Welcome to Inspires Online - the monthly electronic newsletter of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Inspires Online highlights news and events from across the Church and also includes news from organisations related to the Church.
Ten-point climate change plan goes to General Synod
The agenda and papers for General Synod 2021 are now available, detailing the business scheduled for the virtual hosting of the annual meeting on 10 & 11 June.
Included in the agenda items is a ten-point guidance plan on the first step towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Following the motion at last year’s Synod for a programme of actions to be brought to General Synod 2021 to resource the SEC in working towards the 2030 goal, the Church in Society Committee’s Technical Group on Climate Change has presented a programme of actions and useful resources “aimed to equip the whole church for the urgent response that is needed towards achieving net zero carbon emissions”.
The Group has set out actions for different levels of the SEC to pursue, as congregations, dioceses, provincial level and as individuals; suggested more detailed action on buildings; listed useful resources; and indicated further work to be carried out.
Further, a Toolkit is currently in preparation, designed to provide practical recommendations for the implementation of action plans and including for instance a means of working out a church’s carbon footprint.
“The changes we need to make encompass almost all aspects of our life as a church; not only our buildings, but in every area where we burn coal, oil or gas,” reports the Group. “We need to transition to renewable alternatives as far as we possibly can, and where this is not reasonably practical, we need to reduce, save and offset. We do not underestimate the challenge. But there are many steps we can already take which will make a difference and we need to plan now for how and when the bigger challenges could be met.”
Another main item on the Synod agenda is the Saint Andrew Declaration, a series of joint acknowledgments and commitments between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland.
The Declaration is made “in light of our common calling within the life of the Church of Jesus Christ in Scotland, shaped by our understanding of the mission of God, our agreement in faith and the opportunities to share in ministry and mission”.
The Declaration states that: “In the course of our discussions we have acknowledged our shared history and have named past conflicts, divisions and hurts. In doing so, we have learned from one another and have asked forgiveness of each other where we have caused pain by our words and actions. Within the context of these discussions, we have acknowledged that the theological, sacramental and liturgical emphases within our respective churches are consonant with the tradition which each represents.
“Alongside this, we have sought to acknowledge that our churches belong together as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. In so acknowledging, we seek to explore ways in which we may work better together as partners in ministry and mission, to serve Christ by serving the people of Scotland.”
Elsewhere on the agenda, the Faith and Order Board recommends that Jane Haining, pictured, be included in the SEC Calendar of saints and heroes of the faith on 17 July each year “on account of her faith-filled life and example that saw her die in the Nazi Concentration camp of Auschwitz Birkenau”.
Jane Haining was a Church of Scotland Missionary in Budapest who was caring for Jewish children at the outbreak of the Second World War. She was asked to return to her native Scotland when war broke out, but refused to abandon the children in her charge, and was transported to Auschwitz. She is the only Scot known to have died at the concentration camp.
“Jane Haining is well known in Hungary (there is a street named after her in Budapest) but less so in Scotland,” reports the Board. “Work has been going on between SEC and Church of Scotland colleagues on educational materials on Jane Haining and the Holocaust for Scottish schools.
“She is an outstanding example of Christian witness in a life lived for others – and in this case, those of other faiths – and the willingness to face death as a result.”
Among the other items on the Synod agenda are a report from the Canon 4 Review Group about how bishops are elected within the Church, Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Alternative Eucharistic Prayers from the Faith & Order Board, reports from the Standing Committee on Ethical Investment and from the Ethical Investment Advisory Group, budgets & quota, clergy remuneration and a range of other clergy personnel matters.
General Synod 2021 will be held online from 9am on Thursday 10 June until mid-afternoon on Friday 11 June. Under Scottish Government guidelines, a physical meeting of Synod is not possible so the meeting will take place via Zoom. There will be a live stream available for those who are not members of Synod, and a link to the stream will be published in due course on the SEC website.
The General Synod Papers 2021, 38th Annual Report, and associated documents can be accessed here.
Primus commends Saint Andrew Declaration to General Assembly
The proposed Saint Andrew Declaration between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland received resounding backing at the General Assembly on Monday 24 May.
The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, spoke warmly of the “shared journey” with the Church of Scotland and reaffirmed the strong ties between the denominations. The Churches are seeking agreement on formal recognition of the way that they have both ministered to the whole of Scotland for many years, and how they will continue to work together.
The Saint Andrew Declaration outlines a series of acknowledgments and commitments between the Churches, and is the result of conversations that have taken place in the Our Common Calling Working Group.
“For me this is a fundamental understanding of how we both see church,” the Primus told the Assembly. “It is about providing a loving and prayerful worshipping community for the whole nation, from the glen head in Sutherland to the close end in Partick.
“That is why these past months which have been so painful have also been so remarkable in our shared journey: the concern of keeping the church alive in this new way of life, people discovering that they could join a Eucharist in Holy Trinity Melrose, morning worship in St Cuthbert’s Edinburgh and finish of with Mass at St Mary’s RC.
“I have heard more and more people telling me that their faith isn’t denominational, rather it is about where they encounter God, where they feel loved, nurtured and respected for who they are.
“The Saint Andrew Declaration uses forms of words that we have both shared in other declarations with ecumenical partners across the world, yet this is something we have never shared with each other.
“Sometimes it has seemed that our relationship is too complicated, with too much history and too many differences, But I believe that two good friends – or is it two siblings? – realise that the faith needs of the people of Scotland are not best served when we each spend time doing many of the same things in two separate places, almost next door to each other especially when in the next community, church life has already ceased.
“This Declaration doesn’t ignore the things that seem to make us different from each other. Some of those differences will need to be worked through or accepted as differences we will always have. Remember, unity is not the same as uniformity.
