Comments: Church of Scotland approves the Columba Declaration

Just about the worst model of ecumenism there could be. However carefully worked out the means by which it has been achieved (trampling over the SEC) doesn't justify the end.

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Wednesday, 25 May 2016 at 3:41pm BST

The reality of Christian Unity (in Christ) is something we should all try to live out in our lives. We are called to love one another.

The apology, too, is welcome - it was right to acknowledge that hurt was caused.

As for "profound love amidst welcomed diversity." What does Justin mean by 'welcomed' diversity? Welcomed on whose terms? Welcomed as who people are (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) or welcomed despite those human identities and characteristics?

Because it often does not seem very welcoming. If I had had my job taken away because I had a gay partner, I wouldn't feel very welcomed or loved. Likewise, if my Province was threatened with sanctions for embracing diversity.

Will Scottish pastors in gay marriages be welcomed to officiate in the Church of England? Or will they be discriminated against?

Because this... "We won’t always necessarily find ourselves walking in step with one another, something I’ve been particularly conscious of, as, like you, we have been considering the issues around same-sex marriages, and following your earlier debate on ministers in same-sex marriages."

But on the desire for unity, that is a good desire. Just that unity isn't the same as uniformity, either between Churches, or within the Church of England.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 25 May 2016 at 5:53pm BST

Church of Scotland: "The Columba Declaration represents a “significant step” between the two denominations..."

I think that would have been more accurately expressed as "The Columba Declaration represents a “significant step” between the two churches..."

But therein lies part of the trouble.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 25 May 2016 at 8:48pm BST

Why, when the ABC (Church of England) Primate was invited to speak at the COS Assembly, was not the Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland also invited?

One might think that the COE was not intimately related to SEC and ALL other Anglican Provinces.

Is this just a relationship of COE and COS?

If so, then why were not all Anglican Provinces brought in on the conversations? Or is this just one more autonomous decision made by one Anglican Province without consultation?

Interestingly, this is the sort of autonomous behaviour that caused TEC to be disciplined by the recent Primates' Meeting. Can the COE get away with this without seeming hypocritical?

Seems like SEC ought take up a similar 'Special Relationship with TEC - an enhancement of what has already occurred in SEC's initial provision of episcopacy to ECUSA. That would make sense!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 2:00am BST

When the first existing bishops and bishops-elect of the soon-to-be Church of South India met (1947) (a church union at the time opposed by the SEC and some other provinces, mainly of the Anglo-Catholic party), Bishop Newbigin tells of the moment someone asked about what to do about archdeacons, deans, canons, etc, in the united Church. There was momentary silence and someone said "abolish them". Bp-elect Newbigin minuted "Abolished". (Although from an eccentric point of view, perhaps abolition in some other jurisdictions would be a pity - no good satirical novels would result.)

I watched the entire C of S General Assembly debate: far more positive, constructive, generous and charitable than elements of the C of E General Synod debate on the matter, also compare the warm welcome extended to Cantuar, and the Christ-centered emphasis. Interestingly I recall a young member (formerly C of S) abstained from voting at the General Synod because the C of S was accommodating of clerical marital diversity.

Perhaps this long overdue agreement (from which discussion the SEC withdrew but nevertheless a number still making quite some protest), might be telling us that it is not all about us, not all about bishops (at least of a prelatical sort), not all about fixed views or structures or parties, not all about our patch or patch protection.

Whose Church is it? Whose world is it? What really matters? The Spirit moves where it wills (even through legislated Assemblies and Synods), affirms what it will (even diversity outwith the denominations, parties and plans). Amen.

Posted by keithmcianwil at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 2:48am BST

This is all about Establishment, surely? The SEC (along with TEC) are offering a model of Anglicanism which is Christ-centred, sacramental, open Catholicism. The powers that be in the C of E, however much they protest their bible-believing orthodoxy, are locked into the establishment public-school faith in structures and legalism. The Church as an organisation rather than an organism. SEC represents the humble unprepossessing backstreet church whose door opens into a jewelled, mystical splendour; the C of E a majestic cathedral whose cold formality is as near as the visitor is going to get to the God of Love. I can't comment on the C of S but I suspect they have been hoodwinked.

Posted by David Emmott at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 12:07pm BST

I found Kelvin's piece illuminating and clearly written from the heart.

I think David Emmott has summed up my reaction to the declaration itself.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 1:09pm BST

I thought the SEC was originally a participant but then pulled out.

Posted by Cseitz at Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 1:30pm BST
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