Bishop of Aberdeen

Well today’s significant moment – once I got home from Confirming 41 [that’s forty-one] young people at Glenalmond – was the election of Bob Gillies as Bishop of Aberdeen. Bob’s friends and colleagues here will be delighted. He has the most extraordinary level of integrity and commitment.  All over this church, there are people whom he has nurtured in vocation and ministry and difficult situations to which he has brought a healing touch.

But there was a sort of inevitability about this election – Bob’s reading of the licence at Institutions in his role as Dean [23 days today since his installation] was acquiring a cult following.  Sadly, I felt that last night’s performance at the Institution in St John’s Perth had a sort of ‘fin de siecle’ air to it. It was so over the top – addressing almost empty galleries left and right, sternly admonishing clergy and bringing to the use of the word ‘and’ a menacingly nasal quality which was positively intimidating – that it really left him nowhere to go but upwards. I shall have to choose a new Dean who will not upstage me.

Ecclesiastical appointments and elections are strange and personally painful things. Three people were not elected today and will do as most of us have done many times – accept the movement of the spirit and go into church tomorrow morning to carry on with ministry.  My thoughts are with them.  I’ve been there.  Life was so simple as a curate before I tripped over the bottom of the ecclesiastical greasy pole. I should have stuck to reading Trollope rather than acting it out.


  1. Congratulations to Bob, & consequently commiserations to Tim, Philip & Emsley (or should that be the other way around?) All 4 are in my prayers as they each come to terms with the decision.

    I’ve known Bob since ’93 – as my Rector and director of Ordinands, and as a good source of vital advice when I’ve needed it. He is an able and thoughtful theologian, an insighful guide and listener, though not afraid to be tough when he needs to be. His pastoral skill, and willingness to listen to those from outside his own theological experience and learn from them are things I valued immensley from my time in St Andrews with Bob, along with his willingness to take a risk and encourage others in their ministries and responsibilities (ordained or not). St Andrew’s loss is certainly Aberdeen’s gain. Congrats again, Bob – may you (and Liz & co) travel north with grace..

Comments are closed.