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Welby makes 37th provincial visit to Scotland: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Nicola Sturgeon with David Chillingworth and Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has concluded his 18-month round the Communion tour this week with a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Most Rev. Justin Welby began his visit on 24 November 2014 with a meeting at Bute House with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. He spoke with representatives from other Scottish Churches, “before meeting with the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to discuss the Church’s role in society and a range of matters within the world-wide Anglican Communion,” a statement from the SEC press office said. The following day the archbishop toured a new Church Army project in Dundee, met with local clergy and concluded the day with worship at St Columba’s Church, Aberdour. The Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth said the SEC was “delighted to welcome Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife Caroline to Scotland.” He added that Archbishop Welby “has established reconciliation as one of his priorities in ministry. He is seeking ways in which churches which live in an extraordinary diversity of contexts – geographical, economic, social and cultural – can express visible unity in Christ. We look forward to sharing with Archbishop Justin some of the vitality and distinctiveness of the Scottish Episcopal Church in its ministry in Scotland today.”

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Primus urges caution in Scottish independence vote: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth has urged Scotland to consider issues beyond the economic viability of an independent Scotland when considering the forthcoming referendum.  There was more to national identity than wealth, he argued. “Clearly there has to be an economic dimension to it, would an independent Scotland be viable, but I think what I expected was that the debate would be about whether people who live in Scotland feel a shared sense of being Scottish, whatever that means, to justify independent constitutional arrangements and independent governance, it hasn’t really been about those kind of identity questions.” The Primus noted that he was Irish by birth and was “very aware that the debate about identity often becomes negative imaging of the others, so I do absolutely understand that. But on the other hand, I’ve found the debate limited in its scope. It’s been about these economic issues, it’s been about the advantage of decisions made in Scotland over against them being made as part of a larger unit. I think the average person finds it hard to make a judgement about the force of those arguments either way. I certainly do.”

SEC says no to assisted suicide: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Faith and Order Board of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has voiced its opposition to the Assisted Suicide Bill pending before the Scottish Parliament. In a submission dated 6 June 2014, the board stated that while there were a range of views about assisted suicide held by its members, the Scottish Episcopal Church upheld “the sanctity of human life, and this, alongside compassion, are our primary considerations when thinking about Assisted Suicide.” The SEC had “sympathy” with arguments that “compassion is in some circumstances a higher good than the preservation of life.” However, the church was concerned with the application of the law as well as issues of compassion, dignity and the spiritual and moral issues these entailed had so far not been addressed by the bill’s supporters.  From a medical perspective the “art of dying” dealt with “pain relief”. But the “art of dying is a spiritual art, learned emotionally and communally, and found in all religions and traditions. … We want to explore compassion beyond the giving of drugs and legality of choosing death” the board said.

Lord Lyon King of Arms appointed: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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A priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Rev. Canon Joseph Morrow, has been appointed by the Queen as the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

An office created in the 14th century, the Lord Lyon King of Arms is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry.  He is also responsible for Scottish state ceremonies, akin to the Earl Marshal in England, and his duties include the granting of armorial bearings and judicial rulings on who has the right to bear an existing coat of arms

The appointment was made by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister. Under section 3 of the Lyon King of Arms (Scotland) Act 1867, the part-time appointment is based at Edinburgh’s New Register House.

Dr. Morrow serves as Chancellor of the Diocese of Brechin, is an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee and Chaplain, Glamis Castle. At present, he is the President of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, and President of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals and a First-Tier Tribunal Judge dealing with asylum and immigration issues.

Dr Morrow has a special interest in ecclesiastical history and 35 years’ experience of the practical application of ceremonial within a variety of settings including State, Civil, Military and Ecclesiastical areas of Scottish life.

Church of Scotland urges restraint in legalizing same-sex marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, December 6, 2013 December 9, 2013

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The Church of Scotland has reaffirmed its opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a statement released last week following the vote in the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee to begin the process towards legalizing same-sex marriage, the church’s press office stated it “stands within the mainstream Christian belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The Rev. Dr Alan Hamilton, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Legal Questions Committee, affirmed the church’s commitment to “care for all people, gay and straight”, but said “until any future General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decides otherwise, that remains our position.”

There was a “wide spread of public opinion” about the wisdom of legalizing gay marriage, Dr. Hamilton said, “and that spread of public opinion is reflected among members of our congregations across the country. One thing is very clear and that is there is not unanimous support for this legislation in Scotland.”

“As the bill progresses through Holyrood, The Church of Scotland will continue to be a constructive voice in the national debate about it. We would also seek robust and detailed legal assurances and protection for those who do not wish to conduct same sex marriages as a matter of conscience.”

“The Church is conducting a wide-ranging review of marriage but there are no plans on the table for the Church to stop conducting marriages,” he said.

When the Scottish government announced its intention in 2012 to begin a process that would lead to the creation of same-sex marriages the Scottish Episcopal Church said that “its General Synod expresses the mind of the Church through its Canons.  The Canon on Marriage currently states that marriage is a ‘physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and as a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God’.”

The Rt Rev. Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness said: “The Church’s current position is that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and this clarity allows us the space to listen to the many differing views held by the members of our Church.”

Prayers for Glasgow helicopter crash victims: The Church of England Newspaper, December 6, 2013 December 9, 2013

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The Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway has offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the Clutha helicopter crash of 29 Nov 2013, when a police helicopter crashed into a pub killing at least nine and injuring 32 people

The Rt Rev. Gregor Duncan stated: “On behalf of the Episcopal Church in Glasgow and across Scotland I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to all the families of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured in this terrible disaster.”

Approximately 120 patrons were inside the Glasgow pub last Friday evening when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of the building. Chief Constable Stephen House said the two officers and the civilian pilot aboard the chopper were killed, along with six people on the ground.

“We can now confirm that the number of fatalities involved in this incident has risen to eight,” the chief constable said, “fourteen people remain seriously injured in Glasgow hospitals and are being cared for by health colleagues there.”

Dr. Duncan offered thanks for the help provided to the emergency services by volunteers, offering the church’s “gratitude to the many citizens of Glasgow who have come to the help of the people caught up in this tragedy, and praise the exemplary work being done by all the emergency services and medical staff.”

“Our churches across Glasgow, and beyond, will be praying for all those affected by this tragedy and for the whole city of Glasgow,” the bishop said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Scottish census shows decline in number of Christians: The Church of England Newspaper, October 4, 2013 p 4. October 15, 2013

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The 2011 census for Scotland sounds a wake-up call for churches, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said last week.

In a statement released on 27 September 2013 in response to the publication of the 2011 Census returns in Scotland, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane warned the “figures for religious affiliation in Scotland are a significant challenge for churches.  Nominal membership of traditional churches is swiftly changing into ‘no religion’.”

Ninety-three per cent of those responding to the census answered the question on religion. Of these the largest single category were those who stated they were non-religious: 37 per cent. The non-religious group also had the highest rise, with those of no-faith growing from 28 per cent in 2001 to 37 per cent in 2011.

Approximately 32 per cent stated they were members of the Church of Scotland, a decrease of 10 per cent from 2011 and 16 per cent were identified as Roman Catholics –unchanged from 2011. Other Christians including the Scottish Episcopal Church comprised 6 per cent of the population in 2011, compared with 7 per cent in 2001.

Other faiths included 77,000 Muslims, or 1.4 per cent of the population, 16,000 Hindus, 13,000 Buddhists, 9,000 Sikhs and 6000 Jews.

The reasons for the decline in the number of professed Christians was “clear”, Bishop Chillingworth said.

“Traditional patterns of church life have difficulty attracting people in a mobile, fast-changing and increasingly sophisticated society.  Congregations are communities of affection which gather in time-hallowed buildings and they find change challenging. “

However, “all is far from lost.  A majority of people in this society still identify themselves as Christian.  Their faith, their hopes and their interest are a mission opportunity for open and attractive faith communities which are creatively led.”

He added that the “rising levels of interest in spirituality – evidenced by growing interest in pilgrimage, prayer and other faith-related activity – show that many people are searching for depth and meaning in their lives.  Many are open to exploring discipleship even if they are unlikely to become church members in the traditional sense.”

However, churches “need to change and I welcome that.  We need to become more creative and flexible.  We need to think less about surviving and more about thriving.  We need to help people to develop their experience of the spiritual.  And we need to learn to work together in mission to this new kind of society,” the primus said.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Church ‘no’ to gay marriage in Scotland: The Church of England Newspaper, August 5, 2012 p 6. August 13, 2012

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The Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has restated its opposition to the Scottish Government’s plan to introduce legislation creating same-sex marriage.

In a statement released last week the SEC said that it would “engage with the Government’s consultation process on the draft Bill when it is published” and would issue a formal response through its Faith and Order Board, but the mind of the church was expressed through its canons which did not contemplate same-sex marriage.

On 25 July 2012 the Scottish Government said it would legalise same-sex marriage. “We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships,” Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

“We believe that this is the right thing to do.”

The announcement came after Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would push legislation through Parliament creating gay marriage in England. Speaking to members of a gay community group in London, the prime minister lauded the changes in equality legislation in recent years and stated “I just want to say I am absolutely determined that this coalition government will follow in that tradition by legislating for gay marriage in this parliament.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland responded to the government’s plans saying: “The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale. However, the church looks much further than the short-term electoral time-scales of politicians.

“We strongly suspect that time will show the church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships.

“However, in the short term and long term the church does not see same-sex marriage as an appropriate and helpful response to same-sex attraction.”

The Church of Scotland also objected to the plans for same-sex marriage.  The Rev. Alan Hamilton stated “We are concerned the Scottish government is rushing ahead on something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection.”

In its December 2011 submission to the Scottish Government on same-sex marriage, the SEC stated its “Canon on Marriage currently states that marriage is a ‘physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and as a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God’.”

Bishop Mark Strange of Moray, Ross & Caithness noted: “The Canon on Marriage is clear in its wording and that has given the working group set up by the Faith and Order Board a common basis on which to discuss the issues raised in the Government’s Paper.  The Church’s current position is that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.”

Scotland says ‘no’ to the Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012 p 6. June 27, 2012

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The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected a motion to endorse the Anglican Covenant.

On the second day of the 7-9 June 2012 meeting of the General Synod at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh, delegates took up a motion for the church to endorse the pan-Anglican agreement, continuing a discussion began at the 2001 session of synod.

