Thinking Anglicans

New Scottish Bishops elected

We reported here on the short-listed candidates for election as Bishop of Brechin and Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. The elections took place today and the Rev Canon Ian Paton has been elected as the new Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, and the Very Rev Andrew Swift has been elected as the new Bishop of Brechin.

Details are here in the official press release: New Bishops elected.

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Brechin and St Andrews list candidates for episcopal election

Two announcements from the Scottish Episcopal Church this afternoon:

Four candidates short-listed in vacancy for new Bishop of Brechin

The candidates are:

The Very Rev Dr Francis Bridger, Rector, St Mary’s Church, Broughty Ferry and Priest in Charge St Martin’s Church, Dundee and Dean of the Diocese of Brechin

The Rev Markus Dünzkofer, Rector, St John the Evangelist Church, Edinburgh

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans

The Very Rev Andrew Swift, Rector, Holy Trinity Church, Dunoon and St Paul’s Church, Rothesay and Dean of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles

Three candidates short-listed in vacancy for new Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane

The candidates are:

The Rev Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Professor of Church History at the University of Glasgow and Honorary Assistant Priest, St Margaret’s Church, Newlands

The Rev Christopher Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster

The Rev Canon Ian Paton, Rector, Old St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh

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William Nye writes to The Episcopal Church about marriage rites

Updated again Thursday

Madeleine Davies has a report in the Church Times: Nye letter warns about same-sex marriage rites

PROPOSALS to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes….

The 8-page letter is contained in a file of responses from other Anglican Communion churches to a consultation request from The Episcopal Church for comments. This forms part of the materials prepared for the forthcoming General Convention in July.

The response from William Nye is now available separately here.

The response from the Scottish Episcopal Church is here.

There is also a response from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).

And there are ecumenical responses too.

Updates

Reports of this letter have also appeared elsewhere:

The Times (behind paywall) Anglicans threaten split over ‘gay-friendly’ marriage rites

Premier American Anglicans would face ‘consequences’ over gender neutral wedding services

Further mentions:

Christian Today Pro-LGBT Anglicans hit back at letter threatening split over US gay friendly prayer book

Episcopal Café Who answers for the Church of England when the Episcopal Church asks about marriage?

Susan Russell Simon Says: “Let’s get the truth of the situation out there”

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Unrest in the Diocese of Aberdeen

Updated again Friday

Christian Today reports Scottish Episcopal Church clergy rebel after ‘divisive’ appointment of bishop to conservative diocese.

…A letter to bishops of the Anglican SEC on Friday accused them of fostering ‘disquiet and division’ by nominating Canon Anne Dyer, the first female bishop in the SEC who is also strongly in favour of gay marriage, to be bishop of the largely conservative Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.

Dyer is now being urged to step down from her promotion with clergy protesting her appointment.

Two senior clergy have already quit over the issue and the letter threatens that ‘others are considering similar action’ in a diocese that is already struggling to fill a number of empty posts across its 41 churches…

To read the letter in full, and see the entire list of signatories, go to the original news article.

…The protest letter, seen by Christian Today, is signed by seven stipendiary priests, half the clergy in the struggling northern diocese, which was the only one of the SEC’s seven dioceses to reject the proposals to change its teaching on marriage, as well as several non-ordained senior churchgoers.

It accuses the bishops of being ‘divisive and also disrespectful’ by failing to appoint someone conservative clergy would agree with…

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has responded to this letter, which can now be more comfortably read from this copy.

Bishop Mark Strange’s reply can be read in full here.

…We have been greatly concerned to receive your letter. We regard it as particularly
regrettable that you have chosen to communicate with us by publicly releasing your
letter and press release without any prior indication to us of your intentions and we are
dismayed at the invidious position in which it places Canon Dyer as the Bishop elect of
the diocese. We deplore that you have sought to subvert the outcome of the canonical
process which led to Canon Dyer’s election. Members of the College are unanimous in
supporting Canon Dyer in her acceptance of election and will continue to support her
throughout her consecration and future episcopal ministry in the diocese…

Do read the whole response.

Update
The Church Times reports this as Scottish Primus accuses protesters against next Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney of ‘subversion’.

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Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney: Anne Dyer

press release from Scottish Episcopal Church

First female Bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church is elected the new Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney

The Episcopal Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today elected the Rev Canon Anne Dyer as the new Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney.

Canon Dyer is Rector of Holy Trinity church, Haddington (since 2011). Her wider church involvement includes being a member of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Council and a member of General Synod.

