Thinking Anglicans

Cherry Vann to be the next Bishop of Monmouth

From a Church in Wales press release:

The Archdeacon of Rochdale was today (Thurs) elected as the next Bishop of Monmouth.

The Venerable Cherry Vann secured the necessary two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the last day of its meeting at Newport Cathedral.

The announcement was made by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, President of the Electoral College.

He said, “I am looking forward enormously to working with Cherry.  She has a huge amount that she will be able to contribute to the life, not only to the Diocese of Monmouth, but also to the Church in Wales.

“One area I know is very close to her heart is the church’s ministry in post-industrial areas where community life, and church life in particular perhaps, has suffered enormously. The diocese, a little while ago, appointed a new archdeacon with responsibility for those areas, but having a bishop with great experience of them will be a huge morale boost for them.”

Bishop Elect Vann said the challenges facing churches in south-east Wales were the same as those in the north-west of England. She said, “The towns around Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton are significantly challenged, both economically and in terms of church life. We’ve done some statistics, and a very, very small percentage of the population are going to our churches. This is something that we have been working hard to address in the Manchester area and I look forward to bringing some of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained from there to Newport and the Diocese of Monmouth.

“It struck me when I read the diocesan profile how similar Monmouth Diocese is to Manchester, on a smaller scale, but the challenges are the same, the demographics are the same and it’s really good to be here to lead the people of Newport in the next challenges that lie ahead.”

Originally from Leicestershire, Bishop Elect Vann has served as Archdeacon of Rochdale, in the Diocese of Manchester, for the past 11 years. She trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in 1989.  Among the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994, she has spent her entire ministry so far in the Diocese of Manchester, in Flixton, Bolton and Farnworth. She is also an honorary canon of Manchester Cathedral and a former chaplain to deaf people.

Ms Vann holds senior posts in the governance of the Church of England. She has been Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York since 2013 and is an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council.

A talented pianist, Ms Vann is both an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music. She conducts the Bolton Chamber Orchestra.

Ms Vann will be the Bishop Elect until the appointment is formally confirmed by the Archbishop at a Sacred Synod service. She will be then be consecrated as bishop at Brecon Cathedral – the seat of the current Archbishop – and enthroned as the 11th Bishop of Monmouth at Newport Cathedral.

Watch a short film of the Archbishop and the Bishop Elect Cherry Vann:

http://bit.ly/2lXNJRm

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Changes to registration of marriages

Updated Friday evening and Sunday

Significant changes are about to take place in the way that marriages are registered in England and Wales. The changes will affect all clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales who conduct marriages. The implementation date has yet to be announced, but it is likely to be before the end of this year. The Faculty Office has issued the following summary of the changes and their implementation.

Marriage Law News
August 2019

You may already be aware that the way in which marriages are registered is set to change following the passing into law of the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 which, as well as providing for opposite-sex couples to be able to enter into civil partnerships, will allow for mother’s names to be included in Marriage Registers as well as/in place of father’s names. It also makes provision for significant changes in the way that marriages are registered.

Representatives of the Faculty Office and the Legal Offices of the Church of England and Church in Wales have been in discussion with the General Register Office (GRO) about the proposed changes which they under pressure from Government Ministers to bring into effect as soon as possible – and despite our collective representations, the GRO are currently proposing to bring in the changes before the end of the year. A number of issues remain to be resolved including the provision of a workable secure system to produce the new documentation and time to train the 20,000+ clergy who are able to conduct weddings in both Churches.

In essence the proposals will replace Marriage Registers and Marriage Certificates (issued at the time of the wedding) with a Marriage Document which will be prepared by the officiating priest before the wedding. At the ceremony, the Marriage Document will be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the officiating priest (in much the same way as the Registers are currently). The significant difference is that the couple will then need to ensure that the Marriage Document is deposited at the local Register Office within 7 days of the date of the wedding and the local Superintendent Registrar will then record the details and issue the couple with a Marriage Certificate (for which there will be a fee). The couple can ask someone to lodge the Marriage Document on their behalf (as in many cases they will, of course, be on honeymoon!) but it is their responsibility, NOT the officiating minister’s responsibility, to ensure that it is done.

As an interim measure, the Marriage Document will be available in a number of formats, including a manual format and a ‘type and print’ facility. The Regulations envisage that eventually there will be a secure online portal to which clergy will require access as there is provision for couples to be reminded by email from the General Register Office if they have not lodged the Document within the required period.

