Updated again Saturday
The Church of England issued this:
Statement on marriage in Scottish Episcopal Church
08 June 2017
Following the vote by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change to its canon on marriage to include same-sex couples, a spokesperson for the Church of England said:
“We note the decision of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its canon on marriage.
“This is a matter for the Scottish Episcopal Church.
“The Church of England is unable by law to marry couples of the same sex and the teaching of the Church of England remains unchanged.
“However this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England.
“We are seeking to find ways forward rooted in scripture and the Christian faith as we have received it and which values everyone, without exception, not as a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’, but as a person loved and made in the image of God.”
Statement from the Anglican Communion Office from here.
…Following the vote, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon issued the following statement:
“The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.
“Today’s decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion’s position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.
“As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion’s strong opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ+ people.
“The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today’s decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC’s vote until the primates have met.”
And from this source, additional material:
Some Questions and Answers
Q: What does the change in canon law mean?
A: It removes the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Q: When will the changes come into force?
A: The changes come into force 40 days after the end of General Synod – in late July.
Q: Who will be affected?
A: This applies only to marriage within the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Church of Scotland – which is a separate entity – is also considering changing its laws on marriage but has not done so yet.
Q: What about the rest of the UK?
A: The Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Church of Ireland are the other Anglican churches within the UK. The canon law on marriage in all three is unchanged: none is able by [canon] law to marry couples of the same sex and their teaching is the same as before.
Q: Will any measures be taken against the Scottish Episcopal Church now?
A: The primates’ meeting in Canterbury in October will consider how the Anglican Communion should respond. No action will be taken before then.
Q: Isn’t this is a further sign that the Anglican Communion is bound to split?
A: There is a very strong desire within the Communion to remain together – there is so much that we hold in common. The Task Group, which was set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury last year, is dedicated to maintaining conversation between us and restoring relationships and trust where they have been damaged. That work will continue.
Q: What do you think of Gafcon’s plan to appoint a missionary bishop for Scotland
A: We note the planned appointment. We will not be commenting on it at this stage.
The Primus has responded to the ACO statement: Unity in diversity
In response to a statement from Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (which can be read here), The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says:
“The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued a statement commenting on Thursday’s decision by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its Canons to permit same-sex marriage. The statement recognises that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion can each take these decisions within their own life. But I think it is important that I should comment on some other aspects of what the statement says and their implications for the continuing life of the Anglican Communion.
“The classic understanding of the position of Provinces of the Anglican Communion is that they do indeed have autonomy. But that autonomy is exercised in tension with a balancing sensitivity to the interdependence of provinces within the Communion. We, in common with other provinces, did not feel that the Anglican Covenant could successfully meet this need. The statement implies that the Primates’ Meeting will now fulfil this role. But such a role is not within their remit or authority. For the Primates’ Meeting was called together originally by Archbishop Coggan for ‘leisurely thought, deep prayer and consultation’.
“Archbishop Josiah, who leads the Anglican Communion Secretariat, speaks of the ‘majority stance’ of the Communion. We are deeply aware that yesterday’s vote puts us at one end of a spectrum in the Communion. But many other provinces are in their own way and in their own time considering a variety of responses to issues of human sexuality. The Communion expresses a growing spectrum of diversity. In that context, reference to a ‘majority stance’ seems misplaced. It is part of the genius of the Anglican way that we express unity in diversity – as we have tried to do this week in Scotland.
“We of course also respect Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998. But it cannot be elevated into a binding statement of Communion policy. Lambeth Conference resolutions do not have that force. The view of marriage set out in Resolution 1.10 was passionately expressed in our Synod’s debate on Thursday. It is one of the views of marriage which we uphold and carry forward in our diversity.
“The Scottish Episcopal Church carries in its heart a deep commitment to the Anglican Communion. We have been enriched by our Communion membership and we have in return made a significant contribution to its life. I understand that some will feel that the decision which we have taken stresses the life of the Communion. The question is how best the unity of the Communion can be sustained. We look forward to being part of measured discussion within the Communion about how that can be achieved.”