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St. Asaph Diocesan Conference.…

WEDNESDAY'S MEETING.

THE PROPOSED PARTITIONING…

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THE PROPOSED PARTITIONING OF THE DIOCESE. A SERIES OF CONVINCING SPEECHES. Tha remainder of the morning was relegated to the consideration of the propo-sal to form a new Diocese of Shropshire, thereby depriving the Diocese of St. Asaph of fourteen parishes included in the Deanery of Ouwestry. The RECORDER OF OSWESTRY (Mr R. Lloyd Kenyon) opened the discussion with an address in favour of the proposal. He pointed out that that diocese had a population, in round numbers, of 238,000, with 213 benefices, and tihat only two dioceses in England and Wales (Here- ford and Bangor) had a smaller population, and farther, that fourteen of the 213 benefices were in Shropshire, with a population of 22,000, of which more than half were in the two Oswes- try parishes. The transfer of the fourteen Shropshire parishes, therefore, would leave the diocese with a population of 26,600, and would give the Shropshire Diocese a population of 240,000, which was the population of the county. He contended that the transfer would tend to equalise populations, and would give Oswestry a larger share in the new diocese, while Os- westry would also be able to claim a larger part of the attention of its new Diocesan than it could ufcder present circumstances. Corning to the, question of patronage, Mr Kenyon remarked that of the fourteen livings to be transferred orSy two—Llanyblodwel and Melrerley—with a united income of £ 344, were in the Bishop's patronage. The Bishop, he believed, had also some share in the patronage of Hereford, the nett income of which was £69; so that, assum- this subject with feelings of diffidence, because the information a.t my disposal it not as full as I would wish, because I have no argument, nor do I wish to find one agairust a Shropshire dio- cese being formed. Indeed, I believe that we should all wish well to such a scheme, and it seems to me a perfectly right and proper course for the Bishops of Lichfield and Hereford to have consulted and agreed regarding the par- ishes which would be transferred from and to their respective dioceses and the new diocese. But I dosire to call attention to the fact that no attempt seems to have been made to communi- cate with the Welsh Bishops concerned on this momentous subject, and I feel bound to state that the failure to do this strikes us unfavour- ably, and leaves us without the valuable help which their lordships' opinions on the matter would have been. I have only before me a re- port of the speeches made at conferences held at Shrewsbury and Burton with editorial com- ments thereon. Important as these are, they emphasise only one side of the question, and are therefore not convincing to anyone who wishes to come to a well-balanced decision. regarding the effect upon the Welsh Dioceses concerned, which the scheme would produce if carried into effect. Granted that a see for Shropshire properly endowed and equipped bo given, well and good, but how is it proposed to obtain this and when? Surely, if the scheme is so necessary the sooner the better. But I see that immediate contribu- tions which "might bo possibly afforded" by the dioceses of Lichfield and Hereford are un- certain, and that the amounts actually contem- plated to be taken ( £ 600 per annum from each) are only to be taken "on tho next vacancy t" Why postpone this? Are not their lordships, who desire to see C1500 a year raised in Shrop- shire by voluntary subscriptions, at once, pre- pared to help on this good scheme by giving up at once also from the rank of their own episco- pates the sums which they think can be spared. For I take it that they would hardly expect the voluntary contributions to be forthcoming at once, and to hand over their own Shropshire parishes at once unless they too handed over these sums at once. Whether L600 por annum is or is not a fitting sum to deduct from these episcopates, and is a well-balanced caluculation, I have not to consider. If it is, what would be the sum to be given up by each Welsh Diocese I to help the scheme? What, for example, should be given up by the Diocese of St. Asa-ph. for it's 19 Shropshire parishes? Calculated on the basis of numbers the sums would be under £151 per annum. If certain parishes in Wales are to be given to this diocese in exchange for those proposed to be taken the amount by which the Shropshire