For marriages that currently take place by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificates, the SRC will be replaced by a “Marriage Schedule” which will be produced by the Register Office taking Notice of the Marriage and that Schedule will then be signed by all the parties including the officiating priest once the marriage has taken place and, again, will have to be lodged with the Register Office within 7 days.

Immediately following implementation, the existing marriage register books held in churches will need to be closed. The incumbent, or in a vacancy the Area/Rural Dean, will be responsible for closing the registers by striking through any unused entry spaces. One copy of the register will then need to be returned to the local Superintendent Registrar together with any unused marriage certificate stock. The other copy of the register is to be retained in the church until such time as it is to be deposited in the Diocesan Record Office.

There is a proposal that, in due course there will be a register book for marriages solemnized in Anglican churches in the same way as for baptisms, confirmations and burials. However that will be an internal matter for the CofE and nothing to do with the GRO and it will not be the legal record of marriages, nor will be certificates issued from it. The Legal Office will advise further on this in due course. It is not immediately clear if the Church in Wales has anything similar in mind.

Before the new system goes live, some training will be provided by the GRO. However, it is unlikely that the GRO will have the resources to provide face-to-face training for all clergy and there will need to be a degree of co-operation with the dioceses. The GRO will however provide “awareness” (probably online and by mail-out) and a dedicated helpline available Monday – Saturday as well as a 24 hour emergency line. It is also intended to provide a printed aide-memoire to be placed in the vestry and which will include the emergency numbers and reminder of the new system. As regard training on the new system, it has been agreed that the Diocesan Registrars will be the most appropriate point of contact for the GRO to co-ordinate this.

These changes are significant, both for clergy and the couples, and it is essential that all clergy who conduct marriages are aware of them to ensure that the law is complied with and that couples’ marriages are validly conducted and properly registered. As further details become available we will post details on our website and Church House, Westminster and The Representative Body of the Church in Wales will also communicate the details through the dioceses and any relevant national networks.

Faculty Office
5 August 2019

Church Times has published this article today: Unease at timetable for clergy to adapt to new marriage formalities.

Update 1

The Church of England issued the statement below today. Law and Religion UK have also covered this story here and here; their articles include comments on the timescale for these changes and the law governing them.

Marriage registration changes
09/08/2019

The Government plans to introduce a new system of registration for marriages, including church weddings, in England and Wales.

It is anticipated that the new system will replace traditional marriage registers with a new “marriage document” to be signed by the couple at the wedding and lodged with the local register office.

Although no date has been set for implementing the new system, representatives of the Church of England, together with the Church in Wales and the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, have been in discussion with the General Register Office on how it will be introduced.

It is expected that the General Register Office will provide training and information for clergy. Details will be announced as soon as possible.

The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church of England’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, said: “We are in close discussions with the General Register Office, who are working hard to ensure that the change in the system of registering marriages is as smooth and seamless as possible.

“I want to reassure clergy and couples planning a marriage that we are absolutely committed to making the new system work within the context of a Church of England marriage service and the GRO has promised to provide training and comprehensive user-friendly information for clergy.

“We are currently in discussion with the GRO about the exact shape that will take and will update clergy as soon as the details have been finalised.

“Although no firm date has yet been set for the introduction of the new system we are aware of the desire to implement it as soon as possible.

“A church wedding is a very special day where unique promises are made before God and in the presence of friends, family and the wider community in a timeless setting, marking the beginning of their married lives together.”

Notes

The question of changing the status of Clergy as marriage registrars has not arisen and the situation will remain the same as it is currently.

Update 2

Law and Religion UK includes more on this story in their weekly round-up.

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 10

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Today, the final Friday,  was originally intended to be used only for closing statements from the lawyers representing the various parties. However, it was announced at the end of Thursday that an additional witness would be called first on Friday morning. This turned out to be David Bonehill, Claims Director of EIG and and John Titchener, Group Compliance Director of EIO.

The Church Times has a report of what happened: IICSA reprimands Ecclesiastical over earlier advice to C of E and evidence to Inquiry

Transcript of day 10 hearing.

Video recordings of today’s session are available, part one, and part two.

List of documents adduced on day 10  seven of which have now been published, links here.

