News from the Scottish Episcopal Church. You can subscribe to receive these updates by email here.
The Scottish Episcopal Institute
Following a process of advertisement and recruitment, The Rev Canon Dr Anne Tomlinson has been appointed as the new Principal of the Scottish Episcopal Institute. Dr Tomlinson will take up office during August and says “It is an immense privilege to have been called to serve the Scottish Episcopal Church as Principal of its Institute. I ask for your prayers for the staff and students, as for myself, as together we set out in faith on this new stage of the journey.”
Commenting on the appointment the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “The Scottish Episcopal Institute will shape the character and quality of our ministry in the next generation. The appointment of the first Principal is an important moment for our church. I warmly welcome Canon Dr Anne Tomlinson in that role. Anne has helped to shape the ministry of clergy and laity in every part of our church. Her work is theologically and spiritually rooted. She is rigorous and ordered in what she undertakes. She is generous in sharing programmes which she has developed. The Principal will work closely with the College of Bishops and I know that she will have their confidence. We uphold Anne in our prayers as she prepares for this new challenge in ministry”.
This is a new post created following an extensive review of ministerial formation and training within the Church. The Scottish Episcopal Institute will replace the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church (TISEC) and will provide a new emphasis on formation-led training.
General Synod 2014
General Synod 2014 will take place on 12-14 June at St Paul’s & St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh. The agenda and related papers for General Synod are now available on the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) website www.scotland.anglican.org/who-we-are/organisation/the-general-synod/
There is a public gallery available for people who are not General Synod members, but who wish to attend parts of the General Synod meeting. A live audio link will be available on the SEC website throughout General Synod and regular updates of debate and decisions during General Synod will be placed on the website and posted on Twitter (#secsynod14) and Facebook.
As part of the preparations for General Synod, members are usually invited to submit, in advance of Synod, any written questions which they wish to address to the Conveners of Boards and Committees. If you have a question you would like to ask then please speak to one of the Synod members from your diocese to see whether they would be willing to submit it (or contact your diocesan office if you are unsure who in your diocese are members of General Synod). Synod members have been asked to submit any questions by Thursday 30 May.
Gaelic Mass during General Synod 2014
The Gaelic Society of the Scottish Episcopal Church extends an invitation to all to take part in a Gaelic Mass in St Paul’s & St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh on Thursday, 12th June at 5.30pm. Bi-lingual Order of Service booklets will be available.
The Celebrant will be Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo, Dean of Aberdeen & Orkney.
The Service will be dedicated to St Moluag, the saint who inspired the recent Pilgrimage from Aberdeen to Lismore by Emsley and his companion walker, Steven Boon.
Cascade Conversation – Listening across the Spectrum
The Cascade Conversation – Listening across the Spectrum – took place in Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry on 29-30 April. About 60 people were present in Pitlochtry for the two day meeting. The participants met in small facilitated groups. At the conclusion of the meeting, each of the groups (there were six groups in total) offered a short statement they would wish to be communicated that would reflect their experience of the Cascade Conversation. These six statements are as follows:
“We value the respectful nature of the conversation we have had and would hope that as the process continues the tone remains as important as the content of the outcome.”
“Open and fruitful conversations across serious differences were held and we hope that these can continue as the church responds to the changing law as regards marriage.”
“The design group has offered us a process of conversation to use in these two days which we fully commend to be used as widely in the Church as possible: for people to come together to speak and listen using appropriate language to grow in understanding. We feel that we came away from the conversation with some fears and negative feelings allayed and with a sense of hopeful optimism for the way in which the Church together can deal with this issue.”
“This group wants to affirm the overwhelming importance of good, open searching conversation and engagement in clarifying the profound differences among us and between us,and yet holding us in communion, holding us in that perfect love which casts out fear. But we are left asking what the institutional manifestation of that looks like, how do we move toward an outcome which we can all recognise and live with and affirm as God’s will for us.”
“We heard people rather than positions. In the future can we stretch the tent to keep all within?”
“Our respectful listening to each other led to the uncomfortable realisation of how difficult and painful our view can be for other people. We hope that the future conversations/events which must now take place will continue in the respect-filled tone we have found helpful and will lead to outcomes within an agreed timeline.”
Towards the close of the Cascade Conversation, the participants met in diocesan groups to consider how the experience of the meeting in Pitlochry might be cascaded more widely.
At the closing Eucharist, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church delivered a homily which can be read here.
Social and ethical concerns top Churches’ agenda for meeting with First Minister
Representatives and leaders from Scotland’s Christian traditions met with the First Minister on Thursday 15 May in the Scottish Parliament. Senior figures from the Church of Scotland, Catholic Church, Scottish Episcopal Church were joined by those representing the Baptist Union of Scotland, Congregational Federation, Free Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, United Free Church, United Reformed Church the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Salvation Army.
Representing the Scottish Episcopal Church at the meeting, The Most Rev David Chillingworth says “Church leaders are very aware that, at a critical moment of potential change in Scotland, we should be fully involved in dialogue with our political leaders. That dialogue involves social and moral issues which shape the quality of our society. It also involves dialogue on the place of Christian churches and other faith communities in a possible independent Scotland. I was grateful to the First Minister for being generous with his time and for the openness of that dialogue.”
The First Minister meets with Scottish Church leaders on an annual basis, to discuss an agenda proposed by the Churches. This year three topics were raised; the prospect of a written constitution in the event of a yes vote in September’s referendum, responding to welfare changes and the growth of food bank, and resourcing and support for palliative care.
On the role of faith in a written constitution, the Church leaders spoke of a desire to see principles of liberty and integrity considered together in any constitution convention.
On welfare and food banks, the First Minister was told about some of the work being done by churches at a local level. A particular concern which was raised was a perceived lack of joint partnership working between voluntary and statutory agencies.
The third item for discussion touched on provision of acute palliative care services across Scotland, such as the number of specialist beds available and the role of the hospice movement. The First Minister was asked if the Scottish Government might adopt a new model for funding palliative care, such as match funding voluntary donations, which could help incentivise charitable giving as well as lead to stronger links being built between a hospice or hospital unit and their local community.
The meeting was supported by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office and Action of Churches Together in Scotland.
Faith in Action
The Faith in Action guide for the year (produced by the Provincial Church in Society Committee) is on the Scottish Episcopal Church website www.scotland.anglican.org/spirituality/prayer/faith-in-action/ and covers a separate theme each month. The leaflets include prayer suggestions which could be used for Intercessions for the month as well as ideas for actions which either individuals or groups within congregations and communities could become involved with. Feedback on the prayer guide is always welcome, so please contact Elspeth Davey at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or suggestions for additional resource material or contacts
Faith in Action in May reminds highlights the work of the various Aid Agencies and suggests undertaking where possible one or more of the suggested actions. The suggested prayer is:
Lord, You come to us in neighbours we do not know and are unlikely to meet. You come to us when people’s needs are measured in statistics, argued about in political programmes, or estimated in development plans. Give us the grace to see past numbers to the real lives behind them. So that we might, with you, build your Kingdom. Amen.
Good Society Project – Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
If you were to have a local Good Society conversation with someone in your community tomorrow, who would it be? Which periphery would you start from, and who else – church leaders, politicians or others – might you invite to join in?
There are already plans to hold Good Society conversations in Wales, Scotland and the North East of England – it would be great if you could help promote conversations across the four nations.You can download the handy guide to holding your own Good Society Conversation here: agoodsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/AGS-A5-20pp1.pdf
CTBI also has substantial supplies of both the printed Good Society Report and Good Society Conversation Guide.
If you would like to be sent further copies – please email email@example.com or call 0845 680 6851.