In the U.S., the Episcopal Church has long pursued a liberal path, with gay bishops and marriage blessings, much to the chagrin of conservatives, but elsewhere, tremors are being felt over the same issues.
Last week, a congregation in north-east Scotland voted overwhelmingly to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church citing concerns over its theological direction.
In total, 83 percent of the members at Westhill Community Church in Aberdeen voted to leave the SEC because of its “continued liberal trajectory.”
That trajectory was cemented in 2017 when the SEC’s governing body voted to allow gay marriage ceremonies in its churches. Only one diocese opposed the move – Aberdeen and Orkney.
Westhill isn’t the first congregation to leave the SEC following the change. St. Thomas church in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, left the Church last year with the Rev. David McCarthy saying their departure was made out of “tragic necessity.”
“But it is the Episcopal Church who are leaving us. They are leaving orthodoxy,” he told The Sunday Telegraph at the time.
It’s unclear whether other churches in Aberdeen and Orkney will follow Westhill Community Church out of the SEC but rector Canon Ian Ferguson said he was one of a group of conservative evangelical rectors in the SEC who were ‘on a journey’ going back years with bishops over its liberal theology.
For Westhill, the direction of the SEC is one it “could not accept” any more and it has now begun the process to leave.
Canon Ferguson told the Anglican Communion News Service: “Our church was not able to feel they could go on the trajectory that the SEC are going and they wanted to maintain their sense of biblical authority and their fellowship with the wider Anglican Communion which is being torn apart by decisions of some provinces.”
He added: “For all of us involved this has been a very painful time and a very difficult decision to make but we have been put in that position by the decisions of the SEC.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Xia-Maria Mackay