Evangelicals in the Church of Wales are calling for the appointment of a bishop to “give a voice” to those who believe in traditional Christian teaching on marriage and sexual morality.
The Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales (EFCW) consulted with its members after the governing body of the Anglican Church of Wales voted on September 6 to allow blessing services for same-sex couples.
In a statement released today, the EFCW said: “The bishops’ bench is currently speaking of a same spirit on this issue.
“However, it is clear from the distribution of the vote in the Board of Trustees that the bishops’ bench no longer properly represents the beliefs of all Church members in Wales.
“We are grateful to the bishops for their intention, which they have signaled, that a place will remain in the Church for those who hold to a traditional view.
“We therefore ask them to demonstrate this intention by appointing to the seat of Swansea and Brecon a bishop who represents the teaching of the majority of the Anglican Communion on sexuality.”
The EFCW also called for “clarity” on the operation of the “conscience clause” allowing traditionalist clergy to opt out of same-sex blessing services.
“It is obvious that this clause is already interpreted differently by different bishops, with some members of the clergy being told that the dissident clergy will not have to cede their church buildings for a blessing service,” the statement continued.
“Other bishops think they can exercise their prerogative to insist that a same-sex blessing service take place in any building in their diocese, regardless of the conscience of the local cleric.
“It requires clarity and consistency across the province,” he said.
The EFCW said it was grateful for the offers of practical help Welsh evangelicals have received from across the Anglican Communion and “other parts of the world church.”
“We take this very seriously as we seek to discern the best way to serve Christ faithfully in the nation of Wales. The Governing Body’s decision is deeply distressing for a significant number of Welsh Anglicans who now face difficult decisions as to where their future spiritual home is.
“There have been and there will be resignations from the clergy, lay readers, worship leaders, church keepers, Sunday school teachers and parishioners.
“A number have withdrawn their regular donations to their churches,” the statement said.
The EFCW also called on the bishops to assure Church members in Wales that they “will not present or support a proposal to introduce a bill for the introduction of same-sex marriage during the period. five-year trial of the experimental rite to bless a civil partnership or civil marriage “.
Christian Today has contacted the Church in Wales for comment.