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Archbishop urges Christians to see the Bible through a skeptical eye: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Archbishop of Wales has urged the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to cast a skeptical eye on the Biblical prohibitions, saying the authors of Scripture were ignorant of modern committed same-sex relationships. In his 23 April 2014 Presidential Address Dr. Barry Morgan stated the “few texts we have in the Bible about same-sex relationships are very negative. Yet, it can be argued that homosexual relationships as we understand them in terms of committed, faithful, monogamous, long lasting relationships, were unknown in biblical times and what the texts rail against is sexual promiscuity and experimentation.” Jesus did not speak to the issue of same-sex relationships the archbishop averred, adding that it was not impossible for the church’s teaching on gay marriage to evolve as it had on divorce and remarriage. “Will we, as a Church, eventually adopt the same approach as far as same-sex relationships are concerned, as we have done about re-marriage after divorce, or is gay marriage in a different category from the re-marriage of divorced people,” Dr. Morgan asked. The archbishop’s address kicks off a formal round of debate on gay marriage within the Church of Wales. No decisions were taken at the meeting, but Dr. Morgan asked the debate be respectful. “Whatever our viewpoints, I hope that our discussions can be charitable.”

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Welsh organ donor bill to become law: The Church of England Newspaper, August 11, 2013 August 16, 2013

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The Secretary of State for Wales will not block approval of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, allowing the UK’s first programme that gives presumed approval for organ donation unless an individual makes a public declaration to opt out has been sent to Her Majesty the Queen for Royal Assent.

On 2 July 2013 the Welsh Assembly approved the bill over the objections of church and civil society groups, who argued the new law was an ill-considered assault on civil liberties. However, the Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford in June stated the law was needed to provide more organs.

There were not “enough organs for people who need them. About one person every week dies in Wales while on a waiting list. We have been working to improve the rate of organ donation and have had some success, but we’re looking to take the next step forward,” he said, adding that “around a third of the Welsh population is on the organ donor register, but well over two-thirds in surveys say they are happy to be organ donors. That other third is people who don’t get round to putting their names down. We’re hoping to make inroads into that.”

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, had led the opposition to the bill saying it gave too much power to the state. While he supported organ donation, it “ought to be a gift of love, of generosity. If organs can be taken unless someone has explicitly registered an objection, that’s not an expression of love. It’s more a medical use of a body,” he told The Guardian.

Michael Wendell Thomas, vice-chairman of SPUC’s Wales region, on 2 August 2013 said the “collective weight of opinion has demonstrated that implementation of the Bill will be fraught with risk.”

“The case for ‘deemed consent’ as a valid form of consent was not investigated by the Welsh Assembly’s Health or Legislative Committees. The only basis for this kind of law is that the Welsh Government has deemed it so,” he said.

“To the ordinary non-lawyer, ‘deemed consent’ is a meaningless idea; to many eminent or expert people, such as the Archbishop of Wales, it is a ‘fiction’. True consent is explicit and voluntary, and is the only sound basis for laws concerning personal autonomy and permission to remove someone’s organs,” Mr. Wendell Thomas said.

Welsh re-think on gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21. 2013 p 6. April 22, 2013

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The coalition government’s push to introduce same-sex marriage in England and Wales necessitates a review of the Church in Wales thinking on marriage, the Archbishop of Wales Dr. Barry Morgan said last week.

In his presidential address to the 10 – 11 April 2013 meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Lampeter, Dr. Morgan said the church needed to consider the issue of same-sex relationships. “There has been a growth in understanding of same sex relationships in wider society in recent years and a more comprehensive understanding of human sexuality in general,” he said.

“Within the Church in Wales, as the bishops have pointed out, there are a variety of views about the ethics of same sex relationships.  There is a new appreciation of the value of any faithful committed life-long relationship.  The new Archbishop of Canterbury observed recently that, ‘It would be completely absurd to suggest that the love expressed in gay relationships was less than the love that there is between straight couples’.  The bishops have, therefore, asked the Doctrinal Commission to examine the whole issue of same sex relationships, and once it has produced its report, we will need to have a general discussion, perhaps in groups in the first instance, in this Governing Body to map out the way ahead for us as a Church.”

