Thinking Anglicans

Church of Scotland considers Same Sex Relationships and the Ministry

Updated Tuesday

The General Assembly of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland is today considering a report on Same Sex Relationships and the Ministry. The report, and several related documents can be downloaded from here.

This week the Church Times published an article about this written jointly by Andrew Goddard and Giles Goddard. The article, as published, is available at the moment only to Church Times subscribers. But a version of it has been published by Fulcrum and can be read at Wisdom from the Scots: The CofE and Same-sex Unions.

Pending an official web page to link to, here is a summary of what they decided.

Kelvin Holdsworth has written this explanation: What the Church of Scotland decided today.

Here now is the official press release, available as a PDF here.

Tuesday press reports:

The Scotsman has extensive coverage:
Kirk split looms as members vote to back gay ministers
Catalyst that started the great debate
Analysis: ‘A peculiar decision which is unlikely to satisfy anyone’
Leader: Kirk’s vote for gay clergy marks clear divide

BBC
Church of Scotland votes on gay ministers
Mood shift points to gay clergy for the Kirk

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robert Ian williams
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robert Ian williams

Of course the Church of Scotland had divorce and re-marriage from 1560!

Women elders and ministers from the 1960s, and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Queen is a communicant member.

And since 1690 they have been free of bishops.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Ahhh, I thought 1690 had a nice ring to it …..

peter kettle
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peter kettle

Actually, I don’t think the Queen does communicate in Scotland….

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Every British Monarch since Queen Victoria has communicated in the Church of Scotland. Just oposite to the Balmoral gates, there is Crathie Parish church, where the Queen worships whilst in Scotland. Her divorced daughter was re-married there.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

There is an interesting debate , here on Newsnight , Scotland…about 10 minutes in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011kn62/Newsnight_Scotland_23_05_2011/

I think the American woman minister needs a course in theology and history.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

The Queen certainly worships in the Church of Scotland and at Crathie Kirk in particular. Communion is not celebrated nearly so often in the Kirk as in another church that Her Majesty may belong to. (One hears that she is an Anglican in England!).

I’m interested in the claim that HM receives communion in Crathie. Can RIW back that up? I’d also be interested to know if HM appears on the list of members at Crathie or perhaps the Canongate Church – presumably one or the other…

Fr Levi
Guest

There seems to be a lot of quirks in the whole thing, but at least they seem to be doing more that just talking about it …

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Apparently that video is not available in my area, Robert (Canada). Perhaps you could summarise.

Geoff
Guest

“Just oposite to the Balmoral gates, there is Crathie Parish church, where the Queen worships whilst in Scotland.”

That’s hardly the same as communicating, unless she times her stays just right. Does the ruling elder come by to make sure Her Grace has earned her quarterly token?

Not that there’s any reason why she *could* not, as a member ex officio of the CoS, but I doubt any of us are privy to the sovereign’s Eucharistic scruples.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Of course, the Queen communicates in the Church of Scotland, since she appoints or acts as their Lord High Commissioner. The state dinner tonight, following Her Majesty’s visit to Ireland, certain proves the republicans have no cause in the UK. How are you going to replace her with a mere “president”? Again, as an American anglophile, I suggested that my beloved English friends go gently and slowly and carefully in changing ancient institutions, including Establishment and the House of Lords. What is the hurry? Why not wait another fifty years or so? There is no deficiency in democracy or religious… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

Yes she does communicate and Queen Victoria was publicly criticised for doing this by high Church Scottish Anglicans in the nineteenth century. The Queen has Church of Scotland chaplains and a seat at the General Assembly. During the long holiday breaks at Balmoral, communion is regularly celebrated and she takes no Anglican chaplain with her. As for a summary… the news item contained a discussion between a woman pro gay minister and the chairman of the conservative Evangelical members of the church who call themselves Forward Together. The woman claimed that there was evidence in history that same sex marriages… Read more »

William
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William

Whatever ones views on this issue, the American minister just didn’t seem to have any theological or historical knowledge whatsoever. To claim that the bible says nothing about homosexuality is ludicrous.

Kennedy Fraser
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Kennedy Fraser

William said: “To claim that the bible says nothing about homosexuality is ludicrous.”

