More than 10 Anglican churches a year are closing Wales, figures have shown.
Data from the Church in Wales showed 115 churches have closed over a 10-year period, about 8% of the total, with 1,319 still in use.
There are currently 11 properties advertised for sale on the church’s website.
The Church in Wales said closures were a “significant issue” and while the sale rate had stayed steady, it was unlikely to slow down.
Category : Church of Wales
More than 10 Anglican churches a year are closing Wales, figures have shown.
— Anglican Communion (@ACOffice) September 6, 2017
John Davies, who has served as the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past nine years, has been chosen as the 13th Archbishop of Wales.
He succeeds Dr Barry Morgan who retired in January after 14 years as the leader of the Church in Wales. His election is also historic as this is the first time a Bishop of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon has been elected as Archbishop of Wales.
Archbishop John was elected having secured a two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the second day of its meeting at Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells. The election was immediately confirmed by the five other diocesan bishops and announced at the door of the church by the Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales, Simon Lloyd. Archbishop John will be enthroned at Brecon cathedral in due course.
An electoral college of the Church in Wales will meet in the small town of Llandrindod Wells next month to choose the province’s next archbishop and primate. Three lay people and three priests from all six Welsh dioceses will join the six bishops as they pray and vote on a successor to the former Bishop of Llandaff, Barry Morgan, who retired in January.
The electoral college will meet in the Victorian Spa Town’s Holy Trinity Church on 5 September. After a public Holy Communion service, the church will be emptied of everybody who is not a member of the college or their support staff. The church doors will then be locked before the conclave begins with a discussion about the needs of the province.
After a period of prayer and reflection, the president of the college – senior bishop John Davies of Swansea and Brecon – will invite nominations. The bishops nominated for the post will then withdraw while discussion takes place, returning when members of the college cast their vote. A nominee with two-thirds of the votes of the college will become the province’s next archbishop. If no nominee receives the required number of votes, the process is repeated.
One of the most senior and experienced church leaders in the UK will be the next Bishop of Llandaff.
June Osborne, who has served as Dean of Salisbury for the past 13 years, has been chosen as the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, a diocese which serves most of Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan.
A ground-breaking figure in the Church of England, Dean June was the first female Dean to be appointed to a medieval cathedral, having served as Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Treasurer for nearly 10 years. She has been active in the national life of the Church of England, serving for many years on General Synod’s Standing Committee, including sitting on the Panel of Chairs.
Welsh MPs have joined a growing campaign to challenge the method of appointing the next Bishop of Llandaff, in the wake of the rejection of the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, despite unanimous support from Llandaff representatives in the electoral college.
An open letter from the MPs to the Church in Wales College of Bishops was co-ordinated by Madeleine Moon, MP for Bridgend. The letter, signed by nine MPs, suggests that the process has been “flawed” and has produced “considerable disharmony, anger, and confusion”. It refers to allegations of homophobic comments made at the electoral college, and recommends a pause in the process and a new election, “open to past and new candidates”, to produce an “open and transparent decision”.
The Bishops produced a shortlist of candidates at a meeting last week, which does not include any of those discussed by the electoral college in February, thus excluding Dr John, who received the unanimous support of the 12 Llandaff representatives. At the weekend, Dr John accused the Bishops of “anti-gay discrimination”.
In his statement, Bishop David paid tribute to Dr Morgan and the Diocese of Llandaff. He said, “It has been the greatest privilege to be Assistant Bishop of Llandaff these past eight years, a diocese which serves the beating heart of South Wales, teaming with life and hope. It has also been the greatest privilege to have worked with Dr Barry Morgan, the former Archbishop of Wales, and share in his very personable ministry, whose hallmark has been a remarkable reaching out to the lost and forsaken and those on the margins of society, making them feel truly welcome in the name of Christ.
“Though the weeks since Dr Morgan retired have been full and fulfilling, increasingly I realise it is time to hand over the baton to the newly appointed Bishop of Llandaff, so he or she can run free, enabling the Church which I have cherished these past years to flourish. I therefore intend to finish my time as Assistant Bishop on Easter Day 2017, just before the Sacred Synod approves our new bishop. I do so with the greatest gratitude for all the faithful parish priests and people here, whose marvellous ministry I am daily humbled by. I pray that you are given the bishop you so richly deserve, one who, in the words of Cardinal Basil Hume, simply comes to where people are and takes them to places they never dreamt of going.
