What do we make of Wales?

A little more clarity about what has happened in Wales over the Covenant comes with the publication of Highlights of the Church in Wales Governing Body April 2012 (pdf). (Previous press release.)

This makes clear that Gregory Cameron (wikipedia) proposed the substantive motion that the Church in Wales 'subscribe' to the Covenant.

The amendment - that the Church in Wales should delay any determinative decision until after the ACC meeting in November 2012 - was moved by Bishop John Davies of Swansea and Brecon. Furthermore Martin Reynolds reports (in Comments to a Thinking Anglicans item on April 18) that the Bishop of Monmouth, Dominic Walker, was preparing to propose that the motion should not be put to the meeting.

Church in Wales bishops at
Gregory Cameron's consecration (from wiki)
There are 6 diocesan bishops in the Church in Wales. Until recently the Church had been consistently opposed to the Covenant at a fundamental level but this appeared to have been swept aside at the previous meeting of the Governing Body. That meeting commended the Covenant to the Dioceses for consideration and endorsement. It may or may not be significant that Gregory Cameron, one of the key players in creating the Covenant, joined the bench of bishops in early 2009.

Two things happened which changed the landscape between the two Governing Body meetings. The Archbishop of Canterbury announced his retirement and the Church of England voted against the Covenant. The first meant that the natural desire not to undermine Rowan Williams was no longer a weighty consideration. The second showed that the Covenant was no longer 'the only game in town' - other futures were and are imaginable.

Thus, to avoid a public split in the bench of bishops, a positively worded motion was devised which put off a decision. If, as Martin Reynolds suggests, Gregory Cameron himself suspects the ACC will discard the Covenant then he has not lost face. And if the ACC should persist with the Covenant then those who continue to oppose it in Wales will have a further opportunity to defeat it in 2013.

Therefore, despite my earlier caution, I will move Wales from 'probably Yes' to 'probably No' on my table of how the provinces might vote.


  1. In a comparatively small church ( only six diocesan bishops) such as the Church in Wales, individual views and opinions may carry a disproportionate amount of weight.

    Nevertheless, having followed the Welsh saga from afar for a while I think that you are right Paul in putting the Province into the 'probably no' camp. The 'Cameron' effect won't prevail if it doesn't really represent the views of the Province.

    1. Observer, thank you. Clearly what is said at the ACC (whether or not it's made public) that will be the bigger factor in how Wales acts subsequently - and, I guess, for much of the rest of the Communion too.

      I think I may have done the chart just when it becomes irrelevant. I never was much one for good timing.