The doctrinal commission will also examine the Church in Wales’ relationship to the state. The coalition government had not consulted the Church in Wales when it said it would be banned in law from offering same sex marriages. The church in Wales should make up its own mind on this issue he declared, and it must decide whether it would keep its quasi-established position under Welsh law words clergy had a duty to solemnise marriages.

“If marriage were ever to become a devolved issue, I cannot see a devolved Welsh government allowing a disestablished church to hang on to this vestige of establishment,” he added, but “in any case, we ourselves might want to change the present arrangements.”

Dr. Morgan also discussed revisiting the issue of women bishops which was turned back by the governing body in 2008 by 3 votes after the bishops refused to give assurances or protections to those opposed to the innovation. In 2012 the Bishop’s bench released a discussion paper stating their unanimous support the ordination of women bishops.

The Archbishop also spoke to the challenges of the paper presented by Lord Harries last year on reorganizing structures of the church. “Churches with ordained clergy have been tempted to assume that all ministry is vested in an omnicompetent, all-singing, all-dancing professional minister and that the task of ministry belongs to him or her and then when he/she is a bit hard pressed, he or she may delegate some of the tasks to other people but really essentially it is her/her ministry.  That is to start in the wrong place,” he argued.

The church must use “all the resources that we have been given, and the gifts that all of us have, more creatively and imaginatively.  It means laity and clergy together, having a shared vision of the work of the Church,” Dr. Morgan said.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Overseas Anglican applause for Francis: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 6. March 26, 2013

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Anglican leaders around the world and joined with Archbishop Justin Welby in applauding the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the next Pope and 226th Bishop of Rome.

The Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, gave Francis high marks as a champion of the poor and critic of government corruption.

In a note released after the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis on 13 March 2013 Bishop Venables wrote: “Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”

“I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him,” Bishop Venables said.

Other Anglican leaders have also praised the election of Pope Francis. Archbishop Peter Jensen, in a statement released just after the election, said “The papacy continues to have huge global significance in testing times for humanity.  We join those who pray that Pope Francis will use the office to further the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of all humanity.”

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church welcomed “the election of Pope Francis. He is known for his simplicity of life and his compassionate humility. The church in South America expresses vigorous life and a deep commitment to justice for the poor. God has called him to this ministry at a time when its demands seem overwhelming. We pray that God will equip him with the grace which he needs to fulfil the task. We also pray that his many gifts and his experience will enable him to lead the church forward in mission and service.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “We welcome and assure Pope Francis I of our prayers and our best wishes for his future ministry. We hope he will bring an ecumenical perspective to the role, a desire to work with Christians of all traditions and a goodwill to people of other faiths.”

Dr. Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland wrote: “In company with millions of men and women throughout the world of different Christian traditions to his own, I assure the new Pope of our prayers as he begins his new ministry. An Argentinian of European parentage, he brings together in his own person the cultures, hopes and spiritual needs of the first world and of the developing world, so much to be valued amidst the complexities and apprehensions of our globalised earth. He has been a champion of the needs of the poor and dispossessed, and, in the simplicity of his own lifestyle, he has sought to reflect the life of the much–loved saint whose name he now carries in the future, Saint Francis.”

“As the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh I extend also to Cardinal Seán Brady, to Jesuit friends throughout the island and to all the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, our best wishes, with the hopes and prayers of many fellow–Christians, as Pope Francis now embarks on the ministry to which he has been called,” Dr Clarke said.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada noted: The new Pope comes from humble beginnings and he is known to have lived modestly throughout his entire ministry.  In taking the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi he has already given us some indication of the holiness, simplicity, and courage of gospel conviction he will bring to this new ministry.”

“As the new Pope endeavours to call people back to the Faith, to rebuild the Church and to strengthen the integrity of its witness to the Gospel in very diverse global contexts, we join our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers in upholding him our prayers,” he said adding “for Latin Americans this is a particularly proud moment — a moment of great rejoicing!  For from the church there the new Pope carries a passion for evangelism, a stance of solidarity with the poor and a posture of perseverance in the pursuit of peace and justice for all people.”

