Friday, 24 February 2017

Church in Wales fails to agree on a new bishop for Llandaff

The official Church in Wales statement: No result from the Bishop of Llandaff election.

After a three-day meeting of the Church in Wales’ Electoral College to elect a Bishop of Llandaff, none of the candidates considered received the number of votes required for election – a two-thirds majority.

The business of the College was rooted in prayer, worship and quiet reflection, as well as open and friendly debate and discussion.

Under the terms of the Constitution of the Church in Wales the responsibility of filling the vacancy falls to the Bench of Bishops.

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, who is President of the Electoral College, said the process leading up to an eventual appointment would include a wide-ranging consultation of both the laity and the clergy from across the Church in Wales.

Harry Farley at Christian Today has a more detailed report: Leading Gay Cleric Jeffrey John Narrowly Rejected As Bishop In Wales.

A leading gay cleric has narrowly missed out on becoming a bishop after his appointment was rejected for the fourth time.

Very Rev Jeffrey John, who has twice been turned down for senior roles over his sexuality, was in the running to be Bishop of Llandaff, Christian Today understands.

But despite winning support from more than half of the nominating body, he just missed on the two-thirds majority required.

Christian Today understands Dr John’s long-term civil partnership with Grant Holmes, another Anglican priest, was a factor in his rejection by traditionalists.

After three days of discussions the electoral body of 47 people, made up of locals from the diocese, bishops and the official nomination committee, failed to agree on any candidate. The final decision will now be down to senior bishops despite Dr John winning strong support among electors in the mainly Anglo-Catholic region of Llandaff.

Neither the Church in Wales nor the Church of England are opposed to clergy being in civil partnerships as long as they vow to remain sexually chaste, which Dr John has done.

Currently Dean of St Albans, Dr John was previously nominated to be Bishop of Reading in 2003 but was forced to withdraw himself under intense pressure from traditionalists.

He was later in the running for Bishop of Bangor in 2008 and then again for Bishop of Southwark in 2010 but was both times turned down with conservatives threatening a split in the Church.

But Dr John’s latest rejection to be Bishop of Llandaff is particularly striking because of the strong support he received among local clergy and parishioners in the largely liberal diocese…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 4:25pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church in Wales

Unjust result, but at least, unlike the two English fiascos, it was decided by free and fair election.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 4:44pm GMT

I really hope that one day Jeffrey John will be elected as a bishop; it would be good solid evidence of the 'radical new inclusivity,' that the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for in the C of E, which I hope will be an embedded reality in all the Anglican churches in the U.K.

Posted by: Andrew Lightbown on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 5:15pm GMT

Can someone from Wales confirm or deny whether Harry Farley is correct to assert that priests in Civil Partnerships in Wales have to give a vow to remain sexually chaste?

(I'm presuming he means by that the No Hanky Panky At All definition of chaste rather than the Chaste Unto One Another definition of chaste).

I can't find anything online about it other than this statement:

I've not heard about chastity vows in Wales before, only in England.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 5:22pm GMT

No such requirement and services of affirmation but not Blessing!

Posted by: robert ian williams on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 6:26pm GMT

So much for mutual flourishing.

Posted by: Chris A on Friday, 24 February 2017 at 10:19pm GMT

Please don't let the conspiracy theories run too wild on this one. Jeffrey John was NOT a candidate for the 2008 Bangor electoral college. Electors were told by Dr Barry Morgan that anyone in a civil partnership was disqualified. I should know. I was there. This is just one example of Barry Morgan's inconsistent and, at times, thoroughly byzantine way of operating. He had the option of appointing Jeffrey John Dean of Llandaff in 2000, but chose to appoint his old college mate John Lewis instead.

It is also not correct to describe Llandaff as a 'liberal' diocese. It has, historically, been a strongly traditionalist Anglo-catholic diocese and was so until very recently. Barry Morgan has done his best to try and dismantle the catholic strongholds, especially where traditionalist priests were working their socks off in deprived urban parishes. Unfortunately, the stalemate over the election of Morgan's successor is symptomatic of a divided diocese which may now descend into a small scale civil war. Those who were side lined (and silenced) will now find they can speak more openly.