Witness statement of John Titchener

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 9

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of day 9 (Thursday)

Video recordings are available:

List of documents adduced on day 9

Witness statements:

Media reports:

Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury banned abuse victim from cathedral grounds after treating his case with “casual indifference”, IICSA hears

Independent Bishops involved in sexual abuse do not get ‘an easy ride’, Archbishop of Canterbury claims

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury calls for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse

Church Times IICSA: I am ashamed and horrified, says Welby

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing days 7 and 8

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript for day 7 (Tuesday) See below for further links

Transcript for day 8 (Wednesday)

Video recordings;

Day 8 list of documents adduced

Day 8 witness statements

At the time of writing no further documents for day 8 have been published by IICSA, but there is extensive media coverage:.

Press Association via Daily Mail Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’. (this report also appears in numerous other newspapers)

Church Times Absolute power will corrupt bishops, says Sentamu

Guardian Archbishop: church ‘shabby and shambolic’ in abuse case

York Press Archbishop of York denies mishandling clerical abuse allegations

Doncaster Free Press Former South Yorkshire vicar claims sex abuse reports were ‘ignored’ by clerics

ITV Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’ (includes video report)

Telegraph Archbishop of York: Parishes are ‘enabling abuse’ by refusing to punish paedophiles whom they deem ‘lovely people’

And this analysis at Surviving ChurchThe Matt Ineson IICSA testimony. A crisis of leadership in the Church of England?

Documents adduced on day 7 include the following witness statements:

And there is this media report:

Church Times Bishops not qualified to adjudicate on safeguarding cases, says Munn

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 6

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of hearing for Monday of week 2.

Video recordings:

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 5

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of Friday’s hearing is now published.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced.

Witness statements:

Church Times Church in Wales falls under IICSA’s scrutiny as Archbishop and Provincial Secretary are questioned.

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 4

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The timetable for Week 2 of these hearings has been published today.

The transcript of today’s (Thursday week 1) hearing is now published here.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statements

Discussion paper by Colin Perkins

Church Times IICSA: Canon Bursell renews plea to Parliament to render seal of confession obsolete

Law & Religion UK IICSA: Some more legal views (includes links to more of today’s documents)

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 3

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of the hearing for day 3 (Wednesday) is now available here.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Media coverage has already appeared:

Church Times Bishop of Chester tells IICSA that paedophile cleric was ‘penitent’

Chester Standard
Bishop of Chester accepts he failed to pass on vicar’s ‘child abuse confession’ letter to church safeguarding adviser or police

‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’ – former Chester bishop quoted Bible before sexually abusing teenage girl, inquiry hears

Telegraph England’s longest serving bishop blocked lifetime ban for paedophile priest, government inquiry hears

Cheshire Live Bishop of Chester admits ‘misjudgment’ over handling of pervert vicar

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 2

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of second day of hearings published here.

Video recordings:

Document links (28 in total for day 2, now a total of 7 for day 1) here.

List of all documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Extract from Elliott Report

Media coverage:

Church Times IICSA: Bishop of Buckingham criticises ‘unhealthy’ level of bishops’ power

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 1

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of the first day of this hearing, which covers both the Church of England and the Church in Wales, is available here.

Video recordings of today:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statement of Bishop Sarah Mullally

The Church Times has published two reports of the hearing:

The Daily Mail has this: Almost 400 people in ‘positions of trust’ with the Church of England have been convicted of child sex offences, inquiry hears.

The timetable.for the remainder of the first week is here. The hearings are scheduled to last two weeks.

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Retirement of the Bishop of Monmouth

The Church in Wales announced yesterday that the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Richard Pain, was to retire at the end of the month, ie yesterday. Bishop Richard has served the Diocese of Monmouth for 34 years, the last six as Bishop. He is retiring “due to ill health following an absence of several months from his duties”.

The South Wales Argus published this report of the bishop’s retirement: The Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain, has retired following nine-month absence. It includes links to earlier stories about his prolonged absence from duties.

The Church Times published this back in January: An end to Bishop of Monmouth’s long absence may be in sight.

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Church in Wales to explore formal provision for same-sex couples

Press release

The Bishops of the Church in Wales have been given the go-ahead to explore formal provision for same-sex couples in church.

Members of the Church’s Governing Body agreed with the bishops that the current situation of no formal provision was “pastorally unsustainable”. They voted with a clear majority in favour of the bishops looking at new approaches which could be brought back to the Governing Body for approval at a later date.

The private ballot followed a presentation to the meeting from the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange, on the process that church went through before it decided to accept same-sex marriage. There was then a question session with Bishop Mark and an open discussion on the bishops’ request.

