Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The SEC Primus writes and talks about the Columba Declaration

David Chillingworth writes More about Columba.

…I watched the debate in which the Columba Declaration was approved by the Church of England with a sense of unreality. The Scottish Episcopal Church was like a ghost at the party – often referred to and talked about but not present. Concerns which have been voiced within the Scottish Episcopal Church about the Columba Declaration focus significantly on the Church of England. The Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are partner-Provinces in the Anglican Communion. We are the presence of the Anglican Communion in Scotland and we expect the Church of England to respect that. The concerns are that the Columba Declaration places the Church of England in a compromised position in relation to the Scottish Episcopal Church…

John Beattie interviews the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church for BBC Scotland.

Kelvin Holdsworth writes about The Primus’s Radio Interview about the Columba Declaration.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 9:54pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | Scottish Episcopal Church

The Columba Declaration - what a mess! David Chillingworth the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is the only person to come out of this extraordinary and surreal exercise with any integrity. Through all the background obfuscations, 'forensic' explanations, Belmont parish contributions, and sadly Church of Scotland acquiescence; Church of England leadership on this matter has been an embarrassment. What is the matter with the C of E, does anyone who has been pushing this so-called ecumenical agreement through really think that the Scottish Episcopal Church will be “perfectly happy with what is proposed”? Given all the distressed noises that have come from the SEC that is patronising in the extreme.

How can the Columba agreement now be viewed with any kind of credibility? How on earth has this folly come about? Is it a problem of hubris, an unwillingness to stop folly because of loss of face, or simply a willingness to ride rough shod over a smaller Anglican province because it is easy to do so? So many questions and few convincing answers are the legacy from Tuesday's General Synod.

This is a profoundly difficult time for the Anglican Communion wrestling with 'border crossing' provinces, who now will take heart from what the 'Mother Church ' has just done. This is also politically a gift to separatist nationalism, which rightly will see the English at it again, interfering and dominating.

Perhaps the Church of Scotland General Assembly will have the courage to do what the General Synod failed to do - stop the process before any more damage is done.

Posted by: Nicholas Henderson on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 11:26pm GMT

"No, Fr. David, I don't see it as you have painted it" so said Malcolm Dixon on a previous entry but I cannot for the life of me see what is inaccurate in my report of the "Columba Declaration" debate at the General Synod on Tuesday. If Mr. Dixon would like to highlight any errors in what I wrote I would be most grateful as I am always open to improvement and correction, especially in Lent.
Having read and heard what the SEC Primus has opined I am wondering if we were both tuned into the same debate? I am still at a loss to understand the sturm und drang of the SEC over thus issue - unless it is simply that their ire has been raised at what they call "Border Crossing" (Let's give those Border Reevers a taste of their own medicine). The 39 Articles in the Book of Common Prayer state that the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm. What the SEC seem to be saying is that the Archbishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction beyond Hadrian's Wall, inspite of him being titular Head of the Anglican Communion which, when is last checked, included Scotland. Hey Ho!
Well, we await now the debate in the Kirk this come what May. I fully expect the Provost of Glasgow to be there on the Picket Line selling his badges and carrying a placard bearing the slogan "DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING". Such Fun!

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 6:56am GMT

It think the Primus is right and that the C of E has acted abominably in this matter

Posted by: Bruce Bridgewood on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 8:42am GMT

Dear Father David, with all the respect due to your argument here; I think you may just be forgetting the 'sturm und drang' that has already been caused in the Anglican Communion by the piracy that took place in North America, with the unethical border-crossing of certain G. S. Provinces into the territory of Anglican Churches in North America (TEC and the A.C.of Canada.)

Although this did not appear to upset you people in the Church of England, it did upset many of us in other parts of the Communion who were in favour of North America's move towards justice for LGBTQ people in their own territories.

TEC received its first bishops from SEC, and they were naturally concerned at this border-crossing. Why should they not be similarly alarmed at what has just happened in Scotland - when the opinion of SEC was not sought on the issue?

Is this really a biblical issue of 'the left hand not seeing what the right hand is doing?' I do not think so. Ecumenical liaisons require more than just unilateral conversations - in someone else's jurisdiction. This is not the way to unity.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 10:16am GMT

Of course the Archbishop of Canterbury has no jurisdiction in Scotland. He has jurisdiction in England, and England only.

This is so basic a principle I'm surprised we seem to need reminding of it.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 12:29pm GMT

I'd be curious of the reaction of the big evangelical parishes in the SEC. I doubt they are much bothered by this.

It is hard to gauge how representative certain individuals genuinely are. Having lived in the very 'english' town of St Andrews, I know there are mixed attitudes within the SEC about relations with the Anglican body to the south.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 12:40pm GMT

As one who was in the chamber for the debate, it was very puzzling We had two different versions of what SEC thought. They can't both be correct. I have no problem with different national churches wanting to recognise each other formally. On the other hand, perhaps more should have been done to make sure of what SEC thought before publication.
And just a word to Fr. Ron, "we folk" in the Church of England are not so uniform of thought and outlook that we can be so airily dismissed as your comment appears to suggest. The debate was at times passionate and very concerned about our sister church. And for general information, when it came to the vote almost one third of the Synod either voted no or abstained, including myself.

Graeme Buttery

Posted by: Graeme Buttery on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 1:07pm GMT

TEC received only her first bishop from SEC, not "first bishops". The second third and fourth came from the CofE, and after that TEC largely consecrated her own.

