Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Scottish Episcopal Church to vote on marriage canon change

On Thursday 8 June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will open in Edinburgh.

The full details of this can be found in links from this page on the national church website, but oddly the main press release is not available as a web page, so is copied in full here, below the fold. The most newsworthy item in it is this:

The first key item of business on this year’s agenda is the second – and final - reading of a proposed alteration to the Church’s Canon on Marriage. This proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The voting process on this proposed canonical change will require a two thirds majority in each ‘house’ of Bishops, Clergy and Laity. This session will be presented by the Church’s Faith and Order Board and will commence at approximately 2.30pm on Thursday 8 June, with the result of the voting ballot announced at approximately 4.20pm.

Law & Religion UK has reproduced the sections from the document 2017 General Synod which concern the voting procedures and the opinions from the dioceses. See Changing marriage doctrine in the SEC – voting procedures.

There is a vast amount of further detail about this in the main file of synod papers, including a lot in the minutes of the previous synod, and a DRAFT of a document titled College of Bishops Principles and Guidelines relating to Marriage which can all be found at this link.

Kelvin Holdsworth has written this explanation of what is going on: What the Scottish Episcopal Church is Voting On which I recommend reading in full. He writes:

…However, it is important to realise that the debate tomorrow is not being conducted in terms of a motion that will allow the Scottish Episcopal Church to vote either for or against the marriage of same-sex couples. I kind of wish that it was, but it resolutely isn’t.

The synod agreed a couple of years ago that the way that it wished to debate this was to see whether there was enough of a majority to remove the inherently heterosexual definition of marriage that had been placed in the Canons thirty odd years ago and replace it with a statement that acknowledged that Scottish Episcopalians believe different things about marriage and make proposals for allowing those who wish to marry same-sex couples to do so whilst protecting the conscience of those who do not wish to marry same-sex couples.

This is fundamentally a vote about what kind of church we want to be.

If we want to be a church that tries to respect people’s consciences on this issue then the thing to do is to vote in favour of motion 6. If we want to be a church which insists that everyone has to abide by the rules of a minority position then the right thing to do is vote against motion 6.

That’s the thing, you see. We can be pretty sure that there will be a majority in each of the houses of synod in favour of moving forward. That means that there will be a majority in each house, including in the house of Bishops voting against the current policy of the bishops.

Should this vote fail, we’ll be in a strange place. No doubt some reflection will be needed but what is certain is that the bishops can’t defend a position that they’ve just voted against.

Should the vote succeed then it is incumbent on all of us to abide by what it says and work to protect the conscience of those who don’t want to solemnise the marriages of same-sex couples. Scots law means that there’s no way anyone can be forced to do so anyway, but there must be no disparaging those who don’t want to take part in any way at all…

According to both the Church Times and Christian Today conservatives will announce a rival “missionary bishop” if this vote goes through. See Rival ‘missionary bishop’ to be announced by GAFCON as Scottish Anglicans fight off split and Scottish Anglicans will decide this week about same-sex weddings.

General Synod 2017 press release

Representatives from dioceses across Scotland will gather in Edinburgh for the annual meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which takes place on 8-10 June at St Paul’s and St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh.

The first key item of business on this year’s agenda is the second – and final - reading of a proposed alteration to the Church’s Canon on Marriage. This proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The voting process on this proposed canonical change will require a two thirds majority in each ‘house’ of Bishops, Clergy and Laity. This session will be presented by the Church’s Faith and Order Board and will commence at approximately 2.30pm on Thursday 8 June, with the result of the voting ballot announced at approximately 4.20pm.

The following two days of General Synod will see a range of topics and issues debated, including a report on Climate Change Action and Fossil Fuel Investments by the Church in Society committee; and a look at how the Church can move forward in its Mission.

Preparing for General Synod the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “At this General Synod we reach the final stage of our discussion of marriage and of same sex marriage in particular. The Scottish Episcopal Church, in common with all other churches, expresses a diversity of views on this question. Those views are held with integrity. Our church will seek to reach a decision on the canonical question while sustaining its unity in Christ. To do so will require both humility and generosity on all sides.”

Anyone who is not a member of General Synod is welcome to sit in the public gallery of St Paul’s and St George’s Church during the meeting of General Synod, and live video coverage of the meeting will be available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website, http://www.scotland.anglican.org/who-we-are/organisation/the-general-synod/general-synod-live-video-stream/ together with online updates of the proceedings and decisions of General Synod 2017. General Synod can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook
ends

Note to editors:
- Requests for filming, photography and interviews should be made to Lorna Finley, Director of Communications on 07872 000887 or press@scotland.anglican.org

- The Primus will be available for interview following the announcement of the vote on the Canon on Marriage.

- The full proceedings of General Synod, including the debate on the Canon on Marriage, will be video live-streamed. http://www.scotland.anglican.org/who-we-are/organisation/the-general-synod/general-synod-live-video-stream/

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 5:26pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church
Comments

Respect for people's consciences.

This is the path the Church of England seems afraid to walk.

Unity in Diversity. When people stop trying to dominate one another, and yet insist on loving each other, even if we hold different conscientious views.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 6:48pm BST

There's nothing inherently new in changing (canon) law by removing restrictions rather than explicitly saying who is included.

Thus, in the American church when women were allowed to be members of vestries, or be ordained to the priesthood all that was required to remove the word men.

Likewise, when some American dioceses that discriminated by race allowed "colored" clergy and parishes to participate in governance, white (and, in some cases, Anglo-Saxon) was removed.

Posted by: John CHILTON on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 8:50pm BST

As a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, we watch and pray that the motion on same sex marriage will be confirmed, and we can move forward together respecting each others views.

Being an example and encouragement to the English provinces south of the border to take such action. Thus enabling the Church of England to move forward in its task of the pastoral care of the people of England, in their various conditions.

In fact being the Church of England

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 8:24am BST

As much as I respect Kevin Holdsworth and often wish I could express myself as clearly and forthrightly as he does, his position of respecting difference may be necessary as a short term political expedient but nothing else. I have no more wish to 'protect the conscience of those who don’t want to solemnise the marriages of same-sex couples' than I wish to protect the conscience of those who wouldn't wish to solemnise the marriage of mixed race couples or black people. I know it's a bit hackneyed but if you want to know if a position is good enough to live with substitute race for gay, or in this case 'same sex' and see if you still want to fight to protect such a conscience.

Posted by: Disgraced on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 10:35am BST

Does anyone know what time the vote will take place today ?

Thank you.

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 11:22am BST

Disgraced speaks my mind. Very well said.

Toleration of intolerance and of oppression leads to devestating effects on the many who have no voice, in the counsels of the churches, and lack the great privelges of clergy and globe-trotting gafconers who apparently have nothing better to do than well--globe trot and stir up trouble in (to them) foreign lands

and have the wealth for leisure, for travel, for privelged speaking and being heard...

But NOT In My Name


Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 2:14pm BST

Laurie,

We should know the results mis afternoon, by 4pm.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 2:20pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.