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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pentecost - residents of Wales


Source: FiF


From Acts 2: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place... Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting... When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? ... Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?' "...

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common."

No longer for residents of Wales who worship in the Church in Wales.

To their shame the bishops of the Church in Wales claim to be successors of the Apostles but they do not behave like the Apostles to ensure that we all have equal opportunity to flourish within the Anglican Communion.

Forward in Faith has produced a card (reproduced above) with the Church of England's 'Five Guiding Principles following the House of Bishops' Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests'. The Church of England acknowledges that "its own clear decision on ministry and gender" is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God.

Those unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests are within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition and will be enabled to flourish. So, pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England has been made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.

Adopting only four of the guiding principles, and contrary to the wishes of Church members expressed at diocesan meetings held specifically for the purpose of discerning their views, the unprincipled bishops of the Church in Wales dropped the fifth principle and inserted:
  Since the Code of Practice needs to be both strong and flexible enough to respond to a changing situation in the future, and since the Governing Body has entrusted the Bench of Bishops with the task of agreeing a Code which commits the Bench to making provisions for all the members of the Church in Wales, the Bench reserves the right to amend the provisions of this Code as may be necessary in the future.

The Code of Practice made no meaningful concessions to those for whom the Code was intended. In fact, the inference to be drawn from the revised wording by the Bench is that church life for those unable to receive the ministry of  women bishops or priests on grounds of theological conviction can only get worse. Perhaps it is just too difficult for bishops devoid of conscience to comprehend the beliefs of those who do.

So for residents of Wales whose bishops speak in alien tongues, having "everything in common" is as far away in the Church in Wales as the Apostolic Succession.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Give me the ******* money!


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This is Dementia Awareness Week (17-23 May)
Click HERE for more information
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Charity bags: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

It is an urban myth that Bob Geldof used the title phrase in the 1985 Live Aid campaign to raise money for starving children. He did use the 'f' word in an interview but not as generally quoted. View here.

Concerts were held around the world following a BBC news report on the famine which had afflicted the people of Ethiopia. But potential contributors had a choice. Those who were not in the audience could make a payment or enjoy free entertainment while children starved. Persuasion and conscience were key ingredients.

Charity is big business. Arm twisting is a professional activity. Charities pay arm-twisters a percentage of the money they raise. But what of the target? Legendary poppy seller Olive Cook is presumed to have taken her own life after being sent 260 letters from charities every month asking for money and stress caused by cold callers.  

Jenny Phelps, a former carer, 'slammed charities' saying they were 'preying on goodwill' after receiving 1,000 begging letters over five years.

Charities need to get their act together. Stewardship teams like to remind churchgoers that "God loves a cheerful giver", a message not lost on charities but cheerful giving often results in harassment. Once on their books charities will target donors regardless of whether they have already given to their latest appeal and their regular givers with pleas for more cash, often with harrowing pictures to drive their message home.

A practice I find particularly objectionable involves charity consultants ringing donors to encourage them to increase their giving, often from meagre resources, so that they can claim commission.

Another irritation is the intimidating supermarket collection where in-your-face charity collectors glare at customers with a 'don't you pass-by-on-the-other-side look'. Thankfully the pressure has eased since most supermarkets have banned the collection of direct debit details to avoid customers feeling pressurised.

The worst abusers are the scam bag collectors who trade on people's ignorance, sympathy and generosity. It's so easy. Pick a charity, print their details on a bag with the Charity number to make it look authentic then promise to pay the charity between £50, £85 or £100 while making a fortune for themselves - see the charity bag scam here.

According to the British Heart Foundation the trade had led to an estimated loss of donations direct to BHF shops worth £4.6million over two years. In some cases they said "charities are getting £50 to £100 per tonne of goods collected when, in fact, the goods can sell abroad for anything up to £1,800."

Charities need the money but if there is any doubt that a charity bag is genuine, far better to go direct to the charity shop, some will happily collect, or make a donation directly to such as the Alzheimer's Society displayed in the header.

And be aware of the FRSB ü  logo. I have an animal welfare bag in front of me which prominently displays the tick of approval but reading the small print shows that they will donate a minimum of £50 per tonne of goods collected, presumably leaving the collector in excess of £1500 while claiming that every penny of every pound donated goes to directly to animal welfare. That's just £50 in pennies then!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Church in Wales to embrace polygamy next?


"A man with two boyfriends had asked where the [Green] party stood on polyamory" - Independent


One of the more alarming claims I heard in the run-up to the 2015 General Election was that the Green party was open to the possibility of three in a marriage. Not as Princess Diana described it but legally, adding the seal of approval to polygamy. 

From the Independent, 1 May 2015: 
"Natalie Bennett has said her party is 'open to consultation' on the possibility of legalising polygamy and civil partnerships involving three or more people. The Green Party leader was responding to a question from a man living with his two boyfriends in a polyamorous relationship in London on Friday.

