The Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andy John, has written a letter in which he concludes that the Church in Wales should allow same sex couples to marry in church.

The letter to the Diocese of Bangor, was published on 3 February in the response to a vote by the Church’s Governing Body which took place in September 2018. The members of the Governing Body voted by 76 votes to 21 that it was “pastorally unsustainable for the Church to make no formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.”

As the law stands, same-sex marriages may not be solemnised by the Church in Wales. Such marriages are also at variance with the church’s doctrine of marriage which states that marriage is a lifelong and faithful union between a man and a woman.

Reverend John said: “Over a period of time, in which I have ministered alongside those in same sex relationships and have wrestled with how to be faithful to God and open to the Spirit, I have come to believe that the Church should now fully include without distinction those who commit to permanent loving unions with a person of the same sex. I further believe that the best way to do this is for the Church to marry these people as we do with men and women.

“This is not the teaching of the Church at this moment but I believe it is fully in keeping with our faith and orthodoxy. I believe it will strengthen our witness to a world which longs to see justice and fairness for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and cannot understand how the Church is still wrestling with an issue that most people have accepted long ago.

“Christians can seem uncaring, even cruel, and bizarrely obsessed with a limited range of issues so that everything else we say about God and hope and faith is marginalised. To put it bluntly, we are not believed and taken seriously.

“Any change to official Church teaching will require the consent of the Church in Wales through its Governing Body. I realize that not everyone will take the position outlined above – and there are good arguments for developing the Church’s teaching in other ways, for example by introducing a service of life vows or revisiting the question of blessing same sex unions.

“This debate cannot be ignored but neither can it take place without wisdom, generosity and grace.”

The full letter can be read here:

Photo: The Diocese of Bangor