BISHOPS could be ordained in Nonconformist churches in Wales as
part of a series of proposals towards full visible unity.
The Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Revd Wyn Evans,
told members of the Governing Body that representatives of five
Covenanting Churches had drawn up plans ahead of "The Gathering",
an ecumenical event that took place last October.
"If you look at your agenda, it reveals that the Governing Body
is giving serious consideration and attention to several matters of
vital significance to the life and the future of the Church in
Wales," Bishop Evans said.
He said that the Churches' mission to the nation of Wales meant
that "we have to take seriously the implications of our disunity -
the disunity that mars the body of Christ."
He said that the presence of ecumenical representatives at GB
meetings was a symbol of a "determination to do together, and to be
seen and heard to do together, what we should not be doing
The Bishops' Adviser for Church Affairs, the
Revd Gwynn ap Gwilym, said that the five
Covenanted Churches - the Covenanting Baptist Churches, the Church
in Wales, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church of Wales,
and the United Reformed Church - would be invited to think of
themselves as the "Church Uniting in Wales" (CUIW). The proposals
would see nine jurisdictions: one for each of the six Anglican
dioceses, together with Methodist, Presbyterian, and URC
"The three non-Anglican jurisdictions would each elect a bishop
who would be consecrated into the historic episcopate," Mr ap
Gwilym said in Welsh. "These bishops would then ordain all those
who are to become ministers within the bishops' jurisdiction. All
existing ministers would be asked to agree to the laying on of
hands by at least one Anglican bishop, and at least one other
bishop representing the other traditions within the Church Uniting
This step was not to be seen as an ordination, he said, but as a
step forward to full covenanted ministry. All the CUIW bishops
would share collegiality, and the bishops of all nine jurisdictions
would consult with each other at least twice a year.
All member jurisdictions would, for the present, continue to
operate their existing ecclesiastical polity; and a CUIW gathering
would be held annually.
The Church in Wales's Doctrinal Commission will give its
response to the Bench of Bishops before the Standing Committee
decides how to take the "very significant" recommendations forward.
The Covenanted Churches' Commission has asked churches to respond
to the proposals by July 2014.