Tuesday, 23 April 2013

update on same-sex marriage in Scotland

The Church of Scotland has published a report for its General Assembly. Here’s the press release: Church Theological Report published and here is the full report (PDF).

David Pocklington has a good summary at Men and Women in Marriage, and the Church of Scotland.

The report was in response to a decision of the General Assembly of 2011 which appointed a Theological Commission to bring a Report to the General Assembly of 2013, which was to provide:

  • ‘a theological discussion of issues around same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage’;
  • an examination of whether the Church should permit ministers to bless same-sex relationships ‘involving life-long commitments’, and to provide a ‘form of a blessing’, or liturgy, if so agreed, and;
  • ‘an examination of whether persons, who have entered into a civil partnership… should be eligible for…ordination… as ministers of Word and Sacrament or deacons in the context that no member of Presbytery will be required to take part in such ordination or induction against his or her conscience’.

The report considers issues of human sexuality from two opposing points of view:

  • The “Revisionist position” that the Church ought to regard as eligible for ordination as ministers of Word and Sacrament or deacons those who have entered into a civil partnership; and
  • “The Traditionalist position” that the Church ought not to regard as eligible for ordination as ministers of Word and Sacrament or deacons those who have entered into a civil partnership.

The seven members of the Theological Commission represented a broad spectrum of the views within the Church of Scotland, with those supporting Revisionist and Traditional points of view being equally represented…

Last year the Scottish Episcopal Church also produced a document, which is available via this page: Grosvenor Essay No 8: Marriage and Human Intimacy and the report itself is here (PDF).

This document did receive some criticism when it was published. See for example, this essay by Beth Routledge and these comments by Kelvin Holdsworth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 at 8:50am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church | equality legislation

This stuff is waay too late and of course, too little.

I was thinking, reading, reflecting, writing & living more creatively as a gay teen in the 1960s!

"Churches, what kept you !"

My issues now, as a gay person, are facing death or the death of my partner of forty years--the usual stuff retirees have to face. Maybe, you can bring out a report on this in another forty years' time.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 at 2:02pm BST

Fr. Kelvin Holdsworth; my prayers are for you and the congregation at St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow. May justice and love conquer the present ethos of discrimination in the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 at 11:17pm BST

I skimmed most of the report and found some glimmers of hope (mostly, hope that they'll update the language from civil partnership to marriage when the time comes)... But is it me or is there a rather false dichotomy inherent in the use and naming of two "positions" as "revisionist" and "traditionalist"?

Of the two, I'm inclined to agree that the "-ist" of "traditionalist" is the correct bit, in that it takes an effort of repetitious insistence to propagate traditionalism from one generation to the next (a polite way of saying that all they do is bang the same drum even louder); the implication that the other side of the argument is trying to revise an established truth is just nonsense unless someone can demonstrate me an external reason why the Church must be a bastion of the one true morality independent of society for all eternity (bearing in mind that we don't know the sexualities of either Jesus or Paul for starters).

Posted by: Tim on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 10:42am BST

Every time I read this sort of thing I just remember that the 'revisionist' work was done over half a century ago and that 'this is what the Bible says' no longer cuts any ice. Why can't they move on?

Mind you, I thought that the draft service of commendation, or what ever it is called, had possibilities.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 5:32pm BST
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