2020 Implementation Group disbands
THE implementation group established to carry forward the recommendations from Lord Harries’s 2012 review of the Church in Wales ahead of its centenary in 2020 has disbanded (News, 21 September 2012). Lis Perkins (Bangor), who chairs the group, told the Governing Body that all four of the recommendations had been considered, and that the Standing Committee had decided to implement; implement in a different way; defer for a few years; or not to implement. “The work of the action group has ended, but the work of 2020 Vision continues,” she said.
Ecumenical work profiled
A NEW video, profiling the ecumenical work carried out by churches in Wales, received its première at the meeting of the Governing Body. Lis Perkins (Bangor) explained that ecumenism was often thought of as being dialogue between different Churches about theological matters. But she said that, at a local level, “we are not bothered about doctrinal differences . . . This film celebrates that.” The video includes a children’s camp; chaplaincies in Colwyn Bay town centre, and at the Royal Welsh Showground; and a nativity story in Barry.
St Padarn’s Institute update
THE first Principal of the St Padarn’s Institute, the new dispersed theological-education institution which has taken over from St Michael’s College, Cardiff, has described a successful launch period. “Nine months in, and St Padarn’s is securely planted,” the Principal, the Revd Dr Jeremy Duff said. The “broad agreement on what St Padarn’s is here to do, and an agreement on what St Padarn’s will cost” is now in place until 2020, he said.
The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, was pleased that the focus of St Padarn’s was on mission and evangelism. “Quite rightly, that has to be at the centre of our life as a Church. Unless we are a people who are passionate about our Christian faith, and prepared to say ‘Christ is risen,’ then we don’t deserve to survive as a Church.”
He described the transition as “a quiet revolution . . . that the Church in Wales has not grasped yet”, and was “anything but a rebadging of St Michael’s.”
St Padarn’s was currently training 25 full-time ordinands. Some 52 people were undergoing part-time training, including 20 ordinands, ten new lay ministers, and the remaining readers.
A further 45 students were studying for an M.Th. or research degree; while 143 people were undertaking studies in “Theology for Life”, and 477 people were undertaking different forms of study.
Experimental confirmation rite approved
A NEW rite for confirmation in the Church in Wales was approved for experimental use for a period of five years. Introducing the rite, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, said that the new rite was needed because the Church in Wales had broken the link between confirmation and first communion last year, when it had agreed to admit all the baptised into communion. “This is an important item of business, because it relates directly to the theme of mission and evangelism,” he said. “If there is one rite of the Church where there is a potential for people to make a public commitment to Christ as Lord and Saviour, it is confirmation.”
He described the service as “a moment of primary evangelism”, where “a large number of people who are not churchgoers” heard people profess their faith.
Before he asked the Governing Body to approve the experimental use of the new rite, he described some late changes to the text before them which had referred to bishops only as “he” or “Father in God”.
The Revd Richard Wood (Bangor) questioned whether the new rite could really be described as “experimental”, and asked whether there was “scope for something a lot more experimental at a later date”.
No change to archiepiscopal see arrangements
A REVIEW of the arrangements for appointing an Archbishop in the Church of Wales has concluded that there should be no change to the current position. At present, the Archbishop is elected from among the six diocesan bishops, and the archiepiscopal see can move around the province.
The review of the Church in Wales carried out by Lord Harries in 2012 recommended fixing the archiepiscopal see on Llandaff — the diocese that incorporates Cardiff. The former Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan called for the review shortly before he retired.
But a review carried out by the provincial Standing Committee concluded that there was no support for fixing the see on any one diocese. It had been “an important principle that the Archbishop of Wales would be elected from amongst the diocesan bishops and continue to work as a diocesan in addition to his duties as archbishop” ever since the Church was disestablished in 1920, Lis Perkins, who chairs the Standing Committee, said.
The position had been reviewed on four occasions, and, “on each occasion, proposals to create a permanent see have not found favour,” she said.
Instead, the review recommends increased support for the Archbishop, including accommodation in Cardiff when on archiepiscopal duties, and staff assistance.
Canon Steven Kirk (Llandaff), seconding a “take note” debate on the report, said that the 2020 Vision envisaged “a broader move towards collaborative and collegial working across the Church”. Should that cultural change take place, he said, “we consider the core duties of the Archbishop of Wales required by the constitution are relatively modest.” The Dean of Monmouth, the Very Revd Lister Tonge (Monmouth), said that the current position meant that the Church had a talent pool of only six.
One member voted against the report.
Support for Armed Forces Covenant
A FORMER Royal Navy Commander, the Revd Jonathon Wright (Llandaff), has been invited to submit a proposal to the next meeting of the Governing Body in September, committing the Church in Wales to signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant. The invitation came from the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, the province’s Senior Bishop, in response to a question submitted by Mr Wright.
Bishop Davies commended the Church of England for having signed the covenant in 2015 (News, 20 February 2015). “It is an opportunity which we should welcome, and welcome warmly. If you think about bringing forward a motion to GB in September, I am pretty sure the Bench of Bishops would be fully supportive of such an initiative.”