Wednesday, 30 March 2011

And Finally...

The RW retires! A new life for both of us!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from blogging for a while. Facebook and Twitter seem to be the way to go these days, and good honest blogging is better left in the hands of those who do it best!

Bits and bobs will still appear on

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Not Good

The past couple of days have been pretty dreadful! A bad case of the "runs" and the central heating breaking down have not done much for the demeanor! It's not a pleasant subject, but I can't be far away from a loo at the moment, and although there's now a bit of heat in the house, the prospect of a frozen loo is not the best!

With so much good reflection and Lenten goodies going around, I suppose it had to be me that would bring everyone down to earth!

Apologies for meetings missed, but these things can't be helped!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Fight the Good Fight?

Was talking to a friend from the east today, a Church of Scotland minister, who just so happens to be gay and in a same-sex relationship. He and I know each other well, and speak often, although at the moment there is a lot of angst about the forthcoming General Assembly and the position he may find himself in shortly. A Church that is rejecting him and his ministry, however beautiful and effective that ministry might be.

We had a laugh about the recent blog stuff over gender issues, he agrees with where I stand and what I'm saying,  after all it's only my opinion, but then we got serious. I think we got serious because we love the Church and share a common concern about the way things are at the moment.

There are so many individuals, loud people, opinionated people who know they are right, people with a sword in hand, people, sometimes with great chips on their shoulders, who want to fight the fight. LGBT issues? Bring them on! Gender equality, bring it on! Let's fight to the death for the freedom, or the crucifixion, of brothers and sisters in Christ. (Whether it is to be freedom or crucifixion depends on your standpoint). The Church today is being seen as a Church which has big issues. Issues over sexuality and gender imbalance. We are getting so upset by this that our Churches, our Communions are falling apart.

Meanwhile, the outside world looks on and thinks, "What the hell is that stuff all about?" "This Church is getting so screwed up with issues that don't bother us ordinary folk at all. We have already dealt with this stuff and it's not the most important thing in our wee lives"

Why is the Church not getting its knickers in a twist about cuts to services, unemployment, abandonment of the poor, the indifference towards the folk on the edges of our communities, those in debt, those in the throes of addiction and their kids? Why are we not angry about poverty and starvation in Africa or elsewhere? Why are we not campaigning that bankers are being allowed to do it all again?

Why are we not angry that our town centres are being decimated, that the rich are getting richer and we are NOT all in this together? Why are we not fizzin' about kids stuck on metadone programmes with little chance of getting into treatment centres?

Because we're too busy arguing about how many women Bishops or Canons we have, or who somebody goes to bed with.

And Jesus wept.

Numpty Vicars..

Just realised I'm probably one of them... but as one of my little flock once said, "You might be a numpty, Kenny, but you're our numpty!"

Thursday, 10 March 2011

As the RW Approaches Retirement This Month....

Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie?

This is a pic sent to me by one of my friends. I know the dog, and the baby, well. They are truly in love with each other, and he's a big softie, although he looks like a half-chewed caramel.

The pic has caused a lot of comment, though, about trusting sleeping dogs with weans! I know that the vast majority of my readers are "doggy" people, so I thought a wee straw poll would be interesting. Would you trust your dog in this situation? Whether you would, or not, a nice wee caption competition might also be in order!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shrove Tuesday

It's a strange day for me. Pancakes are certainly off the agenda when the RW is on Weightwatcher meals, but it's still a significant day. Eyebrows are singed as palm crosses are burned to make the required amount of ashes I'll need tomorrow. I've been know to use a wee accelerant to hasten things along, and hope that the little chrism I use ensures that my ashes smell ok in the end!

In my first Charge, there was an incredibly sweet old lady called Nellie who was in her eighties. On my first Shrove Tuesday she pulled me aside and said, "Father, you do not know this, but I am the biggest sinner in this parish, and I will be wanting a significantly large black cross on my forehead tomorrow! Next day, in all it's solemnity, Nellie appeared at the altar, with her sparkling blue eyes and the widest grin I've ever seen. "Go for it!", she whispered. I certainly did, but it took me quite some while to regain my composure afterwards!

In the same parish, the Roman Catholic priest borrowed a van and parked in the local supermarket car park, dispensing ashes to the shoppers who had failed to attend mass. One year a young lad came up and said, "I'm a Proddie, mister, so can ah git ashed tae?" He replied, "You'll get ashed because you're a Proddie, son. C'mere!"

Speaking to a retired headmaster last night, he was reminiscing about another priest in another parish who walked the corridors of his school on Ash Wednesday, ashing every pupil he could get his hands on between class periods!

Ah! For the old days, eh?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Gender (cont)

It was strange to discover that my comments on Gender Issues has been partially cut and pasted on to Ruth's Blog and my words have caused a great stushie over there!

