Representatives from dioceses across Scotland will vote on a proposal to change the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Canon on Marriage at the annual meeting of the General Synod tomorrow (10 June).
The proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman and add a conscience clause for those who would not want to conduct a same-sex marriage. This is the first reading of the proposal. If it is approved, there will be a further debate in 2017 when a two-thirds majority in each house of Bishops, Clergy and Laity would be required.
Preparing for General Synod the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said, “We are considering an issue which is profoundly challenging for all churches. Over the past two years we have been engaged in a series of discussions in our province, dioceses and congregations. People have been courageous and open in expressing and listening to the diversity of views on same sex marriage which are held within the Scottish Episcopal Church.
“We now come to the point where we must make a decision about the way forward for our church. We do that in all humility seeking the will of God and attempting always to sustain our unity in the midst of our diversity.”
The synod, which runs from 9-11 June at St Paul’s and St George’s Church in Edinburgh, is discussing a range of issues. These include Scotland’s role within the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the Scottish Episcopal Church’s response to the ‘Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission’ Report produced by the Church of Scotland and Church of England. There will also be discussion on the wider engagement of the Church with society in areas such as climate and poverty. The Synod will also be invited to back a motion calling on the UK government to cancel the renewal of Trident.
The increase in the number of candidates coming forward for training for ministry will be highlighted and Synod will hear from some of the students currently undertaking training for ministry.
Live video coverage of the meeting will be available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website, http://www.scotland.anglican.org/who-we-are/organisation/the-general-synod/general-synod-live-video-stream/ together with online updates of the proceedings and decisions of General Synod 2016.