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, said, “The bishops are united in the belief that it is pastorally unsustainable and unjust for the Church to continue to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships. Although today’s outcome does not change the present doctrine or practice of the Church in Wales on marriage, I am pleased that it provides an important steer to the bishops in exercising our ministry of pastoral care and spiritual leadership.”

Background paper signed by the Archbishop of Wales

An extract from this:  (more…)

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New Archbishop of Wales elected

From the website of the Church in Wales

New Archbishop of Wales elected

A new Archbishop of Wales has been elected today (September 6).

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 first 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.

He said, “I am overwhelmed and humbled. I would like to thank members of the College and especially my fellow bishops for the confidence and trust they have shown in me. We will work together as a team to grow and strengthen the Church as it serves the communities of Wales and helps build the kingdom of God.”

The Dean of Brecon, Dr Paul Shackerley welcomed the news on behalf of the Diocese. He said, “I am delighted with the news that Bishop John has been called to be our next Archbishop. He has proven gifts and experience to lead the Church into the future and will receive our full support and prayers he prepares to exercise his weighty, yet joyful, archiepiscopal ministry. I feel the future of the Church in Wales is in good hands with all our faithful Bishops, to lead us with hope into the future that we may flourish and serve the communities in which we are called.”

The Election process

(more…)

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British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’

An open letter has been published on Anglican Mainstream by a number of clergy and laity. The full text and list of signatures is copied below the fold.

(more…)

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Welsh bishops' correspondence about See of Llandaff revealed

The Church Times reports a further development in the saga surrounding the choice of a new Bishop of Llandaff: Emails reveal Welsh Bishops’ anxieties over potential appointment of gay dean Jeffrey John .

We reported on earlier episodes of this matter from 24 February onwards, most easily found by using this link.

The letter from the Welsh bishops objecting to the earlier leader in the Church Times criticising them can be found here.

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Bishop of Llandaff: June Osborne

Church in Wales press release

New Bishop of Llandaff appointed

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.

The announcement was made today (April 27) by the Church in Wales Bishops who became responsible for the Bishop of Llandaff appointment when no candidate nominated at the Electoral College in February secured enough votes for election.

The appointment will be confirmed on July 14 at a meeting of the Sacred Synod of Church in Wales Bishops in Brecon Cathedral where Dean June will be consecrated as Bishop the following day (July 15). She will be enthroned at Llandaff Cathedral on July 22.

Welcoming her appointment, the Church’s Senior Bishop, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, said, “In June Osborne, both the Church in Wales and the Diocese of Llandaff will find themselves to be richly blessed. June’s track record admirably demonstrates her passion for Christian ministry modelled on the Gospel imperatives of love, justice, inclusivity and openness. All of these are qualities which I and my fellow bishops warmly support and welcome. She is known as a leader with clear vision, a pastoral heart and a strategic mind, all of which commend the Church to the wider community. In this way and through her teaching, her preaching and her leadership, she reveals herself to be someone who I am confident will provide for the Diocese of Llandaff excellence in leadership and oversight. I look forward, with keen anticipation, to her arrival amongst us and to her contributions to the work of the Bench of Bishops.”

Dean June, said, “It is a very great privilege to be nominated as Bishop of Llandaff, an ancient post with many noble predecessors. It will be something of a homecoming for the family, particularly because my husband is from Cardiff and it is a place we know and love.

“Leading a diocese that is so diverse, in an area that is both historic and beautiful, will be challenging but I have an enormous appetite for the task and am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to join a diocesan team which is strong and imaginative. These are turbulent times across the world and the need for faith, and for the confident, distinctive leadership of the Church has never been more important.

“I will, of course, be sad to say goodbye to Salisbury. It has been my home, both spiritually and as a family, for over two decades. I have been surrounded by wonderful colleagues, staff and volunteers, who have made my job a joyful undertaking. It has been a great pleasure to witness how the Cathedral has developed and flourished over the years and to have shared our wonderful Magna Carta 800 celebrations. I am immensely proud of what has been achieved here and wish all at the Cathedral and its diocese well in the years to come.”

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, described June as an “outstanding Dean”. He said, “June Osborne is one of the Church of England’s leading clerics. For the last 13 years she has been an outstanding Dean of Salisbury. She has made significant contributions to the wider Church of England including helping to organise the Leading Women group which has been massively influential in growing women into positions of leadership in the Church. I am delighted she has been appointed Bishop of Llandaff. The whole of the Diocese of Salisbury will join me in giving thanks for the enormous contribution she has made to this Diocese where she has served for 22 years. We wish her well as Bishop of Llandaff and pray for her and her family as they prepare for all that lies ahead.”