I understand that the word ‘homosexual’ was coined in the late 1800’s and so the point she may have been trying to make is that what is being talked about in the bible is not what we understand same sex orientation or behaviour to be nowadays.

It would have been helpful if she had explained that a bit (or responded to the other chap when he said the same sort of thing as yourself).

OCICBW.

Counterlight
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Counterlight

“To claim that the bible says nothing about homosexuality is ludicrous.” And yet the word “homosexual” wasn’t coined until the 19th century by German psychologists. The writers of Scripture would not have understood the word, or the concept (as we understand it anyway). And indeed, the issue of same sex relations is nowhere discussed or even mentioned in all 4 of the Gospels. In the rest of Scripture, it appears very rarely, mentioned or discussed only about 6 or7 times. Contrast that to matters of social justice discussed at length extensively throughout the Scriptures. The Gospels say nothing about same… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

“To claim that the bible says nothing about homosexuality is ludicrous.”

Since “homosexuality” is a concept that came about some 1800-odd years after the canon’s closure, I’d say that claiming the reverse is ludicrous!

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

William, you say “To claim that the bible says nothing about homosexuality is ludicrous.” This is not ludicrous but a perfectly valid and widespread academic discourse. But the full detail of the discourse is “the bible says nothing about homosexuality AS WE UNDERSTAND IT TODAY”. Homosexuality, like (for example) marriage, is a social construct, and the way that cultures view and understand homosexuality (or marriage) varies across cultures and across the centuries). Modern understandings of homosexuality are around positive ideas of a loving pair bonding of equals, or around more critical views which see the same-sex sex act a sinful.… Read more »

Fr James
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Fr James

Communion may be celebrated regularly while the Queen is at Balmoral, but she doesn’t necessarily communicate. I was given to understand that she only receives Communion at Christmas and Easter… could be wrong there!

Hmmm, on the other issue, I’m not really sure the Bible does say anything about “homosexuality” since the authors of both Old and New Testaments had no such concept…

David Shepherd
Guest

Of course, it would be interesting to discover whether the denial of any article of faith would be considered in a confidential survey.

JCF
Guest
JCF

READ MY LIPS, William:

The Bible says NOTHING (Zip, Zilch, Zed, Nada) about “homosexuality.” Full-stop. End of discussion.

To claim *otherwise* is ludicrous!

Now, about certain same-sex sexual *acts*—completely divorced from (anachronistic) sexual orientation or relationships—there’s a case to be made (though even that’s not completely clear).

Stop injecting 20th century concepts into 2nd century CE or earlier texts!

Jonathan Kirkpatrick
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Jonathan Kirkpatrick

‘There is no deficiency in democracy or religious freedom in Britain’

As we would say in this part of the world, to mean the exact opposite – ‘Yeah right’

Robert ian williams
Guest
Robert ian williams

For the last time when the Queen is in Scotland she never attends services of the tiny Scottish Episcopal Church but is a communicant member of the Church of Scotland in good standing.

David Shepherd
Guest

Since the Bible says nothing about homosexuality, I’ll remember that when I hear uncontested conjectures on these comment threads about David and Johnathan.

There are numerous suppositions regarding David and Johnathan’s presumed homosexual relationship are even more tenuous than explicit scriptures that, at least, decry homosexual ‘acts’. You’re right, we need to stick to explicit prohibitions.

However, we can anticipate always resort arguments involving the liberal shibboleths, SLIPPERY-SLOPE and SHELLFISH.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

As can be seen from my posting above, I am very much on the side of the Bible (especially the OT) not saying anything to us about homosexuality in it’s modern understanding. But I don’t agree with the posting saying “the issue of same sex relations is nowhere discussed or even mentioned in all 4 of the Gospels”. Look carefully at the story of the Centurion and his “servant”. In fact the greek translation is pais, or boy. Compliling both Gospel accounts we see the servant described as “the boy of mine” and “my dearest/most honoured servant”. It is quite… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Interesting, though, is the fact that the Presbyterians will be the first mainline Christian denomination in the U.K. to accept the fact that the LGBT community is composed of fellow human beings, bearing the image and likeness of God, and worthy of acceptance within the Body of Christ. Perhaps the Church of England may not be too far behind? Those who may be questioning Robert I Williams’ knowledge about things Anglican, Presbyterian, et al, should be aware that, though now a Roman Catholic, he once was of another ilk. He is now uncertain about his own Church – but not… Read more »

david wilson
Guest
david wilson

JCF “The bible says nothing about homosexuality”. From that we can say that God does not actually proclaim that it is God given – He has not defined it. His sexuality is expressed in terms of male and female. He does have quite a few things to say about following your own carnal desires – indeed He positively warns against it for all carnal desires. He positively speaks against what we descibe as same-sex interaction in the highest endevour: worshipping God. Why does God in Romans 1 say that He will give a man or woman’s mind over to unnatural… Read more »

