Lay Anglicana, the unofficial voice of the laity throughout the Anglican Communion.
This is the place to share news and views from the pews.

Get involved ...

Category - "Christian jokes":

The Church In Wales: Leading the Way with the Laity


The Bishop of St Asaph, Bishop Gregory Cameron, speaking at ‘The Future(s) of Anglicanism’, offered us the view from Wales.

The following two anecdotes have nothing to do with Wales, but Bishop Gregory is a gifted raconteur and was no doubt hoping to lighten the mood after a serious session on the Anglican Covenant. He began with a personal reflection on the hazards of communicating with children. Dressed in full episcopal kit and surrounded by a group of little dears (my expression, not the good bishop’s), he swung into his routine, playing to the crowd. His jokes went down well and he sensed a real rapport with this next generation of church-goers. Afterwards, the children were asked what they had enjoyed most about the afternoon: ‘the funny man in the party hat’ came the answer…

His second joke is not really a joke at all. A good man died and was met by St Peter at the Pearly Gates. St Peter offered to take him on a tour of Heaven the following Friday (the day reserved for tours). At the first place they came to, a barbecue was in full swing, with steaks, sausages, chops and kebabs. Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. ‘This is Catholic Heaven’, explained St Peter. ‘On earth, on Fridays they were only allowed to eat fish’. They walked on and came next to a bar, with a group carousing and enjoying pints of real ale or glasses of vintage claret, according to taste. ‘This is Methodist Heaven’, said St Peter. ‘On earth, they denied themselves all forms of alcohol’. Next they passed  a group of people singing, laughing and shouting out of sheer joie de vivre. St Peter explained: ‘This is Quaker Heaven. On earth they learnt to sit quietly, waiting for the Holy Spirit – now the Holy Spirit encourages them to let rip.’ Finally, they came to a group of people looking inconsolably morose and bored. Our puzzled visitor looked at St Peter questioningly. ‘This is Anglican Heaven’, said St Peter. ‘On earth, there wasn’t anything they weren’t allowed to do…’


But to return to our Welsh sheep…

The Christian presence in Wales was already well-established by the time St. Augustine came to England in 597 and, when Augustine attempted to assert his authority as Archbishop of all Britain in 603, he was told by the Welsh bishops that he had no such authority over them. There are six dioceses in the Church In Wales, which was disestablished in 1920. At disestablishment, all patronage was abolished. Bishops are elected by an electoral college. Twice the number of lay representatives to those of clergy are elected to the Provincial synod (The Governing Body), and lay members are constitutionally a majority in all the councils of the Church in Wales, from Parochial Church Councils to The Governing Body. There were 350 members of The Governing Body, which meets twice a year, but this has now been reduced to 150 (still in stark contrast to the Welsh National Assembly, which has only 60 people to run Wales) with a church membership of 60,000 – 80,000. A commission is currently looking at the structures of the Church In Wales, and there is a move (as in England) to devolve more decision-making to deanery level.


The Laity

At present the proportion of stipendiary clergy to church buildings is about one priest for every two churches. If to this are added self-supporting and retired clergy, there is no pressing need purely on grounds of expediency to train the laity to lead worship. However, the Church In Wales does make a concerted effort to include the laity in leading worship, whether as Licensed Readers or Ordained Local Ministers, regarding this as a desirable end in itself. Bishop Gregory endorses this process, which he hopes will accelerate in future.




The illustration is the coat of arms of the Church in Wales made available under CCL by  Dyfsunctional at en.wikipedia. The photograph of Bishop Gregory is from his consecration and is taken from wikipedia. The illustration of a Welsh church is from Shutterstock.


We rely on donations to keep this website running.