The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has responded sharply to an open letter opposing the Rev. Canon Anne Dyer’s appointment as the next Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.

Canon Dyer’s consecration is scheduled for March 1. She was selected by an Episcopal Synod after the diocese twice failed to select a bishop.

The Most Rev. Mark Strange said he deplores the publication of the open letter, writing on behalf of the College of Bishops: “we are dismayed at the invidious position in which it places Canon Dyer as the Bishop-elect of the diocese.”

The open letter, signed by 18 clergy and lay leaders, said that Dyer’s appointment “directly goes against the established wishes of the Diocese on the views it would hope that our new Bishop would hold, and minister to us from the perspective of them.”

“Our protest is not in any way personally directed at Canon Anne and should not be construed in that way,” the leaders added, asking that their concerns about the process be “discussed at the next General Synod as the action of the bishops in our case have caused unnecessary anguish and distress in a Diocese which had been largely united in its hopes and aspirations for the years ahead.”

The primus said the process was “entirely in accordance with the procedure set out by Canon 4.” He said the diocese went through “two complete processes under which it had full opportunity to elect a bishop” and was “unable to produce a shortlist of the required minimum of three candidates.”

“There is no provision in Canon 4 for election by the Episcopal Synod to be subject to any subsequent vote on the part of the Diocese,” he added. “To introduce such a vote would be at odds with the canonical procedure.”

He said that it was “not open to the bishops” to alter the procedures of the canon, which had been adopted by General Synod following consultation with dioceses.

“The election of Canon Dyer followed a period of deep prayer and reflection on the part of the bishops,” he said. “Whilst it would not be appropriate to disclose the internal discussions which took place among the bishops, suffice it to say, that the bishops fully believe and trust that they have been led by the Holy Spirit in their election of Canon Dyer. She too shares that conviction and looks forward to becoming the new Diocesan Bishop in response to God’s call. The bishops know her to be a person who will seek, under God, to enable the diocese to move forward in its mission and ministry and in service to the people of Aberdeen and Orkney.”

Adapted from ACNS

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