The views of Church in Wales clergy on Christian initiation, 1993-2003
In 2003, Church in Wales clergy were surveyed in order to ascertain their views on Christian initiation. The resulting data are compared with data collected from a fifty percent sample of Church in Wales clergy carried out in 1993. Analysis shows that significant changes have taken place in respect of some of the views of clergy on initiation over the decade. In particular, the evidence suggests that while a high percentage of clergy supported an open baptismal policy in 1993, an even higher percentage support such a policy in 2003. The data also suggest that a higher percentage of clergy in 2003 are supportive of both children and adults being admitted to Holy Communion without prior confirmation but not without preparation. There is little evidence to suggest that these views are either age-related or sex-related. There is, however, evidence to suggest that the views of clergy are influenced by their rural or urban location while many of the views of clerics would appear to differ according to their church orientation and/or theological persuasion. Most notably, evangelical clergy tend to express many significant points of difference in viewpoint to catholic clergy and the differences between evangelical and catholic clergy have widened between 1993 and 2003. These changes may be indicative of a fragmentation taking place in the Church in Wales but they could be evidence of God speaking to his Church at a time of change. Either way, they need to be monitored and examined.