Comments: Church in Wales Governing Body meets in Llandudno

While I, like, I am sure, many others, welcome the Archbishop of Wales address he commits the same error as all the other well meaning Bishops. There is no 'risk ' that the Church will be seen as homophobic because it 'is' seen as homophobic. Indeed by any measure the Chuch is homophobic because it fears and often hates lgbt people. The very use of words such as 'welcome' indicates that we are regarded as 'other', outside and not already in there and recognised as being an integral part of the Church. There can be no real advance until people like the Archbishop recognise our rightful presence within the Church now, the significant contribution we make to its prosperity and well being and that our membership of the body of Christ is not provisional or dependent on conversations, pastoral letters or synods but is a fact of life.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 25 April 2014 at 9:00pm BST

I am sad Richard has interpreted +Barry's message in the way he has, as that was not as it was presented in reality. Being part of one of the discussion groups, the rightful presence of LGBT people, as was all people, was recognised and valued as Christ's continuing disciples! I took from the discussion that the CinW will not be subjecting LGBT people to the same discrimination as the C of E has decided upon.

Posted by Fr. J at Friday, 25 April 2014 at 10:49pm BST

Fr. J's comment on this thread is re-assuring - especially to those of us who accept that the Church has, in the past, rejected any open acceptance of homosexuals as fellow children of God in the Body of Christ - or if it has, it has tolerated them, but on the basis of being 'more sinful' than the rest.

The Archbishop in Wales is at least ready to admit the failure of the Church, and advocates a positive outlook for the future. God bless his initiative!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 8:25am BST

Fr. J brings good news of the Governing Body.
Perhaps the idea that we were not just people but that we were in the room and had been faithful lay, deacons, priests and bishops from the begining and that we could be engaged with rather than talked about, just might have helped a little for those who were not part of the discussions?
Then of course there is the fact that two of the liberal leaning bishops at the gathering had been key players in the Lambeth Commision and the Windsor Report, that might help colour how those presently far away might judge the proceedings, don't you think?
Then there were the matters we discussed on earlier threads. Simon has mentioned them above.
I am very uncomfortable being bundled with divorcees by liberals as I am when conservatives see us akin to alcoholics.

Putting aside all these things for the moment, what I find important about this address is the fact that when he says the Church as a whole must decide about this he is talking about the Church in Wales.
There is no reference to the Anglican Communion, nor a mention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in the context of what I referenced earlier about his major role in Communion affairs this needs to be noted.

And while the threats against clergy marrying and the refusal to allow the blessings of marriage may seem less hostile than England, they are still in place.

My own hope is that something spontaneous might emerge here.
In the rather mixed recent history of TEC and gay matters the one outstanding decision they took when they were being mightily squeezed was to announce a moratorium on the consecration of ALL bishops - not just the gay partnered ones!
It was masterful and Christian.

My feeling is that if I were still a parish priest I would be withdrawing from blessing all marriages now.

Finally, and as a testimony to the internal collapse of the whole Anglican Church project I ask Mark Brunson to follow the URL below. You just couldn't make this up ..
Go here
Click on England
Several others are amusing too ......
I know TA doesn't have pictures, except when it does, but this does deserve to be preserved somewhere!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 9:50am BST

Excellent. Have saved a screengrab of the England page at

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 10:01am BST

"I took from the discussion that the CinW will not be subjecting LGBT people to the same discrimination as the C of E has decided upon."

Oh, so LGBT people can marry on CinW churches? That's going to spark a rush to Wrexham. Oh, they can' in fact the CinW is subjecting LGBT people to _precisely_ the same discrimination as the CofE has decided upon.

This is all nonsense. Churches are behaving as though homosexuality was invented in two thousand and thirteen, to paraphrase the bard of Hull. Do churches discriminate against LGBT people? Yes, they do. Have they done so since time immemorial? Yes, they have. When offered the chance to back off on the discrimination a bit, did they in fact seize the chance to continue it? Yes, with a tiny number of exceptions. When asked their opinion of society at large reducing the level of discrimination, did they campaign noisily and enthusiastically against it? Yes, they did.

The question is not what vague intentions churches have about stopping behaving nastily towards LGBT at some time in the future. The question is how they behave today. And in that regard, the CinW is indistinguishable from the CoE or the CoS: they have a choice in law as to how to behave, and they've chosen the most discriminatory option. They could opt to change that tomorrow. They won't. Words are worthless, actions are what counts.

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 1:04pm BST

I attended the Governing Body as a visitor for a day. It amazes me how the Church in Wales has changed from a quiet conservative almost monochrome anglo-Catholic denomination into a radical liberal protestant one in vestments.

It was summed up from an ecumenical visitor who spoke... he roughly said:

"You are now nice to gays, nice to women and now nice to nonconformists.. I must warn the bench of bishops that they may be sleepwalking into Christianity.

There was rapturous applause and laughter.

The Church in Wales took further steps to reconcile with nonconformist churches and the debate on food banks was admirable.