Questions over section 4 of the Covenant on the discipline of errant provinces were raised, as were concerns over the creation of an Anglican curia and the centralization of power in London — issues raised by the former Primus  Bishop Richard Holloway at the 1999 ACC meeting when proposals to enshrine the instruments of unity were rejected.

When put to a vote, the motion that synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was rejected, 6 in favor, 112 against, 13 abstentions.

The Primus, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution stating that while the SEC rejected the covenant, it desired to remain part of the Anglican Communion.

“The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church.  We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding – the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life,” the primus said.

By rejecting the covenant, the SEC’s representative to the ACC will not be permitted to participate in its discussions of discipline — unless the ACC further revises its rules as it did to permit the Church of England’s representative to participate after it rejected the covenant.

Scotland’s decision to reject the Covenant, following the Church of England’s rejection, will likely remove pressure on the Episcopal Church to act on the covenant at its July meeting of General Convention.  While eight provinces have given some form of endorsement to the Covenant, and four now have opposed it, momentum for its passage has all but died.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 43, June 18, 2012 June 18, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Anglican Covenant, Anglican.TV, Canon Law, Church of England, Church of Ireland, Property Litigation, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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After a one week hiatus George and Kevin return. Allan Haley brings breaking news from the Supreme Court concerning TEC churches and the Dennis Canon. Your hosts talk about their adventures at the Anglican Church in North America’s Assembly, including the topic everyone was ‘not’ talking about. David Ould brings news from Australia and England while his twin brother Peter is enjoying a vacation with is family at Eurodisney.

Scotland rejects the Anglican Covenant: Anglican Ink, June 8, 2012 June 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Anglican Ink, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected a motion to endorse the Anglican Covenant.

On the second day of the 7-9 June 2012 meeting of the General Synod at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh, delegates took up a motion for the church to endorse the pan-Anglican agreement, continuing a discussion began at the 2001 session of synod.

Questions over section 4 of the Covenant on the discipline of errant provinces were raised, as were concerns over the creation of an Anglican curia and the centralization of power in London — issues raised by the former Primus  Bishop Richard Holloway at the 1999 ACC meeting when proposals to enshrine the instruments of unity were rejected.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bishop of Edinburgh elected: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2012 p 6. February 23, 2012

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Bishop-elect John Armes of Edinburgh

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The electoral synod of the Diocese of Edinburgh has elected the Dean of Edinburgh, the Very Rev John Armes, as bishop of the diocese.

On 10 February 2012 the synod selected Fr. Armes from amongst three candidates to succeed Bishop Brian Smith who retired last year.

Rector of St John the Evangelist Church, Princes Street, in Edinburgh and dean of the diocese, Dr. Armes served as Area Dean of Rossendale and Priest in Charge of Goodshaw and Crawshawbooth in the Diocese of Manchester before moving to Scotland in 1998.  Educated at Cambridge University, Dr. Armes earned a doctorate at the University of Manchester in 1996 and trained for the ministry at Salisbury–Wells Theological College. He was made deacon in 1979 and priest in 1980 and served his curacy at Walney, Barrow in Furness.

The new bishop-elect stated he was “both delighted and honoured to be elected the new Bishop of Edinburgh, especially as those who have elected me are people who know me and have worked with me over a number of years.  I see this as an exciting challenge and look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to develop the work and life of the Diocese of Edinburgh.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth welcomed Dr. Armes election saying the new bishop has had a “distinctive ministry as Rector of St John’s Church, Princes Street and has placed the ministry of the Scottish Episcopal Church at the heart of the City of Edinburgh.  He now has the opportunity of exercising a wider leadership role in the Diocese of Edinburgh.”

Edinburgh shortlist announced: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 7. January 10, 2012

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Scottish Episcopal Church has released a shortlist of candidates standing for election next month as Bishop of Edinburgh.

The names of Dr John Armes, the Rev Michael Parker and Dr Alvyn Pettersen were put forward last month by a Preparatory Committee of lay and clergy members of the diocese and the wider SEC led by the Primus of the SEC, Bishop David Chillingworth.

The three candidates will meet with members of an Electoral Synod on 4 February 2012, with the election of the new bishop scheduled for 11 February.

Dr Armes (57) serves as Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh and Canon of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and as rector of St John the Evangelist Church in Edinburgh. Mr Parker (58) is the Senior Minister for English-speaking congregations at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo. Dr Pettersen (61) is Canon Theologian of Worcester Cathedral.

Bishop Chillingworth stated he was pleased with the names put forward for election. He thanked the committee “for the work they have done and am delighted that three candidates of high quality are being nominated to the Electoral Synod.”

“We hope that our discernment in the Electoral Synod will enable us to elect a new bishop who will lead the Diocese of Edinburgh in its future ministry and mission,” the Primus said

Scottish Episcopal Church says ‘no’ to same-sex marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2011 p 6. December 14, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Scottish Episcopal Church does not support the Scottish Government’s proposals to permit civil or religious same-sex marriages.

In a submission filed by its Faith and Order Board on 6 Dec 2011, the SEC said that while there were a wide variety of views on the question of gay marriage within the church, the mind of the church was expressed in its canons.  And the Canon on Marriage currently states that marriage is a “physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and as a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God.”

As such, the SEC could not endorse same-sex marriage, nor permit its facilities to be used to solemnize same-sex marriages. “We do not agree with the introduction of same sex marriage whether religious or civil. The Canon draws no distinction between civil and religious marriage in that respect,” it said.

The issue of same-sex civil partnerships was different, however, as legislation on this point was a “matter for the civil authorities.”  However, the SEC stated that under its canons a civil partnership could not be registered through a religious ceremony, nor could clergy serve as registrars for same-sex unions as the “current authorised services include liturgies for marriage but not for same sex unions.”

“If the Parliament passed legislation so that civil partnerships could be registered through religious ceremonies, the Church would require safeguards to ensure such legislation did not require it or its clergy to perform such religious ceremonies,” the SEC said.

Bishop Mark Strange of Moray, Ross & Caithness, the convener of the Faith & Order Board’s working group on the consultation noted the canon on marriage was “clear in its wording” and this had guided the church’s response.

However, the “general issues raised by the consultation document are matters which are already the subject of ongoing discussion within both the Anglican and Porvoo Communions.”

The SEC paper had been presented “in the knowledge of these ongoing discussions” but also has sought to “indicate our canonical position without pre-empting any debate we as a Church are or could be engaged in.”

“The working group thanks those who offered advice and those who offered prayer and I thank the working party for the generous way we worked with each other.”

Orthodoxy an option for Scotland: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 October 21, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The work of the church is not to guard orthodoxy, but promote diversity, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church declared last week.

Writing in the Scotsman on 13 Oct 2011, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane criticized the Catholic Church in Scotland’s condemnation of the SNP government’s consultation on gay marriage. The primus argued that discussion of same-sex marriage was a proper subject of government review, and noted the Scottish Episcopal Church was itself rethinking the issue.

Dr. Chillingworth stated that he believed “the church must and should be an unequivocal supporter of marriage and family life.”

“But Jesus did not call the church into being as a citadel of orthodoxy. He was constantly criticised because he spent time with people who didn’t fit the conventional patterns and were deemed unacceptable by others. He told stories about nets and fishing, about lost sheep and banquets where the guests were to be gathered from the highways and byways,” the primus said.

“If there is a mandate for us in the churches, it is to try and build communities of faith which honour the way in which we believe Jesus responded to people in their diversity,” he noted.

Dr. Chillingworth’s musings on the nature of the church came in response to criticism of the Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage from the Catholic Church.

If the government believes it should “legislate in this way, I believe that it is their right to do so.

“It is clear that there would be an ‘opt-out’ protection for those who cannot accept this. Churches and faith groups would have to decide whether they wished to use or to stand outside the provisions of such legislation.  The suggestion has been made that the Scottish Government does not have a mandate to introduce legislation which is of such fundamental significance for our society.

“The implication is that these are ‘non-negotiable’ areas. If the Scottish Government was proposing to legislate to enshrine in law discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, colour or race, I would publicly oppose their moral right to do so. But that is not the nature of these consultation proposals,” the primus said.

A spokesman for the primus told CEN the Scottish Episcopal Church “is considering its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on same sex marriage.  This will be done through our Faith and Order Board by the end of the consultation period.”

However, they declined to respond to requests for clarification of the primus’ views on orthodoxy.

Church protests over Scottish base closings: The Church of England Newspaper, July 22, 2011 p 6. July 27, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Politics, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has joined opposition leaders in criticizing the government’s decision to close the RAF base at Leuchars in Fife.

In a statement given to Parliament on July 18 Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the coalition was forced to close bases due to the fiscal irresponsibility of the previous government.

“This government inherited both a national economic disaster that represented a strategic threat, and a defence programme undermined by a £38bn black hole,” Dr. Fox said, adding that “without a fundamental review for 12 years, our Armed Forces were still largely configured for the 20th Century despite a decade of sustained operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This failure to set out a coherent long-term strategy for defence and to effectively match commitments to resources is one of Labour’s worst legacies,” he said.

He announced that RAF Leuchars will be taken over by the army and the existing Typhoon Squadron will be redeployed to RAF Lossiemouth in 2013, while army barracks in Edinburgh will be closed and other operations consolidated across the Scotland.

While there would be fewer active bases in Scotland, Dr Fox said told Parliament the reorganization would give Scotland a larger “defence footprint” and would “increase by well over 2,000 posts” in the region..

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy responded sharply that “today’s announcement of a smaller army comes from a party that promised thousands of extra troops in opposition.

The SNP said the announcement confirmed the “massive and disproportionate defence cuts to the Royal Air Force and Royal Marines in Scotland that had been feared”.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the member for North East Fife, said he could not “support the decision not to retain Leuchars in my constituency as an RAF base because I believe it to be fundamentally wrong, strategically inept, and likely to increase the risk to our citizens.”

Bishop Chillingworth concurred with the sentiments of the opposition writing on July 18 the decision will bring “sadness and disappointment” to the people of Fife.

Although it is encouraging to hear that there will be a new future for Leuchars, yesterday’s announcement will bring to an end a long and proud tradition of service.  There will be a significant impact on the local economy – not just for business life but for schools and community infrastructure.  In the Scottish Episcopal Church, we have enjoyed warm relationships with Chaplains and the faith community at Leuchars.  We shall be sorry to lose those contacts.

