The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has urged evangelical congregations within the Church of Scotland not to “walk away” over the ordination of gay ministers
Speaking on the eve of a visit to Scotland as the new chairman of Christian Aid, Williams said he understood some congregations might threaten to break away if the Kirk’s General Assembly votes to allow the ordination of gay ministers later this month, but warned against such a divisive move.
“The impulse to walk away, while deeply understandable, is not a very constructive one,” he said. “The things which bind Christians together are almost always more profound and significant for themselves and the world than the things that divide them. When you do walk away from other Christians you are in effect saying well, either I can do without you or I’ve got nothing to learn from you. That can’t be good for us. You may disagree, you may think somebody else is tacitly perverse, but you might want to hang in there with them.”
Williams’ remarks come after Scotland on Sunday revealed that up to 50 congregations could leave the Church of Scotland if the vote in favour of ordinating openly gay ministers is passed. Two congregations and a number of ministers have already left over the issue, which they believe goes against biblical teachings.
Although he said it would be “inappropriate to comment on a sister church with its own issues”, Williams said the church community was part of a wider family and there was a case for keeping it together.