|Outside St Davids Cathedral "Another First for Canon Joanna, Bishop-elect." Source: Church in Wales|
So the bishop elect of St Davids, the most conservative diocese in the Province, is a liberal minded woman who on her own admission is not a fluent Welsh speaker either:
"Improving my Welsh is a priority for me now. I was in Welsh-speaking parishes in north Carmarthenshire before and people were very generous and I did learn to take services in Welsh which were received well. But I was always a bit cowardly about the conversations and I think I’ll be looking for money to go on a Welsh immersion course where I will have to take the bull by the horns and have the courage to speak the language. I really want to do it – we are a bilingual nation and the Welsh language is one of our jewels, if not our life blood."
To quote further from 'Facing Difficulties': "The Church, as ever, wishes to see the Welsh language survive and flourish, but it can do nothing without the support of its members. The Welsh language is a gift from God to all who live in Wales. It is our privilege and responsibility to use and promote it in our future mission and ministry". Surely that should have been uppermost in the mind of the facilitator for the diocese of St Davids.
'Facing difficulties' ends with the question: "How can you promote the use of the Welsh language in the Church in your area?" For a start the facilitator should have ensured that the bishop elect was a fluent Welsh speaker familiar with the diocese which is the spiritual home of the Church in Wales and a place of pilgrimage drawing people from around the world.
Disestablishment was born out of dissatisfaction with English-speaking landowners and "anti-Welsh" attitudes within the Church. Based on the appointment of the bishop elect of St Davids, heritage clearly counts for nothing. Moving forward, or "re-imagine itself", is based not on scripture and tradition but on sexual licence and equality of opportunity in the workplace where secular attitudes to 'equality' count more than theology.
The Electoral College meets behind closed doors so that everything can be done in secret leaving regular churchgoers unaware of how the President stage manages the proceedings in a situation where many members hold their positions under his patronage especially the bishops.
If this candidate matched the diocesan profile either profile was way off the mark or it was prepared to fulfil the requirements of the President who is on record as claiming that "she was deemed to be the best person to be a bishop". If the sacred synod had any spunk they would not confirm this election.
From Western Mail letters: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Not quite the successors of St David
When the new woman bishop-designate of St David’s was on Radio Four on Sunday morning being interviewed she had at least the decency to admit that the Church in Wales blesses gay marriages.
When the male bishops deviously introduced such prayers, they claimed they were not blessings!
She also unequivocally stated that she is in favour of full same-sex marriage. Well, she is entitled to her beliefs, but if she seriously thinks she (and her male colleagues) are the legitimate actual successors of St David, they deceive themselves.
They may have the medieval cathedrals, the episcopal props and the endowments but they are self-evidently not bishops in the Church of God, pledged under sacred vow to banish away strange doctrines.
Robert Ian Williams