Monday, 13 February 2017

Scottish Primus to retire

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, is to retire at the end of July. He became a bishop in 2005 and has been Primus since 2009.

The official announcement can be read here on the SEC website.

With the recent retirement of the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, there will soon be two new Anglican primates in the British Isles.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 12:08pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

What is the procedure for choosing the new Primus? Is it buggins turn?

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 3:01pm GMT

The diocesan bishops elect one of their number to be Primus.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 4:25pm GMT

The practice used to be that the longest serving was the Primus.

This changed when St Andrews, Dunkeld, Dunblane was given the role.

I was present at the time. My understanding was that it might now go to the person who has the time to do the job given other circumstances -- size of diocese, central location, etc.

The former bishop of St Andrews was a retired priest on a military pension who kept his residence in St Andrews rather than near the Cathedral in Perth. The budgetary realties in the SEC would stun the average TEC citizen.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 5:29pm GMT

It's a little known fact, but they actually play musical chairs for it.

Posted by: Jo on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 7:24pm GMT

From my past as an Anglican (now RC Layman) what I remember, is that in the self understanding of the Scottish Episcopal Church, pertaining to the Office of Primus, that the Primus is not an Archbishop, nor a Primate, nor Metropolitan and the Primus is not even a Presiding Bishop, but is really more of a Moderator, who convenes and Chairs meetings and is a PR person. In Scottish Episcopal self Understanding, the whole College of Bishops acting together under the Moderation of the Primus constitutes an Archbishop. When a Primus is elected it is normally done by show of hands, it is very much committee room stuff, like electing the Chair of a Board of Directors, following usual committee procedure and practice. The Primus assumes Office immediately on election, and there is no Liturgical Ceremony in Church to install, Induct or inaugurate the New Primus into Office. Once elected the election is relayed to the Press the next day. the Scottish Church prefers to have a Primus, as they consider having an Archbishop to be un-democratic.

Posted by: Jonathan Jamal on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 8:52pm GMT

Can we look forward to lots of retirements from the role of a bishop in the Churches of England, Wales and Scotland?

Perhaps, having read the recent Letter of 14 retired Bishops to the sitting House of bishops in the Church of England, most sitting Bishops would like to join the 14 and retire from the H.o.B., thus distancing themselves from the 'Report'!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 at 1:53am GMT

Mr Jamal, the SEC is the proportion that makes raising hands and getting consensus amongst 7 Bishops very sensible. I think the average Sunday attendance in the SEC is perhaps 10-15K.

The Primus remains Bishop of a Diocese. I don't think anyone else does what TEC does, with a PB without a diocese to oversee in some fashion. The Convocation of American Churches is now with a full time Bishop and it is miniscule anyway.

With several of the large parishes in the SEC identifying with Gafcon, one can wonder about the future of this small SEC going into the next generation.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 at 3:15pm GMT

The future of the SEC is in small and large congregations up and down the country, in large cities and on tiny islands, faithfully witnessing to the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and sacrament.

Yes there is a rump of reactionary conservatives in a couple of places, but they represent a tiny fraction of the congregations (the SEC doesn't really have parishes) in the SEC. If they cannot cope with people in the church having a different understanding of what God wants to their own then you have to question what they're doing in any Anglican church, much less the SEC.

Posted by: Jo on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 at 8:42pm GMT

Doesn't the Canadian Primate relinquish any diocesan or metropolitan duties upon becoming Primate?

Posted by: Richard on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 at 8:59pm GMT

Re: Richard, Correct.

Canon III (4) Term of Office
a) The term of office of the Primate shall commence upon installation to the office.
b) As soon as practicable following election, but in any case not more than 90 days
after the date of election, the Primate shall resign any Episcopal and Metropolitical
offices held at the time of election to the Primacy

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 3:17am GMT

So TEC and ACoC both have a different polity than the SEC and CofE and most provinces. Didn't mean to turn the discussion away from the SEC. Scotland isn't a large country and the SEC is a small entity. TEC has an extraordinarily large number of bishops, but geographical size isn't the only factor as shown by comparison with ACoC, whose house of bishops is a quarter of the size of TEC.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 10:04am GMT

It's worth pointing out that we in the SEC are going to be a bishop or two light for a while. Aberdeen is now in vacancy; +Gregor is unwell and may not return to work. Now with +David about to retire, we are left with four 'active' bishops to manage seven diocese - over a geographical area, remember, virtually the same size as England. So your prayers would be very welcome: for our church as we enter into a potentially challenging period; for +Bob and +David in their current and impending retirements; for +Gregor as he recovers; and for the four active bishops, +Mark (Moray, Ross and Caithness); +John (Edinburgh); +Kevin (Argyll and the Isles); and +Nigel (Brechin).

Posted by: Jim on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 1:55pm GMT

Dear Jim, you have my prayers. Potentially challenging period indeed. The SEC maintained some important links to the Eastern churches at a time when both needed each other.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 4:57pm GMT

Going back to the discussion of the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. I read online today that Bishop Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness was today elected as the New primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in Succession to Bishop David Chillingworth who demitted Office as Primus today and retires as Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dumblane on July the 31st. At 50 he is the youngest Bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church and is the most senior in Consecration, having been a Bishop since 2007. With some of their Bishops being at various stages within years of retirement, it seemed a very logical choice, to give continuity at a time of change.Health permitting with 65 being the Retirement age for Bishops in the SEC, he could be Primus for 15 years.

Posted by: Jonathan Jamal on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 at 3:45pm BST

Bishop Mark Strange is 56 (not 50). At least that is what it says in today's announcement on the SEC's webpage and they ought to know.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 at 11:23pm BST
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