“These are difficult and fast-changing times.  Economic circumstances are pressing – defence priorities are under constant review.  But our first thoughts are with the people of the Leuchars community – for them the issues are personal; for this announcement will bring disturbance and challenge in personal and family life.”

Bishop of Brechin elected: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2011 p 7. June 8, 2011

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Bishop-elect Nigel Peyton of Brechin

First published in the Church of England Newspaper.

The Archdeacon of Newark, the Ven. Nigel Peyton has been elected Bishop of the Diocese of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC)

On May 18, the Brechin electoral synod chose Dr. Peyton from a short list of five candidates that included Dr Alison Peden, rector of Holy Trinity Church, Stirling, who sought election as the first women bishop for the SEC.

Upon learning of his selection, Dr. Peyton stated he was “honoured to have been elected and look forward to returning to serve in the diocese where my ministry began”

The Primus of the SEC, Bishop David Chillingworth offered his congratulations, saying the SEC “will be delighted to welcome him to leadership in the Diocese of Brechin and to share in the life of the College of Bishops.”

The see became vacant in Oct 2010 following the early retirement of Bishop John Mantle, who died in November 2010.

Educated at Edinburgh University, Dr. Peyton received an STM degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and a Ph.D. from Lancaster University and trained for the ministry at Edinburgh Theological College.  Dr. Peyton served in the SEC until 1985 when he accepted parochial cures in the Diocese of Southwell, and was appointed Archdeacon of Newark in 1999.  He was a member of General Synod from 1995 to 2010 and a Director of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group from 2005.

The new bishop’s consecration will take place in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee at a date to be announced.

Primus congratulates Alex Salmond and the SNP: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2011 p 4. May 17, 2011

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ishop David Chillingworth, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Dr. Rowan Williams speaking to the press at the close of the February primates meeting in Dublin

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has offered his congratulations to Alex Salmond and Scottish National Party (SNP) following their victory in the May 5 elections to the Scottish Parliament, but urged the new government to use its majority to serve all the people of Scotland.

The SNP won 68 of the 129 seats at Holyrood, giving it an outright majority.  Party leader Alex Salmond said he would hold a referendum on independence for Scotland within five years.

“Just as the Scottish people have restored trust in us, we must trust the people as well,” he declared. “Which is why, in this term of the parliament, we will bring forward a referendum and trust the people on Scotland’s own constitutional future.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said he would not block the SNP’s call for an independence referendum, but would campaign against the dissolution of the Union.

On May 7, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane offered his “warm congratulations” to Mr. Salmond and the SNP, adding that the church valued “greatly the close relationships which have developed between the Scottish Government, members of the Scottish Parliament and faith groups.”

The bishop reminded the SNP leader that “public representatives are people with a calling to serve the whole community.  We respect that commitment and support them with our prayers and our good will.”

“This is an important time in Scotland.  We are shaping a new future.  We are trying to lay to rest the sectarianism of the past,” the bishop said.

“As churches, we look forward to working with the new Scottish Government to shape the values which will define our community.  Scottish society carries forward from the past a distinctive character and particular strengths.  We look forward to being part of the work of re-fashioning that distinctive character for the future,” the primus said.

Pre-election manifesto published by Scottish churches: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2011 p 6. April 2, 2011

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Scottish church leaders unveil the 'Churches Vote' initiative in Edinburgh on March 22

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Jobs, social justice, and support for ‘life’ are the center piece of the Scottish churches pre-election manifesto launched last week in Edinburgh.

On Mar 22, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland the Rt. Rev. John Christie, and other church leaders launched the “Churches Vote” initiative at a meeting held at the Holyrood Hotel.   The manifesto calls for Scottish Christians to vote according to the dictates of their faith when they go to the polls on May 5 to elect a new Scottish parliament, church leaders declared.

“A fair and just society must place the value of every human life at the centre of its thinking,” they said. “This is only possible in a society which respects human life at every stage and supports the family in which life is born and nurtured.”

Elections are “community events” that allow individuals “to express the needs of the whole community” through the ballot box.  “Let us look beyond the selfish and fearful parts of ourselves and aspire to build a society where everyone has equal access to opportunities and can live with dignity,” they said.

The churches’ manifesto called for a “fair and just society” that respected human life “at every stage”, provided economic security and the opportunities “for sufficient material wellbeing to flourish” and jobs.

“For generations” Christians have “served society and been at the heart of civil and political life,” they said.  This was a “tradition we are committed to continuing. Motivated by faith, Christians are particularly aware of the need, found at the heart of the Gospel message, for a just social order where the government and economy function properly in contributing to social harmony.”

“Electing a government that is capable of doing this in a way compatible with the dignity of each human person is therefore a task of utmost importance,” the churches’ manifesto said.

A website: http://www.churchesvote.org created by the Scottish Elections 2011 Working Group, a collaboration between the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, the Catholic Parliamentary Office, ACTS, CARE, the Evangelical Alliance and others, to educate voters about politicians, party policies and political issues, they said.

Signatories to the Churches Vote initiative include: the Baptist Union of Scotland, CARE for Scotland, Christians Count, the Church of Scotland, the Congregational Federation, Destiny Church Network, the Evangelical Alliance, the Free Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Scotland, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Roman Catholic Church, The Salvation Army, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Free Church of Scotland, and the United Reformed Church.

Scottish church in aid plea: The Church of England Newspaper, Nov 19, 2010 p 8. November 21, 2010

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders have called upon the Scottish government not to cut is support for overseas aid projects.

In a letter released on Nov 12, Cardinal Keith O’Brien; the Rt Rev John Christie, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev David Chillingworth told First Minister Alex Salmond that it would be “tragedy” if Scotland turned its back on the world’s poor.

It was wrong to “balance the books in our nation by withdrawing support from those most in need,” as Scotland had a “moral responsibility” towards the poor outside of Scotland.

In 2005, the Scottish government created an international development fund that has been used in recent years to support overseas aid agencies in the wake of the Haitian earthquake and the Pakistani floods.  However, the government’s budget crisis has sparked concerns from the churches and aid agencies that cuts will be made in overseas grants, as it seeks to find £1.2 billion in budget cuts.

Bishop appointed for Argyll and The Isles: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 15, 2010 p 7. October 21, 2010

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The Bishop of Argyll and The Isles, the Rt. Rev. Kevin Pearson

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Dean of Edinburgh has been appointed Bishop of Argyll and The Isles.

On Oct 6 the Scottish Episcopal Church’s College of Bishops elected the Very Rev. Kevin Pearson to succeed the Rt. Rev. Martin Shaw, who retired as bishop of the western rural diocese in September after serving five years in office.

Dean Pearson serves as rector of St. Michael and All Saints Church in Edinburgh, and also is a canon of St Mary’s Cathedral and Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh and is the Director of Ordinands for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The Primus of the SEC, Bishop David Chillingworth stated he “warmly” welcomed the “unanimous election” of Dean Pearson, writing the new bishop was a “greatly loved” parish rector and as “Provincial Director of Ordinands he has been a major influence on the shape of the ministry of our whole church.”

“The College of Bishops views this appointment as one which is of great significance for the Scottish Episcopal Church,” the Primus said, noting the “Rural Commission which reported to this year’s General Synod reminded us that the population of rural Scotland is increasing.  The Diocese of Argyll and The Isles is therefore a place of mission opportunity. It deserves leadership of the highest quality.”

The appointment of a new bishop for Argyll fell to the College of Bishops after two failed attempts by the diocese to elect a bishop.  After Bishop Shaw retired, a preparatory committee consisting of representatives of the diocesan synod, a legal advisor and the Primus drew up a short list of three candidates.  However, two of the candidates subsequently withdrew from consideration.

In February 2010 the post was re-advertised but the preparatory committee was unable to agree on three candidates and the right of election passed to the College of Bishops.

Geographically the largest diocese in the Scottish Episcopal Church, it also has the smallest with 1300 members spread across west Scotland and the Western Isles from Arran to the Outer Hebrides.

In a statement released after his appointment, Bishop-elect Pearson said he was “delighted, excited and humbled to be elected the new Bishop of Argyll and The Isles.  I am looking forward enormously to working in this beautiful and exciting Diocese.  My wife Elspeth and I are also looking forward to living there and to getting to know the people and the area better.”

The new bishop will be consecrated at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Oban later this year.

Scottish Episcopal Church urges ‘no’ vote on Holyrood Euthanasia Bill: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 1, 2010 p 4. October 5, 2010

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Bishop David Chillingworth

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has urged the Scottish Parliament to reject a bill permitting assisted suicide and euthanasia.

In a Sept 27 statement, the Primus of the SEC, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated the “view of the Bishops is that they would be reluctant to see moves to enshrine the right to die through assisted suicide formally enshrined in legislation.”

Last week religious leaders presented testimony before a committee hearing the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill proposed by Independent MSP Margo MacDonald.  In a joint submission, the Church of Scotland, the Salvation Army and the Methodist Church said they “fundamentally disagree” with any move which would end “the societal prohibition in the taking of human life

The Free Church of Scotland called the bill “seriously defective” and said it would turn a doctor from being a healer to a “destroyer of life,” while the Muslim Council of Scotland said the proposed law was “an act of ingratitude against the creator” that would devalue the lives of the elderly and infirm.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities stated they were “concerned” the law would be used as a “cover for murder.  The death of a burdensome relative may be welcome to some people,” they said.

The Bill states its purpose is “to permit assistance to be given to persons who wish their lives to be ended,” and defines “end of life assistance” as “assistance, including the provision or administration of appropriate means, to enable a person to die with dignity and a minimum of distress.”

Individuals 16 years of age or older may seek voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide if they have been diagnosed as terminally ill and find life intolerable, or are permanently physically incapacitated to such an extent as not to be able to live independently and find life intolerable.

Two requests separated by a “cooling off” period would have to be approved by a doctor and psychiatrist before a fatal overdose was given.  To prevent “death tourism,” only those registered with a Scottish GP for 18 months could apply for physician assisted suicide.

The BMA Scotland has opposed any change in the current law, while the General Medical Council and Nursing and Medical Council have taken a neutral stance.  The Humanist Society of Scotland has endorsed the proposed legislation.

