They were bringing in the sheaves at Blogstead today. You will of course immediately wonder what that is on the computer screen – some diagrammatic representation of a thrusting diocesan strategic plan, perhaps. Not so. I had just asked my old friend Multimap where I might find Lumphinnans.
You’ll be glad to know that my visit to Lochgelly fulfilled all my best expectations. My soon-to-be-published guide ‘Getting by in Bishopping’ mentions two greetings which strike fear into the heart of the Bishop as he visits a congregation. The first is, ‘We’re doing the usual’ – when you haven’t the faintest idea what the usual is. The second is, ‘We’re not using the readings from the lectionary.’ That’s the one I met today. Fortunately a marginal tweaking of the all-purpose episcopal sermon dealt with that.
They’re a small congregation but great fun to be with. With typical panache, they dealt with the difficult ethical issue of whether it is all right to go straight from the Eucharist into a raffle – what they call in Northern Ireland a ‘wee ballot’. The heating has stopped working and they have to raise money urgently. One of the Rectors with whom I served as a curate resolved this issue in typically gnomic style by saying that it was all right to have a raffle provided that the prize wasn’t anything which anyone would want. No need for such Jesuitical circumlocutions in Lochgelly. They have a beautifully-wrapped prize – but it’s always the same. Sometimes, indeed, the winner doesn’t even open it. It just goes round again and serves its purpose. And the money gets raised.
We ended yesterday at a wonderful concert for Organ and Brass in Dunkeld Cathedral. But many of the audience will have been unaware that an equally great work of art is just outside – National Cycle Route No 77 goes along the south side of the Cathedral and then along the Tay for several miles. We did some of it on Saturday morning but stopped short of Inverness.