“What I believe the Declaration is doing is trying to encapsulate the working together that we have already achieved while also informing the communities we serve that we aren’t here to compete for your loyalty, we are here to share with you our vision of a Scotland still served by the church, with all its breadth, history and prayers for the future.
“I commend this document and look forward to the day we are able sign it together.”
The Church of Scotland’s Committee on Ecumenical Relations reported: “The Saint Andrew Declaration lays the foundation for all sorts of possible developments in ministry and mission. With it, two of Scotland’s national churches will signal our intent to come closer together, while still maintaining and celebrating our own characteristics and identities, to respond co-operatively and intentionally to the call to God’s mission in Scotland.”
The Declaration was further commended by the Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s representative among ecumenical guests at the Assembly, and its adoption was approved by the Assembly by 453 votes to 10.
The Declaration will again be on the agenda when General Synod takes place next month, after which it is hoped it will be officially signed by both Churches.
Responding to the Primus, Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland said: “Thank you very much for your address to the Assembly and being with us today.
“You’ve given us your very profound thoughts and indeed your commendation of the St Andrew Declaration.”
The General Assembly was held online, with a gathering of core participants in the Assembly Hall, Edinburgh. The Primus was present in the Hall for his address. His full speech can be watched again on YouTube here and the Church of Scotland address can be viewed here.
The full Saint Andrew Declaration can be read here.
(Photograph of the Primus with Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, issued courtesy of Church of Scotland)
Congregational singing & updated guidance from Advisory Group
Congregational singing is to be permitted in areas that are in level 0 and 1 from Monday 31 May, providing face masks are worn and social distancing is maintained.
The Scottish Government has also confirmed that following a recent review, it will also be possible for a congregation to sing at life events in levels 0 and 1 if it is part of an act of worship. Again, the wearing of face masks and adhering to social distancing will be required on these occasions.
The updated Guidance for the Safe Use of Places of Worship states:
“Singing, chanting and/or the playing of instruments is permitted in small groups in level 2 – 0 areas. For example, a small choir and/or band would be permitted to perform. Congregational singing, both indoors and outdoors, is permitted in areas that are in levels 0 – 1 and is permitted for life events if they are part of an act of worship.
“Where congregational singing is permitted, a risk assessment should be carried out to consider any mitigating measures that may be put in place. Individuals/households in congregations are advised to wear face coverings and observe 2 metre physical distancing between each participant/household and between participants/households and any others attending.”
The areas of Scotland that are currently in level 1 are Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, all islands in Highland (except Skye) and the Argyll and Bute islands of Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree and Ulva. Most of mainland Scotland is currently in level 2, and no areas of Scotland are in level 0.
In addition, the Scottish Government has updated its guidance on unregulated activities for children. As lockdown has eased this year and such activities resumed, they were subject to restrictions on numbers. Those restrictions have now been removed and replaced with limiting numbers on the basis of building capacity, allowing for physical distancing.
The Advisory Group of the Scottish Episcopal Church has now issued updated guidance to reflect these and other recent changes, and it is available here.
Work is also being undertaken to revise the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance which will be re-issued when available.
Consecration of new Bishop in Argyll & The Isles
The Scottish Episcopal Church celebrated the consecration of The Rt Rev Dr Keith Riglin as the new Bishop of Argyll & The Isles at a special service in Oban at the start of May.
The College of Bishops gathered at The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine to ordain the Bishop elect, who was selected earlier this year to fill the episcopal vacancy.
Covid restrictions limited the numbers able to attend the Cathedral to the College of Bishops, Diocesan clergy, and a small number of Bishop Keith’s invited friends and family, but the event was streamed live to an online audience which included guests from France, Ghana, Australia and the United States. The ceremony is also available to watch in full via the YouTube link below.
The service was led by the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, who was joined by other members of the College in the act of consecration – laying of hands on the new Bishop, with prayer. Bishop Keith was entrusted with the Diocesan Crozier, and presented with other symbols of the Office of a Bishop – a ring, cross and mitre.
The Primus said: “In these restricted times it has been impossible to gather the Diocese and Province together in Oban, but by the power of digital communication we were are all gathered together in prayer and in worship.
“I am delighted to welcome Bishop Keith into the College of Bishops. As Bishop of Argyll & The Isles he will bring with him the cares and concerns as well as the joys of this beautiful diocese.
“Bishop Keith has already demonstrated his love for the churches spread along the western edge of Scotland and I believe that for him and his family that love will only grow.”
In January this year, a historic first online episcopal election saw Bishop Keith selected from a short-list of three candidates to fill the vacancy brought about by the translation of the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson to the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway last year. His consecration means that the College of Bishops now has a full complement of seven Bishops for the first time since 2016.
Previously, Bishop Keith was Vice Dean and Chaplain at King’s College London, where he was also a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He served as Assistant Priest at St Anne’s Church, Soho and as an Authorised Presbyter at Wesley’s Chapel, London.
Prior to his appointment at King’s in 2012, he served briefly in the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles, where he has had Permission to Officiate since 2012. In March 2020 he was installed as an honorary Canon of St John’s Cathedral in Oban.
He has two daughters, both graduates of UCL, and lives with his wife Canon Jennifer Smith, a Methodist presbyter and superintendent minister of Wesley’s Chapel, London.
The full consecration service, kindly filmed and edited by Tom Campbell, can be watched here.
Bishop Keith takes chair for first time at Diocesan Synod
The Diocesan Synod for Argyll & The Isles took place on 19 May, following a brief Synod meeting earlier in the year to allow elections to take place.
The main business was held over until a full, albeit virtual, hosting of Synod could take place, with the new Bishop, The Rt Rev Dr Keith Riglin, in the chair.
