To Inverness by train today for the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee which is part of the process by which a new bishop will elected for the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. The scenery, of course, was amazing – up through Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and Aviemore – with plenty of snow along the way.
The distances which the new bishop will have to travel are fairly daunting. The AA says that it is three and a half hours from Inverness to Thurso. Maybe a helicopter might be useful.
And, of course, it makes one think about patterns of ministry – and about shared/collaborative ministry in particular. Appropriately enough, once I ran out of Sudoku on the return journey, I immersed myself in ‘Local Ministry – story, process and meaning.’ Shared ministry is obviously a ‘good thing’ in itself – and in small and widely-spaced communities there is probably no other way to go. The challenges seem to be all about getting the balances right. For example, this is not about clericalising the laity. Nor is it about removing priestly authority. Indeed I have a feeling that at its heart is the task of helping clergy to re-negotiate their role – so that they can work authoritatively in the collaborative context.