One of the first women to be ordained as a priest in England in 1994, having been a Deaconess since 1980, Dean June’s ministry has been characterised by her passion for equality and diversity and she was a founder of the Church’s Leading Women programme.

She is also deeply concerned about global poverty and has worked with the Episcopal Church of the Sudan on health, theological education and advocacy. She continues to play a key role in the Anglican Communion’s commitment to implementing the Millennium Development Goals, and is a member of the Government’s Advisory Panel for the Commemoration of WW1.

Dean June will celebrate her final Sunday at Salisbury Cathedral on July 9.

BACKGROUND

A graduate in Social Sciences from Manchester University, Dean June trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. She was made a Deaconess in 1980 and served at St Martin-in-the-Bullring in Birmingham before moving to the Old Ford parishes in East London in 1984. Following her ordination as a priest she served as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral and was Acting Dean of Salisbury for two years before being appointed Dean in 2004.

In her time at Salisbury, Dean June has overseen the majority of the Cathedral’s 30-year Major Repair Programme of essential work to restore the fabric of the Cathedral and safeguard it for the future. As Canon Treasurer and Dean she was instrumental in the commissioning of Salisbury Cathedral’s much-loved and admired William Pye font. In a Cathedral that has often been pioneering and had already establish the first girls’ choir in an English cathedral, she championed the installation of the girl Chorister Bishop in 2015, another historic first for the Cathedral. She played a significant role in the Magna Carta 800 celebrations two years ago, enjoying the huge range of events delivered by the Cathedral during that year. She has also been a deputy lieutenant of Wiltshire.

Dean June is married to barrister Paul Goulding QC and they have two children, Megan and Tom. Her interests include the arts and football. A lifelong supporter of Manchester City, she is looking forward to adding rugby to her portfolio of interests.

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Complaints regarding Llandaff electoral college are rejected

Updated Saturday morning

The Church in Wales has issued a “further statement” today (scroll down):

Further statement – March 31

The Church’s Legal Subcommittee has advised that three complaints received about the election and appointment process of the Bishop of Llandaff are without merit and that the Bishops should proceed to fill the vacancy.

In a 16-page document, the members of the subcommittee, chaired by His Honour Judge Andrew Keyser QC, concluded:

“All three Complaints are without merit. The proper course is for the Bishops to proceed to fill the vacancy in accordance with Regulation 23 and the exercise of their own judgment.”

Responding to the advice, the Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales, Simon Lloyd, said, “I am very grateful to the legal subcommittee for their thorough and prompt examination of the complaints received about the election and appointment process of the Bishop of Llandaff. I can now confirm that proper procedure has been followed and there are no grounds for the complaints submitted. This means the Bench of Bishops can continue its task of appointing the new bishop without further delay.”

The 16 page document includes full details of all three complaints which have been considered. Further information from the report is copied below the fold.

Update
The bench of bishops also wrote a very very cross letter to the editor of the Church Times, in response to last week’s leader comment, which you can (and really should) read in full here.

There’s also a second letter below the first, from retired archbishop Barry Morgan. He’s cross too.

(more…)

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Llandaff: formal complaint filed

Updated Friday

Harry Farley at Christian Today reports: Church investigates official complaints into homophobia against gay cleric.

Insiders have lodged an official complaint after a gay cleric was barred from being appointed Bishop of Llandaff.

Five members of the Church in Wales’ secretive electoral college that debates and votes for candidates have spoken of ‘deeply inappropriate’ references to Dr Jeffrey John’s homosexuality when considering his nomination, Christian Today can reveal.

In a letter to the Church’s most senior executive Simon Lloyd, the electors said the remarks against Dr John ‘prejudiced’ the process making it ‘invalid’.

A formal investigation has now been launched into the process and a legal panel chaired by a judge will decide whether to scrap the decision not to take Dr John’s nomination forward…

The exact wording of the complaint, as reported on Facebook, is as follows:

“We object to the raising at electoral college of the matter of sexuality or civil partnership status, in direct contravention of the Church in Wales’s own policy that sexuality or civil partnership status is not a bar to appointment as a Bishop.
We consider that this action was deeply inappropriate, and prejudiced the electoral college proceedings so as to render them invalid.”

