An online meeting of the Church in Wales’s Governing Body has been abruptly halted and adjourned due to technical difficulties. The meeting, which began on Wednesday, was plagued by issues related to the electronic voting system. None of the votes cast during the session were deemed valid.
In response to the disruption, Most Rev John Davies, Archbishop of Wales, said:
"Adjourning this meeting is not a decision we have taken lightly but we feel we cannot continue until the technical problems have been solved by our provider. We are not confident that any of the votes that went through in the first session are reliable."
Davies added that they would look to reconvene the meeting later this year, possibly in November.
In his keynote address prior to the disruption, Archbishop John Davies said the pandemic had brought unexpected opportunities and that churches were emerging from the crisis with a fresh spirit and a “can do” attitude.
"You and I, and much of the world, might currently think of itself as emerging very slowly and with some hesitation, and with justifiable and abiding anxiety, from a dark exile, the exile caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," he added. "You do not need me to rehearse for you the radical and frightening components of that exile, but it will serve our purpose if I affirm that it has provided and continues to provide us, as a church, with unexpected opportunities to reflect upon our life and to it.
"There has been much talk in many quarters of a new normal, including within the church, and it affords us the chance to recognise what it might mean for us and to be excited by it. I might describe this as a happy accident, an unforeseen benefit of potential good emerging from a highly unpromising set of circumstances.”
Davies said that embracing digital ministry had increased pastoral reach and "enabled churches to be in touch with thousands of people".
“It would be naïve of anyone to believe that every hit upon every church website or Facebook page represents an individual participating from beginning to end of what is on offer, but it cannot be doubted that, in such ways, we have been in touch with thousands of people whom we might not otherwise encounter; we have touched their minds, hearts and lives, and in different ways we have revealed a church that is capable of walking alongside them, welcoming them and teaching them. This is newness and this must last.
"I really do have a growing sense that new things which we have hoped for, some of the impetus which we have lacked, have been forced upon us by present circumstances, and that far form lying down and allowing such circumstances to overwhelm us, we are emerging with a fresh spirit and a growing ‘can do’ conviction which is renewing, rather than a ‘no way’ one which simply leaves it being relentlessly repeated.
“For this I rejoice; and I commend wholeheartedly all who are contributing to the renewal. And, to the reluctant I urge just two things: please trust and please try.”