Scottish Episcopal Church defends decision to ordain first female bishop

The Scottish Episcopal Church has spoken up about its decision to consecrate Canon Anne Dyer as the new Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney in March, as it said those who questioned the move were attempting to "subvert" its processes.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Chris Downer (cc-by-sa/2.0) / Andrew's Cathedral Situated in King Street a short distance from the Mercat Cross. 21 October 2007.

Soon to be the first female bishop in Scotland, Canon Dyer is set to be ordained during a service at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Aberdeen this March. The Church's decision has sparked opposition from a group inside the diocese which wrote an open letter urging Dyer to consider turning down the position, the BBC News detailed.

In Aberdeen and Orkney, priests have threatened to resign over Dyer's appointment. They described the move as "divisive" and "disrespectful" since it "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," The Guardian relayed.

However, the Scottish Episcopal Church's primus came to Dyer's defense and said he believes the latter is the right person to be consecrated as the new Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney. Mark Strange, the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, wrote a response and called on the diocese to be united in welcoming Dyer as their new bishop.

Dyer was appointed by the college of bishops after the diocese failed two times to come up with a shortlist of three qualified candidates for the position. However, 18 clergy and lay members objected to the decision and have asked to be granted the right to vote on her appointment.

"This disagreement is not with Anne Dyer personally but the way the bishops made the appointment," John Walker, the rector of the Donside churches group, told the Guardian. "The bishops said they would respect the conservative nature of our diocese."

Canon Dyer is known to support same-sex marriage, and even officiated one such ceremony in October last year. The Scottish Church had already accepted gay marriage last summer, but the diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney was the only one in Scotland that went against the historic move.