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”

Gay church wedding ban for Wales a “step too far”: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2012 p 6. December 28, 2012

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The Archbishop of Wales has denounced the government’s plans to impose a “quadruple legal lock” that would exempt the Church in Wales from performing gay marriages, saying Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s promise was a “step too far.”

However, Dr. Barry Morgan’s protestations the Church in Wales was being treated in the same way as the Church of England over same-sex marriage appears to place him at odds with the formal position of his church.

On 12 Dec, the government announced its gay marriage legislation would explicitly state that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples and that canon law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply. Like the Church of England, the Church in Wales has a legal obligation to marry couples where there is a link to the parish.

Dr Morgan responded that “excluding the Church in Wales and the Church of England from the legislation so that it will be illegal for them to have gay marriage. I think that is a step too far.”

“It does not leave it to the governing bodies of the two churches to decide whether they want to opt in or out as other churches are allowed to do. It curtails our freedom of choice and seems to close the door on even the possibility of doing so in the future without a change in law.

“It makes these churches seem exclusive and I think that is unfortunate,” Dr. Morgan said.

However, in its March 2012 response to the government’s consultation on marriage, the Welsh bishops said: “The Church in Wales is in an almost identical position to the Church of England with regard to the solemnisation of marriages.   The Church in Wales’ concerns about the legal implications are therefore the same as those of the Church of England.  We have taken note of these, and would seek assurances that the Government would specifically include the Church in Wales in any provisions for the Church of England under the proposed legislation.”

The bishops stated they did not see the need for the legislation. “It is not at all clear in what ways same-sex marriage will be different in substance from existing arrangements for civil partnerships.  They already appear to be in all respects the same, in the rights and responsibilities conferred on the parties; and with only very minor distinctions in the methods of registration, or the reasons for dissolving the relationship.  Nor is it clear what will be the purpose of retaining the category of civil partnership alongside same-sex marriage, especially since it is not proposed that heterosexual couples be allowed to enter into a civil partnership.  In the context of equality of access to registered relationships, this appears to create a new inequality.”

“Recognising and supporting” same-sex civil unions “are to be welcomed” the bishops said, but as “such provision already exists” they saw no need for gay marriage. “Beyond raising the dangers of significant confusion and debate, the current proposals do not add to these provisions,” the March statement said.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Wales to reform parochial system: The Church of England Newspaper, September 23, 2012 p 5. September 27, 2012

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The Governing Body of the Church in Wales may end the parochial system of parish ministry, changing the traditional organization of church life from parishes to “ministry areas” modeled on the catchment areas of secondary schools.

Meeting at Trinity Saint David at the University of Wales Lampeter on 13-14 Sept 2012, the Governing Body unanimously accepted a report for detailed study prepared by commission chaired by the former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries that proposed a complete overhaul of the local organization of the church.

Vicars would no longer be “lone rangers” the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan, told the meeting, but would be part of a mixed team ministry of stipendiary and NSM clergy, youth workers and lay church workers for a region comprising approximately 25 current parishes.

Amongst the 50 recommendations made by the committee were the amalgamation of parishes into “ministry areas”; the employment of a full time youth worker in each archdeaconry;  “creative use” of church buildings to generate income and serve the sider community; training lay people for church leadership responsibilities; investing financial resources in youth work; adopting new forms of outreach akin to the Church of England’s “Fresh Expressions” programme to reach those unfamiliar with traditional church life; promote the doctrine of tithing; create three administrative centres to serve the church’s six diocese; reform the process for electing bishops; and designate the Diocese of Llandaff as the permanent archiepiscopal see of the Church in Wales.

“The parish system is no longer sustainable,” Lord Harries told the Governing Body. “We have to radically rethink the way we look at our ministry, and begin with the concept of an area ministry.”

“The old vision of the parish priest in a small community knowing everybody no longer holds—too often the parish priest has to run a number of parishes, not able to know all the people and spending far too much time administrating PCCs and buildings,” he said.