Being in the first group of women for each of these Orders, Canon Dyer was ordained Deacon in 1987 and Priest in 1994 in Rochester. She served as Warden of Cranmer Hall, Durham and before that was Ministry Development Officer in the Diocese of Rochester. Prior to ordination Anne Dyer read Chemistry at St Anne’s College, Oxford and was a Business Systems Analyst with Unilever before training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and studying theology at King’s College London.

Canon Dyer is Chair of the East Lothian Foodbank and is also a regular lecturer across Edinburgh and the Lothians on the subject of fine art and theology.

On hearing of her election Canon Dyer said “I am delighted to be elected by the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church to serve as Bishop in the United Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney. It will be a privilege to lead the people of this diocese as they continue to make known the love of God to those in their communities and beyond. I am looking forward to both the challenge and excitement of serving and worshipping together in diverse locations across the diocese and to joining the College of Bishops.”

Canon Dyer is the first woman to be elected Bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow the election of female bishops in 2003. The See of Aberdeen & Orkney became vacant last November when the Rt Rev Dr Robert Gillies retired as Bishop of the Diocese.

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “I am delighted to welcome the Rev Canon Anne Dyer to the College of Bishops. Anne brings with her a wealth of experience in theological education and mission development, and has so many of the gifts sought by the diocese together with a deeply loving and generous personality.

I am also delighted that those gifts have allowed us to elect a woman to our College of Bishops. Please pray for Anne, her family, for the congregation at Haddington and for the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney as they journey on in faith.”

Canon Dyer was born in 1957, is married and has a daughter.

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British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’

An open letter has been published on Anglican Mainstream by a number of clergy and laity. The full text and list of signatures is copied below the fold.

(more…)

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New Scottish Primus elected

Today the Episcopal Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church elected the Rt Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness as Primus, as reported here.

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Media coverage of the SEC decision on same-sex marriage

Church Times Scottish Episcopalians revise canon law to permit gay marriage, but with conscience provision

Scotsman Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage and
Leader comment: Churches take the only viable option on gay marriage
Also the Press Association report: Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies

Daily Record Scottish Episcopal Church takes ‘momentous’ decision to approve same-sex marriage ceremonies

Telegraph Scottish Episcopal Church in historic decision backing gay marriage

Guardian Scottish Episcopal church votes to allow same-sex weddings

BBC Scottish Episcopal Church approves gay marriage

Christian Today Scottish Episcopal Church permits gay marriage in historic vote

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GAFCON announces its "missionary bishop"

GAFCON press release: Missionary Bishop introduced by Archbishop Foley Beach

This includes the following:

Statement on Gafcon Missionary Bishop by Archbishop Foley Beach

Good afternoon. Thank you for being here today. I plan to make a brief statement. Canon Andy Lines will make a brief statement. Rev. David McCarthy will make a brief statement. And then we will have a time for questions.

I speak to you today as the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, and as a sitting primate on the Gafcon Primates Council. On behalf of the Chairman of Gafcon, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, the Assistant Chairman, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, and the Gafcon Primates Council: Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We continue to have a crisis in the Anglican Communion as the virus of revisionist theology and practice continues to spread to various Provinces. Rather than correcting and disciplining those who have departed from the biblical faith and practice which has been handed down to us from the Apostles, some church leaders are embracing false teaching, and then going even further by promoting it around the world.

The Nairobi Communiqué from the Gafcon meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013 clearly stated that the Gafcon leadership would not ignore the pleas of the faithful who are trapped in places where false doctrine and practice occur. We promised that we would provide pastoral care and oversight for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.

At our April meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, the Gafcon Primates decided to provide a missionary bishop for Europe with the initial focus on those in Scotland and those faithful Anglicans in England outside the Church of England. Today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders. The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support.

The Gafcon Primates have asked our Province, the Anglican Church in North America, to take on the task of providing a missionary bishop for Scotland. Our Province was formed at the direction of Gafcon 2008 after many of the Provinces of Gafcon had provided the same kind of oversight for clergy and congregations in North America. They have asked us to consecrate Canon Andy Lines.

Our College of Bishops discussed and decided to accept this responsibility. Following the Canons of our Province, the Executive Committee of the Province was not only consulted, but also voted unanimously to support this endeavor. We also appointed an oversight Committee of Bishops to provide guidance and accountability for Canon Lines as he walks through our consecration process and to support him after he is consecrated a bishop. Archbishop Robert Duncan is chair of the committee which consists of three diocesan bishops: The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, The Rt. Rev. Charlie Master, and The Rt. Rev. David Hicks.

