THE Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) spent too long talking about
the Anglican Covenant, the Primus, the Most Revd David
Chillingworth, told the Church's annual General Synod in Edinburgh
In the context of human sexuality, he said, "we have been
talking for a long time - but not about what we need to be talking
about. We talked about the Anglican Covenant when we should have
been talking about these issues themselves.
"What the Covenant debate did was to encourage us - mistakenly,
I believe - to think that conflict around human sexuality was
primarily an inter-provincial matter within the Anglican
"This Synod firmly decided not to adopt the Anglican Covenant.
What follows logically is that our first focus should be on our own
internal diversity, and the second focus should be on the Anglican
His comments came in a statement that followed a vote that
failed to get the issue of gay marriage openly debated at the
Synod. In his opening charge to the meeting, the Primus had
described the passing of the Marriage and Civil Partnership
(Scotland) Act 2014 as "a very significant event for us. We are
living through rapid societal change. This is a challenge for all
churches - and for us -because we hold within our life a number of
very different ways of looking at these issues.
"Those different ways honour different approaches to our
understanding of the authority of scripture; they honour a passion
for justice and inclusion; they honour understandings of holiness
of life; they honour Jesus, whose ministry included rather than
excluded. The challenge for us is a spiritual one: it is to find
out what it means to live in our context faithfully, and to live in
our context together.
"We are very aware of the diversity of the Anglican Communion;
but our first duty is to explore and respond to our own diversity
whilst staying in relationship as a community of disciples bound
together in the love of God."