Showing posts with label Scottish Episcopal Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scottish Episcopal Church. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2013


My questions missed the anniversary of the consecration of Bishop Samuel Seabury on November 14 by a couple of weeks. In 1784, the Rev Samuel Seabury, rector of St Peter's Church, Westchester, NY, was consecrated first Bishop for the Church of Connecticut by the Right Rev. Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen and Primus of Scotland, the Right Rev. Arthur Petrie, Bishop of Ross and Moray, and the Right Rev. John Skinner, Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, in Bishop Skinner's private chapel.

Would it be accurate to say that the Scottish Episcopal Church is the mother church of the Episcopal Church in the US, rather than the Church of England? The Church of England is the mother church of the Scottish Episcopal Church, so would the Church of England then be the grandmother church of TEC in the US?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


One wonders if there are any three English bishops out there with the guts to get together and do what the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness did for the Episcopal Church in consecrating Samuel Seabury (our first bishop) on November 14, 1784: consecrate a woman as a bishop in England.

Probably not.

It’s hard for a leopard to change its spots. (Nigel Taber-Hamilton)
As the English already know, we are a rebellious lot here in the US, but the Church of England is no less so, having broken the yoke to the Church of Rome some hundreds of years ago.

Several of us discussed this approach to having women bishops in England on Facebook, and the conclusion for most was that it couldn't be done for various reasons. I say, "Why not?" Kudos, Nigel for your what-if.  Other suggestions may be found in the comments at Daily Episcopalian.   

The Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton is rector of St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church on Whidbey Island, WA.   Nigel came to the US from England in 1979.

The painting by Peter J Morgan depicts the consecration of Bishop Samuel Seabury by three bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

UPDATE: You may want to read Lay Anglicana's post titled "Who’s Queen? – & Is She Not Also A Bishop?: John Adams".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Bishop David Chillingworth: "You may have seen the article which I provided for the Church Times following the decision of our General Synod not to adopt the Anglican Covenant. Just in case you missed it, here it is."
At our recent General Synod, the Scottish Episcopal Church, decided by a clear majority not to adopt the Anglican Covenant. In 2011, Synod had discussed the Covenant in Indaba session. It was clear then that a decision to adopt was unlikely.

We tried hard to keep the issue open.  I believe that the Anglican Covenant is an honourable attempt to heal our brokenness. But some time ago, as I set out to address yet another meeting in my diocese, I confided to my blog that I was going to listen to the most committed Anglicans on the planet telling me why they didn’t like the Anglican Covenant. Put simply, they believed that the Covenant is un-Anglican.

The Scottish Episcopal Church holds tenaciously to its commitment to the Anglican Communion. I see three reasons for that.

First, it's our size - to a small church, it matters that we belong to something bigger. Then there is a reason which is proprietorial and slightly presumptuous - we invoke the memory of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We like to believe that we were in at the beginning. We want to be part of the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life. Finally and more subtly, our particular attitude to authority - rooted in the collegiality of a College of Bishops - finds an echo in the Anglican Communion' aspiration to dispersed rather than centralised authority.

We approached this decision with great care and with some apprehension. We too are a diverse church. We have congregations who see the Anglican Covenant as important and necessary for their security within our church.  This decision has called on our reserves of internal trust. Those congregations needed to know that, whether or not we adopted the Covenant, we intend to take a measured and respectful approach to our diversity. But therein lies the first of the problems. The Covenant addresses what it sees primarily as inter-provincial disagreement. But its effect may actually be to heighten intra-provincial tensions.

Provinces will continue to consider the Covenant and come to their own decisions. The Anglican Communion will continue to seek unity in an astonishing diversity of culture and context across the world. It already has structures and processes through which we build communion life. There are the four Instruments of Communion. There are networks - family, environment and others. There is the Anglican Alliance.  There is Continuing Indaba - for which I serve as Chair of the Reference Group. There are Diocesan Companionship Links.

But we need a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges. We also need to recognise that no single measure can address them all.

The genesis of the Anglican Covenant lay in the Windsor Report - which arose from the development of conflict around issues of human sexuality. In my experience, conflict is almost never 'single issue'. It is a complex of issues which sometimes don't quite match in a directly adversarial way. And the passion with which those conflicts are experienced tells us that other issues are in play. It's about more than the 'presenting question'. Let me suggest two other issues which are part of this.

The first is one to which we are tangentially linked through the Seabury story - it is the legacy of history. The sharp word is colonialism. People assert independence of thought and action more strongly - challenge authority more resolutely - when relationships are shaped and conditioned by the legacy of history. In the Anglican Communion, that history affects interactions between the New World and the old world and between the developed and the developing world. The challenge is to build an Anglican Communion which transcends its history - a post-colonial Communion.

At the Primates Meeting in Dublin last year, I learnt that another of the great diversities of Communion life is in our understanding of authority. A bishop in the Church of England does not exercise authority as we do in Scotland - different again in America and in Nigeria and in Hong Kong. That diversity enriches but it has led to misunderstanding and disappointment in one another.

I believe that a new understanding of the problems we face is needed. By challenging the legacy of history, new axes of relationship will be encouraged. We shall be better able to address the deeply adversarial divisions which gather around the human sexuality issues. Communion grows when we share together in mission, grow together as disciples and act with a self-discipline which is the foundation of unity in diversity.