Canon Andy Lines is now canonically resident in the Diocese of the South as a “priest in good standing” after having been transferred from the Province of South America as a priest in good standing.

The Consecration will take place on the morning of 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois and the service will include Primates, Archbishops, and bishops from all over the world. Although the Anglican Church in North America is the consecrating Province, this is an initiative of the wider Anglican Communion…

The Press Pack contains several further items:

Scottish Anglican Network press statement: Fellowship impaired by Scottish vote

Biographical Information on Press Conference Speakers

Anglican Church in North America GAFCON MISSIONARY BISHOP FOR EUROPE
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About Samuel Seabury

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Scottish Episcopal Church: vote carried

The Scottish Episcopal Church has voted to make the changes in its canons.

The voting was:

Bishops 80% For 20% Against

Clergy 67.7 For 32.3% Against

Laity 80.6% For 19.4% Against

Official SEC Press Release:

Church votes to allow equal marriage

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted in favour of altering the church’s Canon on Marriage to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman, and add a new section that acknowledges that there are different understandings of marriage which now allows clergy to solemnise marriage between same sex couples as well as couples of the opposite sex. The revised canon also stipulates that no member of clergy will be required to solemnise a marriage against their conscience.

The voting was in three ‘houses’ of General Synod, namely Bishops, Clergy, Laity and required a two thirds majority to pass. The voting results were:

For
Bishops 4 – 80%
Clergy 42 – 67.7%
Laity 50 – 80.6%

Against
Bishops 1 – 20%
Clergy 20 – 32.3%
Laity 12 – 19.4%

Responding to the voting outcome, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said:
“This is the end of a long journey. There was the Cascade Process involving people across our church – the Doctrine Committee paper which explored whether a Christian understanding of marriage could extend to same sex couples. We have studied, thought and prayed.

“In the life of the church, end points are often also starting points. This is a momentous step. By removing gender from our marriage canon, our church now affirms that a same sex couple are not just married but are married in the sight of God. They can ‘leave and cleave’. They can express in marriage a commitment to lifelong faithfulness to one another and to the belief that a calling to marriage is for them too a calling to love, forgiveness, sacrifice, truth. A new chapter opens up – inclusion has taken a particular form. But this same decision is difficult and hurtful for others whose integrity in faith tells them that this decision is unscriptural and profoundly wrong. For them this new chapter will feel like an exclusion – as if their church has moved away from them.

“So the journey which we now begin must also be a journey of reconciliation.

“Every faith community must face the issues which are bound up with human sexuality – in their own way and in their own time. Others will arrive at answers different from ours. And the Anglican Communion, which is embedded in our history and to which we are passionately committed – the Anglican Communion will have to explore whether its historic commitment to unity in diversity can embrace this change.

“I have said this many times before: a vote in General Synod changes the canonical position of our church. But it cannot lay to rest the deep differences which this question exposes in this and every other faith community.

“The new Canon itself affirms that there are differing views of marriage in our church. Nobody will be compelled to do anything against their conscience. We affirm that we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ. We shall carry forward in our life two honourable and historic understandings of marriage – one which sees the marriage of same sex couples as an expression of Christ-like acceptance and welcome – and another which says that the traditional view of marriage is God-ordained and scripturally defined.

“That is the journey. That is now the calling of this church. We must and we shall address it with truth, graciousness and acceptance of one another.”

ends

The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church will now adopt pastoral guidelines and principles to enable clergy who so wish to be nominated to the Registrar General for authorisation to solemnize weddings of same sex couples.

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GAFCON prepares for the Scottish vote…

GAFCON has issued this press release:

Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Press Conference
8 June 2017 – Edinburgh, Scotland

On 8 June 2017, the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) is scheduled to vote to finalise a change to their canons that would attempt to redefine marriage. If this action is taken by the SEC it will further marginalise faithful Anglicans in Scotland who seek to uphold Jesus’ teaching on marriage.

This change comes in the context of a global reformation that is happening in the Anglican Communion. While Anglican provinces such as The Episcopal Church (USA), Anglican Church of Canada, and Scottish Episcopal Church are rejecting the authority of the Bible, faithful Anglicans are uniting through Gafcon to proclaim and defend the unchanging truth in a changing world.

