The end of the 'all-singing, all-dancing' minister

The Archbishop of Wales has set out his vision for churches led by collaborative teams of clergy and lay people.

Addressing members of the Church's Governing Body this week, Dr Barry Morgan said that in the future clergy and lay people would share gifts and work together, rather than one ordained person shouldering most of the burden.

The onus will be on all members of the church playing their part in ministry.

"Every member of the Christian community who has been baptised is a disciple of Jesus and has gifts, and therefore, a ministry to offer," he explained.

"And it is from within this family of the baptised that the ordained are called to exercise particular gifts and functions within the Church.

"Put another way, the Church is all God's people, not just those who are ordained."

The shift in emphasis follows a whole-scale review of the Church in Wales last year which recommended replacing traditional parishes run by vicars with "ministry areas" led by teams.

The Archbishop said that there had until now been the temptation in churches with ordained clergy "to assume that all ministry is vested in an omni-competent, all-singing, all-dancing professional minister".

Although the minister could delegate tasks if they felt a bit "hard pressed", he suggested this was the wrong starting point for effective church ministry.

"It takes a community to manifest the grace present in Jesus', says one theologian, and if that is so, ministering and the task of ministry is entrusted to the whole Church and, from within that Church, some are called to exercise particular ministries," he said.

The Archbishop gave assurances that the change did not mean that the Church would "sweep everything away".
"But it does mean using all the resources that we have been given and the gifts that all of us have, more creatively and imaginatively.

"It means laity and clergy together, having a shared vision of the work of the Church."

The Archbishop also noted the debate on legalising gay marriage, saying the Church would have to have its own discussion on the issue and decide whether the Church wants to remain exempt, as the Government has outlined in legislation.

He said: "We as a Church need to have a discussion as to whether we want to continue having this special status in law as far as marriage is concerned.

"If marriage were ever to become a devolved issue, I cannot see a devolved Welsh Government allowing a disestablished Church to hang on to this vestige of Establishment."