In the light of our common mission and context (chapter 1), our agreement in faith (chapter 2) and our significant opportunities for growing in partnership in mission (chapter 3), we recommend that our churches make the following Declaration.
We, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England, make the following acknowledgements and commitments, which are interrelated.
(i) We acknowledge one another’s churches as churches belonging to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God.
(ii) We acknowledge that in both our churches the word of God is truly preached, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion are rightly administered.
(iii) We acknowledge that both our churches share in the common confession of the apostolic faith.
(iv) We acknowledge that one another’s ordained ministries of word and sacraments are given by God as instruments of grace and we look forward to a time when growth in communion can be expressed in fuller unity that makes possible the interchangeability of ministers.
(v) We acknowledge that personal, collegial and communal oversight (episkope) is embodied and exercised in our churches in a variety of forms, as a visible sign expressing and serving the Church’s unity and continuity in apostolic life, mission and ministry.
We commit ourselves to grow together in communion and to strengthen our partnership in mission. Through this commitment, we hope to enrich our continuing relationships with other churches in the United Kingdom and around the world. We will welcome opportunities to draw other churches into the activities and initiatives that we share.
As part of that commitment, we will continue to:
(i) pray for and with one another;
(ii) welcome one another’s members to each other’s worship as guests and receive one another’s members into the congregational life of each other’s churches where that is their desire;
(iii) explore opportunities for congregational partnership, formal as well as informal, in those cases where there are churches in close geographical proximity;
(iv) enable ordained ministers from one of our churches to exercise ministry in the other church, in accordance with the discipline of each church;
(vi) identify theological issues that arise from growth towards fuller communion and be prepared to allocate resources to addressing them;
(vii) work together on social, political and ethical issues that arise from our participation in public life and be prepared to allocate resources to joint initiatives for addressing them.
In order to assist our churches in living out the acknowledgements and commitments of the Columba Declaration, we will appoint Co-Chairs and members of a Church of Scotland – Church of England Contact Group, whose purpose will be to coordinate the different activities that make up our rich relationship and develop new initiatives where these may be needed. The Contact Group will meet at least annually and will report annually to the Council for Christian Unity in the Church of England and the Committee on Ecumenical Relations in the Church of Scotland.