Oriscus
Guest
Oriscus

David Wilson – say what you want about St Paul, but I don’t think he ever mistook himself for God!

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

An important posting about the General Assembly and gay clergy yet 10 of the 25 comments relate to the irrelevant matter of whether the Queen communicates in the Church of Scotland! I am all for Anglican liberality ( there isnt much of it in the RC Church) but I do wonder why we collude with RIW when he highjacks a topic. Having converted to Rome he seems unable to realise most of us have no desire to follow him and find many of his postings rather tiresome.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Ron…I am fully convinced of the Catholic Church, but a little disheartened at the poor pastoral leadership on a local level. That is a key distinction.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest

I certainly hope the Episcopal Church of Scotland will not be far behind encouraging full equality. As the the C of E – not I think while either of the current two archbishops are there – they have painted themselves into a terrible corner. And that is the charitable way of putting it.

david Wilson
Guest
david Wilson

Oriscus

But as scripture is inspired by God, it is the Holy Spirit speaking through St Paul. So he speaks with the same authority as God. The Lord himself promised that the Holy Spirit would speak through the desciples. In the same way, it is the Holy Spirit that speaks through he Old Testament Prophets, denouncing the adultery of Israel. St Paul is the main expounder of doctrine. Many of the wonderful promises of salvation, such as no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, come through St Paul

MarkBrunson
Guest

“But as scripture is inspired by God, it is the Holy Spirit speaking through St Paul. So he speaks with the same authority as God.” If Paul was inspired, that’s not the same as saying infallible. He may have misread the inspiration through the lens of his own misconceptions, prejudices and cultural norms. You overlook that those speaking to you *now* may be just as inspired by the Holy Spirit to correct ancient and long-held misconceptions. Christ made that promise of all of His followers, that they should have the Holy Spirit – or do you believe Scripture is inaccurate… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Christ’s message is mediated by all of His followers. Nevertheless, there is a specific apostolic status that derives its authority from the personal, direct and supernaturally-endorsed commission from Christ reported in scripture. Paul rhetorically described his apostolic credentials on this basis: ‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?’ (1 Cor. 9:1); ‘Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.’ (Gal. 6:17) We either believe that Christ made specific, direct and accurately recollected promises of the… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

You compare apples to concrete blocks. I have not spoken of “discarding” the Scripture, but that it was written by men, both as fallible and spirit-guided as any other, interpreted by men, both as fallible and spirit-guided as any other. It’s authority derives from conviction and proof and is not an absolute. To believe it absolute is idolatry and a subtle sin of Pride – to believe that *your* chosen hero is infallible, thus those biases he shared are absolutely correct. Your faith is lacking! You believe, not in God, but a mere instruction book. There is too much room… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

‘It’s authority derives from conviction and proof and is not an absolute.’ I have not suggested ‘mindless, will-less obedience’, but how self-evident is the historicity of the miracles that the apostles claimed that Christ performed? According to you, it should be tested. How do we reason to a position of collective and infallible truth, apart from reliance on the written record, that they actually not just could have, but did occur? The conviction and proof by which you test the scripture is by your own admission as ‘fallible and spirit-guided’ as any other. So you’re testing of where truth lies… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

I never said that apostolic authority was absolute. It was delegated by Christ Himself.

I said: ‘We may always challenge the interpretation of an authoritative text’. How do you interpret that as ‘mindless, will-less obedience to the text’?

I never said that the apostles were infallible. For instance, I have elsewhere on these blogs noted St. Peter’s fallibility regarding his behaviour towards uncircumcised Gentiles.

So maybe you just assume that the above part of my submission was doctored by a liberal, or just enjoy pretending that I’ve adopted a particular conservative position on specific matters that I haven’t actually espoused in writing.