Digest of responses made online about College of Bishops’ Statement

Beth Routledge has this post on her blog which includes the following:

1) …these questions are not hypothetical ones, but are real questions about real people and their lives and their loves. I think in light of the specific things that have been said today it must be noted that this is particularly true of people who are called to ministry within the Church.

2) … the answers and guidance given by the House of Bishops, and that we are further away from justice and equality today than we were even a decade ago,

3) … if we stopped allowing anyone in ministry or seeking to enter ministry within the Church to get married to anyone until this question was settled, we would have had a proper answer a year ago.

Ekklesia has a long post called No rejoicing here: Scottish Episcopal Church’s marriage guidance which includes the following:

…institutional churches need to provide pastoral care to those who feel called to pledge their love publicly to their life-partner, as well as those opposed.

There is little sense of this in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s College of Bishops’ Guidance for Clergy and Lay Readers in the light of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014. This document is perhaps even more grim and threatening than the Church of England bishops’ February 2014 ‘pastoral’ guidance.

and also:

The bishops could have issued a very different document recognising the variety of views and experiences within the church while highlighting the legal situation, an advising clergy that some congregations might react negatively if they were married. That they did not do so perhaps reflects a habit of fear of those most opposed to inclusion combined with pastoral insensitivity to those in favour.

Pouring a bucket of cold water over couples in love, their families and friends is not the best approach to mission and ministry. Once again, Christians seeking a more just and welcoming church will be left with the challenge of trying to limit the damage done by official statements.

The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow said in a blog post:

I’m appalled by its contents and in particular appalled at the way the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church are treating gay clergy and lay readers in the church. The homophobic bullying of candidates for ministry – ordinands and candidates for lay readership is particularly unpleasant.

The Rev Kirstin Freeman, Rector of All Saints’, Bearsden and St Andrew’s, Milngavie also had a blog post – Advent Sorrow. This included the following striking statement:

The SEC is part of who I am and never before have I felt ashamed to be a Pisky. While I do not agree with the views contained within the Bishop’s statement yesterday… I am part of the SEC and so I feel I must apologise to all those who have been hurt by the words that have been used and the tone in which it has been delivered. They are not my words nor indeed my sentiments, but for many people I know I am the face of the SEC, so I am sorry for what has been said. To those of you who happen to be LTBG, regardless of whether you have any connections with the the SEC, I want to apologise for the times when maybe I could have done more and pledge to you that I will do all I can to ensure that justice and equality for everyone is not a past for dream but remains an achievable reality. Despite the sorrow and anger I currently feel I am not going to loose the promise of Advent which is for all people. You are special, you are precious, you are equal, you are valued in my eyes and in my heart. What is more I believe, with every fiber of my being, that with God it is even greater than that, for God is love.

Thinking Anglicans had a post linking to the original document and noting that the guidelines appear little different from those of the Church of England. There is also some discussion in the comments on this article including one saying that the document “Surpasses even the English bishops’ Valentine’s Day statement in spreading unseasonal gloom.”

There has also been considerable comment on social media. Some of this can be seen by searching for #pisky or @secsynod on twitter.

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  1. Pingback: Scottish Bishops on Marriage and Civil Partnership | Law & Religion UK

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