Synod Eucharist was broadcast from St John’s cathedral in Oban, after which Bishop Keith gave his opening address from the Diocesan office.
The new Bishop, whose consecration took place less than three weeks prior to the Diocesan Synod, discussed the theme of “living the vision” in his opening remarks.
“I am delighted to be among you as your bishop, to serve with you, priest and people, the members of this Synod, sharing in the task of oversight, being a shepherd,” said Bishop Keith.
“I am thrilled to be following Bishop Kevin who brought me here in 2012 and I am excited to be sharing in mission and ministry, and administration, with you all.
“The vision we have is not some vague idea of being nice to people - though that helps, and I might add, so does being nice to each other.
“The vision is concrete and the vision is good; God is as God is, in Jesus Christ the Saviour of all. It’s a vision of God’s reign of justice, or peace, of freedom from sin and guilt, and of an empowerment to enable us and our communities to change for the better.
“I’ve heard the task of the Church of Christ simply expressed like this: ‘Gather the people, tell the story, break the bread’. When you put it this way our challenges seem less, for this is all, and this is everything. And it is what Episcopalians have been doing in Scotland from the very beginning.
“Church is one of the few places where young and old, wealthy and those not so, mean and women, people different in so many ways – gender, education, sexuality, health, age – can gather and be together. And that itself is a treasure.
“We also tell the story. Evangelism is a word to be embraced not feared, for the living and speaking of the Gospel is crucial. I hope we can develop further ways of articulating our faith in simple comprehensive ways for our communities, our friends, our neighbours and our visitors.
“We need, I believe, to develop the confidence to speak of what we live, to be able to speak with conviction and without embarrassment: ‘I am a Christian, I am a disciple of Jesus, knowing him in his body the Church, and that is life-changing and for all eternity’.”
Finance was prominent in the early business discussed, and there was mixed news from the Treasurer’s report. Investment return was encouraging, but there were inevitable concerns over lost revenue through the inability to have guests at retreat properties during pandemic restrictions on movement.
Canon 4 revision was discussed and prompted interesting debate, with points made being passed on to the Review Group. No indicative vote was taken at the meeting, with opinion to be gauged via an online poll at a later stage.
In the afternoon session, The Rev Elaine Garman, formerly of the Diocese, addressed Synod to explain the background to General Synod’s commitment to bringing forward a programme of actions to resource the SEC in working towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Rev Garman’s address was followed by discussion about how to achieve a net zero position, with the heating of church buildings featuring heavily in debate, described by Provost Margi Campbell as “the biggest problem most of us have”. Among the suggestions aired by Synod members were sharing buildings with other churches, a move to heating powered by renewable resources, and a reminder that one of the best ways to make a place warmer is to fill it with people – although it was also pointed out that this method is not guaranteed to be successful.
Bishop Keith commented that it was “good to see the enthusiasm to address the situation” before giving his closing remarks and confirming the dates of next year’s Diocesan Synod as 8 & 9 March 2022.
Meanwhile, the Diocesan Synod in Glasgow & Galloway is now scheduled for Saturday 31 July 2021.
Bishop Anne leads the way in our Season of Pilgrimage
Bishop Anne Dyer has been leading the way as the Scottish Episcopal Church’s ‘Season of Pilgrimage’ gets underway at last, following a delay caused by the pandemic.
After coronavirus put paid to many plans that had been made for the ‘Provincial Year of Pilgrimage’ in 2021, the initiative was amended to become a ‘Season of Pilgrimage’ which will continue throughout 2021 and 2022.
During May, the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney walked the St Magnus Way, a long-distance pilgrimage route through mainland Orkney which was established in 2017 to mark the 900th anniversary of the death of St Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint. The 58-mile journey is intended to give time and space for reflection.
Bishop Anne was joined by fellow pilgrims who walked the route alongside her, and a series of themes were considered, discussed and contemplated each day: peace, loss, growth, change, forgiveness and hospitality.
The pilgrims arrived at their final destination in Kirkwall after a week’s walking, a little weary and with a few aches and pains, but with their spirits lifted.
In her daily blog, Bishop Anne wrote: “After six days together, our pilgrim band was very relaxed with each other. Some of us had begun on Monday as strangers, but it is not possible to pray together so often, to share stories and food, and not become close. Today we laughed often and very deeply – what a healing experience this was.
“In my mind I thought of all those who I have carried in prayer through the week – the sick, the bereaved, the confused and anxious. I thought of the churches in the diocese and their priests, and those churches without one. I thought of my family at home, so generous in encouraging me to do this, and friends who have prayed (and some walked) with me where they are. My desire was that everyone was caught into the pilgrim’s blessing that was mine today.
“In Kirkwall I swapped my back-pack for a crozier, and we gathered as six by the door to St Olav’s church – the place where Magnus’ bones rested waiting for the cathedral to be completed. Then, to my very great surprise, from around the corner appeared a very good number of the congregation of our St Olav’s church in Kirkwall. They had come to walk with us the final 400 yds to the cathedral – to accompany us on our spiritual homecoming. My heart was full.”
The next day, Bishop Anne led worship and preached at St Olav’s in Kirkwall for Pentecost, and the following day she made a visit to St Magnus Cathedral, which was closed to the pilgrims on Saturday because of coronavirus restrictions.
All of the Bishop’s blog posts are available to be read on the Diocesan website here.
The Bishop was also interviewed by Radio Orkney (at the 12min 30sec mark here) and her pilgrimage was the subject of her most recent column in the Press & Journal newspaper here (subscription required).
For more information on the St Magnus Way, go to the official website here. There is also a two-minute video guide on YouTube here.
In the Media
BBC Scotland’s weekly worship programme The Service came from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melrose earlier in May.
