Conservative Anglicans threaten synod boycott in outrage at pro-gay Scottish bishop's attendance

A small group of conservative Anglicans are considering boycotting the Church of England's biannual synod this week after a pro-gay marriage Scottish bishop was also invited to join the four-day meeting.

The Bishop of Edinburgh, John Armes, proposed the motion that led to the Scottish Episcopal Church's acceptance of gay marriage last month, becoming the first British Anglican Church to do so. 

The Church of England's General Synod is its ruling body and sets its laws. It is unlikely any official change would pass synod but a form of 'accommodation' for gay relationships could be suggested.The Church of England

He is invited by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as an ecumenical guest to the CofE's ruling general synod which meets on Friday in York.

But a group of traditionalists are saying they are placed in an 'invidious' position by the 'entirely wrong' invitation.

In a letter to the Church Times 15 of the 400 plus members of the synod say they are having to consider whether to 'follow our consciences and withdraw'.

Led by Susie Leafe, director of the conservative Anglican grouping Reform, the signatories write: 'In 2016, the Primates of the Anglican Communion made it clear that, though they desired to walk together, the decision to permit same-sex marriages represented "a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces" and "further impair(s) our communion and create(s) a deeper mistrust between us".'

They quote from the Anglican leaders' communiqué, which says: 'This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.'

The signatories add: 'It is, therefore, entirely wrong that the Archbishops have chosen to invite the Bishop of Edinburgh as an honoured guest to our General Synod this week. It has put those who stand with the vast majority of the Anglican Communion in an invidious position on whether they participate fully in the Synod and are thereby seen to endorse the Scottish Episcopal Church's decision, or whether to follow our consciences and withdraw and in so doing be prevented from fulfilling the roles for which we have been elected.'

It comes after the Scottish Episcopal Church permitted gay marriage, prompting the conservative group GAFCON  to appoint a 'missionary' bishop to offer oversight to traditionalist parishes.