Dr Redfern Jon Barrett, taking part in an event organised by Pink News, said people like himself in three-way relationships faced a 'considerable amount of legal discrimination'. He asked: 'As someone living with his two boyfriends in a stable long-term relationship, I would like to know your stance is on polyamory rights. Is there room for Green support on group civil partnerships or marriages?'

Ms Bennett replied that although the Green Party 'at present' has no specific policy on legal partnerships involving more than two people, members could develop one and vote for it to be introduced. 'We have led the way on many issues related to the liberalisation of legal status in adult consenting relationships, and we are open to further conversation and consultation on this issue,' she added."

Politically the Green Party may have led the way on many issues related to the 'liberalisation of legal status in adult consenting relationships' but in the Church the champion of liberalisation in Great Britain is the Archbishop of Wales. I have been unable to find an official report of the proceedings but Dr Morgan secured an overwhelming vote in favour of his same-sex marriage proposals at the extraordinary meeting of the Llandaff Diocesan Conference held in Aberdare on May 9 to discuss the matter.

Not that it has any more relevance than voting at Parish and Deanery level because the Bench of Bishops have endorsed ++Barry's decision that they alone will decide the issue after the measure has been massaged through the Governing Body, just as they did when they denied traditional Anglicans a meaningful Code of Practice, contrary to the wishes expressed at Diocesan conferences organised at considerable expense to obtain the views of Church in Wales members.

After same-sex marriage polygamy is the next logical step for people in stable, long-term polyamorous relationships who love one another. If same-sex marriage is acceptable what possible objection can there be if two or more people love each other? Justifying their legislation Government Ministers said: "Put simply, it's not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry."

Supporters of same-sex marriage who want the Church to be involved use 'love' as justification because love is at the heart of Christianity. It is. Christ said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another", which raises the question whether the Bench understands the meaning of true discipleship.

What can the Bench of Bishops be thinking about to go along with this misguided secular campaign? The price being paid is in direct opposition to Christ's prayer that we all may be one. As a result of ++Barry's misguided political policies, ecumenism between the Catholic and the Anglican Churches may be ending:
"Questions are being raised about whether the ecumenism between the Catholic and Anglican churches is coming to an end. According to Crux, many ask is there any point in the ecumenism as female bishops and gay bishops are present in Anglican churches, and they are now well-along the path toward same-sex marriage." Report here.

'Plural marriage' is currently out of favour in Mormonism but eager bed-fellows will be found in Islam. So the Archbishop of Wales will retire in the knowledge that in terms of marriage the Church in Wales could have more in common with Islam than with the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which he claims membership. What a legacy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

"A force for good"




The Prime Minister is a communications man through and through. He has the ability to turn just about any event to his political advantage. His Easter message was an example of words that few could disagree with and no doubt earned him some useful votes. 

Christian reality was better expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he dismissed the Prime Minister's "why-can’t-we-all-get-along" brand of Christianity as "moral claptrap". See also "David Cameron's wonky cross" here

From 'Citizen Go': "With an ever-growing list of threats to religious freedom at home, including attacks on the ethos of faith-based schools and assaults on the freedom of conscience, especially as pertains to the living of one's faith in and outside the workplace, British Christians need the support of the new Conservative Government to protect their right to have a different point of view and way of life where faith and morals are concerned." The Prime Minister is in a position to put his words into action. 'Citizen Go' has launched a Petition for Protection of Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience. You can help to reach their goal of 5,000 signatures by signing their petition here. (H/T Anglican Mainstream).

The "why-can’t-we-all-get-along" brand of Christianity is a real threat. It is the basis of many 'anything goes so long as we are happy' comments which have been received but not published because they are wholly anonymous or are linked to gay and commercial sites for advertising purposes - see Introductory notes in the right-hand column. 

Loving one another is at the heart of Christianity but there is more to being a Christian than that.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

VE Day remembered


Churchill waves to crowds on 8 May 1945 from the Ministry of Health balcony.


Those of us old enough to remember recall with gratitude the inspirational speeches of Winston Churchill in WW2.

We give thanks this weekend for our deliverance and especially for all those who did not return to celebrate "our hour".

Churchill's victory speech:

"My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It's a victory of the great British nation as a whole. We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.

There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? [The crowd shouted "No."] Were we down-hearted? ["No!"] The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we've done and they will say "do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be-unconquered." Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy.

But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed-the Japanese. I rejoice we can all take a night off today and another day tomorrow. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfill our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. We will go hand and hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail."