The Rev Philip Blackledge, Rector of Holy Trinity, led the Service of the Word, along with The Rev Grace Redpath of St Andrew, Kelso, and organist Chris Achenbach.
The Service from Holy Trinity is available to watch again on the BBC website for a limited period, here.
Elsewhere, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow, was a guest on BBC Radio 4 programme Beyond Belief.
Presenter Ernie Rea chaired a discussion of “the religious dimensions in the Scottish independence debate” involving Provost Holdsworth, Church of Scotland minister and practical theology lecturer the Rev Doug Gay, Catholic Church in Scotland spokesperson Peter Kearney, and Church of Scotland minister and former Leader of the Iona Community the Rev Kathy Galloway.
The consecration of Bishop Keith Riglin in Argyll & The Isles prompted two articles in the Oban Times. The first article looked ahead to the consecration, highlighting the fact that the event would have to be streamed because of restrictions on numbers allowed to attend the ceremony in St John the Divine Cathedral, Oban.
“I have a lot to look forward to in taking up my new post,” Bishop Keith told the Oban Times. “My only regret is that they did away with the Bishop’s steamer a few generations ago. Instead of being steamed around Argyll and the islands, I’ll be using my car and the ferry just like everyone else!”
The newspaper then reported on the consecration service – no steaming, but plenty streaming – which can be read here.
Bishop Anne’s pilgrimage on the St Magnus Way, which is reported elsewhere in this edition of Inspires Online, was picked up on by the Orkney News. In a story headlined ‘Blessings upon this water closet’ the local news agency reported on the Bishop officially opening – and blessing – a new toilet stop along the St Magnus Way, at Fursbreck Pottery.
“Those that have walked along the 58-mile route will know how much appreciated such a stop will be,” reported the Orkney News.
“Bishop Anne rose to the occasion with a most appropriate speech including, from the Book of Jeremiah, ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message’.
“Included in the words of blessing was ‘vouchsafe we beseech thee, thine blessing upon this watercloset that it may be for thy people a source of comfort and ease’. Which it truly will be.”
The Dundee Courier carried an obituary of Mr Dick Thorman, a former organist at St Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Kinross. When he was three years old, Mr Thorman’s family fled fascists in Mussolini’s Italy. He went on to become a shipping executive, and later settled in Kinross. The obituary can be read here.
Primus calls on new MSPs to look to COP26
Following the Scottish Parliament election in early May, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church called on our politicians – and the electorate – to move forward together, and not to forget the importance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow later this year.
“The result of the election for the Scottish Parliament will have seen some rejoicing and others struggling to accept it,” said The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness.
“We must now move forward as we all seek to do the best for the people and the land we live on.
“There are many different suggestions about that best way forward as we seek recovery after the pandemic but please remember that in November, Glasgow will hold the COP26 meeting, a moment when united voices need to be heard as we seek to find the ways to heal the very planet we live on.”
The Faith and Order Board and College of Bishops have approved the introduction of a Season of Creation to our liturgical calendar. This reflects the commitment of our Church to responding appropriately to the global environmental and climate crisis, which has drawn attention to what has perhaps become a neglected aspect of our faith: that God created the world, that it is good, and that we, as human beings created in God’s image, have a particular responsibility for the care of God’s creation. It is right that this be reflected in our worship.
The Season of Creation will run from the first Sunday of September for four weeks, concluding with Thanksgiving for Harvest on the fifth Sunday. The lectionary will be that currently in use, to ensure that the continuity in Scripture readings is not disrupted. The readings in the Revised Common Lectionary for that period are entirely appropriate for the Season of Creation.
The Liturgy Committee has prepared material for use during this Season, which have been approved for experimental use by the Faith and Order Board and the College of Bishops. This is being circulated to clergy and has been posted on the SEC website here. This is presented in two booklets:
* Eucharistic material, including Collects, Prayer of Consecration, Post-Communion Prayer, and Blessing
* Daily Prayer, including Psalms, Canticles, Antiphons, Versicles and Responses, and Collects for Morning and Evening Prayer
A third booklet, containing a range of intercessory prayers, has also been provided. This is not authorised material, but is an additional resource which may be useful for worship in a variety of settings.
David Kenvyn stands down as Global Partnerships Converner
Disclosing one of the best kept secrets of the Scottish Episcopal Church has been the intention of Mr David Kenvyn during his convenership of the Global Partnerships Committee, writes the Rev Cedric Blakey. David’s five year term of office is completed at the end of the General Synod 2021. This is the committee that is responsible for distributing around £110,000 every year in small grants to projects supported by our sister churches in the global Anglican Communion, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Pacific and South America.
The SEC has these resources originating from generous legacies donated over 100 years ago provided for this purpose. But who knew? Early on in his term David began writing to Anglican Bishops in these regions whose dioceses were prayed for day by day in the Anglican cycle of prayer which is used at Morning Prayer in St Mary’s Cathedral Glasgow where David worships and serves as honorary Verger and member of the team of servers.
Many of the bishops began replying to David’s messages and soon it was evident that this small but significant expression of global partnership in mission was becoming less of a secret. As a result the SEC increasingly has been able to offer tangible support for such projects as a women’s education programme in Bangladesh, sinking water wells in Ethiopia, the education of clergy in South Sudan, Papua New Guinea and India, and updating ICT supporting remote learning in a diocesan school in KwaZulu Natal. Grant applications are scrutinised by the Global Partnerships Committee which must have the support of the local bishop and the due diligence required by Scottish charity law.
David feels that the work of the Global Partnerships Committee, a pendant committee of the Mission Board, plays an important part in the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church and in support of its place within the global Anglican Communion.
