Thursday, November 06, 2008

Updated to include a link to the sermon

Frances McLean was buried today from St James' Episcopal Church here in Penicuik. The coffin was welcomed into the church last night, covered with the funeral pall and installed in the chancel with the Easter Candle. A number of people who were unable to get away from work for the Requiem elected to show up last night along with a few who just wanted to be there. We had about 35 in attendance. Tony Bramley conducted a brief service which included the Sentences from the Burial Office along with a few prayers - both formal and informal. It was Bonfire Night here in the UK as well. As Tony led the coffin in there were bursts of fireworks coming from the hill behind the church - 21 gun salute? Celebrations in heaven? A good touch all round.

The Bishop celebrated the Requiem Mass today, I preached and the ample congregation was in full voice. The hymns had all been chosen with an eye to Christian Mission. I hope she'd have approved.

Frances was buried by Philip Crosfield (our now most senior Nonstipendiary priest) in Rosebank Cemetery in Edinburgh where her grandfather and great grandfather are buried. It was a cold and clammy day - lots of mist in the air and very grey. It was everything a burial in a Scottish graveyard ought to be. No worry, though: there has been enough light and warmth over the years and even during the day itself to cover any amount of clammy mist.

An article from the Edinburgh Evening News.

Comments from one of the choristers at today's funeral about the placement of bodies in the chancel.

Clergy Conference at Pitlochry

It's an annual affair here in the Diocese of Edinburgh for the stipendiary clergy of the Diocese. Though we're not spread out all over hell's half-acre like the clergy of some regions of the Canadian north it is nonetheless true that we hardly ever get to see each other and this is one opportunity when we do. A few clergy never show up. I guess that's par for the course. We had about 35 clergy in attendance this year.

We get some sort of off-season deal at the Atholl Palace in Pitlochry. The conference has been there each year since I arrived and I must admit I rather like the venue. There was a nice break in the rubbish weather for a couple of days (though it was rather foggy in the mornings) and we took our traditional long walk along the Tummel River up to the reservoir behind the dam, followed by an equally traditional trip to the Whisky Shop on the High Street.

Some years we've had speakers. This year it was decided that we wouldn't and the jury is still out on whether that was a good idea.

There was to be a discussion on the Anglican Covenant followed by or at least mingled with discussion about the professional development of the clergy and pastoral care of same. It was clear on the opening evening that the programme needed some tweaking/revision and the gathered clergy made their views on the subject known. The programme was duly tweaked.

Discussion of the Anglican Covenant was limited to about 30 minutes in the course of the three day conference which is about 20 minutes more than it deserved (my opinion).

Issues relating to the pastoral care of clergy got most of the remaining program time. It became clear (and I guess that we all knew this beforehand) just how lonely a life many of our colleagues lead. That, along with the fact that we don't take very good care of each other in the Church, are the sorts of things things that you know to be the case but which people are reluctant to talk about. Sorta like an 'elephant' in the room.

The word 'elephant' was used rather a lot - referring always to those things which a substantial presence in the room but which are simply not spoken about.

Malcolm Round, the Rector of St Mungo's Church in Balerno thought it a shame that he actually has a picture of himself riding an elephant and no blog to show it on.

I received it in an email last night and I include it below. Think of it as part of a programme of informal pastoral care of the Rector of Balerno.