Posted by: David Richards on Saturday, 25 February 2017 at 5:55am GMT

David R - would you like to tell us what the sidelined and silenced might have to say? Whom do you think they would be wanting as their new bishop?

Posted by: Commentator on Saturday, 25 February 2017 at 3:49pm GMT

@ Commentator, I think the silent and silenced would want to say that there should now be an equal place at the table for those who did not (and do not) go along with the Barry Morgan agenda. In particular, the need to make provision for the episcopal and sacramental ministry to those who cannot accept the ordination of women. I don't agree with them, by the way; but they are an authentic and valued part of the mission of the church in this diocese. They have had to watch the catholic faith being systematically dismantled over the past 17 years, and have been treated as if they don't matter. The recent declaration of the non-necessity for confirmation by pastoral letter being a case in point. I think they would simply want a bishop who acknowledges their contribution, respects the integrity of their position, unites a divided diocese and inspires us for the years ahead. In that sense, I would have thought Jeffrey John would have been ideal.

Posted by: David Richards on Sunday, 26 February 2017 at 10:38am GMT

Thank you David for amplifying your statement. I couldn't agree more. Jeffrey John would acknowledge the work done by the 'traditionalist' clergy in Llandaff. He would minister amongst them and to them.

Posted by: Commentator on Sunday, 26 February 2017 at 2:49pm GMT

I understand that it is a convention in the Church in Wales that if all the diocesan electors vote for one candidate, even though that does not give them a 2/3ds majority, that their very clear expression of will is then normally acceeded to by the rest of the College.

I am also led to believe that this was the case in the Llandaff election, but that the convention was set aside. I wonder if anyone can confirm either the existence of the convention (which seems a sensible one), and the fact of its being ignored in the case of Jeffrey John, which, if true, seems very far from sensible. Does anyone else have any light to shed upon this murky situation?

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 26 February 2017 at 10:12pm GMT

@Dave Richards
There are many Anglican Catholics who accept that baptism is what admits a person to receive communion - the theological and historical arguments for this are widely accepted across traditions. Removing confirmation as the gateway to communion is not an attempt to dismantle Catholic Anglicanism but is simply facing the consequences of where e.g. the history of initiation leads us.

Posted by: Charles Read on Monday, 27 February 2017 at 1:52am GMT

I don't have a problem with admitting children to communion before confirmation...but what then is the role of confirmation?and how necessary is it? Of course baptism is the minimal essential rite of entry into the Church but does confirmation have no connection with full it an optional extra?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 2:12pm GMT

In response to Perry Butler (1 March, 2.12 pm), it is interesting to note the qualifications for entry on the Church Electoral Roll of a parish in the Church of England (under the Church Representation Rules). They are (leaving out the requirements of residence or of habitually attending public worship in the parish) that the person is (i) baptised, (ii) aged 16 or upwards, and (iii) "has signed an application form for enrolment... and declares himself... to be a member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion therewith..." (CRR rule 1(2)).

No requirement there for confirmation and, moreover, membership of the C of E is matter of self-declaration!

Confirmation is mentioned later in the rules. To be qualified for election to the PCC or the deanery synod, a person must be on the roll and "an actual communicant as defined in rule 54(1)": rule 10(1)(a) and (b).

"Actual communicant" is defined in rule 54(1) as a person who has received communion according to the use of the C of E, or of a Church in communion with the C of E, at least 3 times during the previous 12 months, being a person whose name is on the roll of the parish "and is either (a) confirmed or ready and desirous of being confirmed, or (b) receiving Holy Communion in accordance with the provisions of Canon B 15A para 1(b)" (i.e. "baptized persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own Church.")

Accordingly, confirmation may not be simply an 'optional extra', but it is not required for church membership.

It is to be noted that no change to these provisions is proposed in the draft Church Representation, Ecumenical Relations and Ministers Measure, which currently stands referred by General Synod to a revision committee. (See draft rules 1, M6(1) and 74(2)). It remains to be seen whether any proposals will be made to amend any of these rules.

Posted by: David Lamming on Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 9:20pm GMT

Thanks David..though I was thinking more in terms of the theology of initiation.The Orthodox pattern seems the most coherent..and presumably the most ancient. Western churches in abandoning that pattern (when did it happen?) seem never quite to have sorted things out.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 2 March 2017 at 1:37pm GMT
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