Excluded Middle

The General Synod of the Church of England will consider a report on its ecumenical relationship with the Church of Scotland (the CoE is established (entangled with the government) and observes an episcopal polity (government with bishops) whereas the CoS is a national church (largely disentangled from government) and observes presbyterian polity (government with councils of elders)). That is all to the good; the relationship of these two ecclesial bodies has long been vexed, and rapprochement would count as a very good thing.
On the other hand, the report in question minimises — almost ignores — the relation of these two dominant groups to the middle term, the Scottish Episcopal Church (and I suppose it ignores English Presbyterians, too). Speaking as a newly-minted Scottish Episcopalian, I find it disquieting that the two dominant bodies enter into negotiations that bear so forcefully on the identity and well-being of another province of the Anglican Communion, another Christian body operating within Scotland. The report does advise that “The Scottish Episcopal Church should be involved forthwith,” but through the seventy-one pages of the report, the SEC might as well not be there. We get the most coverage for our participation in the Scottish ecumenical discussions of recent years (the Scottish Churches Initiative For Union, from which the Church of Scotland withdrew in 2003, and Episcopal/Methodist/United Reformed ecumenical dialogues), but the report makes no reference to the Church of Scotland’s attempts to restrict and suppress the Episcopal Church.
I have no interest in belabouring contemporary Presbies for the penal codes of their great-grandparents, but am disappointed that Scottish Episcopalians seem to be only an afterthought in this document that concerns them so intimately. (Hat tip to my boss at St Mary’s, and to Simon Sarmiento for the link to the report.)

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