He is no stranger to international relations and campaigning however. A librarian by profession, David was chair of the London Anti-Apartheid committee in the 1980’s and continued as organising secretary until the first fully democratic election in South Africa in 1994. Since then he has served as vice chair of Action for South Africa and is a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation. He has also recently spent time overseas offering his librarian expertise for the Donald Woods Foundation archives in South Africa and a college library in Bangladesh.
David came to Scotland to take up his post as Assistant Manager, Community Libraries, for East Dumbartonshire Council in 1998. He took retirement in 2012, but having ministered as a server for over 60 years he has been a loyal and highly active congregant ever since, which was recognised in his award of the Royal Maundy earlier this year.
He is succeeded as convener of the Global Partnerships Committee by Rev Dr Hamilton Indabas, priest-in-charge of St John the Evangelist Forres in the diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness.
SEC supports victims of Apartheid trauma
The Centre for the Healing of Memories is an organisation based in South Africa which helps people to deal with the psychological and social traumas they endured during Apartheid and in the years after it ended, writes David Kenvyn, Convener of the Global Partnerships Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Father Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and victim of a bomb attack in which he lost both hands and the sight in one eye, set up the Centre for the Healing of Memories and has been working on a worldwide basis to help people overcome the trauma of conflict ever since.
Last year, the Global Partnerships Committee was privileged to support that work through the funding of a number of workshops. The report on those workshops has just been received.
There were 398 participants at 15 workshops. Four of the workshops were to help deal with the traumas suffered by veterans and ex-combatants, and these were held in the Western Cape and Gauteng. Two of the workshops, in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, dealt with the issues of drugs and gangs. Another four workshops dealt with the issues around Youth. There were also individual workshops on the issues facing women, on HIV-AIDs, People with Disabilities, Refugees and Interfaith and Inter-community work.
All the workshops concentrated on helping people to deal with the psychological and social traumas they had endured. Space was given to allow people to tell their stories, many of which were devastating. This is vital work. Even more than a quarter of a century after the ending of apartheid following the election of Nelson Mandela as president, the damage lingers on in people’s souls. There is also the damage of living in a society where lives were not valued so that murder and violence Is still prevalent.
I am very proud that we have been able to assist in this work.
Provost comments on Pollokshields protest
One of the biggest news stories of the month in Scotland was the public protest in the Pollokshields district of Glasgow when a Home Office vehicle was prevented from removing two immigrants from the area.
The Provost of the city’s St Mary’s Cathedral, The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, commented on the situation on his website blog, where he said: "It was impossible not to be moved by people standing around an immigration enforcement van chanting ‘These are our neighbours, let them go’. Many people today are proud of those in this city who stopped this enforcement action.
“Every country needs to have an immigration system and every immigration system needs to be enforced in some way. Every such system needs to be fair and just. However the immigration system in this country has ceased to be fair and has ceased to be just. Any government that actively seeks to be hostile to those seeking asylum has already failed the test of being fair and just.”
Church in Society awards, Part 2: Faith in Older People
Last month saw the start of a new series in Inspires Online featuring Scottish Episcopal Church partners, highlighting the work that the Church’s support allows each organisation to carry out.
Every year, the Church in Society Committee invites grant applications from organisations working on a variety of issues in Scottish society, and includes projects from the local, such as providing school uniforms for a local primary school, to the national, such as a third sector coalition combating climate change.
In the April edition of Inspires, we looked at the work of one of our strategic partners, the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office. This month, we highlight another grant recipient, Faith in Older People.
The Edinburgh-based charity was set up in 2007 after its founder, Rev Malcolm Goldsmith, had recognised that many older people were becoming more isolated from the activities in which they had been involved and the friendships they had formed. In his own congregation, he had put in place someone to support the needs of these older people and believed that it was important to share the learning and potential with others.
As the faith in Older People website says, Malcolm “recognised and appreciated the gifts and experience of old age, but also understood the losses that occur. He acknowledged how easy it is for congregations to lose sight of older members when they are no longer able to participate. Importantly FiOP’s work should encompass those of faith and those without a faith.
“It is continuing to grow in influence by providing innovative methods of encouraging and supporting people to value the importance of spiritual lives of older people in their care in a practical way with faith communities and into the wider sphere of health and social care.
“For many older people, the end of their lives is spent in a ‘strange land’ whether because of dementia or the need for care away from familiar surroundings. The challenge to FiOP is to help people discover how to live their lives with creativity and hope.”
Part of the FiOP objectives is to help the Church adapt and support people with dementia. Its aim is to build confidence in those that minister and provide pastoral care about issues around dementia and other long-term conditions so that they can adjust their care and support.
The Rev Canon Dr Marion Chatterley, Vice Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, is an Associate of FiOP and was one of the speakers at a key pre-pandemic conference on ‘Building and Sustaining Compassionate Communities’. The event emphasised the importance of building confidence and providing opportunities for those attending churches to speak about death, dying and bereavement both in practical and spiritual terms, and the need to increase awareness of support that can be found by collaborating with other organisations to build compassionate communities.
Covid restrictions prevented these ideas being taken forward for churches during 2020, but the issues are key themes of the organisation’s plan for the next three years.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting clergy who have had many issues to deal with, and the vital need to support whose who have been bereaved or experienced loss in other ways,” says Maureen O’Neill, FiOP Director. “It has also highlighted how important mental health and well-being is to the population, and the potential for churches to contribute to the support of those whose well-being has suffered.
“FiOP will highlight the role of churches in supporting the well-being of communities, with a focus on tackling loneliness and isolation which impacts greatly on peoples’ sense of community and involvement.”
