Scottish Anglicans to face 'consequences' for allowing gay marriage
The Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to face 'consequences' from fellow Anglicans for its decision to allow gay marriage.
Senior figures from around the worldwide Anglican Communion, including from the largely conservative global south, will meet in Canterbury next week and are expected to impose restrictions on the SEC after the vote permitting same-sex weddings last June.
At the last meeting of global Anglican primates in January 2016 The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US was handed the same 'consequences' after they permitted same-sex couples to marry.
Church figures at the time stressed they did not amount to sanctions or a punishment but meant representatives from TEC could not represent the 80-million strong Anglican Communion on formal bodies or vote on decisions related to policy or teaching.
It is thought to be a formality that SEC will face the same consequences although conservative bishops from Africa may push for harsher penalties after being dissatisfied at the level of punishment given to American Anglicans.
The traditionalist pressure group GAFCON is deeply frustrated at what it sees as increasing tolerance to liberal views on sexuality within the Church and three primates have decided to boycott the meeting in protest.
They say the 'consequences' were not properly implemented and representatives from the US were allowed to vote on decisions later the same year despite the ban – a claim Anglican officials deny strongly.
'While we desire to walk together, until there is true repentance, the reality is that they [TEC] are deliberately walking away from the Anglican Communion and the authority of Scripture at a distance that continues to increase,' a statement from GAFCON explaining the decision read.
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Most Rev Mark Strange, said these were 'important days in the life of the Anglican Communion' and asked for prayer ahead of the meeting.
'I am looking forward to attending the meeting in Canterbury and in engaging with the other primates in a broad discussion on matters that concern us all,' he said.
A spokeswoman from the Scottish Episcopal Church said declined to comment on speculation over whether Scottish bishops would face consequences.
As well as addressing deep divisions over sexuality, the 34 primates representing 33 of the 39 Anglican provinces will discuss religious persecution and climate change with primates arriving from South Sudan, where half the population have fled to refugee camps, and Polynesia which could be under water within decades if rising water levels are not halted.