Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church (formerly Episcopal Church in Scotland) is a Christian denomination in Scotland with a long and varied history. A member of the Anglican Communion, it consists of seven dioceses in Scotland. Like all Anglican churches, it recognizes the supremacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Incorporated in 1712, the Scottish Episcopal Church can trace its origins to medieval times. It is a thoroughly Scottish institution and is neither Roman nor English. It did not 'come out' of the Church of England and so is not a Daughter Church in the Anglican communion. For many centuries, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England grew side by side, although not always amicably. Also, the American Episcopal Church (Anglican) 'came out' of the Scottish Episcopal Church rather than the Church of England! (see below).

Early Origin
About 563AD St Columba travelled from Ireland to Scotland with twelve companions, landing on the Kintyre peninsula. From there St Columba and his party moved further north up the west coast to the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland which became the centre of his evangelising mission to the Picts. Establishing a church and monastry here, Iona was the only centre of learning and literacy in the region. St Columba's reputation as a holy man led to him becoming a diplomat among the tribes; there are also a number of stories of miracles which he performed during his work to convert the Picts. He won the local tribal king's respect and subsequently played a major role in the politics of the country. The evangelical work continued: several churches in the Hebrides were planted and the monastery at Iona opened a school for missionaries. He was a renowned man of letters, having written several hymns and being credited with having transcribed 300 books personally. He died at and is buried in the abbey at Iona which he established. The church in Scotland continued to grow in the following cenutries, and in the 11th century, St Margaret would strengthen the church's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, which would last 400 or so years.


Reformation
The Reformation in Scotland happened around 1560. From then, the church in Scotland broke with Rome, in a process of Protestant reform led by, among others, John Knox. It reformed its doctrines and government, drawing on the principles of John Calvin which Knox had been exposed to while living in Switzerland. At this time the Scottish Parliament abolished papal jurisdiction approving instead Calvin's Confession of Faith. However, they did not accept many of the principles laid out in Knox's First Book of Discipline. One area of disagreement was that all the assets of the old church should pass to the new. The 1560 Reformation Settlement Act was not ratified by the crown until 12 years later. The form of church government also remained unresolved. In 1572 the acts of 1560 were finally approved by King James VI (who would also become King James I of England: he wore both crowns), but the Concordat of Leith allowed the crown to appoint bishops with the church's approval. John Knox was unclear on the office of bishop: whilst not seeking to dissolve the bishopric, he preferred to see them renamed as 'superintendents'. The new Concordat of Leith was resented amongst some and a Presbyterian party emerged led by Andrew Melville, who wrote the church's Second Book of Discipline. The Scottish Episcopal Church became a seperate entity in 1582 when the Church of Scotland rejected episcopal government (by bishops), and adopted full presbyterian government (by elders) and reformed theology. Scottish monarchs made repeated efforts to retain bishops, and two church traditions began.


Episcopal structure endures
In 1584 King James VI of Scotland (he was not yet King of England) had the Parliament of Scotland pass the Black Acts bringing the Kirk under royal control with two bishops. This met with fierce opposition and he was forced to concede that the General Assembly continue to run the church. Calvinists reacted against the formal liturgy and Episcopalian structure. After acceding to the English throne in 1603 King James wound up the General Assembly. He then increased the number of Scottish Bishops and in 1618 held a meeting which he called a General Assembly and pushed through Five Articles of Episcopalian practices which were widely hated and hence boycotted. King Jame's son, Charles I was crowned in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, in 1633 with full Anglican rites. Charles attempted to introduce a Scottish version of the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer in 1637, written by Archishop Laud (which drew from the first of Thomas Cranmer's reformation books and was very likely to offend the Calvinistic Scots). When this was used in the King's presence in St. Giles, Edinburgh, it set off a revolt which led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Bishops Wars and led to the English Civil War.

