Gay marriage in Scottish Episcopal Church: GAFCON announces 'missionary bishop' as split looms

Conservative Anglicans have announced a controversial 'missionary bishop' to provide oversight for parishes unable to accept the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to accept gay marriage.

The landmark vote, passed by a two-thirds majority across all three parts of the SEC synod, sets it at odds with most Anglicans around the world.

For a full report on result, click here.


Within minutes of the vote, the conservative grouping GAFCON announced Canon Andy Lines as a 'missionary bishop' to oversee traditionalist parishes who want to defect from the official Scottish Anglican church.

Canon Lines' appointment, revealed by Christian Today on Wednesday, effectively sets up a potential split with parishes given the option to stay under the episcopal authority of the SEC or look instead to GAFCON's alternative Anglican structure.

He told Christian Today the decision was just not in reaction to the Scottish Church's move but in response to the trajectory of UK Anglican Churches including the Church of England.

'We have stuck to what Anglicans have always believed and it's others who are walking away from us,' he said.

Watch him speaking to Christian Today's Harry Farley: 

Archbishop Foley Beach, a GAFCON primate, denied the move was 'provocative' and said there was 'serious disagreement' over gay marriage.

'The churches here in Europe – so many of them have left the faith, or they're not practising or they are not reaching people with the gospel,' he told Christian Today.

'We are in the midst of a new Reformation, calling people back to the teaching of the Bible and what Christianity is all about.'

Watch him speaking to Christian Today's Harry Farley:

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, declined to comment on GAFCON's appointment but admitted the vote 'puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman'.

'This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage,' he said.

He added the consequences for the Scottish Episcopal Church will be decided when the worldwide Anglican leaders meet in October.

A spokesperson for the Church of England responded by saying the CofE's teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman remains unchanged but admitted there was 'real and profound disagreement' on the issue.

'We are seeking to find ways forward rooted in scripture and the Christian faith as we have received it and which values everyone, without exception, not as a "problem" or an "issue", but as a person loved and made in the image of God.'

The Primus of SEC said it was a 'difficult' decision to make and admitted there would be 'consequences' for the decision. 

Watch him speaking to Christian Today's Harry Farley: