At the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion held in October in Canterbury the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was asked to explain the process undertaken by the Scottish Episcopal Church in its move towards an adjustment of its Canon on Marriage to enable those who felt called to offer marriage to same gender couples the ability to do so.
He explained that the process had included much prayer, theological debate, open and, at times, very personal testimony and that opportunity had been provided for groups throughout the Church to discuss this matter and to pray about it; this included the voice of the youth in the Church, the sharing of powerful words and stories from elderly members and hearing representation from those who hold a traditional understanding of marriage, those who see marriage as including same gender couples and those who have encountered exclusion in declaring their love.
The Primus also explained that the nature of decision reached by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is such as to allow those of different views to continue to “walk together” – recognising that there are different understandings of marriage and that no member of clergy is compelled to conduct any marriage against their conscience. Only those clergy who wish to solemnise marriages of same gender couples will be nominated to the civil authorities for authorisation to do so.
The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said“In June the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to change its Canon on Marriage. This decision was ours to take as a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion.
“However, I recognise that this decision is one that has caused some hurt and anger in parts of the Anglican Communion and that the decision taken at the last Primates’ Meeting, which was to exclude our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church from debate on Doctrine and from Chairing Anglican Communion Committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us. We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury held a Press Briefing during the Primates’ meeting and spoke about the sanctions that the Scottish Episcopal Church faced as a consequence of it’s decision to change its Canon on Marriage. You can read details and view the video of the Press Briefing here