When the Scottish bishops refused to recognize William III in 1689, presbyterianism was re-established in the Church of Scotland. However, the Comprehension Act of 1690 allowed episcopalian clergy to take an Oath of Allegiance and to retain their benefices, but excluded them from any share in the government of the Church of Scotland (unless they renounced the episcopy and made a declaration of presbyterian principles). Many 'non-jurors' as these episcopal clergy were called succeeded for a time in retaining the use of the parish churches.

The excluded bishops were slow to organize the episcopalian remnant to be a church independent of the state. They regarded the arrangements as temporary, hoping in future a reconstituted national episcopal Church under a 'legitimate' sovereign would be recognised (note: look up Jacobitism). Several collegiate bishops, known as prelates, were consecrated without sees (that is in this case without having oversight of a diocese), to preserve the succession (see Apostolic Succession). Eventually, they recognised that the Stuart cause would not succeed; moreover, the number of congregations forming outside of the established church forced the bishops to accept canonical jurisdiction seperate from royal prerogative and they reconstituted themselves into a territorial episcopate. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer came into general use at start of William and Mary's reign. A book called the Scottish Communion Office, compiled by the Scottish episcopalians, and based on primitive models, had varying degrees of authority.


At the formation of the United Kingdom
When Charles Stuart died things became better for the Church. In 1712 Queen Anne passed an act that protected the Episcopal Communion, which at a stroke incorporated it as a distinct society. Remember that the presbyterian Scottish church, which was seen by many as the 'proper' church was also very active at this time. Matters were further complicated by a considerable, although declining, number of episcopalian clergy holding the parish churches. Moreover, the Jacobite tendancies of the episcopalians provoked a state policy of repression in 1715 and again in 1745. This fostered the growth of congregations which looked to the Hanoverian theologians, and led by clergy episcopally ordained but answerable to no bishop, who qualified themselves under this act of 1712. This act was further modified in 1746 and 1748 to exclude clergymen ordained in Scotland. This caused the reduction of the Episcopalians, who at the Revolution included a large section of the population, to today a small but significant minority. The official recognition of George III on the death of Charles Edward Stuart in 1788, removed many obstacles. The qualified congregations were gradually absorbed, though traces of this ecclesiastical solecism may still be traced. In 1792 the penal laws were repealed, but clerical disabilities were only finally removed in 1864. In 1784 Samuel Seabury, the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church, was consecrated at Aberdeen. Seabury had been refused consecration by the Church of England.

A Theological College was founded in 1810, incorporated with Trinity College, Glenalmond, in 1848, and re-established at Edinburgh in 1876. Theological training is now provided by the various dioceses and is supervised by the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church in Scotland as it was then called comprised of 356 congregations, with a total membership of 124,335 and 324 working clergy in 1900. Membership did not grow in the following decades as was hoped. In 1995, the Scottish Episcopal Church embarked on a process known as Mission 21. This is a renewal plan with a missionary emphasis within the congregations of the church throughout Scotland. This is called 'Making Your Church More Inviting', a program which has now been adopted by many congregations. Mission 21 also reaches out to new populations which have previously not had contact with the church,  and as part of this changing patterns of ministry have been embraced.

Leadership
The Primus, styled The Most Revd the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is the elected presiding bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church. 
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has the following duties:

to preside at all Provincial Liturgical Functions to preside at all meetings of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to preside at all meetings of the Episcopal Synod to declare and carry out the resolutions of the General Synod, the Episcopal Synod and the College of Bishops to represent the Scottish Episcopal Church in its relation to all other Churches of the Anglican Communion and other Communions to perform the functions and duties of Primus as specified in the Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church to correspond on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church with Primates, Metropolitans and the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Primus does not have any metropolitan jurisdiction, metropolitan responsibilities are held by the diocesan bishops instead. The last leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church who was Primate and Metropolitan was Archbishop Ross of St Andrews (died 1704).


Bishops
Unlike the Church of England, the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church are elected. The election procedure involves clergy and lay representatives of the vacant diocese voting at an Electoral Synod.  Each diocese (except Edinburgh, which was founded by Charles I) is a pre-Reformation see. While no existing ministry can claim regular historic continuity with the ancient hierarchy of Scotland, the bishops of the Episcopal Church are direct successors of the prelates consecrated to Scottish sees at the Restoration.