You can listen here. Thanks to The Churchill centre

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The destruction of true Anglicanism in England and Wales: The hour has come


The Dean of Westminster (left) and the Archbishop of Wales with Bishop Gene Robinson of the US Episcopal Church

That divisive lobbyist Christina Rees and her feminist campaigning group, Women And The Church (WATCH) which could not tell the difference between equality and feminism started a process of dilution which has relegated the Anglican Church in the West to the margins of faith with ever decreasing congregations save for some remarkable exceptions on the evangelical wing. The 'equality for women' campaign is just that, a distortion. Their brand of equality demands preferential treatment for themselves leaving the rest of the church to struggle on the best they can. Many "budding clerics - perhaps a third - are from evangelicals" but they are allowed only a token bishop while women bishops are to be fast-tracked into the House of Lords so that they can continue their protest about discrimination at the highest levels.

An indication of their warped views can be found in a comment of a new WATCH baton carrier on the overdue appointment of the prominent evangelical, the Rev Preb Rod Thomas as Bishop of Maidstone. The Rev Jody Stowell who shares her distorted views on 'religion, feminism and community and the life of a priest' in a blog said "We should be careful that this isn’t creating a church within a church", just as they have done in the Anglican Communion.

It is reported that the appointment was made only in a bid to avert a split in the Church of England. All credit then to the Archbishop of Canterbury but none whatsoever to the Archbishop of Wales who continues to lead his church down into the pit with no concessions to anyone who doesn't conform to his fashionable, liberal bent.

From the recent Cranmer disclosure and other events afflicting the Anglican church it is apparent that this dilution of the faith is turning into pollution of the faith.


At first sight one might be forgiven for assuming that this was an innocent mistake since the prayer was read in Turkish but the Dean of Westminster is quoted as saying that he defends inclusion of Muslim prayer in Abbey service: "Dr John Hall told Christian Today it was appropriate to offer hospitality to other faith traditions but this did not in any sense compromise the form and orthodox character of our belief and proclamation." How deluded can one be? In Muslim majority countries  the Islamic form of hospitality is "convert, pay the jizya or die", so cruelly evident in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond  where Christian churches are being destroyed and Christians driven out of the lands where Christianity took root.

Mohammed is a false prophet. Christ predicted that there would be. How can any Christian accept the claim that Mohammed is 'the chosen one' in a line of prophets from God from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed Mustafa, identifying Mohammed as the chosen one? Islam denies that Christ died on the Cross and even claims that Jesus was a Muslim. So the One who died for all is replaced by one who would kill all if they don't believe in him. It cannot be appropriate to offer hospitality which allows critics of all other faiths and none to peddle their distorted ideology in Christian churches which, if they had their way, they would destroy.

The Holy Bible is used by Islam to justify its ideology by distorting the Word. Is Dr Hall not aware that Islam is persecuting Christians simply because they are Christians and in doing so take their authority from the Quran? Have no lessons been learnt after a Muslim prayer service was held at St John's Church in Waterloo? - "The Bishop of Southwark takes very seriously his responsibility to uphold the teaching of the Church and to work within its framework of legislation and guidance. It is quite clear that Islamic prayer should not take place in a consecrated building," said a spokesman for the Southwark diocese.

From the enemy without to the enemy within, there is no let up in attacking traditional values for the benefit of a few individuals who would see their irregular relationships regularised, opening the door to other relationships such as three or more person marriage with children left to work out the puzzle as to why they don't simply have a mother and a father. And why not if love is the criterion? That is the logical development of the process. The process started with the ordination of women but that was just part of the package. The gay lobby, particularly in the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC), has torn Anglicanism apart with the appointment of practicing homosexual bishops, a novelty welcomed by Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, who likes to claim that opposition is fruitless because change is inevitable. Under his headship, perhaps, but even he is not immortal which will leave future bishops to pick up the pieces, such as they are, be they gay, straight or transgender for that is how the Archbishop sees the future of the Church in Wales based not on faith in Jesus Christ but faith in Katharine Jefferts Schori the retiring Presiding Bishop of TEC.

This is not fiction. In 2012 TEC approved legislation that opened the door to transgender ordination leading to the conclusion "Cross-Dressing Clergy: These Are the Reasons the Episcopal Church Could Be Near Collapse". Note the similarity of the Archbishop's pronouncements with the legislation passed at the Episcopal Church Convention: The Episcopal General Convention voted to amend church laws to state: "No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age" - provided always that their views accord with the Presiding Bishop and her faithful disciple.

In 'Episcopalians for Traditional Faith' the Rev. Dr. Frank Larisey wrote an article claiming "It's Not about Sex". He wrote: Episcopal Church (TEC) spokespersons insist that the mass exodus of members began when Gene Robinson, celebrity homosexual, was consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Most of the mass media slavishly follow TEC's lead, mentioning the first openly gay bishop in every article about declining church membership. Fr. Larisey begs to differ. TEC's claim is a smoke screen that obscures the true reason behind the loss in membership: When the revisionists changed the words of worship, they changed the religion itself, making possible what followed.