Posted by: Picky on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 2:12pm GMT

Ecclesiastically, the Archbishop of Canterbury has metropolitical jurisdiction in his province, i.e in the South of England and Midlands. The Archbishop of York has metropolitical jurisdiction in the North. (And the Abp of Canterbury has authority, formerly exercised by the papal legate, to issue special marriage licences throughout England.)

That metropolitical authority is over his suffragans, i.e. the diocesan bishops of his province, and to determine the exercise of spiritual jurisdiction in a diocese during a vacancy in see in one of the dioceses of his province.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 2:57pm GMT

I can understand both the anxiety and the efforts at collaboration. I can believe (I started to say "appreciate," but since I don't live where there is any church "by law established," I don't know that it would be the right word) that the two churches "by law established" might have grounds to collaborate. I can also imagine that there would be questions about how this would affect both ecumenical relations within Scotland and also relations between two provinces of the Anglican Communion (and I have to say "how" rather than "whether," as I cannot imagine it not having some effect on both sets of relations). That both sets of relations would be affected, surely clearer consultation would seem to have been called for. I don't know that opinions of SEC should be compelling; but, yes, it does seem rude both on the part of the Church of England and the Kirk of Scotland that those relationships didn't deserve more respect, and especially as both affected particularly one third body.

Perhaps one could argue that it should have been even wider: how might this affect participation in Porvoo, or conversations with the English Methodists? And then that, too, would have included the SEC. But, yes, both negotiating an agreement and approval in Synod without better information to other partners does seem magisterial in a manner inappropriate.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 3:12pm GMT

Correct Picky. Also, Seabury really wanted to be consecrated in England. He was an ardent Tory. He it was who insisted on CofE order vis-à-vis White in the first decade of the fledgling TEC.

He could not take the oath of conformity so he went north to Scotland.

I read a history of the SEC in which it was asserted that Seabury was entirely forgotten in the SEC until the twentieth century, when his name was revived for fund raising efforts to finish the cathedral in Aberdeen. It didn't work, it memory serves. The depression hit...

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 3:44pm GMT

I must concur with Jeremy and others that the ABC most certainly does not have authority over the Scottish Episcopal Church, less so even than the Primus of the SEC has authority over dioceses other than his own.

Posted by: Jo on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 5:23pm GMT

Fr Buttery is correct in saying that the response of the Primus is at odds with the assurances given in the debate. Indeed, the representative of SEC sitting in my view in the gallery seemed quite happy and relaxed through and after the debate.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 5:47pm GMT

Fr David - my comments on another thread to which you have referred were not about your reporting of the Synod debate, which was entirely accurate, but to the debate itself, and to your painting of it as 'a good thing'. I see it as a very bad thing.
For the ABC to say that the SEC were content with the declaration, only for the Primus of the SEC to say, as reported at the head of this thread, that they were anything but content, is disgraceful. I am glad to see that most of the distinguished contributors above seem to take the same view. I think we may assume that the Primus knows better than anybody the views of his church, so the ABC was either grossly misinformed or dissembling.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 5:57pm GMT

Mr Buttery, it is worth pointing out, when you talk about people representing competing views of what the Scottish Episcopal Church thinks, that when those views were represented in the chamber on Monday it was entirely by people who are not of the SEC. I think we can take the Primus's words as at least coming from the horse's mouth.

Posted by: Beth Routledge on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 6:34pm GMT

Simon Butler, as the representative of the SEC sitting in the gallery was not given the opportunity to speak it is hardly reasonable to speculate on what his or her opinion was. I know no one who would, acting as the official representative of their organisation at a meeting, particularly one where there were press and cameras, be unable to keep a check on their public emotions.

Posted by: Beth Routledge on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 6:44pm GMT

It has been quite a week for people from England commenting on what people from Scotland think.

It seems to me that we've reached an interesting new Faith and Order moment if there's an attempt to deduce what the SEC thinks by the demeanour of someone in the gallery rather than the words of the Primus.

Or is that just how things are done down south?

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 6:44pm GMT

Absolutely! I wasn't going to comment on this at the time, but it seemed to me that the relationship of the Churches of England and Scotland should only have come about via conversations with the Scottish Episcopal Church, and it is amazing that someone like the ABC didn't realise the kind of interference in another province that the so-called Columba Declaration was going to be. Are we sure that the ABC really knows what he is doing? He invited the "Primate" of the North American Anglican Church to the Primates meeting, when this surely should have been discussed beforehand by the Primates. Indeed, Beach emerged from the meeting without egg on his face (which, as a schismatic, he should have done), and the Presiding Bishop of TEC had to make all sorts of excuses and uncalled for acts of humility after the meeting was over. This is unacceptable, and the current ABC is turning out to be something of a liability for the Anglican Communion, so far as I can tell. I have no idea what good he will do for the Church of England - though I have my doubts and questions - but for the communion as a whole, and relationships within it, he seems to be putting his foot in his mouth every other public utterance. A bit sharpish, I know, but I don't know how else to interpret events.

Posted by: Eric MacDonald on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 10:14pm GMT

Thankyou Graeme (Buttery) for responding to my comment above.

