Archbishop Justin completes Anglican Communion tour with visit to Scotland
[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, concluded a two-day visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church last night – bringing to a close his 37 visits to every Province of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Justin and his wife, Caroline, were hosted by the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
The visit marked the last of the Archbishop’s visits to all his fellow Anglican primates – the most senior of the bishops or archbishops in each autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion – during in his first 18 months in office.
Addressing the Church of England’s General Synod last week,the Archbishop said the Anglican Communion “exists and is flourishing” despite its diversity of views and with many Anglicans living in places of conflict and persecution.
Yesterday Archbishop Justin visited a new Church Army project at St Luke’s Church, Dundee, which he described as “inspirational”.
“Here we see a community that clearly has real challenges but it has the capacity to face them which is inspirational,” he said. “I think this is exactly what the church should be doing. This should be emulated around the country, both in Scotland the rest of the UK.
“I want us to be the kind of church that welcomes everyone.
“We want a world where it is not necessary for people to sleep rough in church doorways, where it is not necessary to have foodbanks or refugee camps, and there are enough resources for everyone.”
Following a meeting with clergy from the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, the Archbishop joined the Episcopal congregations of Aberdour, Burntisland and Inverkeithing for worship in St Columba’s Church, Aberdour.
The Archbishop then met a wider group involved from the community at St Fillan’s Churchhall, Aberdour.
On Monday the Archbishop met with Scotland’s new First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. He then met with representatives of other churches and faith groups in Scotland before meeting with the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church to discuss the Church’s role in society and a range of matters within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Scotland visit was part of the Archbishop Justin Welby’s series of visits during his first 18 months in office with primates across the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Communion has around 85 million members, spread across 38 Provinces in more than 165 countries. Each of these provinces is autonomous, with its own system of governance.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s final round-the-world Visitation of Anglican Provincial Churches has now taken place. With this visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), the Primus-inter-pares of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby, completes his round of intentional visitation of every Province of the Anglican Communion.
One would guess that his visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church would have been one of the most gratifying of his interface meetings with the global primates. Archbishop David Chillingworth, Primus of SEC, has expressed his desire for the Church to be a place of welcome for all people – irrespective of ethnic, cultural, social, gender or sexual identity. This is in marked contrast to many of the Global South primates, whose membership of the GAFCON sodality have put them in opposition to the more liberal, Western Provinces of the Communion.
His encounter with Scottish Episcopalians will no doubt serve to reassure the ABC that the Churches of the United Kingdom are at one with his idea of living together, agreeing to disagree on certain matters that have caused schismatic withdrawal by some parts of the Communion family – on account of the modern movement to include people whose gender or sexual orientation marks them out as different.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand