First woman bishop?

At this very moment the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway are electing their new bishop. There are three shortlisted candidates: Alison Peden, Gregor Duncan and John Applegate.

All morning the BBC has been broadcasting the fact that we may have our first woman bishop.  It is always good for the SEC to get a bit of publicity.  What surprised me, however, is that they got some bloke from England to comment on the woman bishop thing.  They haven’t even got their act together yet so why comment on us?

Water, water everywhere

Glorious Sunday, if a little wet.  No, not the weather but the content of the service.  First of all we had Bishop Brian to bless the new Wyvern organ – and Andrew the organist as it happened. There was water everywhere! Thereafter we had some great hymns and some rather nifty footwork for the last hymn’s last verse (O praise ye the Lord!).

Then we had the baptism of baby Callum which was a glorious event for family,  friends and congregation who are so fond of D & K.  Callum was not too chuffed about hanging upside down over the water, but that may have been because there was a shark bobbing about in the water. (You had to be there.)

You know, it was just such a great service and why weren’t you there? You missed a great gig. It is always good to have the Bishop in attendance and yesterday was no different. He is so cool.

Then later on I ventured up the hill to the Robin Chapel to preach at Evensong. Forgot that it was Evensnog so missed a chance to wear choir dress and my academic hood. That’s the one with a bit of fluff on it, as one young server once pointed out. (The ‘fluff’ being fake ermine.) And one of my little flock came along to swell the ranks which was lovely and I felt very supported.

It has been a busy old weekend full to the brim of church and my To Do List is piling up with things that have been shoved aside.  So I promise to get on with them now.

A week of reflecting

It has been a busy old week. One of those weeks when you work from 8am to 8pm or later most days but achieve lots.

On Wednesday I had my Ministerial Review with the Bishop and it was really good. The preparation took a couple of days last week spending time reflecting on my ministry, my strengths and weaknesses, the time spent with family, friends and the job I love, where I am now and where I want to be, and more. +Brian was good at digging into the bits that needed more investigation and incredibly supportive. I came away feeling very affirmed which was good. And with some thoughts to ponder on personal development.

On Friday I spent the day on the Crisis in Ministry course looking at working with the elderly. We had to bring along an ‘issue’ to share and I had a list. Mostly it is to do with people who are not managing in their own homes and it is clear to me that they need help but frustration that as we are not ‘family’ we don’t have the right to phone GPs, Social Workers, Community Health teams and discuss how they can be helped. We had a social worker in attendance who helped us with answers to the problems. Inevitably the subject of my dad came up and I’ve come away feeling angry at the poor care he gets and guilt that I don’t see him as often as I should. Lots to ponder.

Today it is our Overseas Sale and lots of underlying politics which I fear may mar the day. Money raised will go to Links and Mary’s Meals. It is also our Cafe so you will be fed well if you pop in to St Mark’s today. Money from the Cafe will go to our Organ Appeal.

Diocesan Synod time

I’m off to Diocesan Synod today and feeling a little anxious. I have heard of two Diocesan Synods recently where their Bishop announced his imminent retirement. Is this a pattern? What if our beloved Bishop Brian were to announce his too? We’re not ready to let him go.

I’m also going to ask for permission to nip off for an hour at lunch time to attend the Memorial service for Marcella Althaus Reid who taught me all I know about Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology (and the glories of Womanist Theology) and Praxis. She was full of life and a breath of fresh air in a pretty stuffy institution. I didn’t know she was ill and was shocked to read of her death. Rest eternal, grant to her, Lord. And let light perpetual shine upon her. And I have no doubt it does.

After Lambeth

Off to Haddington today for the After Lambeth conference led by Lissa Smith and her husband Bishop Brian. You know how when people show you their holiday photos and you have to feign interest? Well this time we got to see photos of the Lambeth Conference and they were actually quite interesting. Not half as interesting as +Brian’s first attempts at Powerpoint. Great job really.

