Thinking Anglicans

Church in Wales to explore formal provision for same-sex couples

Press release

The Bishops of the Church in Wales have been given the go-ahead to explore formal provision for same-sex couples in church.

Members of the Church’s Governing Body agreed with the bishops that the current situation of no formal provision was “pastorally unsustainable”. They voted with a clear majority in favour of the bishops looking at new approaches which could be brought back to the Governing Body for approval at a later date.

The private ballot followed a presentation to the meeting from the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange, on the process that church went through before it decided to accept same-sex marriage. There was then a question session with Bishop Mark and an open discussion on the bishops’ request.

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, said, “The bishops are united in the belief that it is pastorally unsustainable and unjust for the Church to continue to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships. Although today’s outcome does not change the present doctrine or practice of the Church in Wales on marriage, I am pleased that it provides an important steer to the bishops in exercising our ministry of pastoral care and spiritual leadership.”

Background paper signed by the Archbishop of Wales

An extract from this: 

…It is now some three years since the Governing Body last considered matters of same gender relationships. In the light of a change in the practice of our sister Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Bishops have invited the Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, to outline for us the process which his church adopted: in making that change; and in seeking to care pastorally and provide for those who find themselves on opposing sides of the debate surrounding same gender relationships.  As Archbishop, I was privileged to hear Bishop Mark speak about that process at the October 2017 meeting of Anglican Primates in Canterbury.  Both at the Celtics Bishops’ meeting and the Primates meeting the issue of same-gender relationships itself was not the focus of discussion. That focus was very clearly and very firmly upon the development of the process enabling those who felt it to be right for the Bishops to lead in a particular direction to be provided for whilst, at the same time, ensuring that those who felt that it was wrong to move in that direction were also provided for.

The Bishops of the Church in Wales believe that it is pastorally unsustainable and unjust for the Church to continue to make no formal provision for those in committed same-gender relationships. We are keenly aware of the deep desire on the part of some for us to lead in a particular and very definite direction, but we are also equally aware of others for whom that would be deeply and profoundly disturbing for us to do so. 

As part of discharging our responsibility to lead the whole church in ways that are just, compassionate and caring, seeking to ensure that none suffers through our neglect, we have invited Bishop Mark to come and address the Governing Body about the process developed and adopted in Scotland. He will first address the Governing Body and, after lunch (during which informal discussion among members can take place), he will answer questions about that process and the current situation in Scotland. Bishop Mark will not debate the rightness or otherwise of same gender relationships, those relationships being blessed, or same-gender marriages being solemnised, but all comments from members will be noted.

In the light of what takes place, members of Governing Body will then be asked to indicate whether they would support the Bishops in undertaking further work on the subject of same-gender relationships and how the Church in Wales could or should provide for them.  The Governing Body will participate in a private ballot, in which members will be asked to agree or not with the statement: “It is pastorally unsustainable for the Church to make no formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.”

This is not a motion.  It will bind neither the Bench of Bishops nor the wider Church in Wales.  It will not change the doctrine and practice of the Church in Wales on marriage.  However, it will provide an important steer for the Bench in determining where to go next in exercising their ministry of leadership and pastoral care. 

 

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James Pitkin
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James Pitkin

Thank God for some progress…

Christopher Rees
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Christopher Rees

I hope the Bishops will bring a bill opening marriage to same-sex couples. It may however fail (about 40 members didn’t vote) but I think it’s worth going for.

Revd Father John Harris-White
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Revd Father John Harris-White

I pray that the Province of Wales may follow those of us in the Scottish Province, and bring love and the light of the Gospel to those who seek to live their lives together in Holy Matrimony, regardless of sexuality.

fR John Emlyn

PaulWaddington
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PaulWaddington

It looks as if the Church in Wales can look forward to further rapid decline.

Kate
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Kate

The progress in Wales is glacial but they still are much faster than CofE

Andrew Bostock
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Andrew Bostock

One would hope, that Primus Mark in his presentation/question & answer session with the Church in Wales, explained that due to Canon 31 being voted for at Synod (but with concerns in both Houses of Clergy & Lay and throughout the membership of SEC), that a rural church in Harris & a large urban church in Edinburgh have left the SEC. Possibly more to follow. The Primus has not made a statement on the above to us, his Charge. There are other troubling signs in the SEC. Paramount is the overt Anglicanisation of our Church by the appointments/promotions of so… Read more »

Kennedy Fraser
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Kennedy Fraser

Given that last two bishops elected (Brechin and St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane) are both Scots, I believe, then I don’t quite see the overt Anglicanisation of the SEC of which you speak.

James MacDonald
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James MacDonald

Having two out of the seven bishops as Scots is certainly a welcome development, however in the real world most of the ordinary clergy apppointed are from the Church of England and they are woefully ignorant of the rites and practices of this ancient and noble Scottish Episcopal Church. The failings are that there is no attempt by the Bishops to ascertain before appointment to a charge that the candidate fully understands and commits to the nature of the S.E.C. This because the Bishops themselves are from the C.O.E. It is no accident that throughout the Highlands the S.E.C is… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

Justice of all kinds is a Gospel imperative, not a personal agenda.

Andrew Bostock
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Andrew Bostock

It appears that Kennedy Fraser has confused ‘nationality’ with ‘denomination’ – certainly Mr MacDonald has not! Four specific examples, of ‘Anglican’ being used instead of ‘Scottish Episcopal/ian’: 1 On a Church website it states “The Scottish Episcopal Church is the Anglican Church in Scotland, in full communion with the Church of England and the other Churches within the Anglican family.” CORRECTION: The Scottish Episcopal Church is in full Communion with the Anglican Communion. In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

Your strange aversion to the term “Anglican” seems to be at the root of the issue here. The SEC is part of the Anglican Communion and has been from the Communion’s inception. It is a province of the Anglican Communion, though with a distinct and valuable heritage that sets it apart from those churches that grew out of English missionary activity. Deriding the SEC as “the English Kirk” has little to do with the current college of Bishops as the term has been in use long before that, probably dating to the qualified chapels which, whether you will it or… Read more »

James MacDonald
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James MacDonald

It is often times good to read the history of a thing to understand what it is that irks, the S.E.C through its ordination of the American Bishops became the progenitor the whole so-called Communion. The Bishops in that upper room promised to abide by and adopt the Scottish rite and do so to this day. In principle I have no issue with clergy comming from the C.O.E., diversity is often refreshing, but it is the frequent arrogant dismissal of the nature of the church and people the have come to serve. This high-handed attitude is based on this mistaken… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Perhaps there arent enough home grown Scottish clergy? And how many SEC priests have moved to England or elsewhere?

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

Well, as long as we’re off topic and have moved from Wales to Scotland and the whole “Episcopal” vs. “Anglican” issue, a couple of two-cents worth from an American point of view. There’s an informational aspect here. I live in Los Angeles, where many churches have Anglicans who have moved here from various U.K. provinces, various Central American and Caribbean provinces, various African provinces, and various Asian provinces. While they know what “Anglican” is, many don’t know what “Episcopal” is and take a bit of time realize that, in the U.S., they are the same thing. To make life easier… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

In Canada too, there is constant discussion on use of “Episcopal” vs “Anglican”. In Quebec, many think of l’église anglicane as <>, and avoid it because of its associations with the English oppressors. (Of course, there are also those francophones who enroll their children in Anglican Sunday School so that they can learn English). L’église episcopale is also familiar to Haitian immigrants. Throughout Canada, the word “Episcopal” on signs can indicate to American visitors and Filipino immigrants our links to TEC and PEC, and gives cues to Canadian snowbirds to look for TEC churches down south, rather than churches of… Read more »