Faith.  Do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.'

If a political gesture is allowed to take precedence over faith in the appointment to the See of St Davids it will be the final nail in the coffin for the faithful.

A Call to Persevere

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

22 comments:

  1. Is it three down, four more to go? Just wondering whether the Bench of Bishops, CinW, are aiming to knock down all of the sacraments. Ordination, confirmation, marriage.... Better theologians than I can argue about this, but, in a simple way I think that the issue of repentance is integral to our administration or partaking of any sacrament. Yes, it may be true that infants can receive communion (as in the Orthodox Church), but, all those who are able to think for themselves, and who can recognise the reality of sin, should beware of St Paul's injunction (1 Cor 11:28-30) to examine themselves, and discern the body and blood of the sacrament lest they bring judgement on themselves. So, I wouldn't be pharisaical such as to deny the eucharist to those who earnestly seek to receive Christ in penitence and faith solely on the basis of age or confirmation status (though I would draw the line if they were known to be unbaptised). Methinks the bishops need to think about the difference between apologetics, and 'being apologetic'. There is nothing for us to fear by giving adequate teaching to those who aspire to be Christ's followers, but there is something to fear if we think that we should reduce the price of the tickets to get more into the show.

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    1. Far from getting "more into the show", everything --Morgan and the lemmings on the bench do brings fewer into the show.
      5% fewer last year alone!

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  2. I remember when the Episcopal church USA made Confirmation optional. It was argued that it was wrong to deny the Eucharist to someone just because of a lack of a tap on the head by a bishop. As Fr. Maylor points out, the onus is on the individual to examine themselves before coming to the table. The long term effect of dropping Confirmation in the Episcopal church has been a further decrease in Biblical and theological literacy among the pewsitters with the resultant unshackling of revisionist priests and bishops who are now free to pursue further progressive innovations. The massive decline in baptisms, marriages, Sunday attendance, and denominational members in TEc is evidence of their folly.

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  3. I think you are correct about a woman bishop for St David's AB....unless he can get Jeffrey John who is openly gay. Either would further the liberal agenda......

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    1. Openly gay maybe, but like the Bp of Grantham having foresworn the carnal aspect thereof. And if liberal, a liberal Catholic rather than a liberal broad churchman as well as a theologian of some note (not many of them on the Welsh bench just now) -- and a man who I think would rise above petty politicking. I wouldn't find myself in agreement with him on every detail, but if I were still an Anglican I would be happy to have him as my bishop, and the CinW would be fortunate to have him in its Bench if he could be persuaded to return.

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    2. 'On its bench' is what I meant; on my ancient keyboard i and o are indistinguishable.

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    3. That may have been the case some years ago Matthew but since Jeffrey John came 'Out4Marriage'
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjhExkEh4Hw
      followed by his Morganesque interpretation of scripture when he preached on the healing of the centurion’s servant in Luke 7
      http://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/did-jesus-heal-the-centurions-gay-lover/
      he lost the respect of many former sympathisers.

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    4. As I've said, I'm no longer an Anglican; the weakness of the Anglican position has always been accommodation of all sorts of views, some more heretical than others. But until 1994 (in the UK; it went back 17 years earlier in America) the structure was sound; now it isn't.

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  4. @Matthew- Bp. Jeffrey John -maybe 'a theologian of some note', but I understand he has written prayers for children to a female God? The devil is in the detail!

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    1. I didn't know about this, but I still think I'd rather see JJ on the throne of St David than a female occupant.....

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    2. Now come on Mathew, you can do better than that. You'd prefer a male bishop who prays to 'a female god (small g for woman god) than a woman bishop? . Both ideas carry a pagan concept. How can you prefer either? You might as well invite the Druids since we're almost there.

