|Archbishop Barry Morgan|
So said the bench of bishops at the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in April 2016 when they introduced their 'Pastoral Letter to all the faithful concerning gay and lesbian Christians'. It was the precursor to the dangerously absurd conclusions Dr Morgan advanced in his final Presidential address in September when he claimed that ‘Biblical stories can reveal a new understanding of same-sex relationships’.
In February 2015 Christian Today reported that Jayne Ozanne, a founder member of the Archbishops' Council in the Church of England (CofE) and one of the CofE's most influential evangelicals had come out as gay. Formerly from the orthodox wing of the Church she held strictly conservative views on sexuality but Ms Ozanne came out after 'falling madly in love' and starting a relationship with a another woman. (Video interview here).
A 'LGBT activist', Ms Ozanne commissioned a YouGov poll which purported to show that 45 per cent of Anglicans (of over 1500 surveyed) believe that same-sex marriage is right, while 37 per cent believe it is wrong. Ms Ozanne and others "hailed this result as indicative of a shift in public opinion, as compared to a YouGov survey three years ago. At that time, 38 per cent of Anglicans said they supported same-sex 'marriage', while 47 per cent said they believed it was wrong".
A priest in the Church of England and consultant statistician, the Rev Peter Ould, questioned the way that the results of the poll were represented and has given a detailed account of how the findings are the opposite of those claimed by Ms Ozanne and her supporters.
His analysis of the figures indicate that Church of England is regarded as welcoming by a margin of 7:1. A majority of C of E members also said that the church was welcoming to the LGBT community by a margin of two and a half to one. For unclassified Christians the majority was 2:1. Only those of 'no religion' took a negative view. Read what Peter Ould had to say about the poll on Facebook (here) and listen to his explanation on Periscope TV (here). You can also find him on Twitter.
Rather than apologising to gay and lesbian people for the alleged "persecution and mistreatment they have endured at the hands of the Church", on this evidence the bishops should have congratulated members of the Church for providing a safe place for all gay and lesbian people. The new analysis helps to explain the number of gay and lesbian people among the clergy and the laity.
We have been deceived. For too long we have been cowed by false assertions for fear of being thought uncharitable while pressure groups use every tactic to get their own way. Deceit has been used to damn the faithful and change the Anglican Church into a pale shadow of her former glory, often by trendy bishops who have taken the lead in this shameful process. One has to wonder what is in it for them. Cheap popularity or the hope of 'respectability' for those in the closet?
At last in the Church in Wales there are signs that people have had enough. The bench have not had their way on same sex marriage and at their last meeting the Governing Body refused simply to 'take note' of the relentless decline resulting in less than 1% of the population regularly attending church each Sunday. They passed this revised motion:
That the Governing Body
(i) Do take note of this Report with a heavy heart; and
(ii) Request that the Standing Committee, as a matter of urgency, identify the minority of parishes which are growing, investigate the factors behind this, and suggest what we might learn and implement from this good practice.
As an example of the blind attempting to lead the formerly blind, the Ass Bishop of Llandaff claimed that "much more was happening than could be recorded by statistics. We are beating ourselves up and I am sorry about that. There’s a lot going on – God does not depend on our contribution to thrive. We need to joyfully let down the nets and go fishing at His command." He and the Archdeacon of Llandaff were appointed by Dr Morgan from outside the Province to advance Dr Morgan's political objectives at the expense of the church and many faithful worshippers. He should go fishing and take the like minded with him.