“This does not mean that the parish system goes out of the window,” Lord Harries noted, adding we want people to “feel that the church belongs to them whether they are a member of it or not. We want the team in the ministry area to feel a responsibility to the whole community, not just to the congregations within it.”

Under his committee’s proposal “each area will have three full time stipendiary ministers, two financed by the congregations within the area” and the third financed by the province. NSM ministers would be assigned to each congregation in the ministry area as well, he added, with the goal of “reaching out to the vast population who are now totally unfamiliar with the Christian faith and the Church,” said Lord Harries.

Dr. Morgan said the Church in Wales was “enormously indebted to the Review Group” for its work and said that “We, as a Church, will have to give serious consideration to this report and its recommendations from parish up to province and decide where we go from here.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Women bishops on the agenda for Wales: The Church of England Newspaper, May 6, 2012 p 6. May 11, 2012

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The House of Bishops of the Church in Wales has rejected calls for the reintroduction of a flying bishop for its members opposed to women clergy.

In a paper given to last month’s meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, the bishops said that while they wish to “uphold the principle of respect for those, who in conscience, cannot accept that women can be ordained to holy orders,” they would not permit the creation of any legal structures to safeguard these principles.

The paper stated the bishops “do not feel able to support any scheme for the reintroduction of alternative episcopal oversight, such as the appointment of a Provincial Assistant Bishop.”

In 2008 the Governing Body rebuffed Archbishop Barry Morgan and declined to support his bid to enact legislation permitting women bishops.   At the September 2011 meeting of the Governing Body, Dr. Morgan announced that discussions on women bishops would be re-launched in 2012.  Copies of the bishops’ proposals were distributed to the members of the Governing Body and delegates broke into small groups to discuss the paper.  The results of the discussions will be compiled and distributed to the next meeting of synod.

The bishops asked the Governing Body whether it believes it is time to refight the women bishops’ battle, whether there should be safeguards for those opposed to women bishops, and if so, what form these safeguards might take.

The bishops proposed amending canon law to allow women to be ordained to the episcopate and to render the ordinal gender neutral.  Two model conscience clauses were proposed by the bishops:

(a) No member of the Church in Wales who has a conscientious objection to the ordination of women to the episcopate shall be required to receive the sacramental ministry of a woman bishop. And (b) In circumstances where a member of the Church in Wales believes that they require specific arrangements under these provisions, he or she may make application to the diocesan bishop, who shall make such reasonable arrangements necessary to enable that member to receive such sacramental ministry from a bishop whose ministry is not subject to such objection.

Or: (a) At a meeting chaired by the Archdeacon, the Parochial Church Council of a Parish in the Church in Wales may, by secret ballot of its members, resolve: (1) not to receive the sacramental ministry of its woman Diocesan Bishop or  woman Assistant Bishop; and (2) to make application to the Diocesan Bishop to receive only the sacramental ministry of a male bishop. (b) Upon receipt by the Diocesan Bishop of written confirmation of the resolution, the Bishop shall make the necessary arrangements, and notify the Archdeacon, the Incumbent and the Secretary of the Parochial Church Council in writing of the arrangements made. (c) The Parochial Church Council may at any time, and not less than every five years, by secret ballot taken at a properly convened meeting to consider whether to rescind such a resolution. (d) During any vacancy in the incumbency a further secret ballot shall be taken at a meeting of the PCC chaired by the Archdeacon.

The bishops also proposed legislation that would prohibit a bishop from refusing to sponsor for ordination, ordain or license a woman priest.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Welsh church leaders reject presumed consent for organ donations: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2012 p 5. February 2, 2012

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Wales have expressed profound misgivings over government proposals to establish a presumed consent rule for organ donations.

The “positive ethos of donation as a free gift” the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox leaders said on 23 January 2012 was being “endangered by an ill-judged if well-intentioned proposal to move from voluntary donation to presumed consent.”