Posted by robert ian williams at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 4:35pm BST

I thought 'Thinking Anglicans' consisted of people who were concerned with inclusion and an appreciation that certain legislation is established without consultation with the church. The Church in Wales had the recent legislation with regard to marriage imposed and I believe without agreement. The Archbishop is attempting to address this matter by finding our what is the mind of the Church, as had happened with the Govt's recent consultation with regard to whether civil partnerships should be abolished, which very few people seem to know about! Which I have to say the Church in Wales provided a far better representation on behalf of the LGBT community. Having been at the GB, I do not recognise Robert's assessment of what actually happened. Sorry Robert, I cannot see that you witnessed the same meeting that you have reported. Maybe something to do with the issue of Episcopate and women? Just a thought!

Posted by Fr. Jon at Saturday, 26 April 2014 at 10:02pm BST

This liberal leaning blog is read by many worldwide and only a diverse few comment representing a wide spectrum of views!

The Church in Wales did make a response to the Equal Marriage consultations. Rather a poor one as I remember, we discussed it here. A step too far or some such, unnecessary as gays got it all with CPs, that sort of thing ....
Subsequently there was a whole raft of meetings between representatives of the CinW and ministers and those drafting the legislation.
Contrary to what you say Fr. Jon the unique provision introduced into law by the government for the Church in Wales was exactly what the CinW requested.
It is good to know you value the response to the government consultation on CPs, can you provide a URL? My sorrow was Barry failed to see the value of allowing CPs on religious premises and would not support that freedom for other religious groups until the week before the government announced its intention to amend legislation to give access to religious premises. The most I can make of that is ... Better late than never ...
I was sad to hear Robert Ian Williams gave a report you don't recognise ...... Robert's account was encouraging! Coming from a conservative Roman Catholic observer, a theologian and historian one would usually give Robert's view some credit. Can you detail where he is wrong in fact, Fr Jon?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 27 April 2014 at 9:33am BST

I think it is not correct to say that the legislation with regard to marriage was imposed on the Church in Wales without its agreement. The legislation places no burdens on the Church in Wales whatever as they are excluded from marrying same sex couples as per their wish and express request.

Should the Governing Body believe that they should be allowed to conduct such marriages there is a legal mechanism set out in section 8 for them to do so which seems fairly straightforwards.

Again the Church in Wales indicated they were content with section 8, only requesting that section 8(2) use the word must instead of the more usual may which request was acceded to as is seen in the wording of the legislation.

I would only say in passing that the Church in Wales gave a very fine presentation of themselves in the committee stage of the Bill with real warmth, humour and humanity which not all church representations managed.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Sunday, 27 April 2014 at 12:17pm BST

Craig refers to an entertaining performance from the bishop of Swansea & Brecon. He is sadly correct, some of the performances from Christians before that Committee were lamentable.

It's also worth noting that the CinW is ill prepared to deal with responses to legislation that deserves its attention. It's staff at Cathedral Road in Cardiff are just not resourced to respond appropriately when a Bill is proposed.

I see that someone has been doing overtime and fixed the entry for Canterbury mentioned above.
It's worth reflecting that the ACO, Lambeth Palace and Church House have communications teams who are all focused around the ABC. It's sad that this has gone unchecked in over a year for many reasons but let me venture just a couple.
Surely information on your principal is of A++ importance and a first responsibility is to see that s/he is accurately presented. Secondly, nobody noticed for over a year. What is that saying not just about the staff, but the CofE and wider Communion?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 27 April 2014 at 3:37pm BST

Thanks Martin... I stand by my account.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 28 April 2014 at 7:35am BST

It would indeed be great if the Church in Wales were as truly inclusive as it claims to be. But you can't expect us to take an Archbishop seriously when his pro-gay media grandstanding is contradicted by his behaviour towards gay clergy and lay people behind the scenes. Nor can we take it seriously when the Archdeacon of Llandaff declares that people who cannot agree with her theology on women in the ordained ministry have no place in the Church in Wales. As the saintly Welsh Bishop, John D Davies, recently wrote, if there's no room for my detractors in the kingdom of God, I want no part in it. Inclusivity is more costly than we would like and if the people at the top don't understand this, it doesn't bode well for the rest of us.

Posted by James at Monday, 28 April 2014 at 11:02am BST

James, Barry is not completely an evil two faced monster!
In his own way he is urbane and charming and as genuine as he thinks circumstances allow.

But I think you misread Peggy the archdeacon.
As I understand her she wants an ABSOLUTE ring fence for those who are presently left with a Church that practices what they do not believe. But that this absolute protection should be of a individual, not a group, and that the absolute protection should not apply to anyone confirmed now.
That does not mean however that anyone confirmed now MUST believe women can be in orders or that holding such a view would preclude them from ordination.
Her view then, more nuanced than I think you represent

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 28 April 2014 at 8:51pm BST

Sorry if I've touched a nerve, Martin, but I'm just thinking of the day I met up with the late Jim Cotter, back in 2008, when Barry Morgan had written him a stiff legally-worded letter, threatening to take him to a disciplinary tribunal after he had blessed a civil partnership in Aberdaron. The letter was neither urbane nor charming.

Posted by James at Tuesday, 29 April 2014 at 9:19pm BST

I was deeply sad to hear from Richard Kirker that Jim had died.
So many were helped by him in prayer and adoration.
No nerves touched, James. I remember the letter well.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 29 April 2014 at 11:53pm BST
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