The Church in Wales has issued the following statement (though not issued as a press release):

“Five members of the Electoral College, which was assembled to elect the Bishop of Llandaff in February, have now submitted a complaint to the Secretary of the Electoral College. Their complaint is in relation to certain aspects of the conduct of the College. This matter has now been referred to the Legal Sub-Committee, which is a body in the Church in Wales assembled to consider legal and governance matters.

“The responsibility of appointing the next Bishop of Llandaff has passed to the Bench of Bishops. It is too early to say whether the deliberations of the Legal Sub Committee will have any effect on the timing of an announcement.”

Update
A second formal complaint has been filed, see Second complaint over ‘abusive and derogatory’ comments against gay cleric as pressure builds on Church in Wales.

bq,, …Now four senior members from the decision-making standing committee in Llandaff have filed an official complaint after allegations of homophobic remarks against Dr John during the election process were revealed by Christian Today.

The comments were ‘abusive and derogatory, demeaning their relationship and sexuality’ and went unchecked by the body’s chair, a source told Christian Today…

…Asked about the complaint a Church spokeswoman confirmed: ‘We have received a complaint from four members of the Standing Committee of the Llandaff Diocesan Conference. The complaint is not on behalf of the Standing Committee.

‘It has been referred to the Legal Sub Committee which is a body in the Church in Wales assembled to consider legal and governance matters.

‘It is too early to say whether the deliberations of the Legal Sub Committee will have any effect on the timing of an announcement.’

There is also a discussion of all this by Philip Jones Electing the Bishop of Llandaff: Propriety and Privacy.

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Church Times on See of Llandaff

Updated again Sunday morning (scroll down)

Today’s Church Times carries another version of the news report linked previously: MPs join row over Llandaff election.

This includes a sidebar (scroll down) which reports that the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, David Wilbourne, is under pressure to resign:

Pressure on Bishop.
IN THE midst of the row over Dr John, the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd David Wil­bourne, has spoken of a cam­paign to force him to resign.

Bishop Wilbourne (pictured, at a con­­­­­­­­firma­tion in Cardiff last weekend) was appointed eight years ago to help run the diocese in order to release the then Bishop of Llandaff, Dr Barry Morgan, to spend time on his duties as Archbishop of Wales. Archbishop Morgan retired at the end of January.

Speaking to the Church Times this week, Bishop Wilbourne said: “Over the past 18 months, I have been under considerable and in­­creas­ing pressure to relinquish my post and leave Wales.” In one recent con­versa­tion, he had been strongly ad­­vised to resign before Easter.

He said: “Whilst I can fully see that the next Bishop of Llandaff deserves the space to be their own person, for the moment I remain upbeat about serving in this thriving diocese, and carrying out the role I was called here and consecrated to fulfil.”

Bishop Wilbourne’s open support for Dr John’s candidacy has not im­­proved his prospects. He said this week: “Ever since I knew that Jeffrey was in the frame for Llandaff, I thought it would speak mountains about our policy of inclusion. Wales has led on that; so I can’t under­­stand why the Bishops aren’t of the same mind.”

After the electoral college ended, Bishop Wilbourne organised a prayer vigil in Llandaff Cathedral. He described it as “the most remarkable of my ministry”.

There is a leader article, which can be read in full here. It concludes this way:

…Can the situation be rescued with any scrap of dignity? Only if the bench acknowledges the huge injustice perpetrated against a candidate who fulfils all the criteria for the post, and who convinced the diocesan representatives who interviewed him at length that he would bring wisdom, kindness, theological sensitivity, sound teaching, and good humour to the post. Among the “current challenges” listed on the diocesan profile is: “to increase the representation and inclusion of LGBTI, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Anglicans as an essential element of growth at all levels within the Church”. If Dr John is not reconsidered, this is a challenge that the Church in Wales has clearly failed.

Update

Here is the text of a resignation statement from Bishop David Wilbourne dated yesterday.

Statement by Bishop David Wilbourne

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.
One of my favourite novels is Trollope’s The Warden. Mr Harding finishes his time as Warden of Hiram’s hospital with these words, which I would like to make my own: ‘God bless you all! You have my heartfelt wishes for your welfare. I hope you may live contented, and die trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, thankful to Almighty God for all the good things he has given you.’

23 March 2017

And here is the official announcement about Bishop Wilbourne.

Sunday morning update

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon was interviewed in this morning’s episode of Sunday on BBC Radio 4. Listen here, starting at 22 minutes.

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