Church Plant Draws Resistance

Plans for a church-planting partnership between the Church in Wales and London’s Holy Trinity Brompton has drawn resistance. The plan is to use the original university church of St. Andrew and St. Teilo in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.

A Church in Wales media release said the project would “seek to attract young people who are currently outside the church, eventually planting more church communities in the diocese. … The plans mark a new transition in the life of St Teilo’s parish, which has a second church, St. Michael and All Angels, a short distance away.”

But an online petition expresses “dismay” that St. Teilos is regarded as a failing church and that the project was agreed “without proper consultation with the [parochial church council].” The petition, Save St. Teilo’s, surpassed its goal of 1,500 signatures.

“We are clear in our resolve that St Teilo’s should remain an inclusive, flourishing, open church, and that the current congregation should be given the opportunity to continue its growth,” the petition says. “We appeal to the Diocese of Llandaff to reverse its decision to place a new resource church in the place of ours.”

One member of the congregation said it was “remarkable that we have so far heard of no individual save the Bishop herself specifically supporting these plans.” An open parish church council meeting said the project was unanimously opposed.

“I have yet to hear from anyone who has spoken in favor of this proposal,” said Chris Berry, who leads St. Teilo Arts. LGBT worshipers at St. Teilo’s said parishioners are “small in number but big in impact.”

At the heart of the dispute is that Church in Wales worship is almost entirely liberal Catholic in style.

The Anglican chaplain of Cardiff University, the Rev. David Sheen, a liberal Catholic, supports the project.

He said a “lively, open evangelical worship experience in the broad Anglican tradition” was “sorely lacking” in the area and that many evangelical students were being lost to non-Anglican churches.

The project will receive funding from the new Church in Wales Evangelism Fund, which has £10 mllion available for six dioceses and is similar to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Grants fund.

John Martin


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