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‘We live in changed times’ — Scottish Episcopal Church discusses ecumenical relations, doctrine, and liturgy

15 June 2018

Scottish Episcopal Church

A service of holy communion opens the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in St Paul and St George, Edinburgh, on Thursday of last week

A service of holy communion opens the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in St Paul and St George, Edinburgh, on Thursday of last week

Faith and Order Board.

REPORTS on ecumenical relations, doctrine, and liturgy were discussed and carried by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church last Friday morning.

Canon John McLuckie, the convener of the Inter-Church Relations Committee, spoke on the European Conference of Churches’s vocation to build bridges. The Scottish Episcopal Church had rejoined it last year (News, 15 June).

“We now share in this work,” he said, “even as our Government takes us out of the EU.”

The Revd Dr Liam Fraser, an ecumenical guest from the Church of Scotland, commended the work of the committee and the working group. “We live in changed times. The forces of secularity that have emptied our churches is sweeping through our land,” he said. “It does not matter what denomination we are: it is coming for all of us.” The Church had the choice to work apart, or stand together.

The Revd Markus Dünzkofer (Edinburgh) urged the Synod not to lose sight of its European connections. “We are doing amazing work for refugees from Syria,” he said. He suggested in future inviting a Roman Catholic delegate from Europe to the Synod.

Presenting the report from the Liturgy Committee, its convener, Dr John Davies, said that gender-exclusive language had been considered in the Creed, and other liturgy, as had a new rite for baptism, and experimental collects for Holy Week and Easter. He welcomed feedback.

“Our starting-point is that all worship is grounded in the self-revelation of God,” he said. “The task is about understanding the whole liturgy, as a repository of truth, rather than to develop a theological view or mission.”

There were requests from the floor of the Synod for specific forms of liturgy. The Revd Peter Harris (Edinburgh) called for a new eucharistic prayer for people with a “lower church” background; and the Revd Professor Annalu Waller (Brechin) asked for more inclusive liturgies to be considered, including people with learning disabilities.

Seasonal resources had brought “real joy” to the Revd David Paton-Williams (Edinburgh), who called for a specific three-year lectionary cycle for the ecumenical season of creation, which was popular in other denominations. And the Revd Liz Baker (St Andrews) asked for an “easy liturgy” for children in churches where there was no Sunday school.

The Doctrine Committee had considered the theological forum of the Church of Scotland on same-sex marriage, and responded to a government questionnaire on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, the Revd Professor David Jasper (Glasgow) said.

Read further coverage of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church here.

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