10 December 2022

Anglican Primates penalise Scottish Church over same-sex marriage decision

Scottish Episcopal Church slapped with 3 year ban from wider Communion

9 October 2017

Primates from most of the world’s Anglican churches have agreed “with sadness” to penalise the Scottish Episcopal Church following its unilateral decision to change its law to allow same-sex marriage.

In the final communiqué from their meeting at Canterbury Cathedral from 2-6 October, the Primates – including Australia’s Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne – said that for three years, members of the Scottish Church “would no longer represent the Communion on ecumenical and interfaith bodies; should not be appointed or elected to internal standing committees and that, while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they would not take part in decision making on any issues of doctrine or polity”.

“We listened carefully to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) and with sadness accepted that the consequences for our relationships agreed in January 2016 would also apply to SEC after its decision on same sex marriage,” the communiqué, entitled God’s Church for God’s World, said.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury will take steps within his authority to implement this agreement.”

Last month, the triennial meeting of the Anglican Church of Australia, General Synod, expressed regret at “impaired” relationships with the Scottish Church over same-sex marriage.

A resolution proposed by the Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Kanishka Raffel and Archdeacon David Bassett of Adelaide, noted “with regret” that the Scots had amended their Canon on Marriage to change the definition that marriage was between a man and a woman by adding a new section that allowed clergy to solemnise marriage between same-sex couples as well.

The resolution also noted “with regret that this step is contrary to the doctrine of our Church”, expressed support for Anglicans who had left or would need to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church because of its redefinition of marriage and those who struggled to remain and prayed “that the Scottish Episcopal Church will return to the doctrine of Christ in this matter and that impaired relationships will be restored”.

Dean Raffel told the Synod, meeting at Maroochydore in Queensland, that “to purport to offer marriage to couples of the same sex fails to honour the Lord by rejecting his word, and fails to love gay people by misunderstanding marriage, and separating them from the truth that Jesus taught”.

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