Bishop Andy Lines responds to Welsh Bishops' step towards same sex marriage
Just two weeks ago, members of the Church’s Governing Body agreed with the bishops that the current situation of no formal provision for same-sex couples to marry was “pastorally unsustainable”. They voted with a clear majority in favour of the bishops looking at new approaches which could be brought back for approval at a later date. 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.
In response, the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church of Wales has issued a statement, apologising for the way in which they have lacked pastoral support for members who are ‘same-sex attracted’, confirming their stand on the Bible’s definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and committing “to doing all that we can in our teaching, personal actions and church communities to ensure that the two gifts of marriage and singleness are equally affirmed and supported as good ways of life in which all people can flourish as the fully authentic selves God has created them to be.”
Bishop Andy Lines, Gafcon’s Missionary Bishop in Europe has issued a statement on the Governing Body’s decision:
Gafcon UK welcomes the recent statement by the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church in Wales, which gives a pastorally sensitive and doctrinally clear summary of the biblically orthodox position on the issue of same sex relationships.
EFCW is absolutely correct to warn of the serious implications of the Welsh Bishops’ plan to push ahead with sanctioning services of blessing for same sex relationships. Such a move rejects the unambiguous teaching of the bible on God’s guidelines for human flourishing, and will indeed “lead to impaired communion with our Anglican brothers and sisters in the majority world”.
It is a serious matter when faithful Anglicans conclude that their own Bishops are departing from their commitment to promote and defend the apostolic deposit of doctrine and ethics. We will stand with EFCW and those Anglicans in Wales who take a similar view, praying for them as they consider the next step, and we urge all orthodox Anglicans around the world to do the same.