The SEC’s Sept 27 statement said their College of Bishops submitted written evidence to the committee drafting the legislation.   “The submission recognises the differing views which are held among members of our Church.  It draws on resolutions of the Lambeth Conference 1998 and contributions on this subject from the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The bishops said they would not welcome legalizing assisted suicide.  “The Church is committed to supporting the hospice movement and to compassionate care of those who face debilitating illnesses which erode human dignity and well-being,” the College of Bishops said.

Scottish Episcopal Church defends inclusive language liturgies: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 10, 2010 p 4. September 16, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Scottish Episcopal Church has denied charges that its use of gender neutral language in its revisions to the 1982 Eucharistic liturgy marks a change in the church’s view on the nature of God.  Inclusive language, the church said on Sept 6, merely reflected current speech patterns, and implied no theological changes.

On Aug 21 The Church of England Newspaper first reported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s College of Bishops had approved inclusive language prayers, authorising optional changes that remove “Lord”, “He”, “his”, “him”, and “us men” from its 1982 Eucharistic Liturgy.

The Daily Telegraph on Sept 6 reported that traditionalists had criticised the changes “on the grounds that they smack of political correctness and because they believe they are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.”

In noted the “controversial changes were discussed at the church’s General Synod recently. The minutes of the synod reveal that female priests had asked why God was still referred to as a man.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church this week released a statement clarifying its actions stating the permitted changes to the 1982 Eucharist had not “altered the Church’s understanding of God.”

It further stated that changes such as “God is love and we are his children” found in the Confession and Absolution to “God is love and we are God’s children” were drafted “in a way that reflects everyday speech and writing.”

Times have changed, the SEC said, and since the 1982 liturgy was drafted “conventions have changed concerning the use of words which express gender, and the Church is merely seeking to reflect these in its worship. No change in our understanding of God is taking place.”

Scottish inclusive language liturgies are ugly and teach bad doctrine, critics charge: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 20, 2010 p 5. August 21, 2010

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The Rev Prof Stuart G Hall

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s College of Bishops has approved inclusive language prayers, authorising optional changes that remove “Lord”, “He”, “his”, “him”, and “us men” from its 1982 Eucharistic Liturgy.

On Aug 2, the SEC published a list of seven permitted changes.  Spokesman Lorna Finley said the changes were offered by the College of Bishops as an “interim measure” as the General Synod Liturgy Committee prepares new Eucharist rites.

The permitted changes include altering “God is love and we are his children” in the Confession and Absolution to “God is love and we are God’s children.”

In the Gloria the phrase “and peace to his people on earth” becomes “and peace to God’s people on earth;” the Nicene Creed is revised with the phrase “for us men and our salvation” making way “for us and for our salvation;” while the opening responses in the Eucharist Prayer change “it is right to give him thanks and praise” to “it is right to give God thanks and praise.”

The Christological Prayer in Eucharistic Prayer IV changes from “He renewed the promise of his presence” to “Your son, Jesus Christ, renewed the promise of his presence.”  Eucharistic Prayer V allows revisions to the phrase “Give thanks to the Lord for he is gracious, And his mercy endures forever,” with “Give thanks to our gracious God, whose mercy endures forever;” and substitution of the phrase “which is your will for all mankind” with “which is your will for all the world.”

Ms. Finley said the revisions incorporate changes suggested by the clergy after a questionnaire was distributed in 2007.  “The use of inclusive language was one of the key comments arising from this questionnaire,” she noted, adding the permitted changes prepared by the Liturgy Committee in consultation with the Faith & Order Board of General Synod and the College of Bishops “help bring our common texts in to line with the English Language Liturgical Consultation recommendations.”

However, the Rev. Stuart Hall of the Scottish Prayer Book Society on Aug 5 urged the Primus and College of Bishops to rethink the revisions as “some of the tinkering” to the liturgy “are going to do some incidental damage.”

Dr. Hall, Professor Emeritus of Ecclesiastical History at Kings’s College London and Honorary Professor of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews stated he believed there were problems of doctrine and aesthetics with the new liturgy.

The revisions “disturbed” the liturgy’s musical settings and upset the rhythm of the verses.  The “compilers and revisers of the 1982 [Liturgy] have from the start been culpably indifferent to music,” he observed.

“The absurd thing is that the whole difficulty, if such there be, could be avoided with reference to all the ancient originals from which the Eucharistic dialogue was translated,” Dr. Hall said.

The Latin Dignum et iustum est or Greek axion kai dikaion is translated in the Book of Common Prayer as “It is meet and right so to do,” he said, asking “Why could our translators not have avoided the whole issue of God’s sex and stuck with ‘It is proper and right,’ or preserving the rhythms of the original Greek and Latin, ‘Proper it is, and right’.”

Changing the words of the Nicene Creed was problematic, he said.  “On principle, liturgy-writers should not tamper with the text of ecumenical creeds,” and omitting ‘men’ has doctrinal consequences, he said.

The Greek words tous anthropous in the creed uses ‘men’ in the sense of all humanity.  “If you leave it out, the reference might be taken to mean us Christians, or even us Episcopalians,” Dr. Hall said, adding that Hooker had to defend the phrase ‘that it may please thee to have mercy upon all men’ in the Litany “against dissenting critics who thought we should pray only for the Elect, not for everybody.”

In the original Creeds, the same word anthropos is applied to the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who is not just enfleshed, ‘incarnate of the Virgin Mary’, but puts on total thinking humanity, enenthropesen, ‘made man’, Dr. Hall explained.  “So there is a balance: for us humans … he became human.  And his fleshly humanity is entirely derived from the Virgin Mary: her manhood becomes his. If ‘men’ applied to ‘us’ excludes women, then Christ is said not to have become human, but to have become male.”

Prudence Dailey of the Church of England’s Prayer Book Society told CEN she was “sorry” the SEC “felt the need to be squeamish” about gender specific language in relation to God.

“I would hope that the authorised liturgies of the Church of England will never go that far down that particular path. The Prayer Book Society would not wish worshipers to be encouraged to feel uncomfortable with the traditional usage of masculine pronouns, as found in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662,” she said.

“Disastrous” Big Society spending cuts denounced by bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 13, 2010 p 5. August 16, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Politics, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Rt Rev Robert Gillies, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney has denounced plans outlined in Prime Minister David Cameron’s “Big Society” programme to test those receiving invalidity benefits to see whether they are able to return to work.

In a letter printed in the Scotsman on Aug 8, Dr Robert Gillies welcomed the government’s plans to boost volunteerism saying it could soften the prevalent culture of anti-religious rhetoric.  However, the government’s plans for welfare reform announced last month by the prime minister would be “disastrous” for those on the margins of society

“For some, not least those suffering from various forms of mental illness, this will prove disastrous.  Discreet or covert assessment tests are required to be carried out on people who may not know they are even being tested,” Dr. Gillies said.

The Scottish Episcopal Church bishop also questioned the government capacity to fairly measure the ability of the mentally disabled to return to full time employment.  “Do they assess a person’s capacity to assume responsibility, sustain a full, or part-time day’s work? I fear not.

“Do they take into account any variation of a person’s emotions and how these might be affected in any given workplace? Do they look at how a drugs regime might be maintained in such places? It is unlikely,” the bishop said.

He noted the evolution in Conservative party thinking on these questions, noting “my mind re-connects with a statement that former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, once made: ‘There is no such thing as society; there are individual men and women, and there are families’.”

Now thirty years later David Cameron had come full circle. “One prime minister debunks society. Another commends it.”  But the bishop urged the government, whatever its philosophical views on government, not to use the “big society” mantra to cover up the faults of “bad society.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury had also voiced concerns about the “Big Society”.  While the government’s plans could very well be a “watershed moment in British politics”, Dr. Rowan Williams said he could only give it “two and a half cheers” because he feared it could be a smokescreen for cuts.

In a 2008 paper entitled “Moral, but no Compass,” the Church of England said the Labour government had a “significant lack of understanding, or interest in” the church’s contribution to society.

The coalition government has sought to distance itself from its predecessor on this point.  The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles on July 16 told Dr. Williams and other faith leaders at a meeting at Lambeth Palace that “for years, faith communities have been quietly making a huge difference day-in and day-out, to every single neighbourhood in the country – something that has not been sufficiently recognised by central Government. We can together build on the huge amount of experience faith groups have in getting out into the community.”

“Some see religion as a problem that needs to be solved. The new Government sees it as part of the solution. I want to send an important signal that we value the role of religion and faith in public life. The days of the state trying to suppress Christianity and other faiths are over,” the minister said.

Dr. Gillies said he hoped the new government would live up to its word and “ends the secularising and marginalising of faith into a ‘private’ thing you do in your own time.”

Primus urges dialogue of science and ethics over synthetic biology: The Church of England Newspaper, May 28, 2010 p 5. June 7, 2010

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The Most Rev David Chillingworth

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has urged geneticists and their critics in the environmental movement not to talk past each other in light of last week’s announcement of the creation of a synthetic cell by a US genetic engineering firm, but to engage in a dialogue that allows science and ethics to find the best way forward for the new technology.

On May 20, the magazine Science reported that a team led by US geneticists led by Dr. Craig Venter had synthesized a bacterium that causes mastitis in goats, but was constructed from laboratory chemicals.  The single-celled organism has four “watermarks” written into its DNA to identify it as an artificial creation.

“This is an important step both scientifically and philosophically,” Dr Venter told Science. “It has certainly changed my views of definitions of life and how life works.”

Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, told the Guardian that Dr. Venter was “creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history, potentially peeking into its destiny. He is not merely copying life artificially … or modifying it radically by genetic engineering. He is going towards the role of a god: creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally.”

The Canadian environmental organization the Etc Group has called upon governments to block further development of synthetic life.   Jim Thomas of Etc told the Independent that “synthetic biology is a high-risk, profit-driven field, building organisms out of parts that are still poorly understood” that could have harmful consequences for the environment.

Other geneticists have urged calm saying the results produced by Venter were being hyped by the media.  Writing in the Atlantic, Dr. William Haseltine stated “has man indeed made life? I think not. The replica is indistinguishable in form and function from the original. … It is as if one were to create a copy of Michelangelo’s David, accurate down to the last crack and imperfection except for the signature, and call it new.”

However, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church observed that the creation of the synthetic cell promised an “enticing range of possible outcomes,” including new bio-fuels, clean water, new ways of cleaning up pollution, new vaccines and drugs, new sources of food.”

It is all too easy either to over-hype the possibilities or to reach for doom-laden language about scientists ‘playing God’,” he said on May 24.

