The Most Rev Dr Idris Jones has stood down from formal ecumenical engagement following his retiral as Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Bishop Idris

Bishop Idris

In a farewell letter, Bishop Idris told GCT members: “It has always been a real pleasure to come together with friends and colleagues in the Glasgow Churches on any occasion when this has been possible. There is no doubt that the present climate of acceptance and respect is better than it ever has been, and I shall miss the opportunity for the wide fellowship that this gives.”

The Bishop expressed his regret at the slow progress towards unity. “For many of us who have been praying and working for deeper community there is a sense of some disappointment that things have not moved on more than they have,” he said.

“In some respects we are no further forward structurally than the churches were in 1948,” he added, referring to the year in which the World Council of Churches was established.

But Dr Jones was heartened by grassroots activity. “There have been significant points of contact, and if we are not as ‘churches’ getting closer then our congregations are doing so, and it is this local partnership in the gospel that is giving cause for hope in the ecumenical world.

“It must still be the prayer of the church for real and physical unity, since it is this that Our Lord prayed for.”