An example of the support FiOP was able to offer as the pandemic took a grip was the development of a listening service for care home and care-at-home staff. An initial request from the Care Inspectorate to set up a chaplaincy listening service was expanded into an online service with experienced and trained listeners who provided their time on a voluntary basis. The service offers a non-judgemental space to talk, where callers have been able to offload some of the emotional and isolating impact of pandemic restrictions. More details here.
Other work that FiOP has been able to press ahead with includes a review on spiritual care education for nurses in Scottish Higher Educations Institutions, the re-establishment of its Ecumenical Group, and a series of four online seminars on mental health and faith communities, overseen by Rev Professor John Swinton (pictured above) and including one from Canon Chatterley (also pictured above). The final webinar session, Mental health challenges from the perspectives of different faiths, takes place on Tuesday 22 June at 4.30pm. Bookings can be made here.
“Faith in Older People is very appreciative of the grant support it receives from the Church in Society Committee, which enables it to sustain core activities so we can drive forward particular initiatives,” says its Director, Maureen.
The Rev Dr Jaime Wright was ordained as Deacon at Old Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh on Sunday 2 May.
Ms Wright, one of the first intake of Mixed Mode students at SEI in 2018, is pictured here with The Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, and The Rev Canon John McLuckie, Rector of Old St Paul's, where she is serving her Title as Assistant Curate.
SEI Newsletter highlights Vocations Sunday
The eight-page May edition of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Newsletter highlights three experiences of Vocations Sunday at Dunbar, Kelso and Dunblane, a day in the life of the Rev Dr Richard Tiplady, Director of Mixed Mode Training, a report from the Institute Council, the role of two Diocesan Advisors on candidates’ journey of formation, and a look ahead to the sessions planned for the May Residential Weekend – including guest sessions with The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, and The Rt Rev Andrew Smith, Bishop of Brechin.
The Newsletter also carries a report from the SEI Principal, Canon Anne Tomlinson, on the latest seminar run by TEAC, the department for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, entitled ‘Leading Seminaries and Theological Colleges: a forum on the challenges and opportunities’.
The June edition is almost ready for release – and might indeed have hit the streets by the time Inspires Online publishes - featuring contributions from five students as they came to the end of the final Residential Weekend in their three years of Initial Ministerial formation (look out for some fine poetry), and good news about the SEI Lecture 2021.
(Pictured above is Val Cameron, who preached at St Anne's, Dunbar on Vocations Sunday)
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
May 2021 has seen an intense escalation of strife and struggle in the Holy Land, writes the Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies with the Scottish Episcopal Institute, pictured right. There is no concrete sign of their abeyance. A perusal of ancient and biblical history shows a constant state of conflict in the Levant that goes on to this day. The city of Jerusalem, for example, continuously inhabited for 6000 years, has been marked by persistent conquest, destruction and rebuilding to the effect that systematic archaeological excavation is almost impossible because each reconstruction utilised the rubble of the prior destruction. Through millennia, whether by Israelites, Crusaders or Ottomans, just to name a few, lasting peace has remained elusive in the Holy Land. Twentieth-century solutions, including Mandatory Palestine after World War I and the State of Israel after World War II, have failed to bring concord. Twenty-first century attempts, even the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, are also failing miserably. But there is hope.
In Psalm 122.6, traditionally ascribed to King David, we are bid: ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!’ The word ‘Jerusalem’, as used here, is laden with significance for us: it refers to the capital city itself, to the Temple and, by extension now that the Messiah has come, to the cosmos. Praying God to bring peace perforce lends itself to security. This is the sort of peace imagined in St Augustine of Hippo’s ‘tranquil order’ where peace is found in God and God’s ordering, or Baruch Spinoza’s concept of peace as not merely the absence of war, but ‘a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice’.
Psalm 122 is a ‘psalm of ascent’, that is a psalm associated with pilgrimage, with going up to Jerusalem and ascending the Temple Mount. It is likely that this Psalm was often on the lips of Jesus as he participated in the great festivals of the Temple, for instance as twelve-year old boy, when he went up to Jerusalem for Passover with his parents and remained in the Temple for three days among the teachers (Luke 2.41–52). Perhaps it was also on his lips at a later Passover when he ‘cleansed the Temple’ of those who would turn it into a ‘den of robbers’ (Matthew 21.12–17; Mark 11.15–19; Luke 19.45–48; John 2.13–16). Ultimately, it would be Jesus’ final ascent on the Cross that would bring ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4.7) not only to the city, but to the whole of creation. Despite Jerusalem’s fraught history and the troubles of the day, that peace is yet palpable in the Holy Land as pious Christians and Jews recite Psalm 122 to this day within its walls.
We too should have Psalm 122, as well as a surfeit of prayers on our lips these days, for the peace of Jerusalem and for all who suffer persecution, discrimination and violence in the Holy Land. In so doing, we join with an untold number of women and men of good will, Christian and non-Christian alike, but especially with our fellow Anglicans in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Just a fortnight or so ago, the Rt Revd Hosam Naoum was installed as its archbishop on Ascension Thursday (13 May 2021) in Jerusalem’s Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr. As the archbishop said in his sermon, ‘here in the city of the Resurrection, we must be people of the Resurrection always looking to God’s light, life and hope for us and for the whole world’.
Perhaps the most famous church in Jerusalem is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. It houses, according to tradition, the site of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Empty Tomb. Its title, not unlike the structure of the church itself, has alternated since its erection in the fourth century with unremitting destruction, rebuilding and occupation, but the original title, still used by many Christian denominations, has never been forgotten: Church of the Resurrection. Except for brief closures during the Black Death in 1349 and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church of the Resurrection has been open to pilgrims of all faiths and none. It remains open even now as violence encircles it once more because Jerusalem is, to be sure, the city of the Resurrection.
