General Synod Thursday 11th June 2015

June 11, 2015

Following the welcome to Ecumenical Delegates and Guests by the Primus, the Convener of the Standing Committee, Mr David Palmer, presented the Annual Report and Accounts for the financial year ended 31 December 2014.  Synod then continued with the Agenda as follows:

Faith and Order Board – Process for Discussing Marriage

Please see Agenda and Papers, page 2.

The Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, Acting Convener of the Faith and Order Board, introduced the Board’s process for discussing Marriage and presented Motion 3 relating to this. A wide variety of comments and discussion was expressed from the floor of Synod,  leading to the amendment of Motion 3.

Amended Motion 3
That this Synod agree to adopt the process for debating the nature of marriage and canonical options as recommended by the Faith and Order Board in the paper entitled “Marriage, its nature and canonical options: a process paper from the Faith and Order Board” subject to that process being amended as follows:-

  • to conduct the vote on the options on the basis of a single transferable vote instead of the voting process outlined in the Board’s paper
  • to separate out options B, D and F and invite Synod to vote on a motion that supports a conscience clause that ensures that no cleric would be obliged to solemnise a marriage against their conscience
  • to introduce a procedural motion, before proceeding to vote on the proposed options, to the effect that “this Synod proceed to vote on its preferences on the proposed options for canonical change in relation to marriage as proposed by the Faith and Order Board.

Synod voted as one house, and the amended Motion 3 was carried.

Motion 4
That voting in relation to the motions numbered 9, 20, 23 and 24 on the agenda be conducted by ballot.

Synod voted as one house, and  Motion 4 was carried.

 Faith and Order Board – Committee on Canons

Motions 5, 6, 7 and 8 in relation to change in the age from 18 to 16, for eligibility of membership of General Synod and eligibility to serve on a church vestry and be a Lay Representative were all carried.

Faith and Order Board – Doctrine Committee

The Rev Dr Harriet Harris, Convener of the Doctrine Committee,  introduced the committee’s Paper on the Theology of Marriage.  Following discussion from the floor of Synod, Motion 9 (That this Synod receive this paper laying out the theology of marriage, thank the Doctrine Committee and recognise its work as providing material helpful to future discussion of possible canonical change.) was carried.

The Doctrine Committee launched its 11th Grosvenor Essay “Towards an Integration of Science and Theology’?’

Information and Communication Board

The Rev Chris Mayo, Convener of the Information and Communication Board, spoke of the work of communications and highlighted the importance of the fact that the message is more important that the medium and of the increasing need for the Church to consider what the Church has to say to a changing Scotland. He drew attention to the work of the Quakers in engaging with faith, justice and peace in the public domain.  He then invited Synod to observe a period of silence citing that there is a need to listen as well as talk and quoted words from Pluscarden Abbey ‘God speaks in the language of silence; it takes a stilled heart to hear’.Greetings from Ecumenical Delegate

The Rt Rev Dr Stephen Robson, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunkeld congratulated Synod on the openness and efficiency of our canonical processes, and acknowledged that the Roman Catholic Church are facing the same discussions as the Scottish Episcopal Church in areas of sexuality.

Inter-Church Relations Relations Committee 

Day one of the General Synod came to a close with the Rev Canon John Lindsay, Convener of the Committee presenting Motion 10 (That this Synod approve the response to the World Council of Churches document “The Church: Towards a Common Vision”).  This Motion was carried.