Category : Scottish Episcopal Church

(Phil Ashey) The Gafcon missionary bishop for Scotland and Europe

On Friday June 30, 2017, the Rev. Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated in Wheaton Illinois (USA) at the Third Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach Presiding. The consecrating Bishops will be acting on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), and Canon Lines will become its first Missionary Bishop to Europe.

Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.  His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. Faithful bishops like Athanasius disregarded the boundaries and autonomy of Arian dioceses in order to consecrate Biblically faithful bishops for Biblically faithful Christians. The consecration of a missionary bishop by GAFCON for Europe is as much an emergency as the consecrations that Athanasius and other faithful bishops performed, and just as necessary to guard the faith and order of the Church and prevent spiritual harm to biblically faithful Christians.

We call these emergencies “exigent circumstances.” Although this is a legal term used in criminal courts for circumstances in which the potential death of a victim, flight of a felon or destruction of evidence justifies an emergency search or seizure that overrides the freedom, autonomy and constitutional rights of a suspect, “exigent circumstances” have also been the grounds for faithful Bishops, clergy and laity to take emergency action to guard the faith and order of the Church. I recently wrote about Exigent Circumstances in the Anglican Communion, citing the works of Paul Avis, Francis Oakley and Brian Tierney for the precedent of such “emergency action” which we see in the development of  the great reforming Councils of the Roman Catholic Church during the Great Schism (1378-1417).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Scotland, Church History, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Gafcon Chairman Archbp Nicholas Okoh’s June 2017 letter

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.

This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Bishop Paul Colton–Scottish Episcopal Church’s approach to same-sex Marriage may represent a Way Forward for Church of Ireland says

In this section of his Synod address, Bishop Colton said:

‘Change is signalled also by the decision two days ago, on Thursday, 8th June, of our sister Church in Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, to alter its canon on marriage by removing the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Clergy who wish to conduct same-sex marriages will have to opt in, and no priest is to be compelled to do so.’

‘As we saw at our own General Synod recently arising from a private members motion, there are many in the Church of Ireland who are anxious to debate such issues here too. Equally many are determined that this is not a matter which is up for debate at all. There is a debate, and, however tentatively, it has, in fact, started.’

‘That such things are open to debate in this Church has always been the case. If there had been no questioning or discourse, the Reformation itself would not have happened, nor would many other developments have unfolded over the centuries, in ministry, in liturgy and in belief, the most recent examples being our change in approach to suicide, to the marriage in church of divorcees, and also the ordination of women, and there are many others.’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Ireland, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

An Important Reread–Oliver O’Donovan: The Wreck of Catholic Identity: Marriage Canon Revision in the Scottish Episcopal Church

Attracted as it may have been towards such a path, the Committee never entertained it as a possibility, and the reason for this was simply the rigid and incongruous way the arguments had been marshalled into two opposing camps. So the sum of the “reasoning” that it had to offer to the Scottish Synod is this:- It’s an all-or-nothing decision. You can take an initiative to care for the needs of gay couples, or you can keep faith with the doctrines of the universal church, but you cannot do both. But is the alternative really so exclusive? There is every reason to doubt it. It appears so to the Committee simply because they have suppressed the logic of other possibilities. They wanted a deductive logic, which would start from premises in Scripture and Tradition and yield conclusions that would meet the perceived pastoral need. In their attempt to get it, they maimed Scripture and Tradition to the point where they could supply no premises at all; having failed to get it, they effectively denied the possibility of any chain of reason that could bind practical innovation to Scripture and Tradition. But the logic of practical reason is always inductive, not deductive. And they never looked for a reasoning of that kind.

There will be questions, some of which will presumably be aired at the Synod, whether this or that initiative will attract the censure or support of the Anglican Communion, and how greatly that matters. But the question our review raises is a prior question, on which the minds of Scottish Anglicans, as of Anglicans worldwide, ought to be focussed before any thought is given to a concrete decision and its consequences: how to conceive and discuss new pastoral initiatives in faithfulness to the catholic Christian identity the church professes. If an Anglican church is convinced of the need to provide new support for same-sex couples, can it find a way of imagining that innovation that will not result in a shipwreck of its identity? If it cannot, it hardly matters what others will think of what it does or does not make up its mind to do, for it has given up the attempt to be true to itself.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology, Theology: Scripture

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (VI)–Scottish Primus David Chillingworth responds to Archbp Josiah Idowu-Fearon

From there:

“The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued a statement commenting on Thursday’s decision by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its Canons to permit same-sex marriage. The statement recognises that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion can each take these decisions within their own life. But I think it is important that I should comment on some other aspects of what the statement says and their implications for the continuing life of the Anglican Communion.