Diocese would gain would be smaller still. I think that rather tha.n experience the sorrow which the Bishop of Hereford said he would feel at losing his "beautiful Shropshire parishes," the Bishop of St. Asaph would be ready to pay only -215 per annum, or a lesser sum, for his parishes, which probably seem equally beautiful to him! But although as a Churchman and Salopian, I might like to see a Bishoprio of Shrewsbury with a compact and well-endoweed Sees, I feel as a Churchman and a resident in a Welsh Diocese grave doubts as to the scheme, as far as it proposes to curtail, upset, and, for all I know, impoverish the Church of England in Wales. The attack upon the Church of England in which the Welsh portion of it has been singled out as the smaller one, therefore presumably easier to crush, has been, a.ns i., bitter and unscrupulous, and promises to be not only so, but vindictive as well, in the immediate future. And the question which I find I must answer in the negative is this. THE RESULT. Will it weaken the Welsh portion of our Churdh in this fight which has been forced on it if some of its strongest brethren are to be taken away, agld will it generally impair its work ? I am bound to say unhesitatingly that in my opinion it will do both. Let the Sees of Lichfield and Herelo-rd give up what they will now, or leave it for the future occupants of those Sees to give up their beautiful parish- 00 and part o: their inoames, but let them not weaken the Welsh Dioceses by forcing on them a similar policy. The effect for good or for ill on the Welsh Diooeees seems to have been treated as a negligible quantity at the confer- ences I have referred to, and only the Shrop- shire, Liohfield, and Hereford Dioceses, and' their convenience and well-being seem to have I- WHOSE QUINCENTENARY WAS CELEBRATED ON MONDAY. I ing that the patronage was transferred to the new See, no substantial prospects of promotion were lost by the clergy of other parts of the diocese, and the clergy of those parts would not lose by beinig connected with Shropshire instead of St. Asaph. There would seem. therefore, to-be no objection to the transfer on the ground of patronage. In the matter of facilities of com- munication, there was no comparison. It took three hours to get from Oiswest-ry to St. Asaph, and only one to get to Shrewsbury. Then the people of Oswestry had much business connec- tion with Shrewsbury, and often had to go there; but, as far as he knew, no one ever had to go to St. Ac.aph except for Diocesan busi- ness. It would also be very much more con- venient. for Oswestry to attend meetings at Shrewsbury than at St. Asaph, and very much easier for a Bishop of Shrewsbury to get to Os- westry. The greater part of the population to be transferred, moreover, was English, and not Welnh, and connection with an English Diocese would bo at least as natural aii4 convenient to them as connection with a Welsh one. From the point of view, therefore, of population and of facility of communication, of business habits and connections of common interests and com- mon language, it would seem that Oswestry would benefit considerably by a. transfer. Com- ing to THE OBJECTIONS, Mr Kenyon asked if there was any objection on the ground of loyalty to their present diocesan. It seemed that tho movement which was now growing so strong all over England for a sub- division of dioceses, and making them smaller, so that a Bishop could be more frequently in all parts of them was the greatest compliment which could possibly be pald to their present Bishops. Was there any objection on the ground of historical associations? They had been a long time in St. Asaph diocese, but they were ongi- nally in that of Lichfield. They were trans- ferred from Lichfield to St. Asaph, early in Henry II's. rl8Ïgn, about 750 years ago, when Oswestry was one of the Lordships of the Marches, and belonged to neither England nor Wales, but its lords were always English, and so probably was the bulk of its population; it was definitely annexed in Henry VIII's. time, nearly 400 years ago, and all its civil history was English, and not Welsh. The sentiment of connection was probably stronger than the sentiment of connection with the diocese of St. Asaph. The most serious question probably was the financial one, but did it form an ob- jection? It had several sides. He had no meana of knowing whether it would be neces- sary for the Bishop to transfer any part of the endowment of his see to the new bishopric. He