However, the creation of the synthetic cell “raises difficulties and dilemmas.”  Those raising “ethical and other questions have difficulty grasping the complexity of the science,” Bishop Chillingworth said, while “those who lack expert scientific knowledge find it difficult to arrive at a measured understanding of both the possibilities and the dangers of what is on offer.”

Scientists risk becoming “intoxicated by their achievements,” he noted, and are often “less willing to engage whole-heartedly in moral and ethical questioning.”

“What is needed now is a period in which, as the research develops, it is possible to take a measured view both of the possible applications and their benefits for human society and of the potential dangers,” the Primus said.

“Only as a result of that dialogue will the true and long term benefits for humanity become evident and be developed in such a way as to ensure the maximum benefit for the whole of humanity while avoiding the dangers,” Bishop Chillingworth said.

Scottish Churches call for voters to back anti-Trident candidates: The Church of England Newspaper, April 9, 2010 p 6. April 18, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Scotland have released a joint Easter letter urging voters to support candidates who will oppose funding for a new generation of Trident nuclear missiles.

On April 1, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev William Hewitt, Cardinal Keith O’Brien and the leaders of five other denominations stated that funds allocated for Britain’s nuclear weapons systems would be better spent on the poor.

Britain’s nuclear force is based upon four Vanguard class submarines based at HMNB Clyde on the eastern shore of Gare Loch, 25 miles west of Glasgow.  Britain is believed to possess 200 nuclear weapons and each submarine is armed with 16 Trident II ballistic missiles.  In 2006 the Ministry of Defence released a White Paper recommending that Trident be upgraded through the purchase of four new submarines.  The estimated costs for the next generation of missiles and submarines were £20 billion, with an additional annual operating cost of £1.5 billion.

In 2007 Parliament backed the Government’s plans to renew the Trident nuclear submarine system, by a vote of 409 to 161—with 95 Labour MPs breaking ranks to vote against the proposal.

Before the vote Defence Minister Des Browne said in a speech at King’s College, London that nuclear weapons were not “inherently evil. In certain circumstances, they can play a positive role – as they have in the past.”

Concerns over the morality of nuclear weapons were misplaced and naïve, he said.  “Are we prepared to tolerate a world in which countries which care about morality lay down their nuclear weapons, leaving others to threaten the rest of the world or hold it to ransom?”

In their Easter letter the Scottish church leaders disputed Mr. Browne’s claims saying that national security would not come from “any human creation” but from “faith in the vulnerability of God in Christ.”

Nuclear weapons were immoral, they argued.  “The indiscriminate nature of nuclear weapons makes it impossible to justify them as weapons of war as their effect cannot be considered as either limited or proportionate.  Therefore, the very possession of nuclear weapons is unjust and thus wrong.”

“Nuclear weapons by their very existence undermine the security of the whole world and are inconsistent with the traditional theories of just war,” they argued, adding that “tackling injustice, poverty and inequality would lead to a safer world for all.”

The church leaders stated that Britain faced a “political choice in the next few weeks. We call upon all people of goodwill to make it clear to candidates of all parties that we should choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over the replacement of Trident.”

Primus attacks Labour Minister over bid to woo faith vote: CEN 3.05.10 March 15, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Politics, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy MP at a 2008 audience at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has criticised Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy’s “blatant attempt” to align the Labour Party with the religious vote.

On Feb 27, the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, the Rt Rev David Chillingworth, joined Cardinal Keith O’Brien in accusing the government minister of doing a “grave disservice to faith by suggesting that it can be ‘shrink-wrapped’ to fit the manifesto of his or any political party”.

In a talk given last week to a Labour think-tank, Mr Murphy sought to keep religious voters on board to give Labour a fourth term in office by saying their concerns would be given prominence in the party’s political manifesto. In the 2005 election, Labour led the Conservative Party by nine percentage points among those who identified themselves as being religious, he said, and noted that the party had been founded and nurtured on the principles of Christian Socialism.

The comments prompted a sharp reaction from the leader of the Scottish Catholic Church, Cardinal O’Brien, who charged the Labour Government with maintaining an “unrelenting attack on family values”.

Bishop Chillingworth said he was “astonished” by Labour’s claims to be faith-friendly. Murphy’s lecture “expresses the view that ‘fairness’ is a key component of faith. But faith is about much more than fairness.”

“Faith is about justice,” he said, it “is about love and sacrifice – not about splitting the difference in the interests of fairness,” the Bishop said this week.

The concept of fairness outlined by the Scottish Secretary was “flat-footed,” and represented the “politics of the supermarket check-out. They are regressive, inviting us to revisit outdated nationalisms, to pursue those whom we deem to be work-shy, to close our borders to the poor of the world on the basis of a ‘firm and fair’ immigration policy”.

“What about some bigger visions – a new vision of how peace can be built, how creation can be honoured, how the poor can be fed, how the weak can be protected, how an inclusive and tolerant society can be built,” he asked.

To engage in “serious dialogue with politicians is what churches and faith groups must do,” Bishop Chillingworth said, “if that is what Jim Murphy is hoping for, I shall be delighted and honoured to join in that debate. But I hope he will understand that I feel that my faith has been diminished – shrink-wrapped – by his picture of it,” he said.

Buckfast Abbey chided over ale role: CEN 1.22.10 p 6. February 3, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Popular Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney has denounced the Benedictine monks of Buckfast Abbey for contributing to Scotland’s rising rate of crime and social degradation.

In an interview broadcast on Jan 18 by BBC One Scotland, Dr. Robert Gillies challenged the makers of Buckfast Tonic Wine to take responsibility for their actions.

Buckfast has a “very high caffeine content. That means when too much is drunk the effect can cause a high level of over-excited anger. The combination of alcohol with caffeine stimulant is a powerful cocktail and in the case of Buckfast Tonic Wine is a major factor behind many a violent scene in Scotland’s towns and cities,” the bishop said.

“It saddens me that a Christian organisation is supporting a product that contributes to the misery to our nation. I very much doubt if St Benedict, the founder of the monastic rule of life to which the monks of Buckfast Abbey are committed, would approve,” Dr. Gillies said.

While sales of Buckfast or “Buckie” account for only 0.5 per cent of alcohol sales in Scotland, the fortified wine has become associated with youth crime. BBC Scotland Investigates reported that Buckfast was mentioned in 5,638 crime reports in the Strathclyde area of Scotland from 2006-2009.

A 15 proof fortified wine, with eight times the caffeine in one bottle as compared with a can of Coca Cola, Buckfast has attracted opprobrium from government leaders, concerned with its links to violent youth crime. In 2006 Andy Kerr, the Scottish Executive’s Health Minister stated Buckfast was an “irresponsible drink in its own right” and a contributor to anti-social behavior, while First Minister Jack McConnell stated that Buckfast had become a “badge of pride amongst those who are involved in antisocial behaviour.”

Bishop Gillies told the BBC, “What sort of moral double-take is there that these monks can be so closely associated with that product and knowingly aware of the social damage as well as the medical damage it is doing to the kids who take it in such vast volumes?”

The monks of Buckfast Abbey in Devon and their distributors have denied their product is harmful, arguing that the vast majority of consumers of the beverage were law abiding, and that they were not responsible for the excesses committed by a few.

Speaking on behalf of the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church on Nov 5, Dr. Gillies backed the Scottish Government’s proposed bill to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. “If our nation and each of us within it is to have a healthy future then the nettle that is alcohol misuse must be grasped,” he said, backing the call for a rise in prices, a ban on “irresponsible promotions,” restricting the supermarket sales of alcohol, introducing a “social responsibility fee” and raising the drinking age to 21.

Scotland needed a “real, lasting, social and cultural change” in its attitude towards alcohol, he said. Alcohol abuse, anti-social behavior, social and cultural degradation, “none of this helps make Scotland an attractive place,” Dr. Gillies said.

Dean is elected new Bishop of Glasgow: CEN 1.22.10 p 6. February 3, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church, Women Priests.
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The Dean of Glasgow has been elected Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church in a closely watched election on Jan 16 which saw the first female candidate for the Anglican episcopate in Britain.

The Very Rev. Gregor Duncan, rector of St. Ninian’s Church, Pollokshields and Dean of the diocese, was elected from a slate of three candidates to succeed Dr. Idris Jones, the former Primus of the Scottish Church.

Dr. Duncan stated he was “deeply honoured to be given this responsibility by the electors of the Diocese and am committed wholly to this new office.”

Educated at Glasgow University and Oriel College, Oxford, Dr. Duncan received a PhD from Cambridge and trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. Ordained to the diaconate in 1983 and the priesthood in 1984, he served his curacy in Rutland at the Benefice of Oakham, Hambleton, Egleton, Braunston and Brooke, returning to Scotland in 1987 as Chaplain to the Edinburgh Theological College. From 1989 to 1999 he served as rector of St Columba’s Largs, and in 1999 became rector of St Ninian’s.

Among the three candidates was Dr Alison Peden, the first woman to stand for election to the episcopate since the Scottish Episcopal Church permitted women bishops in 2003. Ordained eight years ago after an academic career, Dr. Peden is rector of Holy Trinity Church in Stirling and a canon of St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth.

Bishop David Chillingworth, the Primus of the SEC told the Scotsman Canon Peden’s nomination reflected the “strength of women in the Scottish Episcopal Church” and predicted the church would soon elect a women bishop.

Sources in the SEC tell The Church of England Newspaper the diocesan nominating committee agreed to honour the moratorium on the election of gay clergy to the episcopate, passing over the candidacy of the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow.

On March 23, 2009 Bishop Jones said the Scottish College of Bishops would refrain from authorizing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions and not permit the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop.

The bishops said “that, for the time being, all who have responsibility within the process of the election of any new diocesan bishop should seek to act within the spirit of the requested moratorium.”

Scottish alcohol plan backed by bishops: CEN 11.13.09 p 7. November 20, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Health/HIV-AIDS, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church have backed the Scottish Government’s proposed bill to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. “If our nation and each of us within it is to have a healthy future then the nettle that is alcohol misuse must be grasped,” the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, Dr. Robert Gillies said on behalf of the college of bishops in a Nov 5 statement.

The proposed Alcohol Bill includes provisions to establish a minimum pricing policy to reduce alcohol consumption by raising prices. It would ban “irresponsible promotions” and restrict marketing in supermarkets, promote the sale of smaller bottles of wine and spirits, introduce a “social responsibility fee” and raise the drinking age to 21 in some areas.

