Thinking Anglicans

New statement on Civil Partnerships from the Scottish College of Bishops

Kelvin Holdsworth draws our attention to this statement from the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which was sent to clergy today as part of a regular electronic clergy mailing.

Blessing of Civil Partnerships

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 2012 agreed not to adopt the Anglican Covenant. Since then, and within our own context, the College of Bishops has, on a number of occasions, considered how our church should best engage with those underlying questions of human sexuality which had given rise to the original idea of a Covenant. The College looks forward to the Church undertaking discussion of such matters as part of the process currently being designed by a group set up for that purpose by the provincial Mission and Ministry Board. The College in no way intends to pre-empt the outcome of those discussions. At the same time it recognises that the entering into of civil partnerships is a regular occurrence in Scottish society today.

In a previous statement the College indicated that it was the practice of the individual Bishops at that time neither to give official sanction to blessings of civil partnerships, nor to attend them personally. The Church does not give official sanction to informal blessings but each Bishop would nevertheless expect to be consulted by clergy prior to the carrying out of any informal blessing of a civil partnership in his diocese. The College is of the view that a decision as to whether or not to attend such an informal blessing should be a personal decision of the individual Bishop in question.
College of Bishops

November 2013

Kelvin comments on its significance here, and contrasts it with what the Pilling report has to say to the Church of England.

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robert ian williamsFather Ron Smith Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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The Scottish Episcopal Church would appear to be much more in touch with society in Scotland on the issue of Same-Sex Blessings than the Church of England – especially when we consider the actual influence of the Pilling Report on the legislative potential regarding such matters in the Church of England. At least, in Scotland, it is possible already for a monogamous Same-Sex Couple to receive a Blessing in Church. This is not yet the case in the C. of E. And there may be a long time of waiting before such a pastoral initiative can be officially sanctioned.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

A nod and a wink!