Sad day today as we shared in a Eucharist in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, to mark the retirement of Bishop John Mantle after five years as Bishop of Brechin. John is retiring slightly early due to ill-health – today we said lovingly and firmly to him that he has done all that is needed to prepare the diocese for the next stage of its journey. We wish John and Gill a well-earned rest in their retirement. And this is what I said.
It was of course interesting to move in less than 24 hours from Clogher to Dundee – from what one of my predecessors as Primus, Alistair Haggart, once described to me as the ‘restrained classicism of the Church of Ireland’ to the rather less restrained piskie expression of Anglicanism. Yes – vestments, incense, wonderful congregational and choir music including a blast of Africa to greet the gospel. As I often say, I remain astonished by the quality of the liturgy in our cathedrals.
I was sorry I couldn’t get to the conference on Volunteering which was being run today in Bridge of Allan by our Church in Society Committee. If I had been there, I would have said that it is very important that we encourage people to volunteer service in the community. If service simply means ‘looking after the church’ we are never going to catch the imagination of people who may wish to serve and care – but have given up on the institutional churches.