The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, a patron of Changing Attitude, is the focus of a BBC documentary to be broadcast on BBC One Wales on Wednesday 3 December at 10.45pm.
In the programme he describes the circumstances in which he would consecrate a bishop in a gay relationship. He says: “Personally, I have absolutely no problem at all with the full acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the Church of God because they are made in God’s image. It’s not a matter of choice and therefore if the church of God cannot welcome these people then I don’t think it’s being a ‘church’ at all and it’s not being true to the gospel and the values of Jesus.. I long for the day when being gay or lesbian is no longer an issue for the Church.”
He continues: “If the electoral college went ahead and if then the bench of bishops endorsed the nomination – so there are a couple of big ifs there – then I as Archbishop would have to decide to do one of two things: Go ahead and risk the ire of the Communion or refuse to consecrate and then possibly be taken to the provincial court of the Church in Wales for refusing to carry out what I’m canonically sort of mandated to do. We haven’t come to that moment, obviously. I feel I would have no choice but to consecrate.”
The Archbishop is alarmed at moves by conservative Anglicans to form a new alliance within the communion. “I’m horrified at some of the statements… they want to exclude people.” He adds: “The minute you begin to exclude then I don’t think you are being the church of God.”
Dr Williams did not invite Bishop Gene Robinson to the Lambeth Conference. However, Dr Morgan chaired a pre-Lambeth gathering of liberal Anglicans at which the bishop was present. He said: “It’s easy for me to do this because I’m the Archbishop of Wales and not the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has to make his own decisions – perhaps I myself would have invited Bishop Gene Robinson because he’s duly elected and consecrated.”
Dr Williams knew Dr Morgan as a student at Cambridge. In a relaxed moment together, Dr Williams says: “I’ve always thought that Barry is probably rather more liberal than I am. And I’m a very old-fashioned high churchman – I know he disapproves of that, really.”
The Reverend Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, commented:
“Dr Barry Morgan’s openness and honesty in the programme will encourage all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and all those who welcome our full inclusion in the Anglican Communion. Thank goodness Barry Morgan is among those Primates in the Anglican Communion who believe that Jesus welcomed all people without exception, knowing that every human being is created and made in God’s image.
“There is a battle in our Communion, not just for the full inclusion of LGBT people but for the heart and soul of what it means to be Anglican and Christian. In Changing Attitude, we recognize that every person contains the divine spark and we honour and respect them. It has become more difficult to recognise the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in those who would exclude us and judge us because of our sexuality.
“The Archbishop of Wales is a patron of Changing Attitude because he has the courage to speak and preach truthfully. Thank goodness for his honesty, which reinforces our commitment to the Gospel, to Jesus and to the Communion into which we were baptised and of which we are an integral part, however much some conservatives might wish otherwise.”