Recognising the pastoral need that arose following the initial SEC vote (in June 2016), in April of this year the Gafcon Primates authorised the consecration of a Missionary Bishop to care for those who seek to remain faithful to the scriptures and Jesus’ teaching on marriage. (See more at: https://www.gafcon.org/news/a-communique-from-the-gafcon-primates-to-members-and-supporters)

On 8 June 2017 Gafcon will hold a press conference in Edinburgh, Scotland at 5pm.
At this press conference the Missionary Bishop will be announced and introduced. He will be joined by a Gafcon Primate and representatives of those whose fellowship with the SEC will be broken by the Synod decision.

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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.

(more…)

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GAFCON communiqué mentions missionary bishop

Updated again Tuesday evening

This communiqué from the GAFCON primates, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, has been issued. Here’s an extract:

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

A Word of Encouragement to Faithful Anglicans within European Provinces
We wish to reassure all faithful Anglicans in European provinces that they also have our prayers and our support. We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.

We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.

We also pray for those who are not yet clear about what faithfulness requires. May God give you the wisdom and courage of the Reformers to stand firm wherever the Lord calls you to stand…

GAFCON UK has issued this statement in response to the [GAFCON] Primates’ Communique. Again, here’s an extract:

… The Primates go on to talk about the challenges in the Global North, “the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations” which are “spiritually dangerous”. We recognize the need to repent of our participation in a weak version of the Christian faith which has too often failed to point out these dangers or even made accommodation with them.

This accommodation and ‘cultural captivity’ is seen in the failure by many Anglican leaders in the UK to hold to the key principles of Holy Scripture as speaking clearly to God’s will for human flourishing, and of requiring unequivocal obedience whatever the cost. It is shown, for example, in unwillingness to be clear about the uniqueness of Jesus and the authority of the Bible, and rejection of clear biblical teaching God’s gift of sex and marriage, and of celibate singleness.

This has contributed to the increasing concern that many faithful clergy and lay people in the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales feel about the revisionist trajectory of these churches. As the Communique points out clearly, some Anglicans are already outside of these structures and need Episcopal oversight; others may do so soon.

So we warmly welcome the decision of the Primates to consecrate a missionary Bishop who will fulfil this function. We appreciate the way GAFCON has recognized that this intervention is giving global support to one of a number of initiatives being taken by biblically orthodox Anglicans in Britain; others include the work being done to strengthen the Free Church of England. Meanwhile the Primates have generously expressed respect for and continued warm fellowship with those who for the moment are choosing to remain within the official structures and contend for orthodox biblical faith there, while warning that inaction in the face of revisionist pressure is not a faithful option.

We understand that more will be revealed about the plans for the consecration in due course. We commit ourselves to prayer about this and invite all who hold to the historic and trustworthy teaching of our faith to join us.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth has responded, as follows:

“In June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will reach the final stage of consideration of changes which would make possible same-sex marriage in our churches. The news that GAFCON intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is regrettable. The Anglican Communion functions as a global communion on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity of each province. This move is a breach of that understanding.

“The outcome of the synodical process which will take place in June is not a foregone conclusion. The voices of clergy and lay people from across Scotland will be heard both in debate and in the voting process. The Scottish Episcopal Church is working closely with those who find this proposal difficult to accept. Whatever the outcome may be, it is our intention to be and to remain a church which honours diversity.”

The former archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has been interviewed by Premier Radio. Read about the interview and listen to it in full here: ‘This isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace’: GAFCON not looking for split in Church.

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Reflecting on the outcome of the EU Referendum

Updated again Monday afternoon

Following the initial flurry of statements from bishops, there have been several more reflective articles published by various people writing from a Christian perspective.

Anna Rowlands wrote The Fragility of Goodness: Brexit Viewed from the North East.

Nick Holtam wrote this on the Referendum Result.

Luke Bretherton wrote Brexit as Theodicy and Idolatry.

Angus Ritchie had Brexit: How can we reflect and respond?

Philip North has this in today’s Church Times: Northern foodbank Britain finds its voice

There is a lot more material in this week’s Church Times but it is behind the paywall. However, Andrew Lightbown discusses some of the points raised in his blog, entitled Bishop David Walker or Richard Lewis? Who is correct?

Michael Sadgrove has Brexit: An Open Letter to the Archbishops of the Church of England.

Earlier he had also written Brexit: how to go positively into exile and On Saying Farewell to the EU: the morning after.

Brian Castle wrote Brexit – Now is not the time for Reconciliation.

