|Cake decorations at a gay wedding. Photograph: Hector Mato/AFP/Getty|
The above illustration appeared in The Guardian in 2006 under the heading "Gay marriage could improve health". Actually the article was more about civil partnerships which many applauded as a victory for natural justice. But a connection with same sex marriage (SSM) was being made as though there were little difference between them which is reminiscent of the position taken by those who pressed for the ordination of women.
It was argued that the difference between a deacon and a priest was small, merely saying a few words at the Altar with the authority to pronounce absolution as though neither had any great significance. After the ordination of women to the priesthood was accepted it was argued that if a woman could be a priest it was discriminatory to deny a woman priest the right to become a bishop. The fact that the Anglican Church had no such authority within the Apostolic Church was ignored because Provinces could take authority for themselves under their own constitutions while still professing to be part of the Apostolic Church in their Creed.
Publishing the Agenda for this month's meeting of the Church in Wales' Governing Body a Provincial press release includes this surprise statement under "Other items on the agenda include":
'A report on same-sex marriage consultations which took place in each diocese this year, followed by a plenary debate. Please note: no decision on whether the Church in Wales will change its law to allow same-sex marriage (SSM) will be taken at this meeting – it is debate only.' [My emphasis - Ed.]
[29.] The Committee was informed that, following the group discussions at the April 2014
Governing Body meeting and work carried out by the Standing Doctrinal Commission,
the Bench had consulted dioceses on three possible options for the way in which the
Church should relate to same sex partnerships in future:
1. No change to the Church’s current teaching and practice on marriage and
2. To allow same sex unions to be blessed in the Church in Wales;
3. To allow same sex couples to marry in the Church in Wales.
[30.] The Committee received a report from the Bench summarising the results of the
consultation with dioceses. The Bench proposed that the results be circulated to
Governing Body members for this meeting when the Governing Body would itself be
invited to discuss the three options. There would be no motion for debate but, at the
end of the discussion, members would be invited to indicate in a secret ballot their
preferred option (and, if they so wished, their second preference). The results would be
announced at the meeting, and would then be considered by the Bishops at a subsequent
Bench meeting. The Bench would report back to the Standing Committee on its
proposed way forward in the light of the consultation. The Committee endorsed the
approach proposed by the Bench. [My emphasis - Ed.]
Readers may wonder why the report from the Bench summarising the results of the consultation with dioceses has not been made public. One would think they are of no concern to the Church members whose views are summarised. The implication is that the results were unacceptable to the Archbishop but by proposing that the results be circulated to Governing Body members to discuss the three options the Bench is likely to receive their desired result from like minded supporters despite the wishes of the Church in general.
Designed to show which way the wind is blowing, what is there to prevent one of Barry's acolytes proposing that a vote be taken? This is what happened when the devious Jackson/Wigley amendment scuppered any meaningful provision for Church in Wales Anglicans who have remained loyal to the Apostolic faith of the Holy Catholic Church. The bishops dropped their own proposals when they saw the wind was in their favour. Sadly the rest is history with the faithful struggling on the best they can supporting a Province which does not support them. But as long as the money rolls in who cares? Certainly not the bench of bishops.
So more skulduggery as witnessed in the deceitful Code of Practice manoeuvres to complete +Barry's secular agenda? In this video the Archbishop refers to the Bench's two stage legislation which was supposed to make provision for those who are opposed to women bishops but abandoned after the the first part was accepted. Unscrupulous, devious and cunning it seems that nothing will deter Dr Morgan from achieving his secular objectives even if his policies destroy the Church in Wales in the process.
Little surprise, then, that members have become disillusioned giving rise to this comment which appeared in the Conclusion (Section 1) of the note after the Diocese of St Asaph's SSM deliberations:
"Clear support of traditional teaching
There is a clear group of about 19% of the respondents who reject any change in marriage doctrine and not only oppose the blessing of same sex unions, object to the unions themselves. Comments indicate that they do want change – but this is a significant change in the teaching and practice of the church to reinforce the traditional theology of marriage in preaching, teaching and pastoral practice. They state that the Bible is clear and so the church should be clear.
They fear that many will leave the church if any change in doctrine or practice is made.
In this reading Option 1 is a change option. Comments indicate a distrust of the leadership and membership of Church in Wales. They fear that society’s values are already ruling over biblical values. The call in the comments is for commitment to this option from all, at every level of the church, but especially in leadership. Comments speak of the surprise they feel that the Bishops seek to even ask the question when the Bible is so clear. For them there are no Options, only one Option – to be faithful
There are within the comments calls for celibacy of homosexual persons. One comment speaks the most loving response being to be firm and state that homosexuality is wrong. Comments suggest that Option 1 is the pastoral option. Comments said that blessing that which is condemned in the Bible is sinful and misleading."
It is not surprising then that the latest attendance figures for 2014 show another 2% fall on the previous year along with a 11% Electoral Roll fall, a 15% fall in Confirmations and a 7% fall in Baptisms. Regular income is also down for the sixth successive year. The Report indicates that "regular giving is coming under increasing pressure as general attendance continues to fall and fewer members are required to meet the financial demands of parishes".