The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today issued the following statement in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney:
The College of Bishops has received an update from the Mediation Steering Group which was set up to help the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney move forward from its current difficulties. We are grateful for the good start that has been made.
The Steering Group has asked the College of Bishops to clarify our intentions regarding the final recommendation contained in the report of the independent review undertaken by Professor Iain Torrance. In addition to this matter, which is addressed below, the Group also reports that it has become aware of a mistaken assumption about the powers of the College. In fact neither the College nor the Primus can require a bishop to step down.
The Torrance Report enabled us to hear the voices of some within the Diocese. We have also become aware of voices within the Diocese expressing other and different views.
We consider that these experiences indicate a situation of conflict and relationship breakdown, best dealt with through mediation seeking healing and reconciliation. The Mediation Steering Group was set up to oversee this process.
The Torrance Report concludes with the opinion that Bishop Anne Dyer does not have the personal capacity to bring about healing and reconciliation in her Diocese and recommends that she should therefore step back permanently from her position. We do not believe that this is justified. We believe that with the support of the College of Bishops, the work of the mediation process, and the help of the Diocese itself, Bishop Anne will have the capacity to bring about healing and reconciliation.
We urge members of the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney to engage positively with the mediation process, and we encourage all members of the Scottish Episcopal Church to join us in holding in prayer the Diocese and all those involved in the process, which we hope will bring healing.