This year, Wales marks 100 years since the Church Act came into force. The Act led to the disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales, and had a far-reaching impact on Welsh society and public life.
Today, Wales Humanists is publishing a report on the story of Wales following the Act, reflecting on the unique and largely exemplary political culture of modern Wales, including the successes of the devolved administration established along secular lines. The report, which is available in both English and Welsh, also praises the current changes to education law focused on the inclusion of humanism, and the fact that Wales led the way in being the first part of the UK to introduce opt-out organ donation.
It also suggests further ways in which Wales should build on the proud legacy of independent thought and pluralism to ensure that every resident is treated with equal dignity, regardless of religion or belief. These include ending religious discrimination by faith schools and through collective worship, introducing non-religious pastoral care in hospitals, and legal recognition of humanist marriages.
Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick commented:
‘This report documents how life in Wales has been impacted by disestablishment and how the Senedd was founded on secular ideals of respect, diversity, and equality. It also sets out how much work we still have to do to live up to the ideals of those who brought about disestablishment 100 years ago.
‘Wales is a mostly non-religious nation, but we embrace those from different cultures and beliefs. It is now more important than ever that we challenge ourselves to maximise freedom of religion or belief for all citizens.’
About the Act
Calls for an Act began in the nineteenth century because of the unfairness of non-Anglicans paying tithes to support the Church of England, growing numbers of Nonconformists, and the growth of a sense of Welsh nationhood. The Act disestablished the Church of England, and created the Church in Wales, which was, markedly and for the first time, separate from the state.
Join our event
Along with the publication of the report, Please join us tonight for a discussion on how we can increase equality in our diverse society. Leading the discussion will be:
- Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK,
- Dr Iolo Ap Gwynn, scientist, author, and a patron of Wales Humanists
- Julie Morgan MS, Welsh Government minister and a patron of Wales Humanists
The event will take place via Zoom from 18:00–19:00 on 7 December. A link to access the event will be provided by email to those who register.
The event is now available to view on YouTube:
For further comment or information, please contact Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick via email@example.com or phone 07881 625 378.
Wales Humanists is part of Humanists UK. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.