Skip to comments.New Primus toes line on gays [Scottish Episcopal Church]
Posted on 06/06/2006 5:15:04 PM PDT by sionnsar
SCOTLAND's 50,000 Anglicans have a new leader. The Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, Dr Idris Jones (pictured right), was elected by his fellow bishops to be Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church at a meeting in Dunblane on Thursday of last week.
The 62-year-old Welsh-born bishop, who is married with two sons, has been acting as Senior Bishop since 2000. He takes over from the Rt Revd Bruce Cameron, who stepped down after five years as Primus at the end of April, and who retires from his diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney at the end of June. The election had been postponed for a week after two candidates emerged. The new Primus was finally elected by ballot in an unusually competitive play-off with the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Revd Brian Smith.
On Tuesday Dr Jones said that the difference between them was one of style, not of substance. "Isn't it exciting that there was the possibility of two people from whom the choice had to be made?"
The new Primus warned that, despite the House of Bishops' past willingness to ordain homosexual people, in the light of the debate within the Anglican Communion, it would not introduce same-sex blessings or be willing to consecrate a homosexual bishop.
The Communion's line on sexuality would hold until the next Lambeth Conference, he said. "After that, it's anyone's guess." But the debate on sexuality concealed a larger issue. "It affects congregations and dioceses and provinces and the Communion, and that [question] is: how do you respect the minority view, and hold it in fellowship, while the general membership is in a different place? This is a serious piece of work that the Church has got to do at every level." For the Scottish Episcopal Church, the minority was Evangelical, he said.
Reflecting on the state of religion in Scotland, he said disillusionment with the political process had left people wanting to find meaning in their lives. "They are open to finding the answer to that in God. But it remains the task of the Church to make the gospel acceptable to the people."
The Church was now mission-orientated, and would work in partnership with other Churches to spread the word. The Church had once thought that the most important thing was to be Episcopalian, but now it knew that it was to be Christian.
But the Bishop had bad news for those who longed for the organic unity of the Churches. "There is not a lot of mileage in organisational unity - it is not going to happen. It is about working together, and partnership at local level."
The Episcopal Church had more priests per communicant than any other Church in the Anglican Communion, he said, but they were not all stipendiary. "The non-stipendiary clergy have been the salvation of the Church through the unstinting service they have given." In future, stipendiary clergy would have more of a position of oversight, helping the mission of the faithful.
Unlike its southern neighbour, the Episcopal Church was not struggling to pay clergy pensions. "We need to raise the level of giving. But the finances are not compromised; we do not face bankruptcy or need to go into liquidation. But, if all the 45,000-50,000 communicant members of the Church were to commit an extra £1 a week, we would not only cover all our existing work, but also be able to engage in new work. The pension fund is much healthier than it was 15 years ago. It is doing all right."
What do I care about Les Claypool's opinion on gays?
Somehow, this does not sound right.
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