Updates

Martyn Percy has written a major essay which is summarised here: After Brexit – Can we find a broad and middle way? Senior cleric calls for new social-progressive political party and the full essay can be read by following that link.

Tanya Marlow has written Brexit, hate crime, fear: what’s the Christian response?

Bishops of the Lincoln diocese The EU Referendum: responding to the vote to leave

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Church responses to the EU Referendum

Updated Friday evening, Saturday morning, Sunday morning

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement.

On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union

The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.

The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.

As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.

The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.

As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe has written a message to the diocese, copied below, and has also published this further reflection.

“The UK referendum campaign has been a bruising one, and I hope very much that there will now be a period of reconciliation and healing between those on different sides of the debate.

“The news that a majority of those in the UK wishes to leave the UK does not lessen the fervent desire of the Church of England Diocese in Europe to work co-operatively with our brother and sister Christians in Europe.

“The vote will, however, have particular implications for some members of our diocese. Of course, the vote itself only signals the intent to launch a long process of negotiations with the European Council. It is only as that process gets underway that we will know exactly how UK citizens living in Europe will be affected. Meanwhile, I want to assure our ecumenical partners in Europe of our heartfelt and continuing commitment to them.”

The Suffragan Bishop in Europe has written: We remain a European Church which serves all people. Let us resolve to be even more faithful to this calling.

Updates

Scottish Primus

Archbishop of Dublin and Archbishop of Armagh

Church in Wales bishops

Bishop of Blackburn

Bishop of Coventry

Bishop of Leeds

Bishop of Liverpool

Bishop of London

Bishop of Newcastle

Bishop of Norwich

Bishop of St Albans

Bishop of Sheffield

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SEC General Synod: statements in reaction to decision

A group named the Scottish Anglican Network has issued a statement Scottish Anglican Network statement on amendment of Scottish Episcopal Church’s marriage canon which is also copied in full below the fold.

The group’s website also has an About Us page which described how the group came into being in 2005 and how it has engaged in dialogue with SEC bishops more recently.

There is also a separate statement issued by Gafcon UK and signed by a number of retired bishops, “on behalf of the Panel of Bishops, Gafcon UK” offering to “provide alternative episcopal oversight, and thereby your recognition as faithful Anglicans by the worldwide Gafcon movement, which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide.”

(more…)

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SEC General Synod gives first reading to changes to its Marriage Canon

Updated during the day

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today passed a first reading of a change to its Canon on marriage (Canon 31). The change is to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union “of one man and one woman.”

At this stage a simple majority in each house was required for the motion to be passed. At second reading in 2017 a two thirds majority in each house will be required, and it will be noted that today’s motion received such majorities.

There is an official summary of the whole of Friday’s business here.

Scroll down for press reports.

The Scottish Episcopal Church has issued this statement.

Statement following the passing of Motion 14

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today passed a first reading of a change to its Canon on marriage (Canon 31). The change is to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union “of one man and one woman.”

A first reading of the change is the first step in a process and does not represent a final decision. The proposed change now passes from the General Synod to the Church’s seven dioceses for discussion and comment in their Diocesan Synods in the coming year. The opinions from the dioceses will then be relayed back to the General Synod which will be invited to give a second reading of the Canon in June 2017. At that stage, for a second reading to be passed, it must achieve a majority of two thirds in the “houses” of bishops, clergy and laity within the General Synod. The change to the canon would include a conscience clause ensuring that clergy opposed to the change are not required to marry people of the same sex.

Commenting on the first reading today, the Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway and Acting Convener of the Church’s Faith and Order Board, said:

“General Synod last year engaged in extensive debate in relation to possible changes to our Canon on marriage. It asked the Board to bring forward canonical legislation this year to remove from the Canon any doctrinal statement regarding marriage. That would pave the way for clergy of the Church who wish to be able to solemnise weddings between people of the same sex. Synod has this year accepted the proposals brought forward by the Board by giving a first reading to the canonical change. The process will now continue and not be completed until General Synod 2017. If second reading is agreed at that stage, the change to the Canon will take effect.

The Synod’s decision this year is important because it represents the beginning of a formal process of canonical change. The Church has been engaged in recent years in a series of discussions at all levels. The current process will enable the Church come to a formal decision on the matter. Views within the Church are, of course, wide and diverse. The passing of the first reading today will bring great joy to some; for others it will be matter of great difficulty. The wording of the proposed change recognises that there are differing views of marriage within our Church and we have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to sustain our unity in the midst of our diversity.”

