Primus generates less heat than some predicted
The Scottish Episcopal Church has issued the following Press Release on the address of the Primus to the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting, [our emphasis].
Primus addresses the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting
October 3, 2017
Primus addresses the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting on Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision to change its Canon on Marriage
At the Primates’ Meeting today the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was asked to explain the process undertaken by the Scottish Episcopal Church in its move towards an adjustment of its Canon on Marriage to enable those who felt called to offer marriage to same gender couples the ability to do so.
He explained that the process had included much prayer, theological debate, open and, at times, very personal testimony and that opportunity had been provided for groups throughout the Church to discuss this matter and to pray about it; this included the voice of the youth in the Church, the sharing of powerful words and stories from elderly members and hearing representation from those who hold a traditional understanding of marriage, those who see marriage as including same gender couples and those who have encountered exclusion in declaring their love.
The Primus also explained that the nature of decision reached by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is such as to allow those of different views to continue to “walk together”. It recognises that there are different understandings of marriage and that no member of clergy is compelled to conduct any marriage against their conscience. Only those clergy who wish to solemnise marriages of same gender couples will be nominated to the civil authorities for authorisation to do so.
The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “In June the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to change its Canon on Marriage. This decision was ours to take as a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion.
“However, I recognise that this decision is one that has caused some hurt and anger in parts of the Anglican Communion and that the decision taken at the last Primates’ Meeting, which was to exclude our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church from debate on Doctrine and from Chairing Anglican Communion Committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us. We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love.”
The Anglican Communion News Services has reported on the discussions:
“…Confirming that the ‘consequences’ that were applied to the US-based Episcopal Church now also applied to the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told reporters on Tuesday evening: “Bishop Mark said in his opening presentation that he expected that to happen and accepted that it would. It is left in my hands to follow that through and it will be followed through as I did after the Primates’ Meeting of 2016.”
Archbishop Welby confirmed that no vote was taken by the Primates, explaining that it is unusual for formal votes to be taken at Primates’ Meetings. There was a ‘consensus’ he said.
Describing the discussions, Archbishop Welby said: ‘We talked about things this afternoon of huge importance. . . People were disappointed. They were angry. But it was a very different mood to many previous Primates’ Meetings. It was more of a family that is having to face the fact that something has happened that is causing grief than a club that doesn’t like one of its members.
“We were quite clear – people were very clear about how disappointed they were. But I think the mood in the room – and how I will feel – is just grieved that one has to do things that no one likes – that I don’t like – doing. You want people to be united, joyful, celebrating together…”