I took myself to Glasgow yesterday for a conference on Sectarianism. The east of Scotland is largely free of ‘in your face’ sectarianism although that probably means that I haven’t grasped the nuances of it yet. The west of Scotland is a different matter. I got my ten minutes at the beginning with representatives of other churches. Since I left Northern Ireland, I have become more aware of some of the unintended effects of sectarianism – chiefly the way it actually becomes at low levels part of the glue that holds communities and churches together. It produces a illusory sense of solidarity rooted in ‘us and them’. In that way it creates a false strength in churches while hollowing them out from the inside. Some of the fragility in our churches here in Scotland is precisely because that glue isn’t there – and, difficult as it is, we’re the better for it. By the way, I still believe that the ‘English Church’ tag is sectarian because it carries the combination which is at the heart of all sectarianism – a mixture of religion with one of the other strands of identity.