Synod – membership

We have a debate about how to define the membership of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Sally Gorton speaks against changing our current rules. She has done so before.

Alan Thornton speaks against giving anyone other than the Rector the role of keeping the role.  I think.

John Armes speaks of the importance of keeping involvement of those  who are not communicants. He wants a roll which allows people to say whether they want to be a member or not regardless  of whether they are communicants or baptised. (I agree with this).

Robert Warren speaks – he wants something different too.

David  Mumford speaks in favour – he wants a transparent list of those who are members and that this list could be shared with the  vestry. However, he is concerned that people cannot be on 2 electoral rolls.

James Milne believes in Civil Liberties so speaks in favour of the motion. At the moment people can be put on a list of members against their will.

+Mark speaks – at 16 you can have sex and drink so why not be able to be a member of the church. He speaks in favour of 16 being the age of consent to church.

Darren McFarland speaks in favour of the motion. New legislation is important to stop people abusing church rolls by just turning up to become members by receiving communion to try to swing a vote.

Alison Peden supports the new canon – good for people to know when they actually belong.

Hugh Lee wants the Rector to remain in charge of the roll. Speaks of someone coming to church to receive communion once a year to remain on a roll. Wants to be able to challenge that and throw them off a roll.

Gregor Duncan speaks – he has to read rolls. He thinks that the present roll works well. He thinks it is bad to frame legislation to prevent people from being perverse as they will be perverse whatever legislation is passed.

John Whittall – Aberdeen and Orkney – has been in England and sees no problem with the idea of an electoral roll. Do we really need three rolls?

Patricia Pettie allows Sally Gorton to speak (again!) in the debate. She challenges James Milne to spell out the liabilities that beloging to a church has. He passes the buck to the lovely Jeremy Auld who will respond at the end of the debate.

John Lindsay endorses John Armes’s point. Wants an inclusive church and thinks the present system works.

David Brooke – asks who is responsible for the privacy of the church roll. It is a data prtection issue.

Iain Paton – used to think he was against this canon but now has changed his mind. Are we an unconditionally inclusive church? No the gospel is unconditionally inviting. We have an open invitation. Believes the new legislation will be a pastoral tool that will be helpful.

Jeremy Auld gets up to speak. Rolls should be held by vestry as they are the trustees. This is just the first reading – we can always amend this. There is a liability in law that could fall on every member of a church. Being a member has responsibily. It is right that people know whether or not they are on a roll and cannot be added against their will. It is possible to be the trustee of a charity at age 16 – so 16 it must be!

The motion is put.

It fails in the house of bishops. The motion falls.



  1. Kelvin – you are very modest in not describing your contribution to this debate – I guess it was in your usual style.

  2. David |dä?v?d| says

    Kelvin, I have lurked and read here for some time. I am curious about happenings in sister Anglican churches. I live in the Diocese of Northern Mexico of the Anglican Church of Mexico. American English is a second language for me.

    It is difficult for me to follow much of what is written here for two reasons. You all speak a cryptic or clipped form of English at times, even different from what I encounter from the Mad One. You also use a lot of jargon and acronyms associated with the Scottish Church.

    This is all OK if you intend your blog to be mostly catering to fellow Scots. However, if you are open to a blog with more international following you all might keep my points in mind when writing.

  3. David |daveed| says

    I usually try to give the Spanish pronunciation of my name, as opposed to the English, but you blog does not like the augmented letters!


  4. Glad to see you got your connection going again – I’m impressed with your speedy blogging!

  5. agatha says

    But what was the motion though? You can’t say it failed without telling us what it was.

  6. The agenda and papers are available here:

    These have all the motions and the preparatory materials.

    Thanks for your comment, David – I’d be happy to try to explain any technical terms. Synod is quite confusing enough when English is your first language.

    If you take a look at the papers that I pointed to above, you will see that the synod members all have a large book in front of them.

    The motion which failed would have updated the way in which membership rolls are compiled to allow people to know whether or not they are on them. At the moment, membership rolls are compiled by rectors who do not need to tell people that they are included on the roll even though they may have liabilities thereby.

  7. agatha says

    As one of my bosses used to say “all aid short of actual help”.
    If you can be bothered summarising what all the speakers say why couldn’t you take another couple of minutes and summarise the motion?

  8. Perhaps what hasn’t been clear to readers who have come upon this post from further afield is that Kelvin was blogging the buisiness of synod in real time. That is only possible in short hand — and therefore probably of most use to those who are unable to be at synod, but broadly aware of the debates going on in the church.

    So, perhaps we can let him off the hook for not being all things for all people while blogging from Synod, and be thankful for the wider pattern of good communication that we usually see here.

Speak Your Mind