Of course, I do realise that many in the Church of England are aware of the lack of consultation with the SEC authorities that became obvious on tnis important matter. Many, too, were aware that the Anglican Covenant was not the best way of responding to another border-crossing enacted by certain G.S. Provinces in North America. This is one of the reasons they rejected it.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 11:21pm GMT

Instead of all this huffing and puffing on the part of the SEC let us have some substance as to what exactly they are whinging about. Why, for example, did they choose to abandon the talks half way through the process? Also, what exactly is it in the text of the Columba Declaration that they actually object to?
A third general question I would like to ask is - in the C of E's discussions with the C of S in agreeing to publish the Columba Declaration what impact did the Lambeth Quadrilateral have on the talks, especially the fourth leg concerning the Historic Episcopate as a must have when it comes to any reunion? Finally why did they chose to name the document after an Irish Saint and in doing so - why did they snub the Church of Ireland by not including them in the discussions? Surely it would have been far better to have named it the Augustine Declaration after a good Italian Saint but then that might have upset the Roman Catholic Church and result in a moan from the Vatican as to why they were not fully consulted before the document was published.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 5:33am GMT

"it seemed to me that the relationship of the Churches of England and Scotland should only have come about via conversations with the Scottish Episcopal Church" -- unless I am misreading things, were there not many years of such discussions, and at some point the SEC withdrew? That is of course their right. But was the expectation of the SEC, then, that the other two parties would simply cease meeting because the SEC withdrew? If so, that did not happen.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 7:26am GMT

Numbers ..... Sec (like TEC) is thrown under the bus for perceived failure because of their numbers and demographics... Possible because all that'll happen is people will moan here but won't ever dare to leave and sytt something they can work for with integrity. Tec(uk) could exist but liberals like their titles, jobs as houses too much....

Posted by: S Cooper on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 8:43am GMT

I was not commenting on cogency, veracity or which speeches had more weight, merely that we heard two contradictory views. I still do not know which to believe more, or indeed what the good folk of SEC really think.

Graeme Buttery

Posted by: Graeme Buttery on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 8:43am GMT

Very interesting that Samuel Seabury even considered consecration in the Danish Lutheran Church, which never claimed apostolic succession.Furthermore at his consecration, there were no mitres and only geneva gowns.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 10:04am GMT

Calling Columba an "Irish Saint" is a bit bizarre. Yes, he was born in what is now Ireland, but Ireland and Scotland didn't exist at the time as they do now. Columba's home turf was Dal Riata, defined more by the lands that bordered an area of water than land masses themselves. For those of us in the isles, where Iona is visible and we're surrounded by the remains of the monastic communities Columba led, Columba is very much a Scottish saint. To claim otherwise is like claiming Patrick shouldn't be considered an Irish saint because he's believed to have come from Roman Brittania.

Posted by: Jo on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 10:45am GMT

I've been doing a bit of research and it seems that the SEC has 85,000 Affiliates compared with the Kirk's 398,389 Pledged Members. The SEC has 350 congregations and 7 bishops. That works out on average at 12,143 Affiliates per diocese (the same population as many a C of E parish - although geographical area must also be taken into the equation) and 50 congregations per bishop which must make it one of the smallest Provinces in the Anglican Communion.
The Northern Province of York with the amalgamation of Ripon, Bradford and Wakefield now has a much reduced number of dioceses. Why not issue a warm and friendly invitation to the SEC to join the Province of York? Problem solved and the SEC would no longer feel itself sidelined, isolated and ignored.
I'm sure that the Archbishop of York, currently on Sabbatical and making a pilgrimage around his diocese would thoroughly enjoy extending his pilgrim journey around the Highlands and Lowlands. Who better than Ebor to mend broken fences and smooth ruffled feathers?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 10:56am GMT

For an insight into what (some of) the SEC really think, Pip Blackledge's latest blog may be helpful:

Posted by: Jim on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 11:42am GMT

Agree with Jim. Here are the money quotes from Father Pip:

"The Church of England has just voted through the idea of Church of England priests working without permission or consultation in the diocese of another Province.
. . .
"I find it utterly bewildering that the Church of England encourages their members now to visit, not my church, but another denomination. How can they hold their communion with us so lightly?
. . .

"The consequences may be long lasting to this: to my mind the Church of England has behaved without respect or responsibility to its church in Scotland. As we gather at our Synods to discuss the issues of same sex marriage, which we have been told could split our communion apart, what does this declaration, this frankly crass and thoughtless declaration, say about the value that the Church of England places on the communion they claim to hold so dear? Distressingly little, and it will be hard for those who are voting not to bear that in mind."

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 2:53pm GMT

Quite right, Kelvin. As a sassenach myself (albeit with Scottish antecedents, hence my name) I plead guilty as charged to commenting on a Scottish matter. But I hope you will see from my earlier posts that I am appalled by the CofE's behaviour, and embarrassed by my Abp's apparent inability to see the principle at stake and the offence he was causing.

To answer Fr David's points, it is not about the detail, it is a matter of principle. Any Anglican unity initiative towards a Scottish church must come from the SEC, and not anybody else, because they are the Anglican province in Scotland. Nothing else matters.

