The Primus’s Radio Interview about the Columba Declaration

It is incomprehensible to me that the Church of England establishment, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, can have claimed in the English Synod yesterday that the Scottish Episopal Church is “content” with the Columba Declaration and sees it as a positive move forward when the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is describing it as “improper”, causing distress to the Scottish Episcopal Church, says it is not the way we do things in the Anglican Communion and talks of is as an example of the Church of England trying to exercise jurisdiction in Scotland.

Here’s his radio interview today – well worth a listen.

Can anyone explain what the Archbishop of Canterbury meant yesterday? I’m struggling to see the truth shining through his words – can anyone help me?


  1. I’m not sure Chillingworth gave a clear answer to Beattie’s question of what is wrong with the declaration beyond its discourtesy and rudeness. What does he mean when he says it is putting at risk the leadership of Christian faith communities at a critical moment in the ‘story of Scotland’?

    • I can’t speak for Bishop David but my view is that this debacle (the discourtesy and rudeness and the rest) has had a serious knock on effect on the ecumenical life of Scotland. To put it bluntly, trusts and friendships that have been built up over years have been very sorely tested. I think that this risks poisoning ecumenical life in Scotland for a generation and I’d say that does seriously compromise the way in which church communities and leaders will be able to speak to Scotland.

  2. Richard says

    It also speaks volumes for the contempt with which the Church of Englandshire holds for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

    You struggle to see the shining truth through his words because his words lack honesty and integrity. Not that anyone in Englandshire really cares- most probably haven’t even heard of the Scottish Episcopal Church and if they have, it will be as an unknown backwater entity. To sweep aside the Scottish Episcopal Church must have taken breathtaking arrogance.

  3. Iain McLarty says

    I can totally understand the SEC concern about the CofE barging into territory that isn’t theirs. However, there are perhaps a few things to bear in mind about why a relationship between the CofS and CofE is important where that isn’t really relevant.

    The first is that the CofS has a presence in England. Having spent a few years in a CofE congregation in Denmark I witnessed first hand how important the Porvoo agreement was in that context for enabling local worship and mission and similarly it could be hugely beneficial for the CofS congregations in England to be able to develop more formal relationships with their local Anglican partners.

    Secondly, there are a number of areas where the CofS and CofE are already working together and developing closer relationship such as on training and fresh expressions. These are areas where the relationships have developed naturally due to the two churches dealing with similar areas of concern and where there should again be no encroaching on SEC ground.

    Thirdly, the CofS and CofE work closely together in ecumenical circles through both CTBI and the WCC where both are significant players. It does seem strange that these two churches don’t recognise each other when their place in the wider ecumenical scene is so closely linked. That is not to deny the SEC’s ecumenical importance.

    Obviously no one is denying that the way this became public has been badly handled but I struggle to see what more can be down than the very sincere apologies and frank criticisms of what happened which have been offered. In terms of what real issues there are, I have yet to see anyone pin down specific parts of the Columba agreement which are concerning to the SEC, with all the comments either much more vague or else being fears about issues (such as interchangeability of ministry) which are not actually part of the agreement. In my experience (through ACTS, WCC etc.) the relationship between the CofS and SEC is one of the strongest ecumenical relationships and it would be very sad if this was jeopardised because of miscommunication rather than substance.

  4. Jeremy Bates says

    It’s not just Scotland. A lot of people are struggling to see truth in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury these days.

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