The congregation of St Silas’ church in Glasgow’s Woodlands area yesterday celebrated its first Sunday outside the Scottish Episcopal Church, with Bishop Andy Lines attending all three of the day’s services of worship.
St Silas’ rector, Rev Martin Ayers, confirmed in a message to congregation members: “As we made clear earlier this year, we are accepting the alternative oversight offered to us by the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon). This follows our members’ vote in June, at which 86% of our members approved this course of action. Andy Lines is Gafcon’s missionary bishop for Europe, and through him we are re-connecting with many faithful brothers and sisters who represent the large majority of Anglicans worldwide.”
Mr Ayers stressed a hope for unity in the church family. “Many of us are particularly conscious of the individuals who voted to remain in the Scottish Episcopal Church,” he said. “I certainly hope and pray that you will feel … reassured of our deeply held desire that you continue with us as we move forward. We also want to continue to pray that we are a church that welcomes everyone warmly.”
And he confirmed: “In one sense, very little will change for us at St Silas. Our vision as a church remains the same, to Reach, Grow and Send.
“In one sense the background to leaving the Scottish Episcopal Church is profoundly sad – that this move was necessary. However, it is also very encouraging that we as a church have been able to take a stand together for the authority of God’s word.”