Results of ballot

  For Against Abstentions     Total Votes
(including abstentions)    
Total Votes
(excluding abstentions)    
  Number     % of votes cast     Number     % of votes cast          
Bishops     5 71.4 2 28.6 0 7 7
Clergy 43 69.4 19 30.6 0 62 62
Laity 49 80.3 12 19.7 3 64 * 61

* This figure was originally misprinted on the SEC website as 69.

Press reports

BBC News Scottish Episcopal Church takes gay marriage step

Andrew Page KaleidoScot Scottish Episcopal Church takes step towards approving same-sex marriages

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Scottish Episcopal church leaps towards allowing gay marriage

Harry Farley Christian Today Scottish Episcopal Church votes in favour of same-sex marriage

Anglican Communion News Service Scottish Episcopal Church takes first step towards same sex marriage

John Bingham The Telegraph Scottish Anglicans take first step towards gay marriage

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SEC General Synod – day one

Updated

The 2016 meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church opened today, and there is an official summary of the day’s business here.

In addition there are the texts of the Primus Charge and the Primus’s report from January’s Primates’ Meeting. The latter includes this passage, with reference to the ‘consequences’ which that meeting decided to impose on The Episcopal Church of the United States,

Two weeks ago, I went to London and met with Archbishop Justin specifically to ask the question, ‘Will this also apply to us if we complete the process of Canonical change in 2017?’ The answer is that it will. Most directly, I will be removed from the role of Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Reformed Dialogue. But other effects are limited. Our bishops will be present and fully involved in the Lambeth Conference planned for 2020. We shall continue to be actively involved in our network of Diocesan Companionships and in the Anglican Networks.

and this

I believe that the Primates Meeting has acted beyond its powers.

but do read it all.

Update

Comment by Kelvin Holdsworth On Being Threatened
and by Beth Routledge Speaking Truth To Power – Sanctions Threatened Against Scottish Episcopal Church

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SEC General Synod 9-11 June 2016

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church is meeting in Edinburgh later this week from 9-11 June. There are papers and other information here. In particular the agenda and papers are all in this document.

The SEC press office has released this very helpful summary of the business before the Synod. As it states there:

What is likely to attract most attention at this year’s General Synod is the first 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 and would add a conscience clause for those who would want to exercise their right not to conduct a same-sex marriage. If the proposal is approved in 2016 there will be a further debate in 2017 when a two thirds majority in each ‘House’ of Bishops, Clergy and Laity would be required.

This business is scheduled for Friday morning. For readers’ convenience I have copied the current text of Canon 31 (the marriage canon) and the proposed amendments below the fold.

(more…)

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Church of Scotland approves the Columba Declaration

Updated Wednesday evening

The Church of Scotland reports today: Historic ecumenical agreement with Church of England approved.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has unanimously backed a landmark agreement to enter into an historic ecumenical partnership with the Church of England.

The Columba Declaration represents a “significant step” between the two denominations and will open up new future possibilities of closer working together to develop God’s Church…

Other reports on the decision include:

Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service Anglo-Scottish ecumenical agreement approved by Church of Scotland

The General Assembly of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland has this morning approved the Columba Declaration – an ecumenical agreement between it and the Church of England; and – in identical terms approved by the C of E’s General Synod in February – instructed the creation of an ecumenical “contact group” which would include representatives of the two churches and also the Scottish Episcopal Church…

Harry Farley Christian Today Church of Scotland passes landmark unity pact with Church of England

BBC News Archbishop of Canterbury in Church of Scotland General Assembly first

The text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the Church of Scotland General Assembly includes this apology.

… First, for me at least, is an apology.

The Columba Declaration is one that I support strongly and I hope you will, but the handling of its announcement caused much consternation and deep hurt to the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC). That hurt is exclusively my responsibility and I want to put on the record to you and to them my apology. We know that the goal of unity envisaged in the Columba Declaration cannot be pursued by some churches in isolation from others, and in our context that must mean a particular place for the Scottish Episcopal Church as your Anglican partner in Scotland, and as our immediate neighbour in the Anglican Communion (we have many close links, including ordained ministers moving between our two churches, as we do with the Church in Wales). For this reason there is great importance in the motion at our Synod saying that the Contact Group to take the Columba Declaration forward should include an SEC representative, whom we ask to be a full participant…

Our report on the initial announcement of the Declaration (on Christmas Eve) is here, and there are later reports here, here, here, here and here.

Update

Kelvin Holdsworth The Columba Declaration – where are we now?

Statement by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission

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