As to why the SEC left the talks, that is for them to say. My guess is that this is what we used to call 'a brown envelope job' when I was still working. The leaders decide on an answer and put it in a brown envelope. The task of the working party is then not to determine the *correct* answer to the question, but to construct a case which justifies the answer the leaders first thought of. In this, the working party manifestly failed and I guess that SEC left when it became apparent that nothing they said would make any difference, because the outcome had been pre-determined.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 2:54pm GMT

If Fr David seriously thinks putting the SEC into the Province of York would calm us down, then he needs medication! We had this debate a while back. After the archbishopric of York received its first French archbishop, York claimed the Scottish bishoprics beyond the River Forth as its suffragans. Because Scotland, north of the Forth, had never been in the Roman Empire or part of Anglo-Saxon England, it was difficult for the church of York to produce any evidence of its claim, by The time of Giric (fl. 1100), styled as Archbishop in Scottish sources, St Andrews is claimed to be an "apostolic see" and the "second Rome".

Eadmer, an Englishman from Canterbury was appointed to St Andrews by Alexander I in 1120, but was forced to resign the see soon after because Alexander I would not agree to make the bishopric part of the English church under Canterbury. The Scots withstood York and Canterbury's pressure, delivered through the Pope and the English king. Requests were made to the papacy for an archbishopric at St Andrews, and although these failed, the Scottish bishoprics were recognised as independent in 1192. It was not though until 1472 that St Andrews became a papally-recognized archbishopric.

In other words we told Ebor and Cantuar to stick their jurisdiction where it hurts in the 13th century. We really are disinclined to change our minds after 800 years!

Posted by: Fr Dougal on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 6:09pm GMT

“Very interesting that Samuel Seabury even considered consecration in the Danish Lutheran Church, which never claimed apostolic succession. Furthermore at his consecration, there were no mitres and only geneva gowns.”—Robert Ian Williams

Yes, the Scots had no mitres—unlike some of the English Non-Jurors, who tended to be more “ritualistic” in their vesture. However, Seabury may have obtained a chasuble from the Danes, which they commonly wore for the Holy Eucharist. Mention is made of Seabury early appearing in America being vested in a “smock” or “apron” which may have been a “fiddleback” chasuble.

The first Anglican bishops in North America (John Talbot and Robert Welton) were consecrated circa 1722 by English Non-Jurors, and were subsequently said to have worn both copes and mitres “in their offices” in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Of course, they were not recognized by Church of England establishment of their day, and they lost their American rectorships because of their “Jacobite orders.”

In 1785 the Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury of Connecticut became the first bishop of any denomination in the United States to wear a miter in the performance of his ecclesiastical duties during the ordinations of several Episcopal deacons and priests that year. These men were the first Anglican clergy to be ordained in the New World. This vestment—likely the first miter fashioned in the USA—was probably created for him by one of his daughters soon after his return from his consecration in Europe.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Claggett, the first Episcopal Bishop of Maryland—and the first American bishop in the historic succession of any U.S. denomination to be consecrated on American soil—obtained a miter similar in design to Dr. Seabury’s miter following his consecration in 1792 and wore it for episcopal functions until his death in 1816.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 7:07pm GMT

I have to admit, Professor Seitz, that I did not know of the conversations in which the SEC had been involved with the C of S and the C of E, but, even so, if indeed the Scottish Episcopal Church withdrew (since the conversations, as I now understand, had to do with establishment, and SEC is not an established church), it seems to me that it would be wrong, in face of the fact that the Scottish Episcopal Church was not consulted about the ecumenical implications of the talks, for the Church of England to proceed with such conversations within the jurisdiction of another Anglican Primate. This sounds very irregular, almost as irregular as effectively giving Foley Beach primatial status, despite the presence of the Primates of two national churches, each with their own leaders, Synods (or Conventions), institutional structures, etc. In this respect I agree with Pip Blackledge that the possible intercommunion of the Church of England with the Church of Scotland, without the agreement of the SEC would be highly irregular, and arguably not consistent with the Church of England's commitments regarding church order. It needs to be pointed out that an earlier ecumenical attempt in England failed (back in the 70's). Are we now to think that establishment makes a difference with regard to the legitimacy of formal ties with a non-episcopal church? The Church of England's hunting on someone else's estate really amounts to poaching, without any recognition of the status and rights of the Scottish Episcopal Church in its own province.

Someone in the English Church needs a good scolding. As Pip Blackledge rightly says:

"But the bit which genuinely hurts, the bit which gripes and twists, is the idea that Church of England laity are encouraged to worship with the Church of Scotland. I have never worked in the Church of England, but have always regarded it as part of my church, my communion, my people. Whenever I go down South, I always search out my local Anglican church, and I find it utterly bewildering that the Church of England encourages their members now to visit, not my church, but another denomination. How can they hold their communion with us so lightly?"

Were I a Scottish Episcopal priest I would feel the same, and wonder what on earth Canterbury is up to. I hate to say it, but I had my doubts about Welby's appointment from the start. The more I see of the results, the more I think that the old English habit of seeking its top bishops from amongst those who wear the right ties, instead of choosing those best qualified for those positions, is taking its toll. Welby had an astonishingly short spell as priest before being made a bishop, and a ridiculously short time as a bishop before being raised by the establishment to the highest office in the English Church. As an oilman national boundaries doubtless meant very little to him, but he seems to need a bit more sense of the Church. Surely he would not then have so freely trod on others' toes as he has already done: the US, Canada, and now Scotland. What more should we expect? Or is the Anglican Communion now to take its ecclesiology from HTB and Nicky Gumbel? Who is advising him, and why is he making a hash of things (quite aside from his apparent dishonesty regarding the outcome of the primates meeting (and the silence about who was and was not present till the end)?