Representative bodies
The College of Bishops constitutes the episcopal synod, the church's supreme court of appeal. This synod elects from among its own members a presiding Bishop who has the title of Primus (from the Latin: Primus inter pares — 'First among equals'). The Primus has the style but not the functions of a metropolitan. The Primus is addressed Most Reverend, while the other bishops are addressed Right Reverend.

The church is governed by the General Synod. This consists of the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. The General Synod makes canon (church) law, administers finance and monitors the work of the boards and committees of the Church. Most decisions are arrived at by a simple majority of members of the General Synod voting together. More complex legislation, such as changes to the Code of Canons requires each of the Houses to agree and to vote in favour with a two-thirds majority.

Each diocese has its synod of the clergy and laity. Its dean (similar to an archdeacon in the Church of England) is appointed by the bishop, and, on the voidance of the see, summons the diocesan synod, at the instance of the primus, to choose a bishop. Each diocese has one or more (some dioceses are united) cathedrals. The senior priest of a Scottish Episcopal cathedral is styled 'provost' (as the title of 'dean' is given to the senior priest of the diocese as a whole, see above). The only exception is the Cathedral of the Isles on the island of Cumbrae which is led by a member of the clergy styled as 'precentor'. Diocesan deans and cathedral provosts (and precentor) are addressed as Very Reverend.

The Scottish Episcopal Church embraces the episcopal orders of ministry: deacon, priest and bishop. Interestingly, given the history of the Episcopal and the Presbyterian churches of the Scottish, see above, their priests are also called 'presbyters'. This term is used in other episcopal churches; it is interesting here because the disagreements over episcopal or presbyerian incumbents in the parishes of Scotland in the 17th century.

Liturgy
In addition to the Book of Common Prayer and the Scottish Prayer Book of 1929, the church has a number of other liturgies available to it. In recent years, revised Funeral Rites have appeared, along with liturgies for Christian Initiation (e.g. Baptism and Affirmation) and Marriage. The Eucharistic rite of 1982 includes Eucharistic prayers for the various seasons in the Liturgical Year and is commonly known as "The Blue Book" - because of the colour of its covers. A further Eucharistic prayer is provided in the Marriage liturgy.


Doctrine and practice
The Scottish Episcopal Church is Anglican and follows Anglican doctrine
The central teaching of the Scottish Episcopal Church is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, includes:

Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He died and was resurrected from the dead.
Jesus provides the way of eternal life for those who believe.
The Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written by people "under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit". The Apocrypha are additional books that are used in Christian worship, but not for the formation of doctrine.
The two great and necessary sacraments are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist
Other sacramental rites are confirmation, ordination, marriage, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.
Belief in heaven, hell, and Jesus's return in glory.
The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. This balance of scripture, tradition and reason is traced to the work of Richard Hooker, a sixteenth century apologist. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine and things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.


Social Policy
The Scottish Episcopal Church has been involved in Scottish politics and at the centre of Scottish politics for all of its history! The Church is an opponent of nuclear weaponry. It supported devolution: it was one of the parties involved in the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which resulted in the setting up of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. The Church actively supports the work of the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office in Edinburgh and the Society, Religion and Technology Project. In some areas, such as human sexuality, the church has struggled. All orders of ministry are open to both male and female candidates but as yet, no women have been elected to the Episcopate and thus there are no bishops who are women. Debate continues in the church over the presence of lesbian and gay church members.


Like many other Anglican churches, the Scottish Episcopal Church has entered into full communion with the Old Catholics. The Scottish Episcopal Church is also a member of the Porvoo Communion and is a member of several ecumenical bodies, including Action of Churches Together in Scotland and the World Council of Churches.

Links
Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church - Skye
Glasgow & Galloway Diocese
Iona Abbey (Historic Scotland site)