Abp of Wales sounds alarm

Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, says state of the Church in Wales faces fundamental questions regarding its future.


Dr Barry Morgan said the Church in Wales must adapt to cope with the decline in clergy, waning investments and falling congregations. Three independent experts are to assess its use of buildings and financial resources. The church’s organisational structure could also change, he warned.

Morgan made the remarks in his presidential address to the church’s governing board.

From the speech:

In commissioning such a review, we will all have to be prepared to take seriously its findings and to be open to the possibility of significant change in our structures, ministry, use of buildings and other resources if it is seen to be in the best interests of the church and its mission to the people and communities of Wales as we look ahead to the next decade. We believe as a Bench and Standing Committee, that a combination of our own insights, those of GB members and those from this Group, will help us become the kind of Church God wants us to become.

One thing that will help us as we embark on this process if we feel a bit threatened or beleaguered, is the knowledge that some of the issues we face are trivial in comparison with the problems faced by some of our sister churches in the Anglican Communion.

Morgan had something to say about the Primates meeting in Dublin earlier this year:

Some Primates have a great deal of individual authority within their provinces and therefore expect the Primates Group, as a whole, to act with that same authority towards the wider church what the Archbishop of Canterbury has called ‘a command and control’ model of primacy. Most Primates, however, said that their powers were limited by their own Canons. The Primates, therefore, decided that it would be difficult for the Primates meeting collectively, to give powers to Primates that were greater than their own Canons allowed them individually within their own provinces. Our unanimous judgement was that we were not some kind of supreme court with canonical powers to enforce order and discipline, but a body concerned about security unity and building relationships of trust.

Some people believe that all this was achieved because certain Primates were not there. It is a fact that seven or eight Primates deliberately absented themselves from the meeting whilst another seven could not come because of illness or particular problems in their provinces. It has to be acknowledged that the former group might have been dissentient voices had they been present but it is significant, I think, that the rest of us felt that our approach was the right approach and some of us also felt that those who had deliberately absented themselves had deprived their own province of a voice in the deliberations. Primates do not just represent themselves but their province and have a duty to be present at such primatial meetings.

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