This kind of conference is always interesting – bishops are by nature an interesting lot. In a world of fairly narrow specialisms, they tend to be people who are interested in many things and only some of them esoteric. The lists and organisation refer to geography – and have that rather sonorous ring of the stations at which a cross-country train calls or the advert in which Peter Ustinov used to read from Yellow Pages. So we have Argyll, Barking, Birkenhead, Bolton, Buckingham….
I am sure that I was not the only one to smile this morning as the servants of the servants of God sang this verse of Isaac Watts:
High is the rank we now possess; And higher we shall rise; But what we later shall become; Is hid from mortal eyes.
Meanwhile I have been reading about the Cutty Sark. I’ve always been interested in the great days of sail – reading the books of Alan Villiers and, of course, Hornblower. One of the stories not reported today is that of the Captain/Master who would demand that yet more sail should be set as the clippers raced back from Australia. It reached the point where he stood with a loaded revolver by the sheets/ropes – threatening to shoot the first person who slackened canvas. Ah, the Pentecost wind filling the sails of the church?