would only be transferring a thirteenth part of the population of the diocese, and probably a part which called for less than a thirteenth part of the general expenditure of the diocese. The Bishop's income was the same as that of the Bishops of Hereford and Lichfield. The Bishop of Hereford had declared his willingness to sur- render income, and he believed the Bishop of Lichfield had also done so; but whether it was desirable or right that this should be done must depend on the circumstansea of each dioceso, and the question did not affect the desirability or otherwise of the formation of the new diocese, but only the facility of forming it. As to whether the diocese of St. Asaph as a whole would bo likely to losoi seriously by being de- prived of financial support, from what was now its Shropshire portion. Concluding with a reference to the difficulty of the raising of funds for the endowment of the new bishopric, Mr Kenyon pointed out that something had already been promised, and thfcre .were endowments and sources of income which had not existed in the case, of other Bishopries which had nevertheless been founded and endowed. Shropshire was not the poorest of the counties, and h supposed one of the objects of that discussion was to clear tbsir minds as to whether the object was a de- sirable one, and one which was so desirable and so promising aa to be worth making cacnficea for. MR WYNNE CORRIE'S PROTEST. Mr WYNNE CORRIE, who took another view on the matter, said: I confess that I approach been considered. I venture to say that thia way of 'handling &uch an important matter was an im- perfect way, and that the proper course to have been adopted was to have obtained, if possible, full consideration, of the scheme by the Welsh Bishops, the clergy and laity, and to have placed their views impartially before those who attended the Conference. Such curtailment and alteration of the his- torio Welsh Dioceses, diooeees which have es- peoialilf of late been more closely bound to- gether by the trials imposed upon them by Government, whidh have organisations of high- ly susceptible 'nature,, some only recently brought into good working order, and depend- ent on present circumstances for their continued and growing usefulness, should, I think, only be carried out after exhaustive inquiry, and thought conducted and given by the responsible officers of the Diocesan concerns, who would be guided bv their united1 experience and by the views of the groat mass of their Churchpeople when obtained bv them- Is is wise, is it for the better carrying out of the work of the Church that such a scheme should fce launched in the manner adopted at this critical moment of tho Cnurch's liie, and enforced "wiliy nilly" on the Welalh dioceseal concerned ? As one who has seen something of, and taken a part-, however small, in Church matters in the Diocese of St- Asaph, I protest most strongly against it, and while I cilo not for a moment attribute either intentional dis- courtesy or even an undue appreciation 0: the difficulties of tihe Welsh Diooeses or of their value to the Church in England in the fight aeainsfc Disestablishment, Disendowment, and to those who have worked and laboured to produioe the eoheme, I do, so far as I may, emphatically claim for the Diooese of St. Asaph that it should be given what is, I take to be. its bare right, with leave to give evidence and to be fully heard and listened to in a matter of such to grave importance- I leave aside, others will no doubt refer to tihem, historical and sentimental questions, though I recognise that they are powerful fac- tors, and consider solely in what. I say the main point of the whole matter, the basis on which the w'holo work o: the Church must stand if it is to (stand at all, i.e., the most effective way of carrying out the trust confident in her by G-od among the souls of men- I hope that in thus opposing the scheme in its present form, I have not said anything to hurt the Kaelings 0: its advocates- I wish solely to show them that there are some people vitally interested in the matter, whose opinions they have not considered, and to lead that due weight be given to all affected- Cannot we all unite and come to a decision based on the ground which is oorremcin to us all, the deeire of doing our duty to God and to ou-t- neighbour ? THE BISHOP'S VIEWS. The BISHOP, who was heartily chsered on rising, said he eoru'ially thanked Mr Kenyon for the spirit in which he had introduced tlhis rather, to