Posted by: Eric MacDonald on Friday, 19 February 2016 at 8:46pm GMT

RIW: Do you think that the lack of mitres made Seabury's consecration invalid? Furthermore, the Moderators of the Kirk now wear pectoral crosses!

Posted by: Richard on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 7:04am GMT

Seems to me that we need some facilitated conversations between the C of E and the SEC in order to calm down the seething and the frothing at the mouth of those Episcopalians North of the Border.
History tells us that up until 1920 Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru was part of the Church of England. Since then the Anglican decline has been dramatic west of Offa's Dyke. Again, the only future hope for our Celtic brothers and sisters in Wales and Scotland is to return home to mother. "Better Together".

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 8:34am GMT

The SEC's withdrawal had nothing to do with establishment.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 1:45pm GMT

Hard as it may be to believe now given present liturgical dress, chasubles were extremely rare in the Episcopal Church. In the ritualist crisis of the early 1900s, the Bishop of Fond du Lac was so vestured, as were his consecrators, and the matter was seen as eccentric and romish and un-American. In their defense the ritualists claimed that there had once upon a time been such vesture in the US. But their claim was regarded as specious and a confirmation of only how eccentric they were. The recordings make for interesting reading today. It is hard now to believe that even the High-Church Episcopalians regarded such vesture as bizarre. Now miters and chasubles seem almost required dress. Even in my lifetime miters were regarded as unusual for Bishops to wear.

So I'm not sure what we would learn from examining Seabury's dress. Claggett was, I believe, a low-churchman!

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 1:55pm GMT

Thank you, Eric. I agree with everything you say. ++Welby has himself reported that, at his first interview with the selection panel, he told them that it would be 'ridiculous' to appoint him as ABC. How right he was! But, if that was how he really felt, and was not just a display of false modesty, why did he agree to do it?

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 3:18pm GMT

Is it not unlikely that the result of the agreement will be CofE priests invading Scotland — why would the CofS require them?— and more likely that it will involve the CofE assisting CofS churches in England?

Posted by: Picky on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 8:56pm GMT

Eric asked, "Who is advising him?"

I've wondered about the quality of Cantuar's advisers for the past decade.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 20 February 2016 at 11:05pm GMT

@Father David: is there any reason for this continued abusive trolling of the SEC other than to demonstrate why Episcopalians are likely to see the CofE as arrogant and overbearing? The SEC is not and never has been a daughter church of the CofE, so there is no "return" to be had here. I think you'll find also that the disestablishment of the Church in Wales was because it had already dramatically declined as a result of precisely the sort of English imperialism you advocate.

Posted by: Jo on Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 9:04am GMT

C Seitz, I was just quoting from memory something that I thought I had read in the literature and references provided. If it was not because the Scottish and English Churches were discussing matters that pertained to establishment, just why did the Scottish Episcopal Church withdraw from conversations (as I believe they did) between the Kirk and Canterbury? And if they were not included in the conversations from the start, this just makes Canterbury's role in all this that much more egregious.

Posted by: Eric MacDonald on Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 2:04pm GMT

From my perspective in England (and nowhere near the border!) the value of any agreement seems to be that it recognises that many CofS members worship in CofE churches in England - and not a few CofS ministers have some connection with CofE churches and institutions. As an example two (separate) members of my (CofE) congregation come from a CofS background - but the nearest Presbyterian church is nearly an hour away and they are not able to make that journey. Thus t CofE parish meets the needs of CofS members in England.

Equally, when I holiday in Scotland I find myself worshipping in both SEC and CofS churches, as it can sometimes be a day trip to the nearest SEC involving a couple of ferry trips.

So, from my (limited) perspective there seems value in recognising and dealing with these realities. However, there seems to be something else at work here about border crossing that may suggest something different and deeper - does this have a grounding in actual actions, or is it a latent fear?

Posted by: NJW on Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 3:20pm GMT

The Bishop of Chester has a long review of the history and it can be easily obtained.

There are some places where the potential for agreement between the CofS and the CofE is just where the SEC gets its sense of differentiation, over against its much larger Scottish Kirk.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 7:30am GMT

Perhaps Jo would like to inform us all as to which is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion? Also any statistics as to the membership of the Anglican Church in Wales pre1920 and currently would be a useful comparison.
Would it not be a great witness if the Anglicans of England, Wales and Scotland united under one umbrella as the Church of Great Britain?
BoJo that great political opportunist with lustful eyes on the keys of Number 10 has seen fit to support Brexit and have us break away from Europe which would be absolutely disastrous. On June 23rd if Scotland voted massively in favour of remaining in the EU and England voted against where would that leave us? The Three Anglican Churches of mainland Britain uniting would be a shining example of "BETTER TOGETHER". Much better than the current unedifying scrap between the SEC and the C of E over the Columba Declaration. We still have not been told exactly why the SEC chose to quit the discussions.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 10:15am GMT

+Chillingworth was born in Dublin but has lived his life in N. Ireland, where his entire ministry was prior to coming to the Scottish Episcopal Church. I can recall his election to the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld, Dunblane. His predecessor was retired with a military pension. The financial situation in the small SEC is a challenge. It was a bit unusual for the Primus not to be the senior Bishop or longest serving one, but I think he was judged to be able to carve out the time for this easier than some others.