“The classic understanding of the position of Provinces of the Anglican Communion is that they do indeed have autonomy. But that autonomy is exercised in tension with a balancing sensitivity to the interdependence of provinces within the Communion. We, in common with other provinces, did not feel that the Anglican Covenant could successfully meet this need. The statement implies that the Primates’ Meeting will now fulfil this role. But such a role is not within their remit or authority. For the Primates’ Meeting was called together originally by Archbishop Coggan for ‘leisurely thought, deep prayer and consultation’.

“Archbishop Josiah, who leads the Anglican Communion Secretariat, speaks of the ‘majority stance’ of the Communion. We are deeply aware that yesterday’s vote puts us at one end of a spectrum in the Communion. But many other provinces are in their own way and in their own time considering a variety of responses to issues of human sexuality. The Communion expresses a growing spectrum of diversity. In that context, reference to a ‘majority stance’ seems misplaced. It is part of the genius of the Anglican way that we express unity in diversity – as we have tried to do this week in Scotland.

“We of course also respect Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998. But it cannot be elevated into a binding statement of Communion policy. Lambeth Conference resolutions do not have that force. The view of marriage set out in Resolution 1.10 was passionately expressed in our Synod’s debate on Thursday. It is one of the views of marriage which we uphold and carry forward in our diversity.

“The Scottish Episcopal Church carries in its heart a deep commitment to the Anglican Communion. We have been enriched by our Communion membership and we have in return made a significant contribution to its life. I understand that some will feel that the decision which we have taken stresses the life of the Communion. The question is how best the unity of the Communion can be sustained. We look forward to being part of measured discussion within the Communion about how that can be achieved.”

Posted in Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (V)–Professor Paul Johnson, Sociologist from the University of York, responds

Read it all.

Posted in Scottish Episcopal Church, Sociology

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (IV)–The Bishop of Maidstone responds to the chosen action

From here:

“The decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to change its canons of marriage in order to allow same-sex marriages in church is very serious. By its actions it is denying the goodness and authority of God’s Word to us in the Scriptures. As a result it is breaking communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide. This leaves me with no choice but to recognise that the SEC has walked away from our communion, so I will no longer be able to accept invitations to Christian meetings where bishops of the SEC are actively participating, unless their broken communion is recognised in the arrangements. I pray that this declining church will understand that their position is not blessed by God, will repent of their action and turn back to Him.”

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (III)–Some Color on the ACNA action by David Ould

From there:

Sources in the ACNA were certainly keen to present this new international consecration as another watershed moment in the history of the Communion.

They have also suggested to me that it places the Archbishop of Canterbury in a little bit of a conundrum: Welby has stated that ACNA is not part of the Anglican Communion (although the GAFCON Primates disagree) so technically this cannot be seen by him as “border-crossing”. On the other hand it is an action that has the full endorsement of leaders representing the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, an endorsement that will be emphasised by their presence at the consecration itself on 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois. Lines’ consecration will be viewed as valid and in order; he will truly be an Anglican bishop.

It’s a clear strategy from the GAFCON Primates. They have placed a clear footprint in Scotland that more than spills over in the Church of England. They have once again raised the profile and position of the Anglican Church in North America; not only in terms of its own legitimacy but, perhaps more importantly, as a model for the new form of the Anglican Communion.

What will Welby do?

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Scottish Episcopal Church, Uncategorized

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (II)–ACNA’s who was Bishop Samuel Seabury?

Samuel Seabury was born on November 30, 1729, in North Groton, Connecticut (present day Ledyard and near Gales Ferry where Bishop Seabury Anglican Church is located). His father, also known by the same name, was the local Congregational minister. Shortly after Seabury was born, his father resigned his pastorate to pursue Holy Orders in the Church of England. While his father was away, Seabury’s mother, Abigail died. After ordination, his father returned to minister in New London, Connecticut under the banner of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Later, the elder Seabury remarried and moved to an assignment in Hempstead, Long Island where under his father’s tutelage as young boy, Samuel Seabury and his brother Caleb prepared for college. As such, Samuel Seabury grew up in home a life that was greatly shaped church life and the Book of Common Prayer.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Church History, Scottish Episcopal Church

More on the Scottish Episcopal Church Vote (I)–FAQs on the new ACNA bishop in Europe

What did the Gafcon Primates ask of our Province?

The Primates asked our Province to take on the task of consecrating Canon Andy Lines of the UK as a Missionary Bishop for Europe with a special focus on providing Episcopal oversight to those clergy and congregations in Scotland who have asked for our help, and those in England who are outside of the two existing Provinces there.

What has been the process that has occurred to lead to this Consecration?

