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Bible won't settle church arguments says Archbishop

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has warned that quoting the Bible won't settle arguments about same-sex marriage or assisted dying. He told the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Llandudno that attitudes depend on upbringing, education and which part of the Bible is emphasised.

We often see what we want to see. We often use Scripture to reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons. Some people have changed their minds for example on women’s ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other.

Holy Scripture itself is far more nuanced, subtle and complex than we often realise..... We cannot just quote Biblical texts on different subject matters and think that that settles an issue.

– Archbishop Barry Morgan

The Governing Body includes the six Welsh bishops as well as representatives of the clergy and of church-goers. The Archbishop reminded them that the Church could change its mind. Today it disagreed with the state's view on same-sex marriage, in the past the disagreement had been about divorce.

The State allowed the possibility of divorce and re-marriage for a long time before we did as a Church. Not only do we now bless such unions, we actually re-marry divorced people in our churches. In the past, if a cleric divorced and re-married, that person could no longer continue in the ordained ministry in Wales, whereas now that is no longer a bar to continuing in ministry. So our views have evolved and changed on a subject which Jesus pronounced very clearly. He had nothing to say about same-sex relationships.

– Archbishop Barry Morgan

Dr Morgan said peoples’ lives would be affected by the Church’s response and warned of the danger of the Church being seen as homophobic. However, he urged clergy keen to redress the balance and publicly bless same-sex marriages to be patient.

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? Whatever our viewpoints, I hope that our discussions can be charitable.

Much as some people may want [blessings of same-sex marriages], the rule is the same as was the case over the re-marriage of divorced people – we need to wait for the Church, as a whole, to decide the matter – and we are beginning that process at this Governing Body.

– Archbishop Barry Morgan

Key Church meeting held to discuss same-sex marriage

Same sex marriage is among the issues to be discussed in today's meeting Credit: PA

Same-sex marriage and assisted dying are among the issues to be discussed by clergy and lay people from across Wales, at a key Church meeting today.

The meeting will take place over two days at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.

Members of the Church in Wales' Governing Body will consider reports on the two sometimes controversial subjects.

The 144 members will be put into small groups to discuss the reports, which outline the theological perspective on the issues.

They will not be asked to decide the Church's views on either.

Also on the agenda will be discussions about guidelines to accompany the Canon to ordain women as bishops.


15th century screen at Llancarfan church restored

The conservation work has attracted visits from around the world. Credit: Church in Wales

A conserved screen in the small Vale of Glamorgan church of St Cadoc’s, Llancarfan, will be unveiled next week.

The gilded early 15th Century reredos is described as extraordinarily intricate.

The Church in Wales says it's been painstakingly returned to former glory by a team of three specialists, over the last six months.

It says the mystery remains as to why a work of the magnificence of the reredos is tucked away in a village church like St Cadoc’s.

One theory is that it began life elsewhere and only moved to Llancarfan when it was 200 years-old, in the mid 1600s.

The end of four years of conservation work at the church, which included the discovery and restoration of Medieval wall paintings of St George and the Dragon and the Seven Deadly Sins, will be marked with a Celebration Evening.

Army recruitment age: Send us your views

All of the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open later to the Ministry of Defence - calling for the minimum age for people joining the army to be raised to 18.

Britain is currently among a minority of countries where the minimum voluntary recruitment age is 16.

We want to get your views on this story, and you can get in touch in the following ways:

Bishops join call to stop under 18's joining the Army

Bishops from the Church in Wales are calling for an end to recruiting under 18s to the Army.

Currently 16 year olds can join with parental consent.

The church says the current policy is channelling the youngest, most disadvantaged recruits into the most dangerous frontline combat roles. But The Ministry of Defence says this ignores the opportunities that a military career offers, as Tom Sheldrick reports.


Call for Army age to be raised: Your views

The Church in Wales is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army. We've been getting your views on this all morning, and here are a selection.

If you want to join the conversation, email us on, visit our Facebook page or tweet us @itvwales.

I joined the army at 16, was the best thing I ever done. It taught me respect and discipline. Nobody goes to front line until they reach 18.

– Gareth Morgan via email

I don't think the government would be happy, as it could potentially increase young jobless figures...

It has proved to be a decent career for many early school leavers, so why change it?

– Simon Murray on Facebook

The age should be put up to 21.

– Gary Vaatstra on Facebook

MoD: No plans to change Army recruitment policy

The MoD says it has no plans to revisit its recruitment policy for under-18s.

It follows calls from bishops in Wales to raise the minimum Army enlistment age from 16 to 18 years old.

All the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open letter from charity Child Soldiers International, calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army.

This letter unfortunately ignores the benefits and opportunities that a military career offers young people.

We continue to actively recruit across all age groups and as part of our duty of care to our recruits no young person under the age of 18 years may join our Armed Forces without the formal written consent of their parent or guardian.

There are currently no plans to revisit the Government's recruitment policy for under-18s which is fully compliant with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

– MoD Spokesperson

Welsh bishops call for end to under-18s joining Army

Soldiers on training exercise Credit: Press Association

The Church in Wales is calling for an end to recruitment of under-18s to the Army.

All the bishops from the Church in Wales have signed an open letter from campaign group Child Soldiers International. They say the MoD should raise the minimum enlistment age from 16 to 18 years old.

The letter, addressed to Defence Minister Mark Francois said,

'We commend the MoD for having ceased routinely deploying children into conflict, but challenge its failure to stop recruiting them'.

It also said, 'Those recruited at 16 have faced double the risk of fatality of adult recruits throughout the conflict in Afghanistan.'

Builder's tattoo conversion after seeing holy cross

The builder was working on a restoration project involving one of Britain's earliest Christian crosses. Credit: Church in Wales

Builder Lee Mayes was inspired by his church renovation project so much - he had the chapel's holy crosses tattooed on his arm.

The 43 year-old site manager was working at St Illtud’s Church in Llantwit Major where celtic crosses have been rehoused in a 13th century chapel.

“I’m not a religious person but as soon as I saw the Celtic designs I knew that I wanted to be involved in this project. I saw the designs on the stones and thought to myself, ‘I’m going to have that on my arm,’” said Lee.

The tattoo was done by local artist Matt Faulkner in Llantwit Major. Credit: Church in Wales

The crosses which date back more than 1,000 years were relocated during a £850,000 refurbishment project which has seen the roofless ruin brought back to life a visitor centre.

The Abbot Samson’s Pillar Cross at St Illtud’s was rediscovered in 1789. Credit: Church in Wales

The Galilee Chapel will be officially opened on Saturday, November 2, by the oldest member of the church 94 year-old Gladys Kilby.

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