Evangelists accuse Church in Wales of making God sad by blessing same-sex couples
An Evangelist group has condemned the Church of Wales for deciding to bless same-sex unions, accusing it of upsetting God.
On 6 September, the Church in Wales voted in favour of allowing blessings for same-sex unions “experimentally” for the next five years.
It has taken the Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales (EFCW) three weeks to respond to the decision, and in a statement published Monday (27 September), it accuses the church of defying “the apostolic faith as revealed in scripture.”
In its statement, the EFCW said it recognises that the church has been “insensitive and even hurtful” to LGBT+ people in the past and that believes the church should welcome LGBT+ people – as long as they don’t have sex.
“The only biblical context for sexual activity is heterosexual marriage,” it wrote, accusing the church of dishonouring “those who, persuaded that Scripture teaches that sexual activity is restricted to heterosexual marriage, have chosen to remain celibate”.
The group claims that allowing blessings of same-sex partnerships within the church has “changed the Church’s doctrine on marriage”.
The statement continued: “This decision has damaged the Church in Wales’ relationship with the majority of the provinces in the global Anglican Communion, which remain committed to an orthodox understanding of human sexuality.”
Such disunity is a grave and serious matter which grieves the heart of God.
The Evangelical Fellowship added: “By the same token, for many in EFCW, the decision has also impaired our relationships with our bishops and our relationships with those clerics who choose to perform such blessings. This decision has brought disunity to God’s Church. Such disunity is a grave and serious matter which grieves the heart of God.”
According to the EFCW, the decision has now led “a significant number” of welsh Anglicans to question whether they’ll remain in the church. In the statement, it is claimed there “has and will be” resignations from church attendees, worship leaders, clergy, and Sunday school teachers.
The EFCW is now calling for the appointment of a new bishop who has “an understanding of the doctrine of marriage as only being between a man and a woman”, and offer “protection and care” for clergy who refuse to bless same-sex couples.
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Finally, it asks the Church to commit to not introducing a bill on same-sex marriage within the five-year experiment.
While EFCW has vehemently disagreed with the vote, others within the church have welcomed it gladly.
Gregory Cameron, bishop of St Asaph, said the result is a “huge step forward for the church and for us all in Wales”.
He continued: “I think it’s the hope of the bishops that within those five years, we’ll be able to come to a consensus on [same-sex] marriage. And when it comes to deciding whether to continue with the blessing service, perhaps the church will be in a position to be bold enough to take a further step on gay and lesbian inclusion.”
Similarly, Evangelical Anglican and LGBT+ rights campaigner Jayne Ozanne said: “If we want all in our care to flourish and thrive, and for 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 this is found between two adults it is something that should be celebrated and indeed blessed.”
The BBC reported that bishop of St Asaph Gregory Cameron said: “The Church in Wales has done the right thing under God for the LGBTQIA+ community”.
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