Welshmen, {Jelicate subject. Arch- bishop Benson docihired on one oocas-ion that one of the great mistakes the Churcih of Eng- land had mado wais to carve tit, her grand old parishes. Tho proposal to carve u, ti;ia old dioceses led him to roy that they ought to pay due regard to tfha Archbishop's caution. He (his lordship) was not at all sure himael." that the county area was even for practical purpcKej alwaya the best area to seleot for a dllooe&e- There were many cases in which he was sure practical considerations would show that the county area was not of nstessity the most wirkab">3, even from the point of view of pre- sent conditions- He observed that it wad stated that the Bishops of Hereford and St. Asaph were very favourable to tlhe idea oc this oharsge, but how he (his lordship) could' be favourable to an idea as to which he had never been corasWted ? (hear, Ihear). He did not wiah to make a great point of that, but he thought it was din3 to a (great want of consideration, "Dn' that St. Aa&ph was not asked to attend the conferences on tlie subject, and that he bad fhejd DO oonxnunicatlion whatever lrsadb to him ae the Bishop r:pon it (bear, hear). The Bishop of Hereford, as far as he could reool- kd., had never even mentioned the subject in private conversation with him. He (the speaker) wsa in rr» way committed u-on a pro- posal w&Sch ha had in (act never liked (ap- I L plause). One of the objects of sub-division was, as Mr Kenyon had put it, to l'ill tlie work of the Bishop, in ordENr that the work might be done better. But that would by no means be ensured by the proposal. It merely meant taking certain parishes from the Diocese arid adding others, to thac there would merely oc a displacement of work, and not a .Kwsamng of if (hear, hear) But there would be a very serious lessening of t ne financial recourses of the diocese, and he did not think that Wales was so rich, that while tho work was in no way lessened the material rcsourMs ,ho-iid be lessened for the benefit of a diocese of Shropshire. He was sure they were all most anxious to do what was best for the promotion of Church work at larger but tnia tft.ing >nust be looked at by them as practical men. It was perhaps true that the deanery was put into the diocese of Lichfield for a time, but in the reconstruction after tho Norman conquest it was in the diocese of St. Asaph, and he believed it was in that diocese AS EARLY AS THE SEVENTH CENTURY. At that time the diocese probably followed on the tribal lines (hear, hear). But what more particularly affected him was that there was a very large question laying at the back of the wholo thing. It was not tne money from Shrop- shire that lie valued, though he did not say that Shropshire did not do its part as well as the rest of -he diocese in that respect, but he did value the fact that the inclusion of the Shropshire portion of the diocese bound the diocese up closely with the great Church of England (loud applause). It was a very good thing for them as Welshmen to have a large section of England in their diocose, and it was by no means a bad thing for the English to have the Welshmen among them (hear, hear, and laughter). They had the Englishman's great characteristic of judicial calmness and the Welshman had enthusi- asm and imagination, which it was a very good thing for Englishmen to share (laughter). Ho would never bo a party, so long as he was Bishop of St. Asaph, to help in the cutting off of the English part of the diocese from St. Asaph (loud applause). lIe was not going to assist those who wanted to say, "All the parishes are now in Wales; they arc a nice, compact whole, and therefore there is no difficulty now about ar- ranging, what to do with those parishes of the Welsh diooeso which ara in England, or in England and in Wales." He remembered Mr Asquith's difficulties, who, when dealing with the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, said that one of his greatest difficulties was what to do with the English parishes in the Welsh diocese? (hear, hear). T ey were a hopeless puzzle to IVlr Asquitn, and more than tiiat tney were an object lesson to English Churchmen that the cause they were fighting for in Wales would soon be the cause for which England would have to fight very soon (hear, hear). "It is no use," proceeded the Bishop, "coasting around what is really the main point in a discussion of this sort. At the back of all this there are, as well as the desire for promoting the work of the Church, other motives