Bishop Gillies said that while some “bits of the Bill are going to be controversial,” there was a need to tackle alcohol abuse in Scotland.

There was a growing “gap” in society between those “enjoying a drink as a normal and respectable social activity and those who misuse it,” he said. “Sadly a laissez-faire, free-for-all attitude that lacks responsibility for oneself and for others seems to rule the day.

“Far too many people view each approaching weekend as an occasion to descend to a state where they are out of control and out of mind, making our city and town centres unpleasant, threatening and unwelcome places,” the bishop said.

The government’s Healthier Scotland campaign reports that alcohol consumption in the UK has more than doubled since 1950, and that the misuse of alcohol costs the Scottish economy around £2.25 billion each year

Scotland needs a “real, lasting, social and cultural change” in its attitude towards alcohol, he said. Alcohol abuse, anti-social behavior, social and cultural degradation, “none of this helps make Scotland an attractive place,” Dr. Gillies said

Primus backs Scottish decision to free bomber: CEN 8.28.09 p 1. September 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Politics, Scottish Episcopal Church, Terrorism.
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The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has lauded Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds, allowing the convicted Lockerbie bomber to return home to Libya to die.

However, the compassion exhibited by the Justice Minister may have been for British industry not for the dying, opposition leaders have charged in the wake of Libyan statements that the release of the terrorist was a part of a trade deal.

Church leaders gave their blessing last week to the Scottish government’s decision to release Mr. al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer sentenced in 2001 to 27 years imprisonment for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that killed the 259 passengers and crew of the London to New York flight and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland. On Aug 20, the government released Mr. al-Megrahi after a medical evaluation indicated the terrorist had less than three months to live due to cancer of the prostate.

The release has sparked outrage from the United States government and raised questions in Westminster and the Scottish parliament about secret deals with Libya.

In a statement released by the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Primus, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber was “a brave political choice taken in the face of strong pressure from outside Scotland.”

“We respect and honour the courage which the Scottish Government has shown,” he said in light of US lobbying to block Mr. al-Megrahi’s release.

“On one side of the balance is the suffering caused by this appalling act of terrorism and the need to sustain public confidence in our system of justice. On the other side is the need to consider whether, in circumstances such as these, justice should be tempered with mercy and compassion,” he said on Aug 20.

“This decision sends to the world an important and positive message about our values,” Bishop Chillingworth said.

While the Scottish Roman Catholic’s Bishops’ Conference had not taken a position on the matter, the Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, concurred with the Primus, saying the release of the Lockerbie bomber “has sent a message to the world about what it is to be Scottish. We are defined as a nation by how we treat those who have chosen to hurt us.”

“We have gained something significant as a nation by this decision. It is a defining moment for all of us,” Mr. Galloway said.

However, opposition leaders have charged the gain to Scotland is more than moral, and have questioned whether the release was part of a quid pro quo in the 2007 £450m exploration deal signed by BP and the Libyan government.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied the release of Mr. al-Megrahi was a secret protocol in the 2007 oil deal, while Lord Mandelson last week stated the accusations were “wrong, completely implausible and quite offensive”.

These comments came after the son of Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddaffi, Saif al-Islam, told Libyan television the release of Mr. al-Megrahi was part of the trade deal reached with the British government. Col. Gaddafi also appeared on state television with Mr. al-Megrahi at his side after the agent’s return to Tripoli thanking “my friends in Scotland, the Scottish National Party, and Scottish prime minister, and the foreign secretary.”

Conservative shadow foreign secretary William Hague has asked the government to release all documents surrounding Mr. Blair’s and Lord Mandelson’s meetings with the Libyan leader and his son to dispel the Libyan claims the release of the terrorist was not part of the commercial deal.

The Scottish Labour Party is expected to call for a debate on Mr. MacAskill’s handling of the affair when the Scottish Parliament reconvenes next month. “The Scottish Parliament has a responsibility to take action to repair some of the damage done,” former First Minister Jack McConnell said.

“We owe it to the victims to make clear that this mistake does not have the support of the nation as a whole,” Mr. McConnell told Scotland on Sunday.

The “deal in the desert” has also drawn protests from the US government, and in an unprecedented move the US FBI director Robert Mueller on Aug 21 denounced Mr. MacAskill’s decision as a mockery of the rule of law.”

“Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,” Mr. Mueller charged, adding that the Scottish government’s compassion for a murderer who had never sought forgiveness “rewards a terrorist even though he never admitted to his role in this act of mass murder.”

Gay question threatening Scottish church unity: CEN 8.28.09 p 5 September 2, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The question of gay clergy threatens to tear Anglicans in Scotland apart, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), Bishop David Chillingworth, has warned.

In an interview published Aug 21 in the Scotsman, Bishop Chillingworth said the gay clergy question was “an issue that has been threatening to tear us apart, and many of us live across a spectrum in which out of one side of our minds we can say there is a justice and inclusion issue here, and out of the other there is a dialogue that needs to go on with the traditional teaching of the Church and what the Bible says.

Gay question threatening Scottish church unity

“You can’t wish either of those away. You have to deal with both,” he said. The Primus’ comments come as a push is underway from within the liberal wing of the Scottish church to end its ban on gay bishops and blessings, and in the wake of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement that gay clergy were outside the bounds of Anglicanism.

The current stance of the bishops of the SEC is to uphold the moratoria on gay bishops and blessings. On March 23 the former Primus, Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow and Galloway said the Scottish College of Bishops would refrain from authorizing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions and not permit the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop.

The bishops said “that, for the time being, all who have responsibility within the process of the election of any new diocesan bishop should seek to act within the spirit of the requested moratorium,” and that “at the current time, members of the College remain of the view that it would, certainly be premature, and some would say wrong, to authorize a rite for [same-sex] blessings.”

However one of the SEC’s leading gay clergymen, the Provost of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth last month called for the church and state to give same-sex couples equal access to marriage and to welcome gay clergy.

“Civil partnerships contain many of the same rights and privileges as marriage, but they are not the same. You can’t celebrate a civil partnership in a church and if I tried to I’d be breaking the law,” he said, adding that he wanted “every gay couple to be able to walk down the street” or “down the aisle holding hands if they want to.”

“I don’t know how long it will take before clergy can have a same-sex marriage ceremony that is acknowledged by the whole church, but I do believe it is far more likely to happen in Scotland rather than England” Dean Holdsworth told the Scotsman, adding that “in some ways Scotland is a more grown-up society than England.”

The question of the morality of homosexuality was for many Christians a “fundamental truth” not amenable to compromise Bishop Chillingworth said. On July 27 Dr Rowan Williams said the homosexual or unchaste heterosexual “chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church’s teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.”

The SEC was “trying to live with as much diversity as you can tolerate and hope the nature of the debate will change” and that in time the hard feelings on either side of the debate would soften, Bishop Chillingworth said.

Scottish bishops oppose Trident: CEN 7.31.09 p 7. July 31, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) have written Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging the government to forgo its plans of replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Last week the College of Bishops also endorsed a letter prepared by the convener of the SEC’s church in society committee the Rev. Ian Barcroft that called upon the government to place the decommissioning of Trident “on the table” at next May’s meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.

“It is very difficult to defend the possession of weapons of mass destruction with a conditional intent to use them in terms of traditional Christian teaching,” Mr. Barcroft stated, adding that that it was impossible for Christian pacifists to accept Trident. Christians who believe that nuclear arms have a legitimate place in the country’s arsenal “would only do so in the context of a firm commitment to moving towards disarmament and ending reliance on weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper’s Religious Intelligence section.

Scottish bishops oppose Trident

Scottish Anglican’s call for “gracious restraint”: CEN 3.27.09 p 8. March 29, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church will honor the Lambeth call for “gracious restraint” and refrain from authorizing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, not permit the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop, nor engage in “cross-border” violations of diocesan boundaries.

In a statement released on behalf of the Scottish College of Bishops on March 23 by the Primus, Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow and Galloway, the bishops offered a response to the communiqué from the Alexandria primates’ meeting and to the “Anglican moratoria.”

The college welcomed “the fact that the Priamtes were able to talk honestly and openly together” in Alexandria, and that “despite the alienation and pain felt by many parts of the Communion, there was nevertheless a spirit of graciousness in evidence.”

While recognizing the truth of the “Lambeth Indaba” document that stated “there is widespread support” for an Anglican moratoria, the Scottish bishops stated that “in practice,” there will be “difficulties in the moratoria being upheld across the Communion.” The bishops also stated their discomfort with the phrase “moratoria,” noting that it implied a “temporary suspension of activity which had previously been current.”

The Scottish College of Bishops pledged to honour the ban on gay bishops, writing “that, for the time being, all who have responsibility within the process of the election of any new diocesan bishop should seek to act within the spirit of the requested moratorium.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church was not of one mind on this issue. However, the “repercussions of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson” were severe, and that a further consecration “could reasonably be expected to have a very significant impact on the life and position of the Province within the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Jones, who on March 4 announced that he would be retiring from office at the end of July, stated the Scottish Church distinguished between pastoral blessings of same-sex unions and liturgical or sacramental rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. The Scottish bishops “expressed its gladness to note that the concern of the Windsor Report and of the Primates’ Communiqué issued in February 2005 had not been with such informal pastoral responses to individual situations but was rather about the official authorization of a liturgical text for the blessing [gay] unions.”

Nonetheless, the “fluidity in the debate” and the divisions within the Scottish Church on this issue were such that “at the current time, members of the College remain of the view that it would, certainly be premature, and some would say wrong, to authorize a rite for such blessings.”

The question of cross-border incursions was not a live issue for the Scottish church “as no member” of the College of Bishops had engaged in the practice and the College believed that the communion’s existing ecclesial boundaries “should be observed.”

‘Stop scapegoating social workers: CEN 2.20.09 p 8 February 21, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church, Youth/Children.
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THE FORMER Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Rt Rev Richard Holloway, has come to the defence of social workers, saying the profession has become modern Britain’s scapegoat for society’s ills.

In a robust defence of the social work profession in the wake of the Baby P case — the London toddler who was visited by workers and other professionals 50 times before he lost his life at the hands of his mother, her partner and a lodger in 2007 — Dr Holloway argued that society vents its “frustrations” for failed families on social workers.

