Synod votes to press on with Scottish talks, despite Episcopalian unease
Bonds: the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, speaking at the General Synod on TuesdayCredit: GEOFF CRAWFORD
Bonds: the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, speaking at the General Synod on Tuesday
THE General Synod has ignored pleas to heed the “pain” of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), and voted to continue the ecumenical talks with the Church of Scotland which had prompted dismay in some Scottish Episcopalians.
After hearing a presentation from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Very Revd Dr Angus Morrison, Synod members debated a motion that welcomed the joint report produced by the Churches of England and of Scotland, and called for more discussions in a permanent contact group.
Dr Morrison told the Synod that, “The strengthening of the bonds that already exist between us can only serve the ‘advance of the gospel’, which is our united desire and aim.”
A number of speakers, however, argued strongly against the report, saying that some people within the SEC had been hurt by the C of E’s actions, and by the way the report had come to light just before Christmas (News, 8 January).
The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain (diocese of London) said: “There is a real sense of offence in the Scottish Episcopal Church, our sister Church, about this report and what it is suggesting. The continued exclusion of the SEC is sowing seeds of ecumenical distrust.”
Mark Russell, a lay member from the diocese of Sheffield, proposed an amendment that would effectively postpone any discussions until 2017, to allow time for repairing relations with the SEC. In an impassioned speech, he said Scottish Episcopalians had been left between “an ecumenical rock and hard place”, and urged the Synod to create some “breathing space” to rebuild trust.
But his amendment was voted down by the Synod, which instead supported an amendment from the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, which added to the motion a clause that included the SEC in future talks.
A number of speakers spoke of the already warm feelings between C of S and C of E parishes and clergy, and looked forward to strengthening the ties between the two national Churches.
The amended motion was eventually passed by 243 to 50, with 49 abstentions.