Again, I'm being set up as the "baddie", the "anti-women guy", and various other things too! I'm feeling uncomfortable about the way things are going in the SEC, but to suggest that I'm in any way non-supportive of women being appointed to the upper echelons of Church life and work is simply nonsense.

I was part of the selection committee in our Diocese when we were electing our current Bishop, and  there were three candidates  put before our electoral synod. One of these was a woman without much parish experience, but someone who I believed to have all the gifts and talents required to be an excellent bishop and leader in mission. So, let's get that one out of the way. I am pro women bishops and hope we have one soon. Ruth herself has all the credentials for being an excellent bishop, and this time next year may well be Bishop of Edinburgh. I would applaud that appointment.

It has to be said that, in my opinion, we have in our Diocese , the most gifted clergyperson I have had the delight to encounter. She has a senior position through merit.

Perhaps my concerns have been misunderstood. I'll try again.

The Gender Audit needed to be done and I have no problems with that. However, there now seems to be an almighty rush to put things right. If  what I was hearing at Diocesan Synod was wrong, then I apologise, but basically we were being told that in future, those responsible for making appointments to senior positions within the Church, had to always consider the imbalance we have at the moment. That sounds like positive discrimination towards women however you put it. It sounds like, "We must try to appoint a woman here, to be seen to be aware of the terrible imbalance we have."

I think positive discrimination demeans women who I think are perfectly capable of being appointed on their own merits, whether to Dean, Cathedral Chapters, or whatever you care to name.

Now that we seem to be in a dreadful hurry to redress the imbalance, many capable and gifted men will be overlooked, simply because we must be seen to be appointing women as often as we can.

I do not have any real senior position in the Church and a look at my ministry career will testify that I've never been a career priest in search of glory or titles. After Saturday, however,  I almost felt like apologising for being Convenor of  the Diocesan Church in Society Action Network, knowing, as I do, many women, ordained and lay, who could adequately fill that post. When a man has to consider apologising for being a man, then we are in a pretty pickle.

I suggested that we give time time, and eventually, especially in the SEC, things will work out.

Again, it would be nice to discuss this issue on my own blog where the full text appears, but I enjoy reading Ruth's Blog anyway, so to visit often is no chore on my part!

Comments from my post Synod may be read as they are part of this debate

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Gender Issues

Gender Issues being discussed within the Scottish Episcopal Church make me feel uncomfortable. We already have our Canons in place to accept women bishops, and I feel that as a Province we are more sensitive than others about making sure that women are treated equally and fairly.

I am about to start worrying about a movement that seems to want positive discrimination for women. When appointments are made, in this Diocese at least, I know that the best person available is appointed. Because of years and years of discrimination, sometimes the posts require experience and acquired talents which mean that women are sometimes not appointed.

Males in this Diocese begin to apologise for being male! But I believe I belong to a Diocese and Province where the best people are appointed, regardless of gender.

In a few years time, the imbalance will be redressed because of time rather than positive discrimination.

Can I pray for a bit of patience here? I'm sorry I'm male, but I do have talents and experience of  parish life and lots more!

All Round Mistake?

At Synod today, I noticed that Holy Trinity/St Barnabas Paisley had bought big round tables for their new hall complex. At St Augustine's we did the same, for, I'm sure the same reasons. However, they do not work! Conversation is limited to those on either side of you, and cross-table banter is impossible. Not good for Synod!

In St Aug's we have started buying long tables again. Communication is so much better over meals!

I was a great believer that round tables would work better, but in a big hall they don't!

However, if there is a parish who wants to use big round tables that seat at least 10, please get in touch!


I'm not a great lover of Diocesan Synod. People who know me are aware of this, and know that I go simply because I have to. The agenda today was far from dramatic, and there was little chance of anyone falling out dramatically.

My attention today was fixated by "Mercy Ships", and the presentation on their work, mostly in West Africa. I have witnessed their work in Banjul, The Gambia, and know what sort of effect they have, first hand, on the people of that country. The Bishop has made Mercy Ships the recipient of his Diocesan Lent Appeal, and I applaud his decision.

However, today, something was not quite right. We had seen the most horrific images from West Africa then retired quite unperturbed to lunch which was extremely beautiful and probably cost the Diocese an arm and a leg. I know the money we spent today on lunch would go a long way on a Mercy Ship!

We could easily have put on soup and bread, and nobody would have starved. It would have been even more apt if we had been given a bowl of rice and a little sauce, possibly peanut, to keep us alive during the afternoon session.

This is unlikely to happen as we seem keen to lavish money on Diocesan events. And I'll be wrong again and get flack.

The Dean, eruditely reminded us of the whole Eco problem and how we could cut down on our waste of energy and show an example to the world.

When I take photos of Gambians living in mudhuts without a proper water supply, I wonder when the western church is going to wake up to showing an example. Perhaps for the next year or so we should budget for the norm, take the cheapest option, and give the balance to Mercy Ships? I'm sure many would approve!