The Scottish Episcopal Church began taking steps to change its marriage canons a couple years ago, took the first formal step last June, and are expected to take the final step this June. The Gafcon Primates have been considering this action and this individual for over a year. Once asked to take this on by the Gafcon Primates at their April 2017 meeting in Lagos, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met on May 3, 2017 and according to Title III, Canon 8, Section 6, voted unanimously to grant permission for the Archbishop to create a Bishop for Special Mission entitled “Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Europe.” According to the same Canon, the Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America was not only consulted and offered counsel on 16 May 2017, but affirmed by resolution for the Anglican Church in North America to move forward with this consecration.

What oversight is being provided by the College of Bishops? Archbishop Foley Beach appointed an Oversight Committee consisting of the former Archbishop, The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, as the chair and three diocesan bishops. This team is to guide Canon Andy Lines through our College process, and to provide guidance and accountability once he is consecrated.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Scottish Episcopal Church

(Scotsman) Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage

Introducing the motion, the Bishop of Edinburgh Dr John Armes said the new definition of marriage would “protect the consciences both of those who believe that they must not – and of those who believe that they must – offer God’s blessing on a marriage of a same-sex couple”….

…The] Rev Canon Ian Ferguson, of the Aberdeen diocese, said that if the motion was passed it would be “one of the saddest and most painful days” in the history of the Church, describing it as a “broken” institution. “I’m deeply concerned that in the passing of this Canon, the Scottish Episcopal Church will be disagreeing with the teachings of our Lord Jesus, who has made it clear that marriage is a union of one man and one woman,” he added. “Changing our definition of marriage…is a schismatic move that will cause serious harm to our unity and future relationship with our sisters and brothers throughout the Anglican Communion.”

Read it all.

Posted in Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Church Times) Scottish Episcopalians revise canon law to permit same-sex marriage, but with conscience provision

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod voted on Thursday to allow its clergy to solemnise marriages for same-sex couples in church. After two hours of respectful and emotional debate in St Paul’s and St George’s, Edinburgh, the Synod gave final approval to a revised Canon 31 on the solemnisation of holy matrimony.

The first two clauses of Canon 31 — containing the doctrinal statement that marriage is to be understood as a “physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman” — were deleted, and replaced with a single conscience clause to ensure that no cleric would be obliged to officiate against his or her conscience.

A special majority of two-thirds was required in each House for the second and final reading to be passed, and the Synod agreed (Motion 4) to conduct the vote by ballot. A two-thirds majority was obtained in all three Houses: Bishops 4 to 1; Clergy 42 to 20; and Laity 50 to 12.

Read it all.

Posted in Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Statement on the consecration of a Gafcon Missionary Bishop by Archbishop Foley Beach

I speak to you today as the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, and as a sitting primate on the Gafcon Primates Council. On behalf of the Chairman of Gafcon, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, the Assistant Chairman, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, and the Gafcon Primates Council: Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We continue to have a crisis in the Anglican Communion as the virus of revisionist theology and practice continues to spread to various Provinces. Rather than correcting and disciplining those who have departed from the biblical faith and practice which has been handed down to us from the Apostles, some church leaders are embracing false teaching, and then going even further by promoting it around the world.

The Nairobi Communiqué from the Gafcon meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013 clearly stated that the Gafcon leadership would not ignore the pleas of the faithful who are trapped in places where false doctrine and practice occur. We promised that we would provide pastoral care and oversight for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.

At our April meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, the Gafcon Primates decided to provide a missionary bishop for Europe with the initial focus on those in Scotland and those faithful Anglicans in England outside the Church of England. Today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders. The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Scottish Anglican Network–Fellowship impaired by the vote of the Scottish Episcopal Church

The Scottish Anglican Network is a movement of Christians – including clergy and laity – within the Scottish Episcopal Church who are seeking to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, and therefore to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of Anglican churches in Scotland.

Today the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church approved an amendment to its canons in order to change its doctrine of marriage and permit same-sex weddings to be celebrated by nominated clergy in its churches.

We completely disagree with this action.

As Christians, we believe that it is through Jesus Christ – and only through him – that we can truly know God, and truly know ourselves. Jesus clearly taught that marriage is a good gift from God, and is a faithful, lifelong union between one man and one woman. Though all of us fall short of his standards, not least in the area of sexual morality, we believe that following this teaching is essential to the flourishing of his forgiven people.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is today rejecting this. In doing so, it is failing to support those in our churches who are same-sex attracted but who choose to live their lives in obedience to Jesus’ teaching, misleading the church and the world, and acting in a schismatic way towards the worldwide Anglican Communion and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of which it claims to be a part.

Read it all.

Posted in Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Archbp Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s statement on today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church

From here:

“The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.

“Today’s decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion’s position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.

“As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion’s strong opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ+ people.

“The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today’s decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC’s vote until the primates have met.”

Posted in Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)