I spent part of yesterday with the clergy of Aberdeen and Orkney at their annual Clergy Conference. Even though it was a misty day, the 62 miles from Blogstead to Banchory was amazing.
I gave them what Bishop Bob calls my ‘State of the Union’ address. Many people have heard bits of it and it’s always ‘work in progress’ so you’ll have to do without the pleasure for now. It’s the current state of my internal dialogue about Scotland, Scottish society and the Scottish Episcopal Church. I’m constantly learning so it’s constantly changing. But at the moment it touches on secular society, the distinctive nature of secular society in Scotland, why secular societies suit small churches, the Scottishness of the English Kirk …. A recent addition is the beginnings of an exploration of the spirituality of the SEC pre-Oxford Movement – which arises out of the Reformation 450 Conference this week and the experience of sharing in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows with the Moderator and the Cardinal.
There’s a reason for burdening clergy with all that. Back in the Diocese of St Andrews, our Casting the Net initiative is moving ahead steadily. But it’s led me to visit some of the literature on Engagement – since clergy tend to find themselves ministering in one place for quite a while and working very much on their own. You’ll find some of it here in From Frustration to Fulfilment. It seems obvious that the more people are helped to think about their context in ‘big picture’ terms, the more confident they will be about giving leadership in their local situation.