Presiding Bishop In Edinburgh For Church's General Synod
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., Katharine Jefferts Schori, will speak to the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church meeting in Edinburgh from 10 to 12 June 2010.
The General Synod is the governing body of the Scottish Episcopal Church and meets once a year. Again, as in recent years, they meet in the Church of Scotland’s Palmerston Place Church, close by St Mary’s Cathedral and the Provincial Office.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a province of the Anglican Communion with seven bishops, the senior of whom is the Primus, elected by the bishops among themselves. According to the Government's 2001 Census it had just over 360,000 adherents and is smaller than the presbyterian Church of Scotland’s 489,000 adherents.
Unlike the established Church of England whose General Synod makes laws, called Measures, with the same status as Acts of Parliament, the Scottish Episcopal Church is entirely self governing and proud of its independence, whilst recognising the primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is a special connection with the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Once the American colonies were lost, their clergy were not prepared to swear allegiance to King George III. They needed a bishop and found that the non-juring bishops in Scotland could consecrate Samuel Seabury in Aberdeen in 1784. But the condition was that the American Church used the Scottish Rite.
Richard Holloway, a retired Bishop of Edinburgh, was an outspoken supporter of liberal causes. But the Scottish Episcopal Church has not yet crossed the line. Whereas the Episcopal Church has just consecrated a second gay bishop, a lesbian for Los Angeles diocese, despite an embargo.
Rowan Williams at Canterbury is sabre-rattling and threatening expulsion from important committees of the Communion. The Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, became the first woman primate within the world wide Anglican Communion when invested in Washington National Cathedral in 2006. She will be interested to see if she has support from Scotland whilst she is in Edinburgh.