Committee to review Church in Wales
THE CHURCH in Wales has announced the formation of a committee tasked with reviewing proposals made by a commission chaired by Lord Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford, to reform the Welsh parochial system.
On 10 January the Church announced that five members of the Governing Body, the Church’s general synod, would “review the recommendations and the responses received to them, draw up a timetable of action, act as a liaison point and monitor progress.”
The director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, Helen Biggin, will chair the committee and will be joined by Bishop Andy John of Bangor, business consultant James Turner, market research professional Nigel King, and the Vicar of Haverfordwest, the Rev Paul Mackness on the committee.
On 14 September 2012 the Governing Body unanimously accepted a report for a commission chaired by Lord Harries that proposed an overhaul of the local organization of the Church.
“The parish system is no longer sustainable,” Lord Harries said. “We have to radically rethink the way we look at our ministry, and begin with the concept of an area ministry.”
Amongst its 50 recommendations were the amalgamation of parishes into “ministry areas”; the employment of a fulltime youth worker in each archdeaconry; “creative use” of church buildings to generate income and serve the wider community; training lay people for church leadership responsibilities; investing financial resources in youth work; adopting new forms of outreach akin to the Church of England’s “Fresh Expressions”; promote the doctrine of tithing; create three administrative centres to serve the Church’s six dioceses; reform the process for electing bishops; and designate the Diocese of Llandaff as the permanent archiepiscopal see of the Church in Wales.
Mrs Biggin’s committee is to issue its first report to the February meeting of the Governing Body’s standing committee with a full report to be given to the next meeting of the Governing Body.
“This is a really exciting time for the Church in Wales,” Mrs Biggin said, as the “Review Group has made some radical and challenging recommendations, which offer great opportunities.
“Together with an enthusiastic team, I am looking forward to helping meet these challenges and deliver the changes that will enable the Church to thrive as it serves communities throughout Wales.”