Scottish Churches in historic joint declaration

Lord Wallace, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, with the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.(Photo: Church of Scotland)

The Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church have signed a historic declaration opening the door to deeper cooperation and more shared ministry.

The Church of Scotland General Assembly, meeting last month, agreed to sign the Saint Andrew Declaration. Now the Scottish Episcopal Church has declared the same intention at its annual meeting, the General Synod. 

For hundreds of years, the two Churches ministered across Scotland as separate bodies but they have in recent years become increasingly close.

While not intended as an organisational merger, the declaration will see the two Churches "explore ways in which we may better work together as partners in ministry and mission, to serve Christ by serving the people of Scotland".

It is hoped that the declaration, which will be formally signed at a later date, will lead to new partnerships in the communities where they both serve, as well as greater collaboration on social, political and ethical issues in public life. 

The Rev Canon John McLuckie, Scottish Episcopal Church, said: "Our two sister churches, forged in the same turbulent history, are invited to work together, united in a common purpose. That work is not an organisational merger, but an organic and creative cooperation in the work of God's mission of love and reconciliation to the world.

"For some, that might mean the sharing of a building, for others sharing pastoral care or regular worshipping together. For many, it may be shared projects like food banks, joint eco-congregation ventures, meditation groups, Messy Church, befriending schemes, bible studies, courses for those new to faith.

"As we are two of the churches that seek to offer ministry to every community in Scotland, we recognise that we have a particular and distinctive commitment to work together to that end."

The Rev Sandy Horsburgh, Church of Scotland, added: "We are seeing more and more clearly that we need one another. We need one another's support and prayers. And out of that need, we find we can be more effective when we work together in our ministry and mission."