Awaiting freshening showers

They certainly know how to pick their hymns in the Church of Scotland. This morning began with: Just as a dry and barren land/awaits a freshening shower ….

Business as usual – and business-like. Membership may have ebbed to under 500000 but income is up 21%. I’ve been enjoying trying to work out whether what they talk about in the Assembly Room is the same as what they talk about over the coffee and buns out the back. To which the intriguing answer is ‘Only partly’ I found myself involved in an interesting discussion about ‘territoriality’ – whether it makes sense for a church to continue to work on a ‘patch system’. The irony of course is that Anglican churches tend to think like that and Presbyterians don’t. Which is why we do it the opposite way round in Scotland.

And then on to the Irish Ministers’ Fraternal which was meeting the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. I hadn’t met Dr Finlay before. But then I found that I know his brother well – so that’s all right. It was great really. We just sat down and made sure that we all knew who each other’s second cousins were. We pondered the sad loss of Robert Dunlop. Could it really be eight years since Joey’s death? Actually, the mutual exploration did run beyond second cousins – I was asked if I was related to William Chillingworth, author of ‘The religion of Protestants – a safe way to salvation.’ Only time will tell on that one, I think!

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