Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church comments on Columba Declaration
In response to the reported agreement between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has written two articles, which need to be read together:
…But the aspect of the Columba Declaration which will cause most concern to the Scottish Episcopal Church is the potential involvement of the Church of England in the ecclesiastical life of Scotland. The Church of England is not a Scottish Church nor does it have any jurisdiction in Scotland. The Anglican way is to recognise the territorial integrity of each province – they are autonomous but inter-dependent, The important question is whether, within that understanding of the relationship between provinces of the Anglican Communion, it is proper for the Church of England to enter into this agreement about ministry and ecclesiastical order in Scotland.. That is a matter which will have to be explored in future dialogue between the Scottish Episcopal Church and both the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.
…The question here is not whether the development of ecumenical relationships is desirable – for of course it is. The question is about whether that development can take place respectfully and in good order. The Scottish Episcopal Church now seems to be faced with the possibility that Church of England clergy will minister in Scotland under the authorisation of the Church of Scotland and without reference to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Yet the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are partner members of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion in Scotland is expressed in the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
The Church of Scotland and the Church of England seem to have decided that their commonality as National Churches justifies them in setting aside other ecumenical relationships and etiquette. What would really help this situation – mitigating the damage already done to long-established relationships and avoiding further damage – would be for the two churches to decide to delay publication of the full document to allow time for consultation.
I appeal to them to do so…
Posted by Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans) on Wednesday, 30 December 2015
(Thanks to Simon Sarmiento, of T.A., for this communication, highlighting the response of the Scottish Primate of SEC.)
- The high-lighting in the first paragraph is mine. Fr. Ron
This recent excursion by the Church of England into the Anglican territory of SEC (The Scottish Episcopal Church) – in its sharing in the ‘Columba Declaration’; a statement of a new relationship between the C. of E. and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland – could rightly be seen by SEC as an encroachment on it national representation in Scotland as the official Anglican Church in the local area. There was no attempt to consult with S.E.C.
Is this not an instance of ‘Border-Crossing’ within the Provinces of the Anglican Communion – an activity begun by certain of the Global South Provinces which raised up their own quasi-Anglican churches in North America – against the interests of the local Anglican Provinces of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, and causing schismatic activity in the Communion ?
As a result of that interference in other Provinces of the Anglican Communion, the rival North American ‘ACNA’ has received at least a notional acceptance by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has invited its ‘Archbishop’ Foley to be present at Canterbury prior to the Primates’ Meeting he has called for January, 2016.
Considering the state of Communion relationships at this time, this may be just one more instance of ‘wrong-footing’ by the Church of England – now in its relationship with the Scottish Episcopal Church – in an act of by-passing the local Anglicans in order to make an alliance that could affect the status of the Episcopal Church as the official Anglican Church in Scotland.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand