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Welsh Governing Body: Questions

21 September 2018

Tim Wyatt reports from the meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales


The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies

RESPONDING to a question about digital evangelism, the Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales, Simon Lloyd, said that the current offering was “piecemeal and ineffective as a tool for mission and ministry”.

Currently, only one staff member had responsibility for more than 200 church websites: they were full of Christian jargon, and emphasised the Church’s structures over its mission and message.

A report due to be considered by the Bishops next month recommends a complete overhaul, to enable the central website of the Church in Wales to become a “portal based on mission”, with functions to find a local church, and clearer, simpler sub-websites for the dioceses, vocations, schools, and other areas. To get this right, however, would require a significant increase in the money the Church spends on digital media, it says.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, then replied to a question about confirmation, after the decision in 2016 to allow the baptised but unconfirmed to receive communion. He said that, although baptism was the sole rite of initiation into the faith, there was still an important role for confirmation as a public declaration of commitment to Christian discipleship, and for each believer to be “affirmed of their place in the life and mission of the Church”. He nevertheless agreed with the second part of the question, and said that the bishops did not believe that counting confirmations was a useful way to measure the growth or otherwise of the Church.

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies, replied to several people who had asked why a Primate from a Province which had not permitted same-sex marriage had not been invited to address the Governing Body, alongside the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Mark Strange.

Archbishop Davies explained that he had heard Bishop Strange speak at the last Anglican Primates’ Meeting, and had been so impressed with his presentation that he thought the Governing Body should hear it as well. “Bishop Mark is here to tell the story of their journey in Scotland, and not to propose or advocate any particular journey for the Church in Wales,” he said. “It is the story of how a sister province is engaged creatively and pastorally with something that is an extremely difficult issue.”

The original questioner, the Revd Dean Roberts (Monmouth), rose to remind the Archbishop that the Church in Wales was “episcopally led, but synodically governed”. Regardless of the particular issue of same-sex marriage, his concern was that the Bench of Bishops had not consulted first with the Governing Body before issuing the invitation to Bishop Strange. “There are plenty of Provinces who would be represented here to give a different point of view. We have a duty to call our bishops to account; it is us who makes decisions, and I fear that the bench keep to the letter of the constitution, but they are not keeping to its spirit.”

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