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Monday, 21 September 2015

Lowlights September 2015

The Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales  

Last week the Governing Body of the Church in Wales spent Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday talking about things which mattered to them. Based on the time devoted to each subject the most important was same sex marriage (SSM) and among the least, the survival of the Church in Wales (CinW) indicated again by the continuing downward spiral in membership.

The Bench employed the same insidious tactics as they had used to admit women to the Episcopate when they deviously planned to make no provision for members who had theological objections to the proposal. No love there! The bishops did not participate in the debate but their acolytes spoke for them, trying to persuade voters to give their Archbishop the votes he needed to drive through his secular SSM policy. To their shame, three bishops voted in favour of same sex marriage ignoring scripture and tradition. - "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." 

The reasons given in favour of SSM which appear in Highlights had nothing at all to do with faith which illustrates why the CinW finds herself in the mess she is in, a position neatly summed up by one speaker from Llandaff diocese who said "Living in a post-modern world, we kick God into touch. In danger of bowing to external pressure we choose between pleasing God and pleasing people", something I hope the Bench took due note of when they consider the way forward.

The Standing Doctrinal Commission Report put it this way in Para 76:

"Our friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues number amongst
those who experience same-sex attraction. There is a strong appeal in the
argument that we must adjust the Church’s view to ensure their happiness.
Western society is increasingly hostile to those who question the goodness or
rightness of same-sex relationships: this provides a powerful motive to secure
our own good name by conforming to the majority opinion of our
contemporaries. Is same-sex marriage just another ethical issue on which
Christians can agree to disagree? Is this debate leading us to change our
teaching and discipline in order to ensure personal fulfilment for our
neighbours and avoid social disapproval for ourselves? Scripture and the
consistent teaching of the Church over twenty centuries compel many to view
the debate in terms of a choice between obedience to God or conformity to
the world, a touchstone of authentic Christian life; and “We must obey God
rather than men” (Acts 5.29). Would such radical obedience damage our
witness to our society? A Church with an unpopular message certainly faces a
challenge: but a Church which evades the challenge of obedience will have
no life-changing message at all. Article 20 of the 39 Articles puts the issue
succinctly: “it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to
God’s Word written.” Yet that is precisely what we would be doing, if the
Church were to presume to pronounce a blessing on same-sex marriages, or
even on more broadly-defined partnerships of a similar nature."

The bishops have shown themselves to be out of touch with Church membership as are many of the clergy and lay members of GB who appear simply to do their bishops' bidding, presumably believing that the bishops know best when the truth is that they had no business bringing forward another Church splitting, un-Christian, secular policy. 

"Suffer me not to be separated from thee,
From the malignant enemy defend me."

See also "The Church in Wales steps back from Same-Sex Marriage"
A report for Anglican Mainstream by Ven Dr Will Strange, Archdeacon of Cardigan here.


  1. Why are all the Bishops dressing like Jeremy Cirbyn?

  2. Perhaps the bishops know that they have been taken to the cleaners.