Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The myth of temporary episcopal provision in Wales

I understand that there has been an assertion in some quarters that the provision of a Provincial Assistant Bishop for the Church in Wales was only ever intended to be a temporary, very short term, arrangement.

It’s odd then that nothing was said about that at the time, either to the Governing Body meeting where the provision was first unveiled (after – so we were led to believe – a somewhat acrimonious lunchtime meeting of the Bench of Bishops), or to Bishop David Thomas himself, the first and only Provincial Assistant, who left office last year clearly hoping to be replaced and deeply outraged when he was not.
Nothing was said in the official announcement of the creation of the PAB.
Nothing along those lines was communicated to those clergy who determined their future and that of their families on the strength of that provision, and resolved to remain in the Church in Wales only because they had been given a bishop to provide them with the (clearly recognised to be so at the time) pastoral and sacramental care they needed.

Human memory can be a very fallible thing, but surely after only thirteen years there must be someone capable of setting the record straight about what was originally intended - perhaps the bishop (later Archbishop, and now Archbishop in another province) who – despite being himself theologically committed to the ordination of women - so generously championed and then piloted the provision through against, so it is said, the opposition of some of his colleagues? Until we receive an authoritative and disinterested answer to that question, the suspicion has to be that – for what reason I can’t imagine – some people are now being 'economical with the actualité.’


  1. Well there's fat chance of an PAB. With +Bazzer's tin-pot regime of six diocesan bishops and one ass-bishop, that accounts for about a third of the total number of people in the CinW. Another bishop to act as PAB would make it very top heavy. What would the other bishops do whilst the PAB did all the work? I know, sit in committee and watch managementesque PowerPoint presentations about advanced navel-gazing!!

  2. And if Wales will not provide a Bishop for those who cannot accept women in the episcopate (an honest Anglican position, said by Lambeth and the Eames Commission to be entirely within the bounds of the Anglican Communion) then of course there may be other Anglican Bishops who will minister in Wales - with or without 'permission'

  3. That is an interesting and very helpful comment!

  4. The Bishops words are manna from heaven. Thank you Father for that glimmer of hope.
    The Lord works in mysterious ways......


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