It’s all in the thistle

Still looking for a symbol which expresses the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church today – something to share with the Primates’ Meeting. So here is one possibility – the business end of the crosier which was a gift from our congregation at St Mary’s, Dunblane. I had no part in the design so it is fascinating that they did what they did.

The combination of episcopal crosier with thistle … we’re working on what it means to be an authentically Scottish expression of Anglicanism. There may be some historical justification for the tag ‘English Kirk’ – but it is very partial. We need to reconnect with the fulness of our history in Scotland. And as we reconnect with that history, we then move forward in partnership with others in mission to the whole community.

There is, of course, a connection to the Anglican story. Through the consecration by the Scottish bishops of Samuel Seabury as first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA, we played our part in the shaping of the Anglican Communion at the beginning. What is our role to be in the reshaping of the Anglican Communion for the next generation?


  1. I think the traditional sign which you see on churches boards which be good enough,
    as it already says both Scottish and Episcopal

    1. Yes Richard – that’s fine. But the challenge was actually to try and identify something which expressed the issues facing our church. Always going to be broad-brush, I’m afraid

  2. As your blog is read by an international audience, may I comment on the three strands in your current post.

    1 There is absolutely NO mystery why the thistle would be chosen for your crozier – it is the iconic emblem of Scotland.

    2 “…….tag English Kirk – is very partial”. The demographic changes over the past 20 years & future population predictions (confirmed @ the 6 Rural Churches Conferences) has raised sensitive issues as new arrivals outnumber indigenous Episcopalians.

    3 I was confirmed into Eaglais Easbuigeach na h-Alba. We can contribute to the re-shaping of the Anglican Communion by recognising our strengths from the past, adapting and re-newing them and by retaining the words ‘Scottish & ‘Episcopal’ in the title of our church.

    1. Perhaps the new arrivals also outnumber indigenous Presbyterians? But of course to think like that assumes a world of denominational loyalty and stability which has long ceased to exist. Thanks for your comment

  3. Google St. Mary’s, in Sue Dilworth’s reply, sounds like a neighbouring charge to Blogstead Episcopi…

  4. Is there anything significant in that the crozier spiral looks like a seahorse?

    1. Well – to give a very SEC-type response – it’s significant if you think it’s significant!

  5. David
    I really enjoy your blog from south of the border.
    I think the thistle is a good idea. Not only is it a beautiful thing to look at, it is also practical in a prickly sort of way. The Anglican communion need tickling with it right now, and with some of your common sense.
    But please don’t ask me to comment on the Week of Prayer for Christina Unity, can’t even get it right as Anglicans!

    Sorry if that sounds too grumpy – but I also send best wishes from Prof Leslie Houlden who, though long retired, we are privileged to have ministering to us at our church. Google St Marys, Temple Balsall.

    1. Thank you Sue. Yes Christina is quite a girl – rather like the time the School Secretary looked at the Conversion of St Paul in the School Calendar and asked, ‘What time?’

      Delighted to hear again of Leslie Houlden – do give him my very best wishes. The year which I spent in what had just become Ripon College, Cuddesdon, was part of what made it possible for me to move from the Church of Ireland to the SEC. We have just had the present Principal, Martyn Percy, to speak at our Clergy Conference

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