There was a “noisy culture of blame at work in Britain today” he argued that was “stoked and orchestrated by the tabloid press.” Social workers needed “broad shoulders and secure personalities today, if they are to bear the unfair criticism they often attract,” Dr Holloway argued. However, recent surveys found that almost three quarters of those who used social work services were satisfied with the help they received.

It was, however, within the government’s grasp to turn things round. “The banking crisis and a couple of colossally expensive wars have shown that when we want to, or think we need to, we are capable of putting money and ideas to work to deliver the outcome we want,” Dr Holloway said.

“Why can’t we get society to apply that same urgency to the social problems that confront us and attack them with deep, imaginative, well resourced, evidence-based responses that will achieve slow generational change, the only kind of change that will endure,” he noted.

Speaking in Edinburgh on the 40th anniversary of the Social Work Scotland Act of 1968 Dr Holloway traced the breakdown of society to the collapse of traditional social and employment structures, and a failure of parenting and schooling of children.

The changing industrial face of Britain over the last 40 years contributed to the decline of social standards, he argued. “The institutions that once gave [the poor] a motive for responsible living, such as holding down a tough, demanding job with its own culture and honour, and presiding, however clumsily, within a marriage and family that was the primary context for the nurture and socializing of children, have largely disappeared, and with them the main ways the human community traditionally disciplined and integrated children into the social contract.”

This “shattering of the structures” had led to the “breeding ground for despair” that gave rise to destructive social behaviour. Many children in these post-industrial, postmodern homes had never learned the “necessary disciplines and constraints of living alongside others in civil society.”

As they grow, “inevitably, they offend against society’s norms and come to the attention of its authorities, presenting either as offenders or as being themselves at risk because of parental neglect, cruelty or both. These moral orphans are thrown to the state to deal with, and it is social workers, and to some extent teachers, who are called upon to do remedial catchup with inadequate resources, in the context of a society increasingly uncaring in its attitudes to troubled, often feral children,” he said.

“That is tough enough; but social workers are sometimes called upon to fulfill another role in society, that of ritual scapegoat,” Dr Holloway argued.

English bishops call for Israel to be punished over Gaza attacks: CEN 1.07.09 January 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Israel, Scottish Episcopal Church, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church.
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First published by The Church of England Newspaper’s ReligiousIntelligence.com section.

The bishops of Winchester, Exeter and Bath and Wells have lent their support to a campaign to punish Israel for its military offensive against Hamas in Gaza. On Jan 5 the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, the Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish and the Rt. Rev. Peter Price joined over 200 public figures in calling upon Prime Minister Gordon Brown to block plans to lower trade barriers between the EU and Israel for being in what they claim is the Jewish state’s breach of international law.

The Jan 5 petition published in the Guardian comes amidst growing unease from Anglican leaders over the battle for Gaza. Church leaders have criticized Israel’s “disproportionate” response of invading Gaza to put an end to rocket attacks launched by the extremist group Hamas.

Rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel began in 2001 from territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The pace quickened in 2005 following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza with the number of launches rising from 50 per month before the withdrawal to 50 per day by early 2008, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported. By December the number of attacks had increased to 80 per day, prompting Israel to move into Gaza to put an end to the violence.

Following the invasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams released a statement on Dec 31 condemning the escalating violence. He called upon “all those who have the power to halt this spiral of violence to do so.”

Dr. Williams urged world leaders to bring a “new initiative” to that would bring a ceasefire to the region. “Without such a sign of hope, the future for the Holy Land and the whole region is one of more fear, innocent suffering and destruction,” he said.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church echoed the call for peace. The Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, Dr. Idris Jones said the “escalation of violent reaction to the situation in the Gaza strip by both communities involved is to be greatly deplored,” for military means alone would not bring a “peaceful and just settlement.”

The Anglican and Roman Catholic Primates of Ireland, Archbishop Alan Harper and Cardinal Seán Brady also issued a joint statement calling upon the “authorities in both Israel and Gaza immediately to disengage and cease all hostilities to enable a permanent ceasefire to be negotiated. Only when violence has ceased will it be possible to begin to negotiate a peace that will last,” they said.

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani declined to blame either side for the latest outbreak of fighting, but lamented the loss of life. “The heavy loss of Palestinian lives and the serious wounds and injuries to many hundreds of innocent bystanders require the immediate cessation of hostilities for the well being and safety of both the Palestinian and Israeli communities, and especially for Gaza and the nearby Israeli population centers,” he said.

American Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori however called upon Israel to pull back as the incursion into Gaza could spark a regional war. “Israel’s disproportionate response to the rockets being fired into its cities may well encourage violence beyond Gaza and Israel,” she warned, calling for “all parties [to] unite behind an immediate ceasefire.”

The petition endorsed by the three bishops called for immediate action in light of the “horrific events of the past days.” It demanded the British government “revoke its support” for new trade agreements and for the European Parliament to “to refuse to endorse any extension of existing agreements and to use its influence to prevent any upgrades of EU benefits to Israel until it abides by its international legal and humanitarian obligations.”

Church supporters of Israel however called the unilateral ceasefire demand naïve. Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East said that while many church leaders were calling for a ceasefire, “we challenge them to acknowledge not only the human suffering, but the political realities in the region.”

“In November 2001, Hamas, which openly declares its commitment to the destruction of the State of Israel, began a terror campaign launching rockets from Gaza into civilian targets within Israel,” stated the Rev. Bruce Chilton, Professor of Religion at Bard College in New York.

“It was Hamas that chose not to extend the existing cease-fire on Dec 18, resuming hundreds of attacks on the civilian population in Southern Israel. It is Hamas that chooses, with the Israeli army sitting right outside Gaza, to continue to target civilian areas in towns behind the army,” he said.

Scottish church’s money boost: CEN 10.17.08 p 5 October 17, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani has announced that Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh has been awarded a grant of £92,600 for roof and masonry repairs from the Heritage Lottery Funds.

On Oct 12 Ms Fabiani stated the grant to one of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s original parishes along with grants in aid to a Church of Scotland parish recognized the “value of historic buildings in our communities. This includes the facilities they provide and what they mean to the people who use them and work in them.”

“These projects are great examples of buildings that serve the needs of a wide range of different groups, each holding a special place in people’s lives. This funding will allow them to continue to do this,” she said.

Organized in 1689 after Scottish Episcopalians were ejected from the Kirk, Old St. Paul’s was organized by Bishop Alexander Rose after he was deposed from office for refusing to renounce his allegiance to James II, following the accession of William and Mary.

The bishop and the bulk of the congregation of St. Giles’ cathedral moved to the present site of Old St. Paul’s off of Jeffrey Street, founding one of the first Scottish Episcopal Churches in an old wool store on Carrubber’s Close.

The present structure was built in 1880 and is in need of structural repair. Long a stronghold of the Jacobite cause in Edinburgh, the congregation is now Anglo-Catholic in sympathy.

Edinburgh parish reopens: CEN 9.05.08 p 4. September 5, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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An Edinburgh city-centre parish has reopened following a £6 million makeover.

On the 300th anniversary of its founding on Aug 30, the congregation of St Paul’s and St George’s Episcopal Church in York Place returned to the parish after a two and a half year exile.

With an average Sunday attendance of almost 800, the parish had outgrown its building. Internal balconies were added to increase seating from 400 to 750 seats and a three-storey extension to provide meeting rooms and a glass pavilion to provide a more welcoming entrance area were added to the Grade A-listed building.

The evangelical congregation has so far raised £5.3m towards the costs of the construction, the rector, the Rev. Dave Richards told the Scotsman, noting “the last time it had any serious capital investment was when it was built 200 years ago.”

The new church building now “combines the best of the old with the best of the new. Anyone coming in will be pleasantly surprised. We want to be a church that is relevant to people,” he said.

Known as “P’s & G’s”, the parish had only 20 members in 1985 and was threatened with closure. With the blessing of the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt. Rev. Richard Holloway, the Rev. Dennis Lennon, rector of St Thomas’s, Corstorphine, mounted a rescue operation that year, sending 50 members of his congregation to the parish and helped call a new rector. The parish is now the largest Anglican congregation in Scotland.

Nuns threaten to quit island home over expansion row: CEN 8.29.08 p 6. September 4, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Government ‘red tape’ may force a community of Anglican nuns to quit their convent in the Shetland Islands. The Society of Our Lady of the Isles (SOLI) on Fetlar has threatened to move after plans for a new convent were blocked by local government officials.

The only religious community founded in Scotland during the 20th Century, SOLI began in 1982 when Sister Mary Agnes, a Franciscan nun from England, moved to the Shetlands and lived as a solitary for five years. In 1988 she founded the Society, which now has four members.

In recent years SOLI has flourished and has run a successful retreat programme, and the nuns have sought to expand their convent and build a larger chapel. Planning permission for the expansion has not been granted, forcing the nuns to contemplate closing their convent.

From a peak of a 1000 in the mid-Nineteenth century, Fetlar’s population has declined to 86 as of the 2001 census. The threat to close the convent would pose a economic challenge to the island’s already depressed economy, local leaders said.

Writing to the Shetland News, the former community council chairman John Coutts stated the government’s decision was inexplicable. “The project will be funded on donations, and will take nothing from Shetland’s public funds, yet SOLI has encountered multiple problems through the planning part of the process over the last three to four years.”

SOLI had “quietly attracted a sizeable number of visitors to Fetlar over the years. These visitors stay for some time, use local facilities, and contribute considerably to the local economy. SOLI has been both efficient and successful in what it has done, and attracts ever more visitors seeking a genuine retreat from an ever more stressful world outside,” he said.

Mr. Coutts noted that “until the Shetland authorities can produce an integrated and flexible approach to help projects such as this instead of placing almost insurmountable obstacles in their way, these same authorities must stop reacting with surprise when development projects become unsustainable or never get off the ground.”

Scottish bishop backs hybrid embryo research: CEN 5.02.08 p 6. May 4, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Church of England Newspaper, Politics, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney has backed the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, saying hybrid-embryo research was a medical last hope for those suffering from a number of “wickedly crippling diseases.”

Writing in The Scotsman, Bishop Robert Gillies argued that as “much as I may not like the thought of hybrid embryo research, God has enabled us to have so much insight into the workings of His creation then perhaps that is the way we must go to help those most in need of a Christian loving response.”

