"More than 1,000 people across Wales have had their say about the future of the Church in Wales as part of a root and branch review.Some of us hope against hope that the review will come up with findings which will be other than a mirror held up to reflect current social fashions and cultural prejudices, although the chances have to be against it, given the necessarily self-appointed nature of the thousand or so people who attended, and presumably the much fewer who expressed their views at the various public meetings.
They met the three members of the independent Review Group at public meetings held in each of the six dioceses in Wales in November and January.
The Review Group was commissioned by the Welsh bishops and the Standing Committee of the Governing Body last year to address fundamental questions about the role and structures of the Church in Wales as it approaches its centenary in 2020. It is chaired by Lord Richard Harries, former Bishop of Oxford, and also includes Professor Charles Handy former professor at the London Business School; and Professor Patricia Peattie, former Chair of the Episcopal Church in Scotland’s Standing Committee.
As well as the public meetings, the Review Group held separate meetings with senior clergy from each diocese, bishops’ advisers, ordinands and staff from Wales’ theological college, St Michael’s College, Llandaff, and senior staff from the Representative Body. In March they will meet a delegation of young people from across the Church to hear their views. They also took written submissions from those unable to attend the meetings.
At the open meetings parishioners were asked what aspect of both their diocese and the Church they felt most positive about and what changes they would like to see to make its ministry more effective. They were also asked how they would address challenges such as the predicted fall in clergy numbers and financial resources.
The Group will report back in the summer..."
It might be thought, too, that the witness of Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the ages might be included in the consultation exercise.
There are, of course, already those - theologically trained and even commissioned pneumatologically, one might say - who should be making these kind of leadership decisions about the future....
But then the results of that process would perhaps be even more of a foregone conclusion than those of the "independent" Review Group are likely to be.