Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican Communion, formed in the 17th century after the national Church of Scotland adopted presbyterian government and reformed theology. The two names distinguish their organizational structures: the Presbyterian Church is ruled by elected Elders (Greek, presbyteroi) while the Scottish Episcopal Church is led by bishops (Greek, episcopoi, literally translated "overseer").
Unlike the Church of England, the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church are elected. The election procedure involves the clergy and lay representatives of the vacant diocese voting at an Electoral Synod.
It enabled the creation of the Episcopal Church in the United States after the American Revolution.
The Scottish Episcopal Church embraces three orders of ministry: Deacon, Priest and Bishop. Increasingly, an emphasis is being placed on these orders working collaboratively within the wider ministry of the whole people of God.
The Church elects from among its Bishops a presiding Bishop who has the title of Primus (the title originates from the Latin phrase 'Primus inter pares' - 'First among equals'). The church is governed by the General Synod. This consists of the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. Most decisions are arrived at by a simple majority of members of the General Synod voting together. More complex legislation, such as changes to the Code of Canons requires each of the Houses to agree and to vote in favour by a two thirds majority.
All orders of ministry are open to both male and female candidates. As yet, no women have been elected to the Episcopate and thus there are no bishops who are women. Debate continues in the church as to the propriety of fully affirming the presence of lesbian and gay church members.
In 1995, the Scottish Episcopal Church began working through a process known as Mission 21. The Rev Canon Alice Mann of the Alban Institute was invited to begin developing a missionary emphasis within the congregations of the church throughout Scotland. This led to the development of the Making Your Church More Inviting programme which has now been completed by many congregations. In addition to working on making churches more inviting, Mission 21 emphasises reaching out to new populations which have previously not been contacted by the church. As Mission 21 has developed, changing patterns of ministry have become part of its remit.
In addition to the Scottish Prayer Book 1929, the church has a number of other liturgies available to it. In recent years, revised Funeral Rites have appeared, along with liturgies for Christian Initiation (eg Baptism and Affirmation) and Marriage. The modern Eucharistic rite (1982) includes Eucharistic prayers for the various seasons in the Liturgical Year and is commonly known as "The Blue Book" - a reference to the colour of its covers.
A distinctive feature of the Scottish communion rites is the retention of the Epiclesis - an invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and the wine.
- Hear us, most merciful Father, and send down your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, that overshadowed by his life-giving power, they may be the Body and Blood of your Son, and we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Dioceses & Bishops
There are seven dioceses in the Scottish Episcopal Church; these are
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