Weeks after the Church of Wales voted to allow same-sex blessing, a group of evangelists decided that the move “would afflict the heart of God.”
The Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales (EFCW) took some time to respond to the two-thirds majority decision made earlier this month by the governing body of the Church of Wales of allow the blessing of same-sex unions on an experimental basis for five years.
In a statement released this week, he accuses the church of challenging “the apostolic faith as revealed in the scriptures” and goes on to say, “The only biblical context for sexual activity is heterosexual marriage.”
The statement goes on to say that while it acknowledges that the church may have been hurtful and insensitive to LGBT + people in the past, it believes that welcoming same-sex couples should depend on their remaining single.
He accuses the Church of changing the doctrine on marriage and of dishonoring “those who, believing that Scripture teaches that sexual activity is limited to heterosexual marriage, have chosen to remain celibate.”
The statement continued: “This decision has damaged the Church’s relations in Wales with the majority of the provinces of the Anglican World Communion, which remain committed to an orthodox understanding of human sexuality.
“Likewise, for many members of the EFCW, the decision has also altered our relationships with our bishops and our relationships with clerics who choose to perform such blessings. This decision brought disunity in the Church of God. Such disunity is a serious and serious matter which saddens the heart of God. “
The fraternity warns that a significant number of Welsh Anglicans, including participants, Sunday school teachers and clergy have already resigned, or will resign, as a result of the decision and is calling for the appointment of a new bishop who will offer “protection and care” to those who refuse to bless same-sex couples because of their “understanding of the doctrine of marriage as being only between a man and a woman”.
Despite the EFCW’s vehement rejection of the decision, LGBTQ + activists and others within the church said the Church of Wales had done the right thing.
Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, told The Guardian the result is a “huge step forward for the church and for all of us in Wales”.
He continued, “I think the bishops are hopeful that during these five years we will be able to reach consensus on same-sex marriage. And when it comes to deciding whether or not to continue with the blessing service, perhaps the church will be able to be bold enough to take one more step towards the inclusion of gays and lesbians.
Jayne Ozanne, an LGBT + equality activist in the Church of England, said she was delighted with the vote, adding: “I long for the day when the Church of England has the courage to take the same step.
The C of E does not recognize same-sex marriages, prohibits clergy from blessing same-sex unions, and insists that gay and lesbian clergy must be celibate. The Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex couples to marry in church in 2017.
Ozanne continued, “If we want all of those entrusted to us to prosper and prosper, and our churches to grow, we must learn to embrace diversity and be known as people who practice what we preach. Love is love, and where it is between two adults, it is something to be celebrated and blessed. “