So he knows the Irish church context as well...

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 11:19am GMT

Professor Seitz. The Bishop of Chester's brief history is available under the next post. However, I do not see how this account really clarifies what needs clarification: the Church of England's continuing participation in discussions after the Scottish Episcopal Church left the discussions because of what seem to be fundamental disagreements with the terms of the consultation.

Given that the consultations continued, the implication is that the Scottish Episcopal Church is a mere onlooker whose agreement is not necessary for the Church of England and Church of Scotland's discussions to go forward, even though those conversations effectively sideline the Scottish Episcopal Church, and takes no significant notice of their disagreement with the ongoing conversations. In terms of the independence of Anglican provinces from one another, and the fact that the primate of the province has sole episcopal jurisdiction within his (or her) province, the continuation of the conversations, and its issuing in some sort of accord, seems very irregular.

The ABC has no more legitimate jurisdiction in Scotland than Foley Beach has in North America. And so, it seems, the Anglican Communion chips away at its form of ministry and order without proper consultation with the appropriate authorities, precisely what has taken place in North America with the formation of a rogue province who makes claims to be the continuing presence of (true) Anglicanism in the United States and Canada. So the ABC is effectively up to the same shenanigans as Foley Beach! No wonder he invited him the primates' gathering!

Posted by: Eric MacDonald on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 3:55pm GMT

There is no single identifiable mother church of the Anglican Communion. The CofE is the mother church of a number of the communion's constituent churches, but by no means all. The Scottish Episcopal Church has a distinct history from the Church of England dating back to before the Reformation.

Posted by: Jo on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 6:11pm GMT

Of course the border crossing and insensitivity reminds me of ACNA here in the US and Canada.

One thing that puzzles me about crossing the border and having CoS and CoE reverends and priests working in each other's churches is the place of the sacraments. Ordination is a sacrament, we believe in apostolic succession, and thus the Eucharist and other sacraments are administered by priests... We believe in the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist, and my understanding is that the more Protestant churches understand Holy Communion as a memorial, rather than a sacrament.

Am I muddled about that? Especially in the CoS and CoE context (it holds here in the US).

I've thought that the Anglican church is about the sacraments and the ecclesiology is set up by, around, and for the sacraments, in addition to administration.

To me, this is a game changer far beyond the supposed "doctrine of marriage." So when I'm visiting in the North of England and wish to worship and receive the eucharist, what's going to happen? How am I to know if I'm receiving the sacrament from a priest ordained in the apostolic tradition and who has a shared belief in the eucharist?

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 6:12pm GMT

Cynthia, you don't mean the "North of England". You mean the northern part of Great Britain (or of the United Kingdom). Scotland is not part of England. The UK also includes Northern Ireland.

Views within the Church of England on eucharistic theology etc. are a good deal more varied than you will find in The Episcopal Church (in America) though. I understand that views within the Scottish Episcopal Church are much less so.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 6:33pm GMT

"...are a good deal more varied than you will find in The Episcopal Church (in America)..."

Simon--my hunch is that historically, the practice and understanding of the Eucharist in PECUSA/TEC has tracked quite closely alongside the CofE.

What TEC now believes in this matter is anyone's guess because the default is the propriety of individual choice and a BCP soon to become a loose-leaf binder.

I do not say this to be provocative, but only as an indication of how 'loose-leaf binder' is the present iteration of TEC. Perhaps 'Common Worship' will follow, but at present it is a serious alternative to this kind of declension.

Lenten Peace.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 8:21pm GMT

I think Cynthia is implying that, in the future, one might be at a CofE church in, say, Carlisle and find communion being celebrated by a CofS minister and not a apostolically ordained priest. Within Scotland it will remain pretty straightforward - you go to the SEC.

Posted by: Jo on Monday, 22 February 2016 at 8:54pm GMT

Thanks, Simon. I thought that the agreement included CoS pastors working in England and CoE priests working in Scotland. So I was thinking around the border. I've been to manor houses in Cumbria that still have their fortifications for the next invasion of the Scots...

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 at 2:15am GMT

"Views within the Church of England on eucharistic theology etc. are a good deal more varied than you will find in The Episcopal Church (in America) though."

Wow. And I thought that the Eucharist was central and precisely what "unified" us as Anglicans. To me the brouhaha over inclusive marriage pales in comparison to the belief and doctrine involved in the sacraments.

If you don't believe in the Real Presence, why would it matter if the priest or bishop is a woman, for example?

If you don't believe in the Real Presence, then withholding sacraments from gay people isn't a big deal. If you do believe, then being excluded is a huge deal. In TEC we say "all the sacraments for all the Baptized." It's very hard to deal with a theology where gay people receive the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, but are excluded from the sacraments of ordination and marriage.

I don't get what separates Anglicans from Presbyterians if not the Real Presence? I'm sure I'm missing something...

What seems clearer is that TEC's inclusion is based on our understanding of the sacraments, and CoE seems to have a very different understanding of those. It's like we aren't speaking the same language at all, which I always suspected.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 at 2:43am GMT

Sunday Eucharist has been the norm in TEC for 30+ years (at least in congregations that have a priest), but when I was younger, we had communion one Sunday a month and the other Sundays we had Morning Prayer. I wonder whether that's still true in some English parishes. Obviously, a C of S minister leading a service of Morning Prayer would not be as problematic as his/her celebrating the Eucharist. I

Posted by: Paul Powers on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 at 1:50pm GMT

I would appreciate clarification from Christopher Seitz of what he means by "a BCP soon to become a loose-leaf binder."

