Ordination and presiding at Holy Communion: three of the papers given at the 2019 Study Day, hosted by the Church Service Society and the Scottish Church Society

Ian Paton

The Rt Revd Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, one of four speakers at the Study Day of 2019 to respond to a recent report to the General Assembly exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion,  approached the matter from the perspective of the Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church, where the local church is the diocese and all Eucharists are presided over by the bishop or, in his absence, by presbyters. The Eucharist forms the church but it also is a sign of the Kingdom and justice for the poor and the oppressed. It is the norm for worship and has come to be celebrated every Sunday. However, his Church too suffers from a lack of presbyters. The paper discusses three possible solutions being posited in different parts of the Anglican Communion: 1. extended Communion where the consecrated elements are taken to a place to be distributed by an authorised lay person – which is reception of Communion rather than the celebration of the Eucharist; 2. lay presidency, arising from a belief in the ‘priesthood of all believers’; 3. more ordinands, including Local Collaborative Ministries; 4. seeing the Eucharist as an action of the whole church, with the people of God as celebrants, with a priest but also others with roles in the leadership. The paper discusses these and concludes with some observations about modes of mutual acceptance between the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Volume 54 2019, p27