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  5. I would also like to venture a comment on the question of admission to Communion. The Orthodox practice of admitting children to Communion immediately after Baptism is often cited in support of such a move -- indeed, the Orthodox rite of Baptism includes the baptizand's First Communion, from the reserved Sacrament if taking place separately from the eucharistic Liturgy. However, the point needs to be made that the rite also includes the candidate's Chrismation, the equivalent of western Confirmation, so even if only a few days old no person is admitted to Communion without being confirmed (at the hands of the priest, but with episcopally blessed oil; this also now sometimes happens in the RC Church, though only when the person concerned is of 'riper years'). Another point worth bearing in mind -- pastoral rather than theological -- is the non-sacramental outlook of most 'fringe' Anglicans, although I suppose this fringe is rapidly diminishing as Church and society drift farther apart. In my years as a parish priest the majority of babies I baptised came from families whose relationship with the Church was at best tenuous, and however hard one tried to instruct them and involve them they were rarely if ever going to bring their children up to experience the life of the Church as a sacramental community. It may be theologically justifiable, but is it SENSIBLE to invite such children to participate in the Eucharist? Another thing -- and I hope my former fellow-Anglicans will pardon my impertinence in venturing such a suggestion -- but could this latest move in fact have more to do with making things easier for Nonconformists to participate unchallenged in the life of the Church than with tidying things up for children baptised as Anglicans?

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    1. Yes, of course,Matthew ,the administering of Communion to anyone and everyone is more to do with ecumenism ,hence the Archbishops' yearning for an 'ecumenical bishop' ,and also his establishment of 'The Gathering' where any non-conformist Church and the Anglican Church may celebrate Holy Communion together.
      All this amounts to half a dozen stuffy old Bishops deciding "let's modernise", with no thought for theology,or for the established faith and tradition of the Church.
      What a messy legacy!
      Well,they do have 'messy church' gatherings in any case .Everything fits!

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    2. "The Gathering" -- I'm rather glad I haven't had experience of that.

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  6. For information about The Gathering see the entry of 20 May 2014,
    https://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/the-gathering-of-few-of-gods-people.html

    Given the track record of the bench of bishops and their underhand methods of moving the Church in Wales towards nonconformity, I tend to agree with commentators that the "admission to Holy Communion of all the baptised" probably has more to do with "The Church Uniting in Wales" and the admission of nonconformists than the admission of children.

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  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-37429587

    "Bishop of Exeter blasts 'remote' cathedral dean".

    First Llandaff, then Peterborough, now Exeter.
    Incompetence is spreading like wildfire.

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    1. You just beat me to it 1662.
      Here's what the local rag has to say.

      http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/dean-criticised-in-bishop-s-report-on-management-of-exeter-cathedral/story-29738154-detail/story.html

      "Acute financial situation."
      "No large endowments" (Llandaff had a couple until Bonaparte liquidated the lot).
      “Over and above this, the cathedral architect and clerk of works have identified building-related projects totalling at least £4.2 million over the next 10 years.”
      “Even now the visitors question whether the parlous state of the Cathedral’s finances has been fully absorbed into the bloodstream of all the senior personnel.”
      “Although an excellent preacher, the visitors were repeatedly informed that the lack of spiritual leadership and pastoral care emanates from the Dean himself. He claims to be a ‘big picture’ thinker, but appears not to listen to advice, even from senior colleagues.”
      “A change of culture among the cathedral leadership is essential in order for the changes we recommend to be implemented. Better communication across the cathedral is crucial if morale is to be restored. The dean’s leadership is crucial. The dean must do more to take people with him and build consensus.”

      The parallels with LLandaff are uncanny.
      Chickens and roost come to mind.
      Or at least a Capon coming home this weekend!

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    2. Unlike Llandaff, at least Peterborough and Exeter are being honest about their problems and the size of the bills for maintenance of the fabric of their buildings.
      Gerwhine still insists the Overdue Quinquennial report is not a public document but one hears the repair bill is in excess of £2.5 million.
      Even if he gets the £300k he's trying to con out of the Cathedral Friends, it's barely 10% of what is allegedly needed.

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    3. There's one significant difference, there's no excellent preacher in Llandaft.

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    4. Gerwhine, the lad, may have a point concerning certain disclosures. The Church in Wales conveniently argues that it is not a public Body save only the Archbishop, who claims to be a 'public figure'. Stop laughing everyone.

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    5. Supporters of Exeter Cathedral's Dean speak out over "shocking" criticisms

      http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/supporters-of-exeter-cathedral-s-dean-speak-out-over-shocking-criticisms/story-29744382-detail/story.html

      The LGBT support network kicks in, the backlash begins and the Bishop clams up.

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