The Presiding Archbishop (Presiding Bishop) of The LCC
The Most Reverend Graham Sidney Wale
RIP: 4th December 1945 — 8th October 2018
A SHORT HISTORY OF GRAHAM WALE’S EARLY LIFE
“The Man before and behind the Episcopal Vestments”
A tribute ...
Graham Sidney Wale was born on the 4th December 1945, in Hammersmith, London, UK., only son of Sidney John Wale and Doris Winnifred Wale, née Richens.
Although he had said that his early years at school were of no interest to him, apart from a keen interest in historical subjects - he would have enjoyed being a professor of history - he was proud of having been accepted at Langley Grammar School. After leaving school, he then went on to college, where he studied to be a draughtsman. Thereafter he opted out of further studies and left to work as a draughtsman for an engineering firm in London.
In March 1968, at the age of 23, he married his first wife, Patricia Heycock. They had two sons, Jason John, born on the 12th March 1972 in London and Christopher Scott, born on the 15th October 1974, also in London.
In 1975, he took the opportunity to ask the company for which he was working, to transfer him to their British site in South Africa. The whole family then left the UK and emigrated to Pretoria, South Africa, where he took up the position of engineer.
A few years later he worked for the South African Nuclear Power Plantin Pellindaba, where he had to learn to work and speak in Afrikaans, one of the main South African official languages spoken at the Plant.
In the late 70s, he left the Nuclear Industry for a job in Project Management for a company specializing in Air Conditioning for large corporate buildings.
However, once again the whole family was on the move and returned to the UK, as his wife was unhappy and missed her family. Six months later, the family moved back to Pretoria, where Graham joined another engineering company specializing in air conditioning, as a Director. Graham’s parents also emigrated to Pretoria to be close to their only son and grandchildren.
A third son, James Phillip, was born on the 13th February 1981 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Through a colleague at work, Graham discovered and attended a “Training Seminar” on Self-Development and Personal Growth, called the “I Am” Training, developed in the USA in the sixties. His interest in the workshops piqued and a few weeks later, in December 1985, at age 40, Graham participated in his first “I Am” Training. He was so taken with the 5-day Workshop, that from then on he took part in virtually all further Training Workshops, first as a participant, then as an assistant - until he decided to become a Trainer himself for the Organization.
For four years, thereafter, he studied the principles of psychology, philosophy and human behavior, which were part of the Self-Development Trainings, whilst still working as a Director at his day job in Project Management.
In 1989, Graham left the original Training Group, as well as his “salaried” job of Director, and with a friend who had participated in the original Trainings, and was in the same frame of mind, he established and operated his own brand of Trainings. As well as the “mental” and “physical” aspects of Personal Growth, they created a “spiritual” aspect to balance out the whole human entity.
In 1991, the partnership ended and Graham was left on his own to continue developing further Trainings. He then started his own Personal Growth Company, “Foundation,” and with the assistance of another friend, Kylann Descy (who later became his second wife, and had herself participated in numerous Trainings since January 1986), he also developed a “Children’s Training.”
Graham also developed a Corporate Training on Self-Awareness and Personal Growth, tailored specifically to the personnel working in and for different companies.
His own company, however, folded a year later, as the participants were no longer prepared to pay for his knowledge and expertise, expecting that such knowledge should be provided free to all.
Graham continued to read voraciously works on philosophy and psychology, and some lighter reading too - much about Roman times ! His tastes and interests were eclectic - from Roman History, Viking History etc. to the History of the Templars, as well as all types of spiritual, religious (such as Zen Buddhism) and Darwinian writings - some of which were quite controversial! He was also very interested in Calligraphy - and had numerous books on the subject - and enjoyed cooking and reading up on recipes and so forth. He was broad-minded and open to different theories on all sorts of subjects from quantum physics to spirituality in all its forms.
Graham’s taste in music was also eclectic. At age 17, together with a few like-minded friends, he had formed a rock band and became the band’s drummer. Since then, he enjoyed listening to classical pieces, Church choirs, and became entranced by Gregorian chants. His enjoyment of Scottish bagpipes had led him also to join the Transvaal Scottish 2nd Battalionin Pretoria.
He also loved sport, especially rugby, which he had played in his younger days, (as well as soccer). He always tried to watch international rugby matches on the television over weekends, his Church work permitting.
In 1993, on Easter Sunday, feeling at a loose end, he attended the Eucharist at the Liberal Catholic Church in Pretoria. The Service was celebrated by Bishop Johannes Van Alphen. He had found the Church through a short advertisement (stating the times of Mass on Sundays) placed in one of the “new age” magazines, which had caught his eye and intrigued him a few months earlier.
Graham left the Church that day, feeling that he had, at last, found a Church that he could accept and believe in. Before then, he had consistently been searching for a “spiritual home”, one where he did not have to give something up or compromise ...
In August 1993, Graham and Patricia were divorced.
He continued to attend Church Services each Sunday and a few months later, he asked Bp Johannes to become a server. Bp Johannes made Graham wait a whole year before he was admitted as a server. A few months later he received the Minor Orders.