Dr Larisey's claim makes a lot of sense. "When the revisionists changed the words of worship, they changed the religion itself, making possible what followed". Not only has much of the beauty of the Book of Common Prayer been lost but subtle, and not so subtle, changes are made (see the solemnization of holy Matrimony below). In the Church of England a new baptism service without mention of the devil was debated by members of the General Synod in February. It was claimed that "the new texts are needed because the world has changed so much, even in the last 15 years". Yes the world has changed but by reflecting secular change rather than maintaining our faith based on scripture and tradition the Anglican Church in the West, literally, is the poorer.

All this change has reached fruition in the campaign for same-sex marriage. Opponents are accused of being homophobic but what is homophobic in believing that marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others? The argument that the Church has survived many upheavals doesn't wash when all the indications are that such views are motivated by self-interest rather than "for our good and the good of all His Church" as we say in the sacrifice of the Mass.

Gays and particularly the many gay clergy in the Anglican Church have become increasingly vocal as they see an opportunity which goes beyond acceptance to one of 'normality' as equivalent to Holy Matrimony and the procreation of children. It is not and cannot be. This is the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Church.  This goes beyond vested interests. People who have tolerated female ordination and gay bishops are drawing a line. They find the concept of same-sex marriage too ridiculous to be taken seriously and their treatment for saying so offensive. The hour has come.

Read "Voting No to same-sex marriage is not homophobic, say [Irish] bishops here, and an
"Open letter of [Church of Ireland] Anglican Evangelical clergy on marriage" here.

Marriage is the voluntary union for life between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Same-sex marriage is not "equal" marriage. It is an grotesque imitation which demeans the solemnization of holy Matrimony:

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Why do the bishops of the Church of England and the Church in Wales even have to discuss the matter? They should follow the example of the bishops of the Church in Ireland and condemn the move as inconsistent with Christian teaching.

Update [08/05/2015]

"The Church of Ireland synod has agreed to extend the time for the Church's select committee on human sexuality, which would include the discussion on same-sex marriage and gay relationships." The decision follows the "open letter signed by two Belfast ministers" referred to above which concluded:

"In recent days two Irish bishops have publicly declared and taught contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture and to the teaching of the Church of Ireland. This is despite the vows and promises made at their ordination and consecration, to uphold the Church's teaching and to refute error.  We believe that they are now themselves teaching error and we call on them to repent of this and to teach what the Church has taught about marriage according to Scripture."

Today's reading from Acts is entirely apposite.

Update [09/05/2015]

"Will 2015 Be the Last Mother's Day Celebrated Ever?" Read here.

"US clergy, including five bishops, ask synod to 'stand firm' on marriage." Read here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The selfish selfie




I am disappointed to say the least by the attitude to the coming General Election of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalist Party. More than enough blood has been shed, including the blood of my own kinsmen, in the making of the Union to see it unpicked for party political advantage.

There is something distinctly unpleasant about a politician who wants to be a foreigner in a United dismembered Kingdom while expecting to call the tune in British politics. By all means have a strong voice in devolved government but the current scheming is a disservice to our United Kingdom. The vote for independence was lost but minorities are never satisfied no matter what the cost.

The Scottish people like the rest of the United Kingdom should make a clear choice for the government of the United Kingdom leaving nationalism to devolved government but the way things are we have the ludicrous situation of the "two-faced" Sun backing the SNP in Scotland and the Tories elsewhere. How very Murdoch!

The choice is clear, vote for strong government to avoid minorities calling the tune. One only has to look to the Anglican Church in Great Britain to see the chaos that has been caused by the tail constantly wagging the dog in England and Wales.

Update - the hidden agenda [05.05.2015]

From HeraldScotland: "Leaders of Glasgow anti-Labour demo suspended by SNP".

After denying that hardline nationalists organised the angry protest which forced Jim Murphy and comic Eddie Izzard to cut short a rally in Glasgow city centre, two members have now been suspended by the SNP. A group of around 20 demonstrators, drawn from different fringe groups, had disrupted the street rally.

"One of the suspended, Piers Doughty Brown, a self-style 'anti-austerity' campaigner, and James Scott, the leader of a fringe nationalist group called Scottish Resistance, had their membership of the SNP withdrawn after pictures emerged of the pair with Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond".

Scottish Resistance is "part of an alliance of nationalist groupings committed to overthrowing "British imperialism" and advancing "the cause of independence".

Nicola Sturgeon said the appalling scenes on the streets of Glasgow were nothing to do with the SNP:
"What happened yesterday was the ugly face of nationalism". Quite so.

Update - SNP threat [07.05.2015]

Police Scotland have issued nationwide warnings amid fears of 'threatening behaviour' from firebrand SNP supporters. Story here.