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Church in Wales Governing Body: Questions

15 September 2023

Church in Wales

The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, answers questions

The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, answers questions

SEVERAL subjects were dealt with in question time: engagement with the Anglican Science Commission; the ongoing problem of there being no Anglican cathedral in Swansea, the second city of Wales; a call for the latest figures on the representation of women; the upper-age limit for membership of the Governing Body; and the degree of representation on the local authority’s standing advisory committee for religion, value, and ethics.

Cathryn Brooker (Monmouth) asked the Bishops whether the Church in Wales was asking too much of its lay members and volunteers, especially in rural areas, where numbers were lower and the advancing age of members was more noticeable.

The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, acknowledged: “We’re conscious of more being asked of us all at every level. We have a perception of ever more rules and regulations we have to follow in the life of a local church . . . and much remains to be done, especially with the move to mission and ministry areas — some only made as recently as six months ago.

“We are still getting to grips with new arrangements and visions. There’s no easy answer. We are aware of the challenges, but we believe so are they opportunities, from working, collaborating, sharing ideas together.” She quoted the final words of St David: “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things.”

Ms Brooker’s question had been prompted by a 50-per-cent reduction in the number of volunteers in the Church since the pandemic, and the frustration in her diocese of not being able to find a Girl Guide leader.

The subject was to crop up again and again during the meeting, and words such as “fatigue” and “exhaustion” were reiterated in several contexts. Bishop Vann also presented the Bench of Bishops report. Anthony Mullins (Llandaff) drew the Bench’s attention to churches “beset by worries about the time they have to spend on the fabric of their buildings. Working as volunteers is very frustrating, when it’s part of your responsibility to look at the overall picture,” he said.

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