The statement follows a public meeting chaired by the Primate of Wales, Archbishop Barry Morgan, held in Cardiff on 21 January that explored the morality of consent in conversations with Roy Thomas, the Executive Chair of Kidney Wales Foundation, and Dr Chris Jones, Medical Director of NHS Wales.

While supporting the principle of organ donation, in their statement the church leaders urged the government to revisit its policy process.

“If the proposals in the White Paper are not subject to independent scrutiny then there is a real danger that a change in the law would alienate a significant proportion of the public and undermine the positive image of organ donation and the reputation of Wales. For while a high rate of voluntary donation speaks of a culture of generosity, a system of presumed consent would ‘turn donation into action by default’,” the church leaders said.

The statement endorsed by Dr. Morgan, the Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack and the Archimandrite of the Wales Eastern Orthodox Mission, Fr. Dienoil, said the principles the government should follow in creating an organ donation policy must “seek to preserve the dignity and autonomy of every person whilst creating a proper framework in which the gift of human organs after death is precisely that – an act of solidarity, generosity and love.”

In November the Government published a white paper, “Proposals for Legislation on Organ and Tissue Donation” and the public consultation period ends on 31 January 2012.  Under the Welsh government proposal, the problem of a shortage of organ donations would be cured by having everyone in Wales automatically become a donor unless they opted out.

However, the church leaders’ statement said the “most effective way to increase rates of both organ donation and family agreement to donation after death is to encourage people to sign the Organ Donation Register and to talk about the issue with relatives and those close to them.”

Overseas church leaders respond to the London riots: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 19, 2011 p 7. August 24, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican leaders in the UK and overseas have offered their prayers and support to those in the Church of England ministering to the victims of last week’s riots.

The Archbishop of Wales called for calm in Cardiff, pleading for his fellow countrymen not to emulate the violence in England, while the Bishop of Down and Dromore writing from Belfast said Ulster’s history of communal violence gave the Church of Ireland some sense of the turmoil facing England.

In an interview with BBC Wales broadcast on Aug 12, Dr. Barry Morgan said he hoped the start of the sporting season would not see outbursts of rioting in Wales.

“We have a good tradition in Cardiff [that] when there is a rugby match on that there is no violence. I hope that tradition persists because it would be dreadful if what we’ve seen happening in England were to spread to Wales. I hope the television footage of the immense damage that has been caused to human life during these riots will make people think twice about behaving in such a way,” Dr. Morgan said.

The archbishop added that he believed it was important to get at the root causes of last week’s violence. “I don’t want to condone the behaviour of those who have destroyed property or killed people. On the other hand I believe we have to ask deeper questions. What causes young people, and really young people, to behave in such a desperate way, to behave in a way which they think is acceptable,” Dr. Morgan asked.

The rioters were not so much depraved as deprived, he observed. “What causes people to feel so desperate that they can go out and not care about the consequences? There are pockets of our cities that are totally deprived, where our poor feel they have nothing to lose. I think therefore we have to look at that deeper question,” Dr. Morgan told the BBC.

On Aug 10 Dr. Harold Miller, the Bishop of Down and Dromore stated that “coming from a part of the United Kingdom which has experienced many occasions of rioting over the past decades, we in Ulster are still shocked and saddened by the scenes of devastation we have witnessed on television and the internet in English cities over the last days.”

The people of Ulster stood in “solidarity with the victims – people who are in fear of their safety, their lives and their businesses,” he said, adding that he thought it important not to engage in sociological speculation as to the motives of the looters.

“However we interpret these events, we will be praying for great wisdom for the police, for the establishment of a society where all feel that they have worth, and for the stabilising grace of God to be known in the cities which have been affected.”

Church leaders across the developing world have also expressed their concern for those afflicted by the riots. However, after the looting subsided some overseas church leaders reported the misfortunes of England had been a source of pleasure in some quarters.

One bishop shared a joke that is currently in vogue in Pakistan. “Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani to British PM David Cameron:

‘We are very concerned about your nuclear weapons. These may fall into the hands of unruly, mobs running riot unchecked, currently. The world needs to be reassured that your nukes are safe’.”