with which nono of us have got much sympathy, and I personally am not going to be any party at all to promoting a scheme which I have no hesitation in saying would be very detrimental to the diocese of St. Asaph and the Church in Wales as a whole" (loud applause). Mr P. P. PiiAiNANT, continuing we dis- cussion, said he thought Oswestry would lose considerably by the change. At present it ranked as a semi-cathedral town, but. it would be speedily overshadowed in a Shropshire dio- cese with Shrewsbury as the Cathedral city (hear, hear). ARCHDEACON THOMAS, at the outset, mentioned incidentally that he was in the fiftieth year of service in St. Asaph diocese (hear, hear). Much against his inclination, he favoured the inclusion of the Oswestry deanery in a new dioceije, because he felt it was a step in the direction of county bishoprics which was the ideal church organisation system to be aimed at The speaker gave a historical survey of the diocese from the time of the existence of Llanbadarn diocese (which practically included Powisland in central Wales), and said he thought that tho restoration of the old Llanbadarn see would result to the spiritual benefit of Wales. VICAR OF DENBIGH OPPOSES. Rev. T. REDFERN, vicar of Denbigh, strong- ly opposed the proposed change, and amongst many reasons he advanced for his opinion he pointed out that from a linguistic point of view the new scheme would be anything but satis- factory. It should not be forgotten that in tho Oswestry deanery there was a very strong Welsh element indeed, and a? evidence of that he need scarcely remind them that there were no less than four Welsh Dissenting o;apels all well equipped, with resident Welsh ministers apart from their own Welsh church, while with one exception-the Rev. C. Leslie Jones-all the clergy were Welshmen, who spoke the native lan- guage. It had bean argued that the change would result in the more efficient working of the deanery of Oswestry, but he did not think the deanery failed to compare favourably with the amount of work done in other deaneries of the diocese (applause). It had also been said that if the Bishop were to reside at Oswestry clergy would find it more convenient to see his lord- ship than they did at present. He had never experienced any material inconvenience under the present system, for Bishop Edwards willingly met them at Chester when necessary (applause). The REV. W. G. WALKER, of Knockin, who spoke in favour of the change,, said he thought the question of Disestablishment should be kept absolutely distinct when dealing with that ques- tion, for whatever happened, the English Church would always support her sister in Wales. The BISHOP: I don't infer that that would not be the case, but I don't want to make things easier for the politicians—helping them to do what we don't want them to do (loud ap- plause) ARCHDEACON WYNNE JONES said that at present the St. Aisaplh Diocese needed all the strength and energies she could command, and to deprive her of the support of the Oswestry Deanery at the present moment would be a calamity (applause). He thoroughly disapproved of the proposal, and hoped they ail would (hear, hear). The REV. THOMAS JONES, of Hope, a,nd the REV. E. J. EVANS, of Llandrilio-yn-Rhos, also spoke in opposition to the sdheme. The discussion then dropped,. OFFICIALS. The following were appointed as a committee to report upon the methods, of charitable assist- anoo, and the adiministratian of the Poor Law: —Clergy: the Rev. W. L. Nicholas (convener) the Rev. E. Bissett, the Rev. Evan Jones, and the Rev. H. Eaton Thomas. Archdeacon Thomas and Mr J. W. P. Storey were elected on the Standing Committee of the Church Congress. RETIREMENT OF THE CHANCELLOR AND ARCHDEACON THOMAS. Archdeacon Thomas and the Venerable Chan- cellor Trevor Owen announced to the manifest regret of the meeting, their intention to retire from their work ais seoretaries to the Confer- ence. On the motion of the BISHOP, who referred in grateful terms to the services rendered by botih gentlemen during their lengthy terms of offim a cordial vote of thanks was accorded to them. The Rev. T. Redfern. vicar of Oswestry, and Mr W. B. Yates were appointed to the vacant positions. The Conference terminated with a vote of thanks to the Bishop for presiding.

THE REV J. P. LEWIS AND THE…

IN AID OF DENBIGHSHIRE INFIRMARY.…

PENMAENMAWR ! URBAN DISTRICT…

MY AlNi

LORD COCHRANE'S MAJORITY

FOOTBALL. - a

NORTH WALES »tfEDNES.DA\C…

HOCKEY.

ROAD MAKING NEAR ST. ASAPH.