Reports of the Governing Body conference.

Published on 13th April, 2018

Day 1
Day 1 of Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Llandudno. The picture is of Laura Williams, CiW delegate to the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Key events: Opening Eucharist; President’s address; Standing Committee report; the Church in Public Life presentation and discussion; Question Time; Evangelism and Mission update; Evening Prayer.

Bishop Andy (Bangor) set the tone for the GB meeting in his sermon at the opening Eucharist where he reminded GB Christians are a “catch-up people”, people who are always looking for what God is doing and how was are to join in. The Archbishop picked this up in his Presidential Address, based on Jesus’s words: “follow me” and “do not let you hearts be troubled, be not afraid”. The Standing Committee (SC) report was presented and a GB voted to approve the appointment of (SC) representatives. In the discussion following, the accessibility of churches was brought up and all were invited to think about the physical and emotional welcome that is offered.

After lunch the GB split into small groups for a focused discussion on the place of the Church in the Pubic Square, led by facilitators. Next was a briefing from Laura Williams who attended the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women on the issues facing rural women. In Question Time there were questions on: a) the possibility of ‘Green loans’ for transformation of churches (being investigated); b) whether there are plans for CiW guidelines for multi-faith chaplaincy (guidelines are set by employers such as NHS, any priest can approach their bishop); c) what is the status of CiW with regard to the Independent Inquiry in to Child Sex Abuse (core participant status, expecting to be called in 2019). Bishop Andy (Bangor) gave an update from the Evangelism and Mission group on 9 steps for CiW to address. The day finished with Evening Prayer.

Day 2
Day 2 of Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Llandudno. The picture is from the emergency debate on a motion regarding the possibility of British military intervention in Syria.

Key events: Bible study; Newport Cathedral Constitution and Regulations motion; discussion on Admission to Holy Communion; emergency debate on a motion regarding the possibility of British military intervention in Syria.

Newport Cathedral has revised its constitution and regulations to better help it serve as the Cathedral Church of the diocese of Monmouth. The main changes relate to governance, with a revised chapter that includes 8 lay canons chosen for particular skills. The revised documents were well received and GB voted to allow their experimental use for 3 years. The discussion of the Bench’s documents regarding permission for the admission of all the baptised to Holy Communion generated a passionate debate. There was a focus on the need for adequate baptismal preparation and continued nurture. In the light of news reports, an emergency motion was brought by Bishop Gregory (St Asaph) and Bishop Joanna (St David’s), which was passed and reads as follows-

That the Governing Body:
i) Note with alarm the return to the international agenda of the possibility of heavy bombardment and violent intervention in the situation in Syria;
ii) While condemning the use of chemical weapons, are mindful of the complexities of the situation which rule out simplistic answers;
iii) call upon the UK Government to prioritise concerted diplomatic action to secure more peaceful and consensual international responses rather than an escalation of violence.