The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church was constituted during a Choral Eucharist Service in St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral on 7 June, and concluded on Saturday 9 June.
In his Charge to General Synod, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Revd Dr Idris Jones, challenged Synod members to commit themselves to be the Scottish Episcopal Church at its best and encouraged them to make their churches more inclusive.
The business of General Synod got underway with an overview of the Church's Annual Report and Accounts and budget figures. Professor Patricia Peattie, Convener of the Standing Committee, highlighted the implications of the new Charity Regulations for congregations and dioceses. A series of workshops and seminars are being organised to help church members understand and comply with these Regulations.
The Bishops of Edinburgh and St Andrews spoke of the role of the College of Bishops and announced its intention to hold a conference in the near future that will offer people uninterrupted space to express their views to the Bishops as they look towards the Lambeth 2008 meeting.
The Anglican Communion Covenant generated much discussion, and the Motion to invite the Faith & Order Board to finalise a response to the Anglican Communion on the draft Covenant was carried.
All Canons for Second Reading were carried, as were the Motions regarding amended text of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy and Code of Good Practice.
The Motion to add the Marriage Liturgy 2007 to the list of authorised liturgies of the SEC was carried.
Discussion following the Retirement Welfare Committee's report lead to Motion 18 regarding the Retirement Housing Fund to fall.
One of the highlights of General Synod was a conversation between the Rev Donald Reid, Rabbi David Rose of the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation and Imam Muhammed Sajjad of the Edinburgh Central Mosque. Following this, Motion 21, which encouraged SEC clergy to draw ministers of other faiths into local ministers gatherings and for clergy, vestries and congregations to consider how they might support Interfaith week each year was unanimously carried.
The Convener of Inter Church Relations Committee, Mrs Norma Higgott, and some of her colleagues took Synod members on an ecumenical 'tour of the world' - highlighting the many projects and initiatives that are supported and developed by the SEC, and particularly its role as a member of the World Council of Churches.
Professor Patricia Peattie gave a detailed explanation of the preliminary response to the Rule 10 Motion passed at last year's General Synod. Motion 28 was then carried: ‘That this Synod note the report of the Standing Committee and College of Bishops regarding matters arising from the Rule 10 motion passed at General Synod 2006 and encourage the Standing Committee and the College of Bishops, consulting as appropriate, to complete their consideration of the matters raised and formulate such proposals as they consider appropriate for presentation to General Synod 2008’.
Professor Peattie stated that the high level of comments about this Motion illustrates how much work is still to be done and thanked members of the Standing Committee and College of Bishops for their input and commitment to this Paper.
The Motion regarding the Budget and Quota figure for 2008 was carried.
Canon Professor John Riches announced plans to hold a Provincial Conference sometime in 2009.
The Motion to establish an annual Gift Day to raise awareness of the Provincial Community Fund was supported and carried.
The last two Motions of General Synod - both from the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney - were amended. Both Motions were carried and they read:
‘That this Synod, as both a Fair Trade Church and one committed to the principle of trade justice, support the international moratorium on Terminator Technologies. It believes that such technologies disadvantage small producers in the developing countries and devalue the role of traditional farming in their cultures and its potential role in developing appropriate local systems of production. This Synod calls upon the international biotechnology companies to consider the small producer and farmer, particularly in the developing world, when researching new technologies. It calls on the Government of the United Kingdom to encourage EU legislation to preclude foods containing genetic products incorporating such features from being sold in the EU.’
‘That this Synod expresses its concern at the proposal for a line of electricity pylons carrying cables from Beauly to Denny and also about the proliferation of wind farms throughout the countryside of Scotland (such as the one proposed in Lewis), as symbols of the way that we squander the resources of our planet and calls upon members of the SEC to pray for the Scottish Executive and relevant Planning Authorities as they consider carefully the implications of giving permission for such developments; it also calls upon congregations and individuals to reflect prayerfully on the way that they use energy.’
The final business of General Synod was to approve the appointments for the Pension Fund Chair, Administration Board membership and Standing Committee membership.
The Primus then confirmed the Acts of Synod and brought the meeting of the General Synod 2007 to a close.
Item from: The Scottish Episcopal Church