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Rector writes We should be approaching our summer break with a mixture of anticipation and relief that we can enjoy a period of rest and recuperation. Unfortunately, the start of summer has been blighted by the plethora of terror attacks in Manchester and London and the apocalyptic destruction of the London tower block. The fire most certainly cannot claim for itself the euphemism of an “act of God”. The story emerging is one of greed, cost-cutting and a blatant disregard for best practice. Equally, let’s not forget the massive uncertainty that is now the daily diet of the nation following the recent general election and the start of the Brexit negotiations. Can any of you ever recall (war apart) such a sense of unease and pessimism in the mood of the country? It is well known that at times of such stress people turn to the Church for a sense of calm and continuity. I am not sure we can offer utter tranquillity and a turbulence-free zone. The recent decision by General Synod to alter the Canon regarding marriage opens us, at least on the international front, to attack and rejection. It may not matter to you at a local level what the Anglican Communion thinks of the Scottish Episcopal Church but it must at the least be a matter of regret that the Communion would see fit to “punish” us for breaking the discipline understood on the question of marriage by the rest of the Communion throughout the world. To add to the complication our current Primus, Bishop David Chillingworth, demits office for all practical purposes at the beginning of July. The College of Bishops has the task of deciding which of the remaining bishops is to fill that role of Primus. For historical reasons the SEC has been uncomfortable with the notion of having an Archbishop, unlike the Church of England which has two, and has lived with the notion of the Primus being the first amongst equals. The difficulty is that in a fast-moving media-savvy world, the press and internet are not interested in moving at the pace of the College of Bishops consulting in a very collegiate way on every important topic. No, on the contrary, instant news demand instant access and thus the pressure on the new Primus will be considerable as he leads the College in untangling all the unintended consequences that may flow from the decision now made. On top of that, the Primus will have to fight the good fight on the international front as he represents us to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Let’s not forget our ecumenical relationships which must now be impaired given the very clear positions held by the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Presbyterian churches. Accordingly, the new Primus is entitled to your prayers and support. This is the most crucial time in our post-war history when the vice of “congregationalism” must be crushed in favour of clear support for the episcopal nature of our Church. Let our Bishops lead and let us trust them. Make no mistake, there are forces that wish to dismantle us piece by piece. Where you stand on the topic, pro or contra, is a red herring. The true issue is whether we can remain in communion with each other and hold in tension the fact, as the amended Canon says, that there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage. Shortly after the vote, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which represents conservative Anglicans worldwide, named a “missionary bishop” for Scotland, Canon Andy Lines, to “serve the needs of those who oppose gay marriage.” Such a thing is a Canonical abomination. Such a thing is an act of schism. You cannot be a member of Diocese X and its Bishop and at the same time take direction from “Bishop” Andy Lines. I sincerely hope that our College of Bishops will have the courage to ban the man from operating in any of our seven dioceses. Of course, no person can be prevented from leaving one of our Scottish parishes (or a whole parish leaving for that matter) if that is what they desire but they need to understand that they will be no longer Scottish Episcopalians. God knows, we are small enough as a Province but in that lack of size lies our strength for as a family we can stand in solidarity to proclaim that what we hold infinitely more in the shared love of being a Pisky than what divides us.  Paul   
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