I’d already heard +B talking about his experiences so it was great to hear Lissa’s observations on the Spouses Conference. There were tales of fear, prejudice, shock and great courage shown in following their spouses to places of danger. Loved the quote that ‘the man is the head of the family but the woman is the neck, holding it all together’.  We had a look at the Rape of Tamar story which had been one of the bible studies they had used. Wonder why it never comes up in the Lectionary on Sundays?

And we continue to wrestle with the nuances of the moratoria:

  • bishops in same sex relationships
  • blessings of those in same sex relationships
  • cross border incursions

For example, do these include those who are celibate or in civil partnerships?

And a question to consider:

How do these issues (Human Sexuality and Resolution 1.10; the Anglican Covenant’ and the Windsor Process), which our locality invites us to consider in a particular way, appear in the context of the global communion?

We need to listen to:

  • the voice of Scripture
  • the voice of Tradition
  • the values of our locality
  • the voice of our neighbour’s locality

We finished with a panel of people giving their responses and a plenary session. All in all, a good day.

Festival of St Mark

Glorious mass last night for St Mark with the Bishop, no less. (Just a pity half the congregation weren’t there to hear him!) Good music and new mass setting (Archer’s Missa Simplex) – thanks to the choir – and a stonker of a sermon.

I wonder if I will ever get to the stage of hallowedness when I can wander about the church preaching sans notes. I fear not.

Our servers and administrators of the chalice were licensed and the Ministry Team was blessed and inspired to do great things visiting the sick and housebound.

As ever, St Mark’s provided enough food to fur up your arteries really well. We would be dining well for weeks to come, if only Health and Safety weren’t uppermost in our minds.

Today’s it’s Vestry Day and we are off to my old stomping ground at St Peter’s Linlithgow. It will be nice to see the old place and show it to my little flock. (Especially the shades of lilac decor!) Our facilitator is Shena Liddell who will keep us in line. Lunch at the 4 Marys if you want to pop in…

From the Herald’s Diary

‘WE told the tale of arts fundraiser Nina Havergal, while in the Army, turning up for the sleeper and introducing herself as Major Havergal, only for the sleeping car attendant’s face to fall as he explained that he had put her in with the Episcopal Bishop of Aberdeen.

Bob Cuddihy, related to Nina through marriage, tells us that Nina’s response was: “Ach, I know him fine well. I certainly don’t mind.”‘

New bishop for Aberdeen

From the SEC website…

The Very Rev Dr Robert (Bob) Gillies has been elected as the new Bishop for the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney.

Bob Gillies is presently rector of St Andrew’s Church, St Andrews and Dean of that diocese. He has previously held appointments as chaplain to the University of Dundee, Curate to Christ Church, Morningside, Edinburgh and Curate to Christ Church, Falkirk. He was an honorary philosophy lecturer at Dundee from 1985-1994.

On hearing the news of his election Bob said “I am absolutely thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity of working with the people of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, to make new friends and learn some new skills. However, I am deeply sad to be leaving St Andrew’s church in St Andrews” The election of the new Bishop was carried out by the Electoral Synod (comprising of representatives of clergy and lay church members from the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney), which was chaired by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Dr Idris Jones, who says: “Bob brings to the College of Bishops a clear and insightful mind; to the Diocese he will offer the benefit of experience of working with a growing congregation. The whole Church will wish Liz and Bob well as he picks up the legacy from Bishop Bruce Cameron in Aberdeen & Orkney”

Bob Gillies (age 55) is married to Liz. They have three sons – Patrick, Andrew and Timothy. The service of consecration and installation of the new Bishop will take place in September in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. Further details of this service will be available at a later date.

(Fr Bob was one of the people responsible for my selection for training for the priesthood. He was a tough interviewer as I think my body language showed during said interview – that was curled up in a semi-foetal position facing away from him!)

Today’s the day…

…when we find out who the next Bishop of Aberdeen is. A lot of us are very keen to know who will be the new addition to the College of Bishops for lots of reasons. Prayers have been said, candles lit, and conversations have taken place on the merits (or not) of each candidate. I hope the Holy Spirit had a hand in it too.