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 6:20am GMT

'Suggestion box' might also be appropriate.

General Convention committees have already recognized the danger in a proliferation of rites, within the BCP and also in ancillary resources, though I doubt the concerns will stand in the way. The priority is on variability and choice (good consumer notions).

In addition, I think we may be the only Province in the AC that actually required previous rites to cease being used altogether. That says a lot about continuity through time.

The emergence of PDF and ease of copying makes a BCP increasingly something like the semi-official 'archive' and not a breviary for prayer and worship, as was the leaner 1928 BCP for example. Pew sheets are there for use, often expensively and elaborately put together.

The epiclesis was in the rite of St John Chrysostom, if memory serves. The SEC was seeking antiquity and orthodoxy by reaching back in time to the rites of the eastern church still in use today in exactly the same form. People can speak dreamily about Seabury and Scottish non-jurors but let's face it: this is pick and choose mentality. The logic, origins, and character of the first American Prayer Book are now far in the rear-view mirror of New World longing for choice, adaptability, and 'the latest' model.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 11:41am GMT

“Claggett was, I believe, a low-churchman!”—Christopher Seitz

Perhaps he was not quite as High Church as Seabury, but he certainly wore a miter from 1792 until his death in 1816 for episcopal functions.

The ultra-Evangelical Bishop, William Meade of Virginia, was fond of telling the following story: “A singular circumstance occurred about this time [circa 1814] in connection with bishop Claggett’s consecration of old St. Paul’s Church, Alexandria. Putting on his robes and his mitre at some distance from the church, he had to go along the street to reach it. This attracted the attention of a number of boys and others who ran after and along side of him, admiring his peculiar dress and gigantic stature…His voice was extraordinary for strength…and as he entered the door of the church where the people were in silence awaiting, and the first words of the service burst forth from his lips in his most peculiar manner, a young lady, turning around suddenly and seeing his huge form and uncommon appearance, was so convulsed that she was obliged to be taken out of the house.” See: Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Volume 1, (1857) pages 34-35.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 7:14pm GMT

Mr Seitz, I appreciate your summation of what you intended by your earlier reference to what I would call variability, yet I do not find in it validity for the "loose-leaf binder" comment.

To my knowledge, only the Book of Common Prayer, plus the Book of Occasional Services (and then only if a Rector obtains permission from his/her Diocesan Bishop), are permissible formats for services in Episcopal Churches.

Are you expressing a prediction, rather than a reality for TEC?

Having traveled quite a bit for business, and worshipped in sister churches of the Anglican Communion in parts of Asia and Euope, I can recall quite a bit of variability in services among those churches, yet I am ignorant of what was actually (canonically) permissible in each.

I seem to recall perplexing variability among CofE churches, and have found less than that among TEC churches.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 8:20pm GMT

I'm willing to be corrected on this but I thought the CofE replaced previous rites (excepting the BCP) when they introduced Common Worship, and similarly the ASB replaced a previous set of modern rites. Even the venerable 1662 BCP was the latest in a series of iterations, none of the others (1549, for example) are still valid for use. In the SEC I again could be wrong but I think the original 1637 BCP has been replaced by the 1929 version, not withstanding the more recent updates to the communion office. As for pick and choose, has cseitz had a look at Common Worship?

Posted by: Jo on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 8:55pm GMT

1662 is a long time ago. 1928 was forbidden immediately upon introduction of 1979. That was the point I was making.

One can still use 1929 in the SEC.

Yes, I know Common Worship. But the instincts of eliminating the past prayer books is a uniquely TEC one.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 25 February 2016 at 8:43am GMT

"1928 was forbidden immediately upon introduction of 1979."--C. Seitz

My understanding is that the 1928 Prayer Book can still be used by a parish if the Bishop permits it. Here in NYC, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue uses the 1928 PB by such permission. And I have heard that a few other NY-area parishes not as famous use the 1928 PB as well. I guess it depends upon what one's Bishop is willing to permit.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 25 February 2016 at 3:54pm GMT

I've also known of TEC parishes using the 1928 Prayer Book. It wasn't forbidden.

1928 is more Protestant. 1979 is more catholic. So I understand that people can have strong views, but 1928 was still being used in the midwest when I lived there. Out here in the West, I only know of 1979 being used, but people here are more laid back... It's been 1979 my entire adult life and it agrees with me (with my Greek Orthodox background).

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 25 February 2016 at 6:46pm GMT

In Fort Worth, both St. Andrew's Episcopal Churches TEC and ACNA) use the 1928 BCP with their respective bishops' permission.

I grew up on the 1928 prayer book, and I remember how controversial the 1979 prayer book was at first. It almost split apart the parish I belonged to in Huntington, Long Island (where Samuel Seabury served as a lay reader and catechist before he was ordained).

Posted by: Paul Powers on Friday, 26 February 2016 at 4:15am GMT

"1928 is more Protestant. 1979 is more catholic."

Yes, that very bad communion service in 1928, so un-catholic...

The innovation being claimed for the 1979 BCP was not that it purported to be more catholic, but that it thought it had found historical rites in the patristic period that needed incorporation.

