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Scottish Anglicans - Letter to Bishops
Anglican Mainstream ^ | 7/06/2005 | The Scottish Anglican Network

Posted on 07/13/2005 5:57:22 PM PDT by sionnsar

To the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church from the Scottish Anglican Network
July 6th 2005

Dear Brothers in Christ

Future discussion of issues raised by the Windsor Report, the Primates’ Communiqué and the College of Bishops March 4th Statement.

We write on behalf of a group of concerned clergy and congregation members to respond to your latest statement. We have been grateful for three opportunities so far to speak at length with you as representatives of the College.

We understand that the Anglican Communion will initiate conversations as previously agreed in 1998 in preparation for the Lambeth Conference of 2008, and wish to play our proper part in these. However, in order to do so, we believe you need to understand two things:

First, whilst we understand that your second statement represents a significant shift, we are unable to accept your prior statement, issued on 4th March 2005 and subsequently released to the press. We have repeatedly asked you to withdraw this, both because it has been widely understood as a statement of the policy of the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and because it contains material that unhelpfully precludes conversation and debate. In particular, you are still on record as saying that the Scottish Episcopal Church

“has never regarded the fact that someone was in a close relationship with a member of the same sex as in itself constituting a bar to the exercise of an ordained ministry. Indeed, the Windsor Report itself in suggesting that a moratorium be placed on such persons being consecrated bishops, itself acknowledges the existence of many such relationships within the Church.”

This we believe to be untrue, even in the mixed reports we have of recent history, and certainly over most of our Church’s life. Unless some way is found of withdrawing this paragraph at least, we do not understand how we are going to reconnect our church to the process agreed by Anglican Communion Primates in Feb 2005.

Second, we understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Church that bears witness to it, welcomes every person; but also that no person remains unchanged by this life-transforming Gospel. As evangelists and pastors, we want to welcome everyone into God’s church, recognising we are all sinful but confident in God’s ability to change and transform. We believe that Scripture makes it quite clear that the ordination and the continued presence in leadership of those actively pursuing homosexual lifestyles in our Church are unacceptable. We are therefore actively considering our options at the moment – including possibilities of alternative oversight, or an appeal to the Panel of Reference recently provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury for those who find themselves in serious theological disagreement with their Bishops.

We do agree with you that this is a debate about the place of Scripture in the twenty-first century Church. It is also about the place of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the world-wide Anglican Communion; the nature of that Communion, and the behaviour and teaching of those whom we appoint and maintain in leadership of our churches. We look forward to the initiation of the process agreed at Lambeth 1998 and reaffirmed by the Primates in their recent Communiqué how this conversation is to proceed, and earnestly hope that we may hear the voice of Scripture clearly in it. We also urge you to publish in full the relevant section of the Primates Communiqué along with in full text of the Lambeth Conference resolution (1:10) 1998. The Windsor Report asks that this is the starting point of our conversation prior to Lambeth. We would ask that the SEC uses the same reference point as the rest of the Communion in its deliberations.

We fully commit ourselves to share in any such process of prayerful and open engagement with God’s word and with varieties of contemporary experience.

Yours sincerely in Christ

Revd Canon Ian Ferguson,
Revd David McCarthy
Revd Canon Philip Noble
Revd Mike Parker
Revd Dave Richards
Revd Malcolm Round

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: europeanchristians; lambeth; scotland

1 posted on 07/13/2005 5:57:26 PM PDT by sionnsar
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