On St Andrew’s Day, 30 November, a special service will take place at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh during which the Saint Andrew Declaration will be formally signed by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Mark Strange.
The Declaration outlines a series of acknowledgments and commitments between the Churches, as they begin to deepen their relationship, and look at new ways of working together to serve the people of Scotland.
The day will begin with an online conference, involving the Primus and Moderator along with other representatives from both churches. Full details of the programme are available here.
The service will be streamed live here from 4.30pm, and the order of service will be available to download ahead of the service at: https://bit.ly/StAndrewDeclarationService or at https://saintandrewdeclaration.wordpress.com.
Leading the service are the Rev Prof Canon Charlotte Methuen from the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Rev Sandy Horsburgh from the Church of Scotland.
The choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh will lead the music.
You can join the service online at 4.30pm on 30 November via:
The Saint Andrew Declaration received heavy majority backing at both the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and General Synod.
At Synod, the Rev Canon John McLuckie, then Convener of the SEC’s Inter-Church Relations Committee, spoke in support of the motion along with Mr Horsburgh, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Ecumenical Relations Committee.
“Our two sister churches, forged in the same turbulent history, are invited to work together, united in a common purpose and delighting in an enriching diversity,” said Mr McLuckie. “That work is not an organisational merger, but an organic and creative cooperation in the work of God’s mission of love, healing and reconciliation to the world.
“We are not proposing any kind of one-size-fits-all approach, but giving permission and encouragement to each local partnership of churches to share their human, spiritual and physical resources in the work of mission in the most appropriate way. For some, that might mean the sharing of a building, for others sharing pastoral care or regular worshipping together. For many, it may be shared projects like food banks, joint eco-congregation ventures, meditation groups, Messy Church, befriending schemes, bible studies, courses for those new to faith.
“Of course, this kind of activity is already common across the land. What we want to do is to encourage more of it, and, as we are two of the churches that seek to offer ministry to every community in Scotland, we recognise that we have a particular and distinctive commitment to work together to that end.”
He concluded: “The Declaration recognises that, because of our distinctive identities, we have much to offer one another, much to receive. It recognises that we do not exist for ourselves but for the mission of God in our nation. It recognises that, although there are unresolved matters between us, not least the nature of the church’s ordained ministry, these need not hold us back from doing all we can now to share in our life of faith.
“This is the start of a journey and not its end.”
Mr Horsburgh said: “We cannot pretend that times are not tough for Churches in Scotland, and that too has drawn us closer together. We are seeing more and more clearly that we need one another. We need one another’s support and prayers. And out of that need, we find we can be more effective when we work together in our ministry and mission, which of course is not ours but God’s, expressed in different but complementary ways by our two churches.”