This was the liturgical version of the historical critical search for 'pristine origins' lost over time.

BTW, once it was clear that--unlike 1929 in the SEC--the 1928 BCP was no longer to be permitted, then yes, over time, allowances were made for, what, about 20 parishes in all of the USA?

'Why do we need to read history? We are making history' will be the motto over the USA in this era.

Lenten blessings.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 26 February 2016 at 7:02am GMT

For Paul Powers, I was also a member of St. John's in Huntington and watched the organist depart to form an anti-BCP (1979) church in Cold Spring Harbor, and the Rector, who played with the separatists and tried to manipulate the Vestry, ultimately pressed to accept a retirement package.

Those were ugly times, but I recall less than 10% - probably much less - of the parish following any of them who rejected the new prayer book.

But, we are not the only ones who face rejection of anything new. Until 1976, when I was 32, I was a Roman Catholic, and we all know that there is still a minority of RC's who can't face having the Mass in English, and I'm sure that's because Jesus spoke Latin then, and only later adopted Elizabethan English.

Now, I still have my St Joseph's Daily Missal if I want to look back to the Latin Mass, just as I have my 1928 BCP if I care to look back to that history. However, history is just that, and if we never evolved we would be strange folk indeed.

Language evolves, and finding better ways to bring the people into the heart of our services is essential. At least the BCP of 1979 provides a number of options, and that was certainly not the case with the 1928 Prayer Book.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Friday, 26 February 2016 at 7:16pm GMT

Hi, Jerry! I thought I recognized your name! By the way, it was the choirmaster, not the organist, who tried to start a new church in Cold Spring Harbor. At time the ordination of women was another hot-button issue (looking back it's hard to figure out what all the fuss was about concerning either issue). You may remember an ad hoc organization called the Renewal Group that worked to keep the parish together, and in the Episcpal Church.

Prof Seitz: I don't know whether the 1979 BCP's Eucharistic services are more or less Catholic than the 1928 service. I believe that one can argue that the 1979 BCP is more Catholic than the 1928 BCP in that it describes the Eucharist as the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord's Day and other major feasts, it includes a service for reconciliation of a penitent, it specifically refers to reservation of the sacrament, and it relegates the 39 Articles (also known as 39 lashes across the back of Holy Mother Church) to the historical documents section in the back of the book.

Posted by: Paul Powers on Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 2:53am GMT

I'd say the Eucharistic theology of the 1928 BCP is more Augustinian.

The movement toward Sunday HC was already in place and the 79 book simply came alongside that.

But my point was never to get all excited about the 1928 BCP but rather to note the tendency to always believe what is newest must erase the past. The SEC did not cut loose the 1929 BCP. I suspect they knew that would send an odd signal, as if there was something deficient about it.

The Rite I of '79 pretended to retain the 1928 service but not without making sure 'there is no health in us' and similar Augustinian notes were airbrushed out.

I have a chapter in Figured Out (2001) on this tendency, but that too was no plea for 1928, but rather an expose of historical critical primitivism. Fortunately that tendency in biblical studies is being replaced with appreciate for the rich history of interpretation before Altdorf 1789...

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 1:21pm GMT

“But my point was never to get all excited about the 1928 BCP but rather to note the tendency to always believe what is newest must erase the past.” Christopher Seitz

Okay, professor, then when a new Prayer Book comes out in the future, let’s replace Rite I with the full, 1549 liturgy, in exchange for a Rite 3 inclusive language liturgy. You agree…?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Monday, 29 February 2016 at 4:29pm GMT

Of course any basic CH course in seminary would immediately show the period 1549-59, given bloody politics, to be sui generis and of no analogy to present BCP revision -- and thank God for that.

I'm surprised you'd appeal to it.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 2 March 2016 at 4:27pm GMT

Mr Seitz, I sensed that Mr Hill's comment was purely tongue in cheek, as if to suggest, to anyone resisting moving on to new (1979 BCP) language, that we could, instead of the 1928 Prayer Book, go back hundreds, if not indeed, thousands, of years to preserve past language.

Where does one draw the line.

Perhaps we could go back to the Pre-Gregorian Rite of the Western Church, which I rather like.

For my part, I am very happy with our current BCP, and hope that any changes in 2018 will be minor.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 3 March 2016 at 5:51pm GMT

"hope that any changes in 2018 will be minor"

I suspect one challenge will be whether to have a variety of marriage rites, somewhat at odds with each other, or to have a single rite that those who want a traditional marriage (as in the present 1979 BCP) will have to accept. Or design one of their own.

Will there be other changes? Who knows.

You will recall that when the 1979 BCP came out it was not the 1928 with some new things spliced in. The 1979 BCP was preceded by disseminated rites (Green, Zebra books, etc) because a wholesale replacement was in view, and because the church was calling for this.

The 1928 could have been retained just as was the 1929 in the SEC -- viz., not some distant rite from hoary antiquity!

But what you are suggesting, and I have no reason to doubt it, is not a new, mandated, wholesale BCP, but as you say, one with 'minor changes' (or so you hope). That is, a loose leaf binder type project where the binder is opened and new rites of various kinds inserted, either many or, as you hope, only minor splicing in.

This is a different conception altogether than what obtained from 1979 and previous books. Hence my original point.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 5 March 2016 at 6:56am GMT
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