I used to think that I didn’t really have roots.  Lived in too many places – I couldn’t have the same sense of place and belonging as my parishioners.  But then being in Armagh Cathedral last night for the installation of my friend Patrick as Dean put me back in dialogue with my roots.  It’s great to be with people who know me and my family two generations back – and to meet old friends with whom I have served in all sorts of places.  But, of course, there is another side to it which I pondered as I blundered onto the Stena early this morning.    It’s the freedom of being able to re-invent myself as I choose – if that doesn’t sound too spiritually treacherous.  In Scotland, I don’t have ‘form’ and, as yet, I don’t have history.  Great freedom in that.   Poppy, by the way, has had enough travelling for a while and is in voluble mode.  She didn’t get to fill in the customer survey on the Stena HSS but she did wonder why the number of customer satisfaction surveys one is given is in inverse proportion to the pleasure of the experience.


  1. The Hard Gospel is the Church of Ireland’s programme designed to challenge the church to address sectarianism in its own life and in society. I was Chair of the programme before I moved to Scotland. Churches in Ireland are markers of identity and therefore are at risk of taking a systemic form of sectarianism into their lives. In the Report which pre-dated the programme, one of the respondents said something like: ‘Love God and love your neighbour – that’s the Hard Gospel’

  2. David, What do you mean by the “Hard gospel”? Stephen

  3. Yes indeed. I re-read it at your prompting. I think I was surprised that +Alan didn’t give more than one embedded reference to the Hard Gospel which is actually a major focus of ministry for the new Dean – and which chimes what he was also saying about engagement with civic society. I then, as one does, allowed my mind to head off at a tangent because I think that the church[es] do not now have the moral authority to do that because they have not thought and acted ‘out of the box’. Which brings us full circle to Drogheda and the place of brave but disobedient action …

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