A week of local meetings may sometimes seem to be an intrusion into the itinerant lifestyle of this bishop, but actually this week was made up of meetings which ranged over subjects and issues as far apart as school fetes and International art projects, from meetings of the chapter to matters of metal theft from church roofs. Mind you it was good to reach Saturday and have my final meeting which was a meeting with the parents of young Fraser who I was to baptize at Easter, a good reason to have a meeting methinks.
On Sunday the Lent discussion was led by Rev Iain Macritchie and led us into some deep conversations about how we view the thoughts of those around us in a way that leads to understanding rather than conflict. The discussion ended as the Old Boy’s School filled with the choir grabbing a cup of tea before Choral Evensong. Evensong, as ever, brought the day to a very spiritual end.
I had the pleasure of being the passenger in a car that drove me down to Coatbridge for the overnight meeting of the Faith and Order Board, Christopher who drove us down is a very calm and careful driver and we arrived in a calmer mood then I would normally achieve. The meeting was heavy going but we did keep moving forward. In the evening I met with a remarkable Roman Catholic priest, he is both blind and deaf and had journeyed North to provide Mass for others with sight and hearing difficulties, it was a lovely few moments in a busy schedule.
I attended a meeting in Inverness on Friday morning as I lent my support for the development of plans to secure the future of the Old High Church, the original Parish Church of Inverness. Asked why I was interested, I pointed out that it had been a place of worship for us over the years and that in fact Bishop Hay was buried in the churchyard, these buildings are our history as well.
I had a very unusual experience later on the Friday when I went on a car journey with the Tower Captain at the Cathedral, we arrived at our destinations and I discovered a small building in a back garden in which hung a ring of bells, all ready for a team of ringers to set them off. It is amazing what you can find in the highways and byways of these communities. The bells were Dutch and very fine and we were there to consider long term future of the ring when the present owner can no longer care for them or ring them. A most interesting afternoon!
On Saturday the representatives of the diocese descended on the Inverness Caledonian Thistle football stadium for our annual Diocesan Synod. The meeting was the usual round of reports, questions, and challenges. Things people were excited about and things people were afraid of (usually the same thing in fact). The afternoon ended with a motion proposed by Canon Cliff that the Scottish Episcopal Church begins the canonical process which will decide if we as a denomination will be able to provide wedding services for all those who wish to be married in church, regardless of the gender of the couple. The motion was carried with only a few abstentions.
The Lent discussion was led by me again this week and I led the group around the Cathedral looking at the symbolism in the Stained Glass windows. By the end of the talk we had gathered a number of interested tourists, one who contacted us the following day to ask me to thank the “Tour Guide”!!