ANGLICAN leaders have sanctioned the Scottish Episcopal Church at a meeting in Canterbury over its move to allow same-sex marriages.

It means the Scottish Church will join the US Episcopal Church in being barred by Anglican primates from taking part in certain votes and decision-making processes in the Anglican Communion.

HeraldScotland: Most Rev Mark Strange

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Episcopal Church said its Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, pictured above, was asked to "explain the process undertaken by the Scottish Episcopal Church in its move".

He said he would do all he could to "rebuild relationships" but added: "Love means Love".

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The Church said he explained that the process had included "much prayer, theological debate, open and, at times, very personal testimony" that involved "the voice of the youth in the Church, the sharing of powerful words and stories from elderly members and hearing representation from those who hold a traditional understanding of marriage, those who see marriage as including same gender couples and those who have encountered exclusion in declaring their love".

HeraldScotland: Most Rev Justin Welby

The head of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, pictured above, and he has come under pressure from bishops in Africa and Asia over the issue.

Read more: Couple marry in first same-sex Anglican wedding in a UK church

Those bishops are growing in influence and have formed an organisation, Gafcon, which is directly challenging the more liberal Anglicans.

In January last year, the communion sanctioned the US Episcopal Church when it decided to allow same-sex marriage in church.

It is unclear yet if the Scottish church will be excluded from the next Lambeth Conference, the once-in-a-decade gathering, in 2020, or the next meeting of Anglican primates in 2019.

HeraldScotland: Canterbury Cathedral

Above: Canterbury Cathedral

The Primus also said that the nature of decision reached by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in June can allow those of different views to continue to “walk together”.

Read more: Couple marry in first same-sex Anglican wedding in a UK church

It recognises that there are "different understandings of marriage and that no member of clergy is compelled to conduct any marriage against their conscience".

Only those clergy who wish to solemnise marriages of same gender couples will be nominated to the civil authorities for authorisation to do so.

Read more: Couple marry in first same-sex Anglican wedding in a UK church

The Most Rev Strange said: "In June the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to change its canon on marriage.

"This decision was ours to take as a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion.

“However, I recognise that this decision is one that has caused some hurt and anger in parts of the Anglican Communion and that the decision taken at the last primates’ meeting, which was to exclude our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church from debate on Doctrine and from Chairing Anglican Communion Committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us.

Read more: Couple marry in first same-sex Anglican wedding in a UK church

"We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love.”


The leaders of most of the 39 provinces of the Anglican Communion were due to take part in the primates’ meeting, which takes place at Canterbury Cathedral, know as the Mother Church of the Communion.