Graham and Kylann (herself divorced, with two children) were married in the Liberal Catholic Church in Pretoria on 22nd October 1994. Graham continued to attend the Eucharist every Sunday and also became Bp Johannes’ Church Secretary and assisted the Bishop in all matters clerical.
On 23rdJune 1996, Graham was priested by Bp Johannes and attended the Clerical Synod held in Sydney, Australia, where he took down the minutes of the various meetings. Back in Pretoria he continued to assist Bp Johannes with Church matters.
At the time, in order to make ends meet (as the clergy was not paid by the Church), Graham worked as a building supervisor, having taken over the job from his father who had retired and returned with his wife to the UK.
In February 1997, believing that it was his duty to look after his elderly parents, Graham and his wife left South Africa to live in the UK. It was very difficult to find work at his age (52 yrs) as British companies, at the time, only accepted younger personnel (the law against ageism was only introduced in 2006) and so Graham became a “funeral officiant” and conducted funeral services for various Funeral Directors and whoever required such a service, regardless of anyone’s faith or denomination. His wife worked as a secretary in various companies and over the last 10 years, also worked in the funeral business.
In June 2000, at the International Synod held in St Alban’s Cathedral, Great Britain, Bishop Johannes retired from his position as Presiding Bishop, and Bishop Ian Hooker, Regionary Bishop for the Province of Australia was elected as the new Presiding Bishop. Graham continued working for the Church as Secretary, under the new leadership of Bishop Ian Hooker.
On 15th April 2000, Graham was consecrated as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church at the Church of St Francis at Tekels Park, Camberley, UK., and adopted the Christian name of “James” to his name. Two years later, he was appointed Regionary Bishop for the Province of Great Britain and Ireland.
On 29th January 2005, Graham was elected Presiding Bishop (now known as Presiding Archbishop) for seven years and was enthroned at the Chapel of St Michel, at Paris, by Bp Christian Schoch, Regionary Bishop for France, Switzerland and Francophone Africa. He served the International Church faithfully and in 2012 was elected for another seven years, which, sadly, he did not complete by the end of his life in 2018.
In February 2013, he retired from his extracurricular work in the UK, and he and his wife settled in a property belonging to the French Church in the Sologne area, where he continued diligently with his Church work. He was happy there and loved all things French and threw himself with gay abandon at conversing in French wherever he could, saying : “Of course I understand ... I’m almost French” !
During the following years - until his death on 8th October 2018, aged 72 - Graham and his wife travelled to many of the countries where Liberal Catholic Parishes had been established, in order to meet, support, ordain and even consecrate members of the Church who had had no, or only little, contact with the various Church bodies controlling the Church as a whole. He brought people together and in closer fellowship.
During Graham’s short illness, his children and other members of his family visited him frequently, as did many of his friends, coming over from Bahrain, the UK, the USA and even from Australia. He also received numerous messages of love, prayers and support from his fellow-bishops and the International Community.
Graham will be remembered, not only as the Executive Head of the Liberal Catholic Church, and his deep, abiding and unshakable faith, but as a man who was always accessible, who was modest (almost to the point of shyness), deprecating, generous of spirit, kind and compassionate. His sense of humor (his very English humor) was legendary and endeared him to all who knew him.
Hereunder is a poem by David Harkens, found in a little notebook, written in Graham’s own hand ....and which was read out during Graham’s Requiem Mass.
HE IS GONE
You can shed tears that he is gone;
Or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray
that he will come back;
Or you can open your eyes and see all
that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because
you cannot see him;
Or you can be full of the love
You can turn your back on
tomorrow and live yesterday;
Or you can be happy for
tomorrow because of yesterday !
You can remember him and
only that he is gone:
Or you can cherish his memory
and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind
be empty and turn your back;
Or you can de what he would want;
Smile, open your eyes, love
and go on.
Bishop Wale was raised to the Episcopate on 15th April 2000 at the Church of St Francis of Assisi, The LCC, Tekels Park, England.
The Presiding Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church is elected every seven years by the Bishops of the world-wide Episcopal Synod of The Liberal Catholic Church, and Bishop Wale has been twice elected to the position. Bp. Wale held the Office of Presiding Archbishop in direct and Canonical descent from the Rt. Rev. James Ingall Wedgwood, the Founding Bishop of The Liberal Catholic Church.
The photograph at left was taken during the February 2016 Centennial Celebration of The Liberal Catholic Church held at The Liberal Catholic Church of Our Lady and All Angels, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, U.S.A.
The General Episcopal Synod has completed its election of a new Presiding Archbishop. Results of that election will be announced December 11.
Note: The English title "Presiding Bishop" has presented language translation difficulties and problems in the many non-English speaking countries where The Liberal Catholic Church is established. The General Episcopal Synod unanimously voted during the 2016 General Episcopal Synod to change the titles of the Presiding Bishop and the Regionary Bishop in non-English speaking countries to the translation which best represents "Archbishop Primate." In English-speaking countries, the title of "Presiding Archbishop" was approved. Further, the "Regionary Bishop" is now known as Archbishop of [Province].