Friday, 16 May 2014

'The King is in the altogether' ... Ecumenism is not best driven by incoherence and desperation

It's strange, isn't it, how things turn full circle? Back in the (in retrospect, if not at the time) halcyon days of the 1980s  the Church in Wales sought to embark on an exercise in Protestant ecumenism with the other 'covenanting' ecclesial bodies in the Principality. 'Ministry in a Uniting Church' * we had assumed was destined to be, if that, a footnote in Welsh church history. 
Just imagine our surprise - irony alert, if one is needed -  when, under the new liberal hegemony (with its slimmed-down - except, of course,  in terms of patronage and co-options- and far less representative Governing Body) that ill-fated scheme has had new life breathed into it - or something along those lines, although perhaps in a somewhat 'Haitian' sense - in the form of 'The Gathering'   

As we reported a few weeks ago with reference to the creation of a raft-load of possible new 'bishops' in Wales, this is nothing other than MUC redivivus [here], another liberal pet project to add to the lengthening agenda - ecclesiologically highly incoherent (I won't say dishonest, although many would)  and utterly dependent upon the - how shall we say - deconstruction and radical reinterpretation of any remaining 'catholic' pretensions - theological and ethical - which we in the Church in Wales may fondly cling to.
Along with the consecration of women bishops, the forthcoming adoption of the essentially 'non-conformist' (and failed) form of pastoral organisation represented by the new 'ministry areas', this will considerably hasten our demise. 

It has recently been said that “We have been challenged by the Gathering of Churches in Wales to seek for unity among Christians .....  Jesus requires his followers to be one family: it’s time to take that command seriously.”   
But missing from the list of those involved in this venture are representatives of the ancient apostolic sees of East and West, which may be an indication of just how seriously the Lord's command is being taken ...

* I have a vivid memory from the day of my priesting of the bishop who ordained me finding a copy of 'Ministry in a Uniting Church' in the sacristy of the relevant cathedral. 'What is this doing here?' he asked, before disdainfully throwing the rather slight volume across the room. 
Enough said ...
Except for ... someone remarked to me the other day that one of the incentives for an acceptance of the 'United Church' model is that Free Church dignitaries in Wales would be able to become cathedral canons - clearly, the emperor's new clothes have red piping ...


  1. Ah, dear Binny, who wanted to chrismate the newly minted priests, but was forbidden by the Dean.

    Weren't the MUC proposals likened to a dying man trying to find assistance by shackling himself to a corpse ?

  2. Oh yes, the "piping"...

    Hey, would you be able to write a swift "Pentecost piece" for Forward in Faith North America's upcoming issue -- on the state of Anglo-Catholicism in England/Wales?

    It'd be very helpful...


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