BY Ryan McDougall | April 16 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Our differences don’t stop us from being good friends, archbishop tells Christians

The Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh has highlighted how historic differences between Christian denominations can not stop them from working together as good friends and to promote unity.

“Like everyone else, I can’t think of any moment in my lifetime—or any point in world history—when we found ourselves in such a crisis,” the archbishop wrote in the Scottish Review.

“No doubt the world has in fact faced crises like the present one, but no-one could see them the way we can today. Someone somewhere said a few years ago that the 21st century would start the Information Age. Due to that connectedness, this is the generation that can see for the first time how quickly a serious virus can spread, take precautions, and learn lessons from other countries, all in real time.”

Christian unity

In light of the viral pandemic, the archbishop said that people of different faiths are now working closely together in unity.

He said: “In these strange times, I find myself working in new ways, and quite closely, with the leaders of the churches, and in particular with those of the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Church.

“When I returned in 2013 to Scotland after 20 years working abroad, I found how much the Christian communities of the country, those who practice their faith, had become a lot friendlier and a lot closer.

“To cite just one example, I am invited annually to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and I am welcomed at everything I attend with the utmost cordiality.


“There is genuine friendship there, it’s mutual, and I believe it’s growing. In fact, we have been friends for more than a generation.”

He said the present crisis has seen friendship between faith communities has made it easier in becoming a ‘single voice—one compact Christian voice if you will—in the land: Our differences have have a lot of historical momentum behind them, but they no longer stop us being good friends.’

He continued: “In these days, the member churches of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) are in the process of taking ecumenical dialogue in our country towards a new and more flexible chapter, in the shape of a forum, unsurprisingly entitled the Scottish Christian Forum (SCF).

“The intention is to find a new and more flexible place to discuss the concerns held in common by all Christians in Scotland. The political will to move ahead with this was already there before COVID-19, but even though the ink isn’t yet dry on the shape of the SCF, we’re already talking to each other regularly and we’re already working much more closely.

Sisters and brothers

“We’re not trying to pretend away our differences; what we’re doing instead is recognising each other as sisters and brothers in the Lord and, as such, as friends of particular value.

“A small example of that was last weekend. Working with the Moderator was a pleasure, but it was also a natural thing to do, as it was simply one more small moment in a year of many moments of friendship.

“I for one look forward to seeing friendships like that multiply and grow with all my sisters and brothers in our Scots Christian world.”

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