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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Closer together and wider apart

Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Reverend Lorna Hood
 making her way through the Church of Scotland's Assembly Hall, where commissioners made
 "a historic vote" in favour of accommodation for congregations that choose a minister in a
 same-sex civil partnership    Source: Christian Today 
(Photo: John Young)

From one "historic step" (see caption) to another. Addressing Synod yesterday the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (C of S), the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison, said: The Columba Declaration paves the way for future joint working between the Kirk and the Church of England (C of E). It sets out how members and clergy will be allowed to worship and exercise ministry in each other's churches. Approved by Synod by 243 votes to 50 the report will now go to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May for approval.

Paved with good intentions, the declaration moves the C of E further towards nonconformity while pretending to keep a toe in the Apostolic Church following the lead of the Church in Wales (C in W).

The proposals are set out in GS 2016, "Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission -
A Cover Note from the Council for Christian Unity". There are two references to apostolic succession.

Para 18 (i): Within the apostolicity of the whole Church is an apostolic succession of the ministry which serves, and is a focus of, the continuity of the Church in its life in Christ and its
faithfulness to the words and acts of Jesus transmitted by the apostles.

Para 31: The Church of Scotland also believes that its ministries are in apostolic succession, without needing to include the episcopal order nor to express that succession through it.
In its ordination rites it emphasizes the continuity of the Church and its ministry. It can
recognize in the historic episcopal succession maintained by other churches a sign of the
apostolicity of the Church. It does not, however, regard it as important for the bene esse
(‘well-being’) of the Church in the same way as the Church of England, and therefore
while respecting its perspective does not share from its own side the significance for the
Church of England of this issue in seeking to grow together.

God forbid that the C of E should follow the lead of the C in W:
"Consequently the Church in Wales Working Group's Long-term Recommendations to their Governing Body were that: 'the Methodist jurisdiction, the Presbyterian jurisdiction and the URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction each elect a bishop, the bishop will ordain all those who are to become ministers within that jurisdiction. That this bishop will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of that Church'."

Sidelining the Scottish Episcopal Church, the C of S and the C of E "acknowledge one another’s churches as churches belonging to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God". 

But what of the wider Church? 

The C of S, the C of E and the C in W are minnows in the Christian Church which is dominated by Catholics and Orthodox, now showing signs of coming together while Anglicans drift apart. In global terms Anglicans are mentioned once, "Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants (broadly defined to include Anglicans  and independent churches) as Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation yet they claim to be in the forefront of advancing the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God.

What does this amount to? 

The C of S has opened the door to the appointment of married gay ministers. Having lost the same-sex marriage battle, the Archbishop of Wales is encouraging his rapidly diminishing flock to support the Iris Prize Outreach project which aims to "make 36 short films over the next three years with different community groups to build understanding of LGBT issues". 

Driven by WATCH the C of E  is obsessed with gender issues: "Fewer than one in 50 large churches led by a woman priest".

For the Church to survive in Britain it will have to become closer to the apostolicity of Catholics and Orthodox, not more protestant and secular.


'No unity at the expense of truth': a response to Justin Welby's Presidential Address.
An excellent analysis from Christian Concern, H/T Anglican Mainstream, here.


  1. I feel much closer to Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill at the moment than I have ever felt towards Archbishop Barry, I DO mean it when I get the chance to pray for the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and as a cradle Anglican I have no wish to join the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland or any other fuzzy liberal outfit. Going to church on line isn't quite the same as the real thing, but where can I find the real thing where I live?

  2. The Ordinariate has made a start in Wales; you could be part of it - even if for reasons of distance you worshipped in a diocesan Catholic Church (as I and many others of the Ordinariate do when we visit the Principality).

  3. As Edwin has indicated have a look at the Ordinariate ; I am sure that an exploration would not put you under any pressure.

    It is becoming impossible to understand that within the Church in Wales ( hitherto less so in the C of E) that we may claim to be part of the One Holy Catholic Church.
    With the proposed arrangement with the Kirk in Scotland and the C of E ,there can be no Sacramental ministry : Apostolic succession will disappear and there can be no valid celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
    I appreciate greatly the dissertations of Ancient Briton, but one does tend to feel that in spite of the valid and true arguments ,this blog and its respondents will not deflect the Archbishops of Wales and England from their erroneous plans.

    1. Ancient Briton, I try again. Your blog seems to have a fault. It appears not to publish certain comments of mine, even when the topic is relevant. The reason could be technical not sinister, we can be sure.

      However, I would refer, once again, as I have done many times, concerning the use of the term 'Archbishop of Wales' on this most enlightening blog of yours, when, it should be understood that there is no such title. It is the 'Archbishop of', or, (over) 'the Church in Wales', not 'Archbishop of Wales.

      It is a title created in 1920 by the disestablished Church in Wales when it chose to have an Archbishop to preside over its own affairs. Furthermore, their present Archbishop, like his predecessors, were all chosen, not by the rank and file of members, but alas, five colleagues, namely, the remaining five or is it six members of the bench of bishops. So you see Ancient Briton, the rule of 'Divine Permission' continues to 'reign' in ' the Church in Wales' where democracy fails.

      I note with interest that you agree that the present Grand Mufty only represents less than 1% of the population and that the Archdruid probably has a larger following. Seeing therefore that you appear silent , or shy on this issue, it would be interesting to know your views. I hope by now your blog will have rectified the technical problem so as to print this comment for further discussion.

    2. OK. So no one has a comment concerning the guy who claims he's the 'Archbishop of Wales'. Perhaps that why he is referred to as 'His Irrelevance'?

  4. I live in the St Asaph Diocese. Need I say more?