Friday, 10 May 2013

Crisis in the Diocese of Llandaff?

The Dean of Llandaff, the Very Revd  Janet Henderson, has resigned after only two months in the post.  
Wales Online reports [here] on the alleged opposition among 'some clergy' to a female dean - one can take that with a certain (very large) pinch of salt, disinformation being the order of the day in some circles, given the regrettable but inevitable politicisation of such appointments in the contemporary Church in Wales, a province increasingly driven by a radical revisionist agenda.

It's not easy to ascertain exactly what has been happening in the Diocese of Llandaff - different people  will tell you different stories -  but it's always far more complicated than anyone is prepared to say ..... after all, there are agendas to be promoted here... and scapegoats to be found...
For instance, what does this extremely naive and at the same time politically loaded journalistic comment imply: "We have seen a blog posting by a clergyman in Wales taking issue with Dean Henderson’s appointment at the time it was announced"?

[Update: as Ancient Briton has pointed out, any attempt to link Dean Henderson's resignation to opposition to a woman holding such a post is undermined by the administrative arrangements set in motion following her resignation. 
Moreover,  as can be seen from this post, at the time of her appointment  traditionalists in Wales (not generally in positions of much influence these days) were far more concerned about the then Archdeacon Henderson's reported attitude towards provision for traditionalists in the continuing women bishops debate than in anything else.]

Whatever our theological point of view may be, this development is extremely sad on a personal level, and we should feel and, far more importantly, pray, for the Archbishop and all those most closely involved, most particularly for the former Dean herself, who - reading between the lines of  the newspaper report above - and other less public comments - has clearly been the recipient of an almost impossible legacy, one which has little or nothing  to do with the fact that she is a woman:
"The Archbishop of Wales has, with enormous sadness, accepted the resignation with immediate effect of the Very Rev’d Janet Henderson as Dean of Llandaff.  He has, in the meantime, asked the Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Venerable Peggy Jackson, as the senior member of the Chapter, to have necessary oversight of the Cathedral on his behalf, until a new Dean is appointed." [here]


  1. You are right in saying that this is a very sad story from beginning to end, and also in pointing out that we should all – regardless of our varying stances – be praying for the former Dean, for the parish, cathedral and diocese of Llandaff, and for the Church in Wales.

  2. It would seem to me that the former dean is more the victim of the archbishop's policy of making senior appointments on the basis of his 'women's rights' agenda than anything else ... trying to shift the blame for this unhappy affair onto a few traditionalists and the occasional blog post is a disingenuous damage limitation effort.

  3. Actually, I tend to distrust conspiracy theories as a matter of principle; this could well be a simple case of journalists putting two and two together and making five! It's all the more reason for lowering the 'political temperature' in Wales by achieving a lasting and just settlement to the issues which divide us. Name calling from either side (not that you were doing that, I hasten to add) doesn't help pursue that goal; as you point out, the differences between liberals and traditionalists are theological and ideological, and should never be personal. It's increasingly hard to get that across in a culture such as our has become, I know, but we have to try.

    1. I quite agree, Father.

      By the way, I think I may have phrased my first comment badly, but I won't try to clarify ... I'm a great believer in the principle that if one is in a hole one should stop digging! :-)

  4. What a stupid appointment that was, right from the start. Another Bazza fiasco. When is he going to go?


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