Jesus’ Resurrection is our hope, especially in today’s strife and struggle. The Holy Land continues to be riven with egregious violations of basic human rights and the slaughter of innocents, yet we know that ‘the Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all’ (Psalm 34.18–19). Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
Orders being taken for Red Book
The Scottish Episcopal Church Directory, also affectionately known as the Red Book, has been produced for over a hundred years. The first directory was published in 1878. Today the Red Book looks quite different from the original small blue ancestor but it’s just as cherished.
The book has been an annual fixture for many providing information and details about our churches, clergy and vestries. Production has only halted once, because of paper rationing during the Second World War. During the initial lockdown of the pandemic there was a worry that the book may have been halted for the second time in its history. Fortunately it was only delayed.
At present the Directory cannot be sold outside of the United Kingdom.
Standing Committee report
The Provincial Standing Committee met online towards the end of April for a scheduled meeting.
The Committee continued to monitor the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the church. It received a report from the Task Group which it had established in the autumn of 2021 to address challenges and opportunities arising from the pandemic. It noted that dioceses had now been provided with information about the Recovery and Renewal Fund announced at General Synod in December. It also expressed appreciation for the work of the Advisory Group which has continued to provide regular updates to clergy, lay readers and vestry secretaries on the implications for local churches of lockdown restrictions and of changes in Government guidance for places of worship. Representatives of the Province continue to be in regular contact with Government over such matters.
The Standing Committee also noted the guidance, posted to the provincial website, to assist churches locally in streaming worship. Since the Task Group had now fulfilled its function, it was stood down, on the understanding that continuing workstreams will now be directly overseen by the Standing Committee.
The Committee discussed developing future vision and strategy for the church, noting that a number of separate strands of strategic work already under consideration needed to be brought together and given greater coherence and planning. It expects to say more about this at General Synod in June.
As usual at this point in the year, significant time at the Committee meeting was given to discussion of the agenda and programme for General Synod which, once again, will take place online. The full Synod Papers will be mailed to Synod members in mid-May. The Committee approved a policy on bullying and harassment and a complaints procedure to be brought to Synod for adoption. It also agreed to nominate to Synod a number of individuals to fill vacancies on various provincial bodies.
The annual accounts for the year ended 31 December 2020 were approved. The Revenue Accounts show a total surplus for 2020 of approximately £145,000 compared with a deficit of £19,000 for 2019. Part of accrued revenue balances will be applied to fund grants from the Recovery and Renewal Fund mentioned above.
During the course of the meeting, news on the preliminary results of the Triennial Valuation of the SEC Pension Fund as at 31 December 2020 was received. The Committee has arranged a specific meeting with the chair of the Pension Fund Trustees to discuss matters but was pleased to note that there is no deficit for past service. Fuller information will be provided to General Synod in June.
The meeting was joined by Alan McLean QC, the convener of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group, and the Committee approved a draft policy framework developed by the EIAG for investment in pooled funds. That framework will also be brought to Synod for approval in June.
The Director of Communications reported on communications matters generally and the Committee noted the significant reliance placed on digital communication during the pandemic and also the increased demands on provincial resources in that regard. The Committee will continue to monitor the position so that resources can be applied to current priorities.
Mission Board report
At the last mission board meeting on 23 April, we welcomed two new members: Rev Julia Boothby and Rev Canon Vittoria Hancock.
Rev Dr Richard Tiplady spoke about pioneer ministry. Following the success of the introductory course, a follow-on ‘Next Steps in Pioneer Ministry’ is being planned. Pioneer ministry has proved popular amongst both lay people and clergy. He is keen to ensure that there are ongoing conversations around this topic and that there is a greater awareness of the course.
The Board discussed the Brendan Research report "Adapt and be Flexible – the Mission Doesn't Stop: the Scottish Church and the Covid-19 Pandemic” which was commissioned by the Scottish Church Leaders Forum. Interesting points arising from the report included the important ‘social capital’ of the church, providing essential social care in communities; the question about whether lockdown had adversely affected people, moreso than the virus itself; 63 per cent of church leaders were finding ministry more stressful; the pandemic had forced churches to engage with mission in different way; there is now good opportunity for rethinking ministry and mission.
The report from the Church in Society Committee was focused on the climate change work being undertaken in response to the General Synod motion from 2020. The technical group had prepared a report to go to Synod in June and would be providing further resources to enable churches to begin their own journey towards net zero by 2030 if they had not yet done so. The wonderful work of the grant recipients was highlighted, and it was noted that information on the partners and projects is available online.
The Rev Dr Hamilton Indabas was appointed as the new convener of the Global Partnerships Committee.
There was much praise for the weekly Children’s Chapel, which has had consistently high viewing figures. This is available on the Provincial Facebook page and YouTube channel. The hard work of the communications team was noted with great appreciation, particularly for the additional workload that the pandemic has produced in terms of online worship.
The next Mission Board meeting will take place on 21 September 2021.
Doctrine Committee book launched online
The Doctrine Committee's new book Made in the Image of God has just been published by Sacristy Press. The online launch, including a pre-recorded introduction from the Primus, took place on 28 May and it can be watched here.
“This new book of twelve essays from the Doctrine Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church examines what it means to be human in our present world,” say editors Michael Fuller and David Jasper. “As we emerge from the global covid-19 pandemic we quickly realise that we can never simply return to normal – and nor, perhaps, should we be seeking to do so. For we live at a time when we face ultimate questions as to our very survival and the survival of life on our planet, and it is in this context that we seek to recover the sense of our humanity as it has been created and redeemed by God.
“All our essays are written by practising Christians, and in drawing these authors together for this project we felt it to be of the utmost importance that we adopt an interdisciplinary approach, bringing to bear the specialist expertise of our various contributors. We hope that the rich variety of topics which we address, and the voices exploring those topics, will help readers to think a little more carefully ‘outside the box’, and that they will provide a challenge and an invitation to explore territory that may be unfamiliar.”
