What the Primus actually said

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev David Chillingworth gave a good charge to the Synod yesterday and a text has been released on the Scottish Episcopal Website containing the bare bones of what he said. However, his actual charge to Synod was a good deal more interesting and engaing, particularly in what he had to say about the new politics of Scotland and also what he had to say about the Anglican Communion.

You can read the released text on the SEC website here.

What he actually said about the Anglican Covenant however, was this:

It has been a great privilege for me, as a representative of this church to begin to move around more than I have done in the rest of my life in the wider Anglican Communion. It comes as a surprise to me, and it shouldn’t, frankly, but it comes as a surprise to me to find that we are honoured and respected and that people want genuinely to know what we think. And I think that part of that, to be political for a moment, part of that lies in our history and part of it lies in that we represent a strand of Anglicanism which is not for the most part entangled in the conflicts which surround some of the major players, shall we say, in the world church. We are free to build relationships across the communion in a way which can be good both for us and for the communion. Because, what we are trying to do is to learn to live with and be enriched by diversity. And of course that diversity, as we all know is not just experienced between provinces on an inter provincial-basis, it is also experienced within each province on an intra-provincial basis. And so we come in these next days to discuss the Anglican Covenant and whether or not we should adopt it. And we are going to use this year, as you will hear an Indaba discussion because that has become the way of choice for the Anglican Communion in having discussion across difference. I think that part of the reason that we do that is to enable space for us to give respect to our internal diversity. Some might want to move faster to a decision, this is about respecting and giving space for our internal diversity to be experienced, so that whatever the decision is at the end, and I believe that either adopting or not adopting, can be seen as enriching for the Anglican Communion, that we all internally have been enriched by our own diversity.

I think that the suggestion that either adopting or not adopting the covenant could be seen as enriching for the Communion is a welcome point well made and I’d like to hear him expand on it. I’d also be interested to hear whether any of the other members of the Primates’ Meeting have publicly suggested that the prospect of their Province not adopting the Covanant would be enriching for the Communion.

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