“It seems that if health and wellbeing is to come to sufferers, then the best option for them will come through stem-cell, including hybrid-embryo, research, given the current absence of any alternative,” the Scottish Episcopal bishop argued.

He took exception to the comments made by Cardinal Keith O’Brien last month that the creation of animal-human embryos was “monstrous” and of “Frankenstein proportion.” While acknowledging the Cardinal’s belief that such research was immoral, “his view is not the only view that can be legitimately given from within a Christian perspective,” Bishop Gillies said.

“If health and well-being is to come” to those suffering from debilitating diseases such as Huntington’s Chorea or Muscular Dystrophy “then the best option for them will come through stem cell, including hybrid embryo, research given the current absence of any alternative,” the bishop wrote on April 9.

However, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Paisley, Msg. Philip Tartaglia disputed Bishop Gillies argument of medical necessity, writing to Members of Parliament on April 10 that “the scientific community already knows that, contrary to what the Prime Minister has asserted, research on human embryos is not required to have access to human stem cells as the basis of therapy for serious medical conditions.”

We “do not need this embryo-destructive research either from an ethical or a scientific-medical point of view,” the Catholic prelate said.

Scottish Unity for Christmas: CEN 12.07.07 p 7. December 11, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Churches of Scotland have issued their first joint Christmas pastoral letter.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow and Galloway, joined the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Sheilagh Kesting, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and other Christian leaders to encourage the people of Scotland to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

“We’re often told that Christmas is stressful for some and lonely for others and too much of a spending frenzy for the majority. It needn’t be,” they wrote on the first Sunday of Advent.

The Church leaders urged Scotland to “look beyond ourselves” and turn their hearts towards “all who are in need in our world.”

“Christmas is a time for looking beyond these to see goodness and beauty in those around us; to look at tragedy and see the stories of kindness and compassion that carry with them the hope of life beyond the darkness; to look at the violence and see the efforts made to change these patterns and see in them signals of hope for a safer world; to look at our environment and see the beauty that is there and to hear the call for green alternatives as signals of hope for our planet.”

“When we accept the invitation to look beyond the surface, we become open to signals of hope for ourselves, our families and our world. This is part of God’s gift that is celebrated at Christmas but which does not stop there. God invites us to look beyond,” they said.

Scottish leaders sign peace covenant: CEN 11.09.07 p 5. November 12, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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brian-smith-of-edinburgh.jpgThe Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt. Rev. Brian Smith has joined the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. Sheilagh Kesting, at a public ceremony at the Scottish Parliament last week endorsing a “Peace Covenant for Scotland.”

 

The Peace Covenant declares, “We desire that Scotland should be known for its international contribution to peace and justice rather than for waging war.”

 

Part of a larger campaign led by Scotland for Peace, the Covenant is part of a larger campaign that seeks to block the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile programme, as well as establish a “Scottish Peace Day” and a “Scottish Centre for Peace and Justice.”

 

The campaign also seeks the creation of a government agency to retrain defence workers and place them in “peaceful” professions. The Nov 1 ceremony kicks off a national petition campaign that seeks to “articulate the popular opposition to aggressive war and promote Scotland as a force for peace.


Porvoo Primates in Dublin: CEN 10.19.07 p 8. October 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden, Porvoo, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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porvoo-primates-in-dublin-2.JPG

Front row … left to right.

The Most Rev Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Rev Alan Harper, Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh
The Rt Rev Ragnar Persenius, Bishop of Uppsala
The Most Rev John Neill, Primate of Ireland and Archbishop of Dublin
The Rt Rev Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle
The Most Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
The Most Rev Jukka Paarma, Archbishop of Turku (Finland)

Second row:

The Most Rev Anders Wejryd, Archbishop of Uppsala
The Most Rev Janis Vanags, Archbishop of Riga
The Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Rt Rev Mindaugas Sabutis, Bishop of Lithuania
The Most Rev Olav Skjevesland, Bishop of Agder and Telemark, (Norway)
The Most Rev Karl Sigurbjornsson, Bishop of Iceland
The Rt Rev Erik Norman Svendsen, Bishop of Copenhagen
The Most Revd Andres Poder, Archbishop of Estonia

The Rt Revd Carlos Lopez Lozano, Bishop of Spain

Porvoo meeting overshadowed by crisis over homosexuality: CEN 10.19.07 p 8. October 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Porvoo, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams met in Dublin last week with the leaders of the Porvoo Communion of Anglican and Nordic Lutheran churches for private talks.  However Dr. Williams’ Irish excursion did not bring him a change of scene as the vexing issue of gay clergy followed him to Dublin.

While a spokesman for the Church of Ireland told The Church of England Newspaper there would be no formal statement of the gathering of Anglican and Lutheran bishops, sources familiar with the deliberations, held every two years, tell CEN that issues of common national and ecclesial concern were raised at the gathering.

The Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Group: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are sharply divided over the Swedish church’s decision to authorize rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  The Swedish move has opened a split within the Lutheran World Federation akin the divide in Anglicanism, with the Lutheran Churches of the Global South threatening to break with their Northern counterparts over the issue of gay blessings and clergy.

The controversy intensified last week when on Oct 2 by a vote of six to five, the Church of Norway’s Bishops’ Conference voted to recommend to the church’s general synod that non-celibate homosexuals be permitted to serve as bishops, priests and deacons.

The moderator of the Norwegian Bishop's Conference, Bishop Olav Skjevesland of Agder and Telemark, who attended the Dublin meeting, voted to reject the licensing of gay clergy. 

The Church of Norway has three openly gay ministers serving in parochial ministry under the license of their bishops.  The issue will now go before the Church’s Nov 12-17 meeting of General Synod for resolution.

In 1995 and 1997 the Norwegian Synod stated that people in registered same-sex partnerships could hold lay positions in the Church, but could not be ordained as clergy.

On Sept 13 the Church’s National Council stated that it believed the consensus within the church over gay clergy had shifted in the past ten years.  It recommended that Synod revise the church’s canons, allowing bishops the local option of whether or not to ordain and license gay clergy.

The National Council encouraged dialogue saying that “many members of the church are touched directly by this issue and that there are many who feel that their place in the church is at stake.”

“Church leaders should work continuously on attitudes and forms of communication, so that fellowship in the church is felt to be open, clear and inclusive,” it said

Scottish unity plan: CEN 10.12.07 p 9. October 13, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Methodism, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and the Glasgow Circuit of the Methodist Church have signed an ecumenical covenant to provide common worship in Dumfries.

The rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Dumfries will be licensed as an Associate Methodist Minister and the parish will be listed in both the Methodist and Scottish Episcopal Church directories.  St. John’s will “provide a place of worship for those seeking not only to witness in the Episcopal but also in the Methodist tradition.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow stated that it was “good to be part of this development with the Methodist Church. Taking a small step here will encourage us to explore partnership wherever Christians are neighbours”;

The Covenant pledges the Diocese and the Methodist Church to “widen our Ecumenical Partnership to invite and include all other Churches in Dumfries, wherever possible, so that our working together may be as wide as possible and our diversity not hindered by ongoing dis-union and rivalry.”

Scottish call for ‘diverse’ church: CEN 10.05.07 p 9. October 3, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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idris-jones-of-scotland.jpgThe Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has backed away from an expected plea for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life the Church, calling instead for a Communion that welcomes diversity.

Speaking to approximately 50 people at a conference entitled “Celebrating Anglican Diversity” organized by the gay church pressure group Inclusive Church, Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow & Galloway said the church should allow for a marketplace of opinions on issues such as human sexuality, women priests and Biblical interpretation.

Dean Rogers Govender of Manchester Cathedral told the Glasgow Herald that while Bishop Jones and Mexican Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter were well received by the audience, they did not make any explicit statement endorsing a change in the church’s teachings.

“The conference was about issues of Anglican diversity and what they said, and others said in the course of the day, is that the Anglican church is historically diverse and makes room for people of different persuasions.

“At this critical time we need to reclaim that ground and make sure we put in our views on retaining that ethos which is essentially Anglican, rather than having extreme views on either side of the debate” Dean Govender said.

In a statement released on the Scottish Episcopal Church’s website before the meeting, Bishop Jones said it was “very obvious at the recent meeting of Anglican Primates that the vast majority wish to stay with an Anglican church that is open and welcoming and prepared to live with difference. This is Anglican mainstream and we have to make it clear that it represents majority opinion among church leaders. Attempts to try to turn the Communion into something that is controlled from the centre, with expulsion the result of disagreement, will fail.”

While the Scottish Episcopal Church has not authorized rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, it has permitted its clergy to offer gay blessings as a pastoral measure. On Sept 23 the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow conducted a “gay blessing” service.

Provost Kelvin Holdsworth defended his conduct saying the church had authorized its clergy two years ago to give appropriate pastoral care to gays and lesbians who desired the ministrations of the Church. Such care included gay blessings.

However, the Primates Dar es Salaam communiqué, endorsed by Bishop Jones, called for an immediate end to all gay blessings by the American church, including those labeled as pastoral measures. The Episcopal Church was asked to “make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention,” the primates said.

Churches Welcome Poverty Campaign: CEN 8.10.07 p 4. August 9, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church has joined the Archbishop of York and other church leaders in applauding Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s call for greater international efforts to combat global poverty.

 

The Church in Society Committee of the SEC applauded the Prime Minister’s July 31 speech to the UN in an Aug 3 statement.

 

“As a Christian community, we are committed to a Gospel message of care and support for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters,” the committee said.

 

“We believe that the quality of a society can be measured by the respect shown to its weakest members. As members of a global society, we have an obligation to do whatever is in our power to ensure that significant progress is made towards meeting the MDG’s at least by 2015, and earlier if at all possible.”

 

“The Anglican Communion has made achievement of the goals a priority,” the SEC said, pledging that it would do “its part in this important work.”

 

While on a tour of Western Australia, Dr. Sentamu commended the Prime Minister’s UN speech as a “sign of hope” that action on global poverty was “imminent.”

 

Mr. Brown told the UN the Millennium Development Goals were a century away from being achieved. This was a “global emergency,” he argued that called for a “coalition of conscience” and a “coalition of justice” which would lead to globalization becoming “a force for justice on a global scale.”

Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Dr. Idris Jones June 15, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of England Newspaper, Primates Meeting 2007, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Most Rev Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Bishop of Glasgow. This photo appeared in the June 15 issue of The Church of England Newspaper. It was taken Feb 13, 2007 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.