The book’s contributors are Michael Fuller, David Jasper, Nicholas Taylor, John Reuben Davies, Trevor Hart, Robert Gillies, John McLuckie, Harriet Harris, Delyth M. Reid, Margaret B. Adam, Eric Stoddart, and Alison Jasper.
The book has been commended by The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, who said: “The Doctrine Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church is to be commended for this volume. The authors face up to change and evolution in western understandings of Homo sapiens viewing human beings from perspectives both traditional and contemporary, theological and secular. That each chapter is accompanied by further reading and questions makes it additionally rich both for individuals and reading groups alike.”
Copies are available for £24.99 from Sacristy Press. To order, click here.
Climate Fringe Week coming in September
Climate Fringe Week (18-26 September) aims to bring communities together, generate conversation about the climate and nature emergencies, and raise awareness of the need to move towards a greener, fairer, low carbon society and world.
A variety of charities and groups across Scotland will take part in Climate Fringe Week in different ways.
Climate Fringe Week will take place at the same time as Great Big Green Week, an initiative from The Climate Coalition. The timing also coincides with Climate Week NYC (20-26 September), when international leaders from business, government and civil society will meet for talks in New York.
“This is a vital time to show that communities across Scotland and the rest of the UK support strong action on climate change, prior to the COP26 climate conference taking place in Glasgow in November,” says campaigning group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, which is spearheading the Week.
Kat Jones, COP26 Project Manager at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:
“Climate Fringe Week is an amazing opportunity for communities throughout Scotland to showcase the work they are doing on climate action, celebrate some of our successes, and point clearly to where we need to see change.
“Climate Fringe Week gives a chance for us in Scotland to focus on those issues that matter to us, ahead of the global focus on climate that COP26 will bring, still while joining them to the international context.”
People and groups who are interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit the Climate Fringe website to download a toolkit, full of ideas and information about how to get involved.
Sanctuary Sunday and Refugee Week worship resources available
Churches across the UK and worldwide are encouraged to celebrate Sanctuary Sunday (also called Refugee Sunday) on 20 June, the conclusion of Refugee Week (14-20 June) which this year has the theme: “We cannot walk alone.” This year Sanctuary Sunday also coincides with World Refugee Day.
Scottish Faiths Actions for Refugees says: “There are more displaced people in the world today than at any other point in history and the Bible is clear in its expression of God’s loving concern for the stranger and refugee. Celebrating Sanctuary Sunday is an opportunity to raise awareness again of our Christian calling to welcome the stranger and do this openly and proudly.”
Scottish Faiths Actions for Refugees have collated a series of resources that can be used to mark the week and express prayers and solidarity.
Weekly worship resources for Sanctuary Sunday on 20 June are available here and include a range of suggested material which can be used to develop worship services.
They have also partnered with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland to produce worship resources on the theme of refuge, migration and sanctuary. They have worked ecumenically to create resources including bible studies, prayers, liturgies, stories, poems and discussion ideas, as well as suggestions of what you can organise during refugee week. You can download it or order physical copies here.
Entries open for BBC Young Chorister of the Year
Entries are now being accepted to find the BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2021, a joint initiative between Songs of Praise and Radio 2.
Singers aged 10-16 apply online by submitting two short films of themselves singing a Christmas carol or song and a sacred song such as a hymn, classical solo, spiritual, inspirational, gospel or worship song.
From all the entries received, five girls and five boys will be selected to go through to the radio and television competition in October to sing in front of an expert panel of judges. The winner and runner up will each receive a trophy and the chance to feature on BBC Radio and the winner will appear on Songs of Praise.
The closing date is midnight on Monday 14 June 2021. For more details of how to apply and to view the terms and conditions click here
Hate Crime Security Fund for places of worship
The Scottish Government has launched the Hate Crime Security Fund HCSF for places of worship, to provide grants for the installation of security measures to help protect places of worship from hate crime and incidents.
Impact Funding Partners is managing the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. The application form and a range of supporting information including Guidance, FAQs and Helpful Advice can be found on their website here.
The Fund is open until 21 July 2021.
Trussell Trust hosts Church Leaders event in Scotland
The Trussell Trust, a major foodbank operator in the UK, is inviting church leaders in Scotland to join them online on Thursday 10 June for a Big Church Leaders’ Breakfast. This virtual event will bring together church leaders to network, pray, and reflect together.
According to the Trust: “Between April 2020 and March 2021, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network distributed over 220,000 emergency food parcels to people in Scotland who were unable to afford the basics. Churches from all denominations play a vital role in supporting the food bank network providing volunteers, venues, leadership, and donations. Over the last year, many churches have stepped up their support to keep food banks operating during the pandemic.”
Many Scottish Episcopal Churches are already involved in organising, assisting or contributing to their local food banks, some with support from the Trussell Trust, others without. This event, hosted by Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trust, will share with Church leaders across Scotland more about the charity’s vision and work to build a hunger free future in partnership with churches as well as charities, and other organisations.
The event will be online on 10 June 2021 (note: this clashes with General Synod), starting at 8:10am for a time of networking and beginning the session led by Emma Revie at 8:30am. All church leaders are welcome to attend, whether your church is already involved with our food bank network or you would just like to learn more about our work.
Please note that the views expressed on websites linked in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Published by the General Synod of The Scottish Episcopal Church – Scottish Charity Number SC015962
Dear Faith and Belief Leaders and Representatives Expansion of NHS Visiting Guidance and universal COVID testing Thank you for all you are continuing to do to provide Spiritual Care during the COVID-19 pandemic.