Church in Wales

Church family:Anglican churches
Based in:United Kingdom
Present in:

About membership

Statistics of church membership, number of churches, congregations, pastors, etc. are those given by the churches and organizations, unless otherwise indicated. WCC member churches have various ways of defining their membership: state churches in which virtually every citizen is baptized and thus counted as a member, churches which include in their membership persons who are baptized but not actively participating, churches in which only adult baptized or communicant members are counted, etc. No attempt has been made to classify the membership figures in such categories, because agreed upon indicators to so do not exist.

Member of:
 WCC (1948) 
Associate member of:
Periodicals:Theology Wales (occasional)

Christianity in Wales probably dates from the 2nd century, the faith becoming established particularly during the 5th and 6th centuries. By the end of the 12th century the four ancient dioceses had become part of the Province of Canterbury. The Province of Wales was created in 1920 after the disestablishment of the four Welsh dioceses of the Church of England, and the partial disendownment of the Church in Wales by the Welsh Church Acts of 1914 and 1919. Two new dioceses were created in 1921 and 1923, so there are now six dioceses and two assistant bishops. One of the diocesan bishops is elected archbishop of Wales and he remains bishop of his diocese. The Church in Wales ordains women to the diaconate and the priesthood. Since 1920, the Church in Wales has evolved its own bi-lingual identity, bringing together Welsh and English-speaking traditions. The church is governed synodically and led episcopally: its legislative and synodal authority is the governing body.

Wales is a country of 8,000 sq. miles with a population in excess of 2,900,000, more than half of whom live within 60 km of Cardiff, the capital city. Although there is no established Christian denomination in Wales, the Church in Wales has an even spread throughout the country. The church is active in liturgical revision, social concern and action at all levels, communication with the media, ministry and discipleship and education (170 church schools). The church plays a full part in the National Coalition for the Evangelization of Wales which brings together all the older denominations with the newer "network" churches.

The Church in Wales is part of the Porvoo Communion which brings together all the European Anglican provinces with the Nordic and Baltic Evangelical Lutheran churches. It is a signatory to the Covenant for Union in Wales (1975) which commits the Church in Wales nationally and locally to principles and practical objectives in the search for unity with the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and a number of individually covenanted Baptist congregations. In 2005, the churches of Wales celebrated the 30th anniversary of the signing of the covenant and the 15th anniversary of Cytun (Together), the Council of Churches for Wales.

Last updated: 1.1.2006