The Church in Wales issues 2 further statements about the situation surrounding the Appt of the Bishop in Llandaff
“We understand the disappointment felt by all the candidates considered by the Electoral College who did not secure enough support to be elected as Bishop of Llandaff. However we are satisfied that the Electoral College process was carried out properly and fairly.”
“The meeting was confidential and we will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.
“The Constitution of the Church in Wales requires that an electoral college meets for up to three days and that if the college fails to elect, the decision passes to the Bench of Bishops. The Bishops are now acting carefully in full accordance with the Constitution. Unlike the Electoral College process, there is no fixed timetable for an appointment process, however, the Bishops would wish to announce any appointment made as soon as all necessary formalities are finalised. The appointment process is underway and we see no reason to halt it.”
(Christian Today) David Baker:Philip North+Jeffrey John: A Church that is more ‘via muddle’ than ‘via media’
I was once in a meeting of clergy a few years ago, and I can’t remember the precise subject of discussion, but I do recall one minister sighing in weary exasperation as we talked around whatever the issue was before pronouncing: ‘The problem is the elephant in the room – the absence of a shared set of beliefs.’ He later became a Roman Catholic.
Philip North and Jeffery John are – albeit with very different defining convictions – both victims of a church trying unsuccessfully to face in several different directions at once. Some might rejoice that this is Anglicanism’s so-called ‘via media’ or ‘middle way’ between ‘extremes’. But to most people, it looks less ‘via media’ and more ‘via muddle’. And yet, ultimately, I do not despair. After all, it is because we humans tend to make a real mess of things that Jesus came in the first place. And so once again I lift my eyes to him and pray, ‘Lord, have mercy’.
The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, has accused the Bishops of the Church in Wales of “anti-gay discrimination”, after he was informed that his name will not be taken forward as a candidate for the See of Llandaff.
The president of the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, wrote on Friday to Dr John to assure him that “neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership were a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected”. In his reply to the Bishop, made public this weekend, Dr John rejected this assurance as “hypocritical and untrue”.
The appointment of the next Bishop of Llandaff fell to the Bench of Bishops — comprising the six diocesan Bishops — after a meeting of the Electoral College in February ended with no candidate receiving enough votes — two-thirds — to be declared Bishop-Elect. In addition to the diocesan Bishops, the College comprises six members elected by each diocese (three lay members and three clergy), and twelve members elected by the diocese to which the Bishop is being elected. Its proceedings are confidential.
He wrote to the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon – the Right Reverend John Davies, who is currently the church’s senior bishop – after an electoral college of bishops, clergy and lay people failed to reach a decision about who should replace Dr Barry Morgan as bishop.
It is understood Mr John received a majority of the votes, but not the two-thirds required by church rules.
He said homophobic remarks had been made at the electoral college meeting.
“Much more importantly, the only arguments adduced against my appointment – in particular by two of the bishops – were directly related to my homosexuality and/or civil partnership – namely that my appointment would bring unwelcome and unsettling publicity to the diocese,” he wrote.
— Harry Farley (@HarryFarls) March 19, 2017
History was made on Saturday when the Church in Wales consecrated its first woman as a bishop in front of more than 500 people.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, consecrated Joanna Penberthy as the 129th Bishop of St Davids.
He also paid tribute to the Church’s women clergy for “daring to trust and hope” during what had been a “long and hard journey” to ordination.
Canon Joanna Penberthy will become the 129th Bishop of St Davids in Pembrokeshire.
An electoral college of 47 people from across Wales spent two days locked in St David’s Cathedral before coming to their decision.
Anyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion in church, regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, under new guidance coming into effect in November.
The Church in Wales is re-adopting the practice of the early church on admission to Communion ”“ the sharing of bread and wine ”“ in an effort to strengthen ministry to children and young people in particular.
In recent times, people wishing to receive Communion have usually had to have been confirmed first ”“ confirming promises made on their behalf at their baptism as infants.
However, from the First Sunday in Advent ”“ November 27 ”“ everyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion. The policy will be rolled out across the parishes and ministry areas over the next year.