Bishop Marks Journey Catch up

December 8, 2018

I am very aware that I have been struggling to keep up with my blog diary for some time, I never seem to get the space and the more time that passes the harder the task of remembering becomes. So here goes at an attempt to bring you up to date with what I have been up to in the Diocese since the summer. Who knows one day I might get the previous year done as well!
The summer had seen Jane and myself on Provincial business in both the USA and Canada and it was the beginning of term that got us back into the rhythm of highland life. August 9th was back to work day after a few days of genuine holiday. I travelled to Dufftown that morning to discuss the future arrangements of St Michael’s and the imminent retiral of Rev Norma Milne. I met with the congregation and with Norma and Rev Michael Last. The outcome is to attach Dufftown to the Isla Deveron group and to run it alongside Keith , Huntly and Aberchirder, and plans were put in place to make that change.
On Saturday 11th, the feast day of St Claire of Assisi, I ordained Clare Caley as priest. The ordination service took place in St Michael and All Angels, Inverness and it was good to see the church full for the service. It was also lovely to have the refreshments out in the Rectory garden and my thanks went to the congregation who arranged the event.
On Sunday , I had a day in the Cathedral, preaching or Presiding at all three services and that got me back into the swing of things again, we ended the day with an evening Eucharist at the Crask Inn before heading home through the summer twilight.
The next few days were taken up with Provincial business but I was home in time to attend the rehearsal and then to officiate at the wedding of Heather Stanning, gold medal rower. Heather and Jonny were married at Elgin Cathedral and the sun shone! A beautiful day.
The following day I had the pleasure of Installing a new Chancellor, Joe Morrow and a new Honorary Canon, Sarah Hills. It is always good to welcome new people into the family of ministry in the diocese. Joe comes with a wealth of legal experience and is also the Lord Lyon, Sarah was the Canon of Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, she is soon to be the Vicar of Lindisfarne.
The following week included a L’Arche meeting in Inverness and the Consecration of the new Bishop of Brechin.
September started with a Youth Sleep over at Arpafeelie, young people from across the Province packed into the Steading and into the house, we spent most of the weekend cooking, or at least Jane did, except for Sunday morning when we drove to Ullapool to help the congregation at St Mary’s celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the re-founding of the Ullapool Mission. We had a lovely service and a great buffet. The day ended with Choral Evensong and a new Mothers Union President, Bless you Deborah.
The first week of September saw me attending many meetings in Inverness, including a very fruitful Incumbents day at Eden Court. The week ended with a Cathedral wedding for Nigel and Stephen, a sermon from the Most Rev Kay Goldsworthy, Archbishop of Perth and then family arriving at Arpafeelie to sort out their wedding arrangements!
The following week was a Provincial rush, Meetings in Edinburgh, Lampeter (Wales) and Glasgow before getting back to Inverness for the Ordination of Ellie Charman as Deacon to serve in Caithness. This was a lovely event with many friends arriving to take part. The following day we were in Tain for a Confirmation
Off South again the following week and a fun weekend at Arpafeelie as we celebrated Aidan’s birthday with a house full of family. The last week in September had me visiting Dingwall and Elgin and chatting to our ordinands and their families about the realities of ministry for them all. I also had a fascinating meeting with the clergy of Grantown on Spey and the possibility of more Ecumenical working. 30th September arrivied and I celebrated and preached in Lossiemouth and Elgin.
October began with a number of visit to and from clergy, enjoying just catching up with people. We were treated to dinner by Ley-Anne Forsyth our youth officer, attended a Vestry meeting in Aberlour and Chaired the Diocesan Standing Committee. On the Thursday I attended the Mission Board in Inverness before driving to the Crask for an evening meeting and on Friday from there to Tongue to join the congregation at St Mary’s for their Friday service and fellowship, they were all in good spirits.
On Saturday 6th a number of us walked with Proud Ness as we and many thousands came together to celebrate and support our LGBTI Highland Community. Most appreciated our presence, a few hecklers clearly didn’t. I was at the Cathedral on Sunday before heading off again, first to Glasgow then Edinburgh and then with Jane on to Tennessee, where the University of the South conferred on me an Honorary DD before we headed to New York as guests of Holy Trinity Church Wall St, all a bit overwhelming.
Home on the 19th October in time to Consecrate Ian Paton as Bishop of St Andrew’s on the 20th.
This week in the middle of October was always going to be hectic, we had a house full of Canadians, the family of Kristy, Aidan’s fiancée, all staying with us in preparation for their wedding. Meantime I took the Sunday services in Lossiemouth and Elgin before driving to Dufftown for the retirement service for Norma Milne. ack to Elgin on Tuesday for the funeral of a dear friend from the Congregation. In Inverness Cathedral on Thursday evening we gathered for Kristy’s Confirmation , a lovely quiet event as Kristy became a part of our faith family in another important way. I had to go back to Lossiemouth on Friday for another funeral of another friend.
Then we had the wedding. Aidan and Kristy, all our family and friends had a brilliant day, we gained a lovely Canadian family and I now have a wonderful daughter in law and Jane is now a Mother in Law!!
The momentous week wasn’t quite over, as I drove to Keith on the Sunday to license Megan Cambridge as a Lay Reader, a super service with a very ecumenical congregation, just great.
The last week of October was a week of meetings in Inverness, including a Cathedral Chapter Meeting, a quick trip to Aberdeen and a couple of days in Glasgow as we started the process of seeking a new bishop. It meant I had my birthday in Glasgow! On the Sunday I attended and preached at a service to mark 30years of the new Church building of St Ninian, Invergordon. The church was full and the atmosphere wonderful.
The first full week of November saw me in Sweden on Provincial Business before getting home in time to be at the Cathedral for all the Remembrance events of that weekend, this concluded with a wonderful civic service in the Cathedral, well done to all who took part.
The next few weeks, I knew were going to be very busy and to see what I was up to Provincially look at my Primus page on Facebook. I still had time though to speak at the Junior School service at Gordonstoun on Friday 16th, needless to say I spoke about St Margaret as it is her Feast Day. I also shared experiences of ministry with the Bishops Reflection Group, Provost Sarah having got everything ready and nudging me through the day.
I was back in Lossiemouth and Elgin on the Sunday to Chair their AGM and to talk about the next phase of their ministry as they begin to consider looking for a new Priest. We then drove up to St Michael’s Dufftown and Licensed Rev Michael Last as Priest In Charge, the next step in the process that I started this catch up with.
I was away on Cumbrae with the College of Bishops much of the next week but was home in time to Chair a meeting with the local MP and MSPs, between those affected by the reported bullying at NHS Highland, a difficult but essential day of sharing.
On the 25th November I preached and presided at St Margarets, Aberlour and then chaired their AGM before heading off again for Provincial business in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and back to Edinburgh.
One more week of meetings and then home to the Highlands and another round of diocesan events. Busy I am, but going strong.