Moderator to make history by addressing the General Synod

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison
Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will make history Tuesday, by addressing the General Synod of the Church of England. It is believed to be the first time a serving Moderator has been invited to speak at the Synod, and is certainly the first time in living memory.

The Synod itself is set to create history as it considers the proposed Columba Declaration, which would be the first formal agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England. Dr Morrison will speak to the General Synod on Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 pm.

During their visit to London, Dr Morrison and Mrs Marion Morrison will be staying at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Mrs Caroline Welby.

Dr Morrison said: "I feel it a real honour to be invited as Moderator to address the General Synod. Through the historic Columba Declaration we are proposing to commit ourselves to growing further in communion and to strengthening our partnership in mission.

"By formally recognising the long ecumenical partnership between our churches, I believe we will advance our shared mission of spreading the Christian message of the Gospels.

"We are faced with a significant, and historic,opportunity to affirm one another within the unity of the one church of JesusChrist. The time is ripe for the Church of Scotland to build relationships withthe Church of England, as also with the Scottish Episcopal Church.

"The watchingworld is impressed only when our mission is seen to be a meaningful reflectionof the unity we share in Christ. A significant opportunity for the advance ofthe Gospel now lies before us. I hope and pray that we will grasp it.

"It will be a great pleasure to stay at Lambeth Palace and both Marion and I are looking forward to renewing our relationship with Archbishop Justin and Mrs Welby. I hold Archbishop Justin in the highest esteem both as a person and for his leadership at the Church of England during these very challenging times."

Six years in the making, the Columba Declaration builds on ecumenical work underway for more than a decade. The proposed agreement lays out a path forward for closer cooperation between the two "national" churches. The 15-page Declaration focuses on shared Christian beliefs and emphasises the importance of continuing to nurture relationships with other Christian denominations, especially the Scottish Episcopal Church and the United Reformed Church.

The Bishop of Chester will propose that the Synod accepts the Columba Declaration. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will discuss the proposed agreement in May.