Changing Attitude Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to the recent Communiqué from the Anglican Primates issued in Tanzania.
In particular, we welcome:
- the news that the Listening Process is making progress in some provinces and we affirm the urgent need for a process of listening to the experience of lesbian and gay people, to begin in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
- the fact that the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has gone on record as saying that our College of Bishops believes that the US based Episcopal Church has already made an adequate response to the requests made of it by the Windsor Report.
However, we are saddened that:
- notwithstanding their commitment to listen, the Primates did not take the opportunity to meet with any openly gay or lesbian people during their meeting, even though they were happy to meet with those who are opposed to the inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church.
- the Anglican Communion has been broken by the actions of those Primates who refused to receive communion during the duration of the Primates’ Meeting
- the final communiqué has presented an unreasonable ultimatum to the US based Episcopal Church.
- the communique has nothing to say to condemn the actions of the Church of Nigeria in its support of proposals to criminalize gay and lesbian people in Nigeria.
Much has been made of the fact that if the US based Episcopal Church draws back from its full inclusion of lesbian and gay members, then Primates from foreign jurisdictions who have made incursions into the USA may feel able to withdraw. We believe that maintaining the integrity of artificial ecclesiastical territorial borders is not worth the sacrifice of the integrity of an inclusive church.
On the same day that Changing Attitude Scotland received the communique from the Primates Meeting in Tanzania, another significant document was received – the new liturgy for blessing same-sex couples from the Church of Sweden. The Church of Sweden is in full communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church. Through its own synodical process, the Church of Sweden has now agreed a text for the blessing of gay people. We note that there has been no condemnation of the actions of the Swedish Church from the Anglican Primates during this extensive process nor from any of the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We are glad that this is so and recognise that this illustrates very clearly that the actions of the Primates towards the US based Episcopal Church are primarily political rather than theological.
It is our experience that whilst Anglicans angrily debate human sexuality to the detriment of God’s mission in the world, God is quietly and persistently raising up gay and lesbian people of faith in all denominations and with a full rainbow spectrum of theological outlooks. Furthermore, increasing numbers of lay and ordained, straight and gay people have come to the belief that being gay or lesbian is no bar to being baptized and therefore no bar to full participation in Christian life and ministry.