Our Communion is a gift to the world - a global institution which aspires to exist largely without centralised authority and to celebrate its rich diversity. Such a Communion models things which are important for the world community. Such a Communion is attractive in mission because it has learned to transcend conflict. I believe that we now have a historic opportunity to reshape the Anglican Communion so that it may become an instrument of God's mission to the world in the next generation.
As General Convention of the Episcopal Church begins, and the Anglican Covenant is on the agenda, I thought Bishop David's article was worth posting in its entirety. My hope is that we join the Scottish Episcopal Church, the dioceses in the Church of England, and the House of Bishops in the Anglican Church in the Philippines to vote a firm "no" to adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Scottish Episcopal Church says No to ‘gay marriage’ agreement 

THE Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected an agreement backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury that could have seen sanctions imposed on them if they diverged from the Anglican Communion’s rulings on issues such as the ordination of gay bishops and same-sex unions.

David Bain, a member of Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod, characterised the covenant as a “blancmange with shards of glass in it” that was “completely unexceptional until you come to that awful crunch”
The Scotsman tells us in a few words whence sprang the odious Anglican Covenant.  What can I say about Mr Bain's characterization?  "Ouch!"  

The article includes a picture of Rowan Williams with the caption, "Archbishop of Canterbury: Backed the agreement".

Friday, June 8, 2012


Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost at St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, says on Facebook:
Scotland says firm and clear No to Anglican Covenant.  Yes to Communion.  No to the Covenant.
The news warms my heart.  In a sense, the Scottish Episcopal Church is our mother church, because she gave us our first bishops.

The SEC joins House of Bishops in The Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the dioceses in the Church of England in rejecting the Anglican Covenant.  I wonder if the  Anglican Communion Office will report the rejection of the Covenant by the Scottish Episcopal Church.  Thus far, we don't hear negative news on the Covenant from the ACO.

The rejection by the Scottish church will help the campaign at next month's General Convention of The Episcopal Church by those of us who favor a vote to reject the Covenant by TEC.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant.  Following a variety of views expressed by members of General Synod, the Motion that Synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was put to vote - 112 votes against; 6 votes in favour; 13 abstentions.  The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution on the Anglican Communionin support of Motion 27, saying “The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church.  We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding - the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life.” 
Yes!  I love the mention of Bishop Samuel Seabury.

UPDATE 2: From the ACO:
The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant.
Primus David Chillingworth's address to Synod is here.

Monday, March 12, 2012


David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, posted a link to the PDF file on the introduction to the discussion of the Anglican Covenant at General Synod.


Explain process

Indaba - Inform General Synod Representatives - no Resolution or decision

My progress around the diocese - impressions

What is the issue

Diversity - colonisation - communion - federation - asperation

Positive about covenant - negative about this covenant or this instrument

Nobody imposing this - English dioceses have been rejecting it

Neither the bishop nor the dioceses in the SEC seem to be enthusiastic about the covenant.

Further, from Paul Bagshaw at Not the Same Stream:
Hugh Magee, the No Anglican Covenant Co-ordinator in Scotland, sent this summary of the progress, or otherwise, of the Covenant in Scotland. It comes with the caveat "subject to verification".
If you are at all familiar with the Scottish Episcopal Church, you will know that we have seven dioceses in this Province: Aberdeen, Argyll, Brechin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moray and St. Andrews. At this stage, all but the first two of these diocese have held their Synods and all have rejected the Covenant, and a prevailing view (though perhaps not the only one) is that Aberdeen and Argyll will follow suit.

The only fly in the ointment at this stage is the possibility that the Provincial Synod will be asked to make assent to the Covenant a canonical matter, in which case the normal two-year ratification process would be set in motion (assuming such a canon were initially accepted). At this stage, it seems more credible to assume that the Covenant is dead in the water in Scotland.

Bear in mind that the Scottish Episcopal Church has close historical and liturgical ties with the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and is perhaps therefore predisposed to be supportive of its American counterpart, which is seen as a presumed culprit in the present debate. After all, it could be argued that the Anglican Communion itself was born in Aberdeen in 1784, with the consecration of Samuel Seabury to be the first American bishop.
At this moment, the view to the North cannot pleasant for the two archbishops in England.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


From Bishop David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, at his blog, Thinking Aloud:
You have probably been wondering why I haven’t got around to saying anything about the Primates’ Meeting. Well it was interesting – and exhausting – even though it didn’t involve any serious travel for me. Here I am with my Celtic companions, Archbishops Barry and Alan.

First of all, I found the opportunities of building contacts and making friends quite extraordinary. It makes a difference – if one is talking about blasphemy laws in Pakistan – to be sitting beside Bishop Samuel Azariah of the Church of Pakistan. Far off places suddenly become very close. And that’s what Communion is about.

Secondly, I felt keenly the disappointment of not being with those who had decided that they could not be part of the meeting. It was my first Primates’ Meeting. I felt the poorer for not hearing what they had to say and having the chance of discussing with them.

But it was still a good and worthwhile meeting. As the statements make clear, the Meeting spent much time clarifying the role of the Primates’ Meeting as one of the Instruments of Communion. It should not be a place where decisions are made for the Communion or for Provinces. It was clear that most of us come – as I do – from Provinces where decision-making is collegial and consultative within our autonomous provincial structure.

So when our College of Bishops meets next week, my colleagues will not expect me to bring back a series of decisions for implementation. But they will want me to share with them the best account I can give of how other Provinces are dealing with the same problems as we face. That won’t just be an account of how far-off places are doing – because through the Instruments of Communion we expect to respond to the feelings and the difficulties of other Provinces. As they respond to us. That’s what it means to be a Communion.
(My emphasis)

And we all say, "Amen!"