THE Synod held its first debate on a substantive motion on Thursday afternoon of last week, with the second reading of a motion to authorise the Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Alternative Eucharistic Prayers (2021).
Canon Nicholas Taylor (Glasgow & Galloway) presented the motion on behalf of the Liturgy Committee of the Faith and Order Board.
Consultations on the proposed changes had been conducted in dioceses, and certain proposals had been adopted by the Liturgy Committee, such as incorporating variation into the opening of the post-communion prayers, so that it would be possible for the congregation to know which was being used without the priest’s having to indicate in advance (a suggestion agreed at the diocesan synod in Aberdeen & Orkney).
The motion was being read for the second time. Because it constituted an alteration to the Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church (in this instance, Canon 22), the motion required a two-thirds majority in all Houses.
Such a majority looked to have been comfortably secured, but then a point of order arose: the online system being used, in which members voted on mobile phones or tablets, had a glitch, and lay members found that they were also able to vote within the House of Clergy.
After a brief conversation with the staff from Sanctus Media who were operating the technology, the Bishop of Brechin, the Rt Revd Andrew Smith, who was in the chair for that session, announced that the vote would be rerun.
“Have the laity got anything they can do in the House of Clergy?” he asked, checking that the glitch had been resolved. “That’s not a theological question,” he added.
The results of the recast vote were almost identical: Bishops 7 nem. con.; Clergy 44-6; Laity 46-2.
Discussions about liturgy continued after the tea break, as members considered motions concerning the Pastoral Offices for Priests. One member complained that the publication was too bulky; another suggested that it should be larger to enable easier reading.
The motions were carried, and will be debated further in dioceses before returning to the General Synod next year.
The final business of the first day was to carry two motions pertaining to the commemoration of Scots who had suffered for their faith: saints and martyrs of the Reformation, and those who suffered under the Penal Laws. After the passage of the motions, the former will now be commemorated on 19 January, and the latter on 15 June.
The first motion was carried by 97-4, with nine recorded abstentions. The second was carried by a similar margin.
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