Thinking Anglicans

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.

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Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

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… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

“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… Read more »

Bruce Bridgewood
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Bruce Bridgewood

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

Father Ron Smith
Guest

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… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

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.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

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.

Graeme Buttery
Guest
Graeme Buttery

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… Read more »

Picky
Guest
Picky

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.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

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.

Marshall Scott
Guest

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… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

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…

Jo
Guest
Jo

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.

Simon Butler
Guest
Simon Butler

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.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

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… Read more »

Beth Routledge
Guest

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.

Beth Routledge
Guest

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.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

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?

Eric MacDonald
Guest

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… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

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.

Father David
Guest
Father David

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… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“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.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

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….

Graeme Buttery
Guest
Graeme Buttery

Beth,
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

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

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.

Jo
Guest
Jo

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… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

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… Read more »

Jim
Guest
Jim

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

https://frpip.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/well-i-declare-why-the-church-of-england-synod-has-got-it-badly-wrong/#comments

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

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… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

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… Read more »

Fr Dougal
Guest
Fr Dougal

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… Read more »

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

“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… Read more »

Eric MacDonald
Guest

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… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

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

Father David
Guest
Father David

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”.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

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

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

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… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

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?

Picky
Guest
Picky

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?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Eric asked, “Who is advising him?”

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

Jo
Guest
Jo

@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.

Eric MacDonald
Guest

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.

NJW
Guest
NJW

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… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

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.

Father David
Guest
Father David

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… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

+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… Read more »

Eric MacDonald
Guest

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… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

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.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

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?… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

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.

Christopher Seitz
Guest
Christopher Seitz

“…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… Read more »