Provincial Process regarding issues of Sexuality

December 19, 2014

The following report is intended to mark the ending of the Diocesan Cascade process. The Cascade was designed to allow the province to have discussions on sexuality which could allow as many voices as possible to be heard.

The beginning of the process saw a number of people from this diocese, most who had volunteered to be involved, attend a two day cascade conference at Pitlochry.

Those people plus Rev David Balfour, who had been a group facilitator at the conference and Ms Ruth Jeffries who had been part of the design group agreed to enable the cascade to “flow” over Moray, Ross and Caithness. This was achieved by holding four events across the Diocese, in Dingwall, Lossiemouth, Ullapool and Wick.

At each event the participants were asked to write a reflection on a Post It note, these have been added to the end of this report. My profound thanks goes to Rev David Balfour and the other facilitators who enabled this process to take place.

I myself attended the Pitlochry event and as a member of the College of Bishops, attended a Cascade with my colleagues. I did not attend the diocesan events as I wanted everyone to feel able to comment without wondering what I might think about the comments.

I have also had the opportunity to talk to a number of the young people of our churches, many who simply comment that they couldn’t understand why we saw any of this as an issue, marriage should be for all.

We have now completed our cascade process in Moray, Ross and Caithness, and I pray that the process has informed us all and that those who are out elected members of the Boards, Committees and Synod of our church will reflect upon the generous way that people shared their opinions and consider all of this when asked to make decisions on these matters.

Please therefore pray for the Faith and Order Board and it’s Committees as the debate returns to them and from there to General Synod.

Cascade Comments

Growth of mutual respect and trust. Building of care for each other and compassion

Equality of opportunity



The Society of the Church: Pray for its cohesion at local level- respect for all with whom we have to do.

We would prefer  Integration not multiculturalism as it is divisive not inclusive

Give and Take

Seeing self as power for good

Caring for the Other

I would find it dishonest to have a same-sex marriage in exactly the same format as a man and woman marriage.   Maybe each marriage service, whether same sex or man and woman marriage could be tailored to relate to something each person could honestly aspire to or  realistically achieve.  For the ability to listen

I enjoyed the meeting very much

I think what came out of the meeting was the need for communication and all we talked about came back to this.

Focus on good news.

Respect for difference

For mutual respect;

For openness in learning about each other;

A society in which everyone feels valued and cared for

Networking between different faith s and ages

I feel marriage of 2 persons is the acceptance and acknowledging of the love of two persons.

We are all individuals and what I may find strange others may find perfectly normal - maybe my behaviour is seen as strange by other Christians.

Communication is vital

As Christians I don't think we want to hurt anyone or reject anyone.  To find a compromise to suit such a vast array of people is a mind-blowing task and I really do feel we have to have some freedom for individual expression in order to avoid great upsets to both modern and traditionalist thinking.  I do not envy those who have this responsibility.

Should we strive to do the right thing in love, then I do firmly believe that our Lord will forgive us if we have misinterpreted His intentions for marriage - and I feel sure that what is in our heart will be what is judged. 

The wisdom of Solomon and lots of prayer will be required I'm sure. 

I cannot understand how people can put aside the age old laws of the church for their own gratification.

I pray that our church may show its inclusiveness to all in the love of God.

For the love of God,

In the love of God,

with the love of God

There is no greater hope for love than in the marriage of two people in love.

Marriage is about love and Christians should be allowed to have that love recognised by the church through the sanctity of marriage whether same sex or heterosexual.

Indecision is harming the church we should just vote for it with the proviso that individual vicars/ rectors can opt out.

Let us go forward with the love of Christ and accept each other for who we are just as God made us.

As we seek to follow the will of God may we show His love to our world, our community, our church, our family and ourselves.

What an enriching experience the Cascade process has been; but, how it uncovers the urgency and the need for a decision on this issue.

We need to pray for love, tolerance and grace for ourselves and our Spiritual leaders with this issue that Gods will, will be done.

Let all your congregations embrace people with love and support them in love

Marriage is about two people coming together in love, that love is a sign from God. Also who are we to deny 2 people wanting to unite that love in Gods presence.


There is no right or wrong whatever solution some issues will remain but hopefully we can do it in a way in which love can thrive and be maximised.

Relationships other than “marriage” between a man and a woman will exist. Somehow we need to accommodate these in a non-judgemental fashion within the church.

The way we admitted those who had been divorced – to still be able to celebrate another union and begin a relationship in the eyes of fellow Christians and the world is vital

All loving relationships are part of God’s creation and as such should be welcomed by the body of the church. The sacraments should be available to homosexual couples as much as heterosexual. The interpretation of the bible – its teachings are open to human interpretation a translation which applied many centuries ago. It is time we welcomed homosexual loving relationships and showed our love and Gods love by allowing and offering the sacrament of marriage to them.

Christianity – tolerance must be complete as a result of an understanding as a result of an understanding of genetics ie nature / nurture ie influence if possible of church

I suggest that there be a concerted promotion of education for preaches and teachers in the SEC MR&C to use. New biblical scholarship and theological development which nuances more accurately references which have been used in the past to prohibit, denigrate and shame.

Love is central to everything we do – love and accept. We must move forward with same sex marriage services within the Scottish Episcopal Church otherwise we are barring fellow Christians from receiving one of the sacraments and blessing of God.

Bishop Mark

Christianity embodies inclusivity, therefore should not same sex marriage be part of the Church.

So glad same gender marriage will eventually happen in our churches.

Like how the discussion has been launched.

Know that a number of people will storm out in disgust – which is a great shame and unnecessary.

I would love the Church to lead the way in opposing all discrimination against people for the way they were born. We are all children of God and should be treated equally. That includes marriage.

I feel those of same gender partnering should be welcomed into churches and if desired married.

Of God made us in his own image is it not possible that god is a transsexual, divorced homosexual?

“love thy neighbour..!”

  • That the church will be able to fully live by its claim of an “open and inclusive” church.
  • That we preach and live out the gospel of love and grace.

If the canon is changed will priest still be able to opt out of same gender marriages.

Shame this will take 4 and not 3 years – a long time.

Keep talking only God knows the right way

I think that many people are afraid of change. However the ways in which marriages have changed, would probably horrify people of 100 years ago.

We can’t lag behind best practice – natural justice / equal rights – in civil Scotland for much longer, can we? Let the SEC be open and inclusive, soon, pretty please.

Remember that, whatever the outcome, people will be hurt, as Christians it is perhaps most important that we love one another and do not want to exclude people

Do not lose sight of Biblical teaching – move forward carefully, bring people with you.

Tread carefully!

God is love – love is the defining principle of marriage NOT SEX. Gender doesn’t matter EQUAL MARRIAGE FOR ALL

Interesting discussion.

Changing canons takes too long

Keep talking and listening!

As long as the couple are and will be happy and never forget God

Enlightening and amazing experience. Will 3 more sessions be enough? Good for as many as possible to share this way.

Whilst I have the greatest respect for all people of any “ orientation” I have grave doubts about the advisability of “marriage for all.” I would much rather – on the grounds of natural law – want to look towards a “liturgy of affirmation and commitment” for same gender couples.

Very interesting discussions. Agree over the need to get wording right, eg same gender not sex or equal marriage.

Bigger issue is how to engage young people – I’m 50 and youngest in our congregation!