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Scottish General Synod: Sexuality

20 June 2014

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 last week.

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 Communion.

"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 Communion's diversity."

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."

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