The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says:
“We have had a period of remarkable continuity in the membership of the College of Bishops. I believe that we have used that period well. Our strong collegiality has helped our church to address some challenging issues – the development of the Whole Church Mission and Ministry Policy and the establishment of the Scottish Episcopal Institute as our training resource for clergy and Lay Readers. We have also responded to the Anglican Covenant and moved forward in consideration of possible changes to our Canon on Marriage while working hard to sustain the unity of our church.
“But inevitably the end of that period of continuity brings us into a new phase of leadership change. New leadership will refresh the life of our church, recognising the next set of challenges and bringing fresh insights.
“The sequence of events will probably look like this:
“As my own retirement takes effect, a new Primus will be elected by the members of the College of Bishops from among their own number at the end of June.
“Meanwhile the Episcopal Election for the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney is proceeding. The Preparatory Committee will shortly re-advertise for nominations and the exacting timetable set out under Canon 4 leads us to expect the election of a new bishop by midsummer.
“Bishop Gregor is recovering well from his recent illness and hopes to be able to return to work during the next few months.
“Episcopal Elections in the Diocese of St Andrews and the Diocese of Brechin will begin in late summer and should be complete in early 2018.
“This will of course be a demanding period but those with longer memories will know that it is not exceptional. The dioceses which for a period are without a bishop will be cared for in each case by their Dean working with an interim Bishop provided by the College of Bishops. The new Primus will preside over the Episcopal Elections but Canon 4 does make provision for another member of the College to preside if that becomes necessary.
“Above all it is a time for prayer for our church. The discernment of new leadership is a spiritual trust and we should pray for all who are involved. It is also an opportunity, through the discernment of new leadership, to explore the calling of our dioceses and of the Scottish Episcopal Church.”