As I begin to write this, the sun is shining outside and it is warm. Someone mentioned to me that he hoped that it would stay like this until October. There’s nothing like being an optimist about the weather, especially in Aberdeen!
Well, that was General Synod done for another year. Due to personal reasons, I did not attend Edinburgh, however, I was able to participate online via zoom. We discussed many things within our table-top exercises, one of which concentrated on how we coped during the height of the Covid pandemic. We all agreed that it is important to be as adaptable to change as possible when faced with circumstances that challenged us all. There was also a feeling of so many lessons being learned together with an acceptance that there are just some things that cannot be overcome.
Sam and I had a lovely holiday in Aruba, where the weather was equally as good. We have only been back a couple of weeks, but it feels like we have never been away at all. We were extremely grateful to all at St Mary’s who contributed towards the very generous gift prior to our departure. It was a very humbling experience and the generosity of people never ceases to amaze me.
I understand that Fr Roger did a sterling job whilst I was away and this was a great comfort to me, although I had no doubts whatsoever that this would be the case. Fr Roger and I have slightly different styles when it comes to worship and this is such a blessing, as it provides great variation and attention to detail. Fr Roger has also been very busy in other areas of our outreach. There was a very successful talk , organised by Fr Roger, given by Dr Brian Brock on the subject of how we as Christians view the conflict in Ukraine. A further talk is being planned where another guest speaker will be coming to St Mary’s.
Matthew McVey, our Director of Music, has been extremely busy during the last quarter. Not only has he completed his third year of Studies at Aberdeen University, but it appears he is in big demand from other places of worship and musical events. With this in mind, it was a great joy to be at Haddo House Chapel, where, at the invite of Lady Aberdeen, an Evensong service was held. Bishop Anne officiated and musical arrangement was done by Matthew. The service was to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Anniversary. It was a wonderful occasion and this was appreciated by all who attended.
You will no doubt notice that the external scaffolding is slowly moving around the church. It is good that this important maintenance is being carried out, but at the same time, it is also a great relief to see the work nearing its completion. I am grateful to our Building Committee of Mr David Rose and Mrs Freddie Stephens, both of whom have worked very closely with our architect Mr Dave Chouman, to ensure that the work is being carried out to a high standard. We still wait authorisation via the Canon 35 application before work can commence with our West-End Peace Garden project, hopefully that will be forthcoming soon. Speaking of change, it was nice to see the Memorial Chapel area being put back into use after the internal scaffolding removal. My thanks to all who helped with this and the subsequent tidy-up.
St Mary’s will host a ‘Lambeth Evensong’ on Sunday the 24th of July, where we will see attendance from five American Bishops as well as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen, The Primus and Bishop Anne. This will be a significant occasion in the Diocese and a lot of hard work has gone into ensuring we can provide everything that is good about St Mary’s.
St Mary’s Vestry continue to work hard in ensuring the business end of our church is maintained. Whilst we are running two Ordinary Vestry members short, those currently in situ are extremely supportive and pro-active in all that we do, and this makes my role as Rector all the easier. I do, however, continue to appeal to those who may want to consider a role as a Vestry member.
After a year as a Panel Member with Children’s Hearing Scotland, I have decided that I will need to step down from the role. Normally after a year, Panel Members are asked to be trained as Chairing Panel Members, which, as the title outlines, requires more responsibility and time, as well as being a pivotal member of the decision-making process. The decision was not easy, as I have enjoyed the role during the past twelve months or so, however, as I emphasised when I commenced training, should I feel that it could possibly encroach on my Ministry here at St Mary’s, then I would seriously need to consider whether I could continue. My priorities are first and foremost, being your Rector and Pastoral resource, and that in itself requires my full attention. In retrospect, should any of you feel that being a Panel Member for the Children’s Hearings Scotland organisation, I would urge you to research and speak to one of the many people involved. It is a very rewarding responsibility and one that I am glad I had the opportunity to embark upon. https://www.chscotland.gov.uk
Fr Roger and I have had a discussion about amending / changing the current Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer booklets we currently have in use. It is important that our worship is varied and also thought-provoking. We will not dispense with the materials we have at the moment but will hope to alternate them with some newer resources.
Finally, I would like to express my thanks to everyone connected with St Mary’s. Without the unstinting support from everyone in our congregation, much of the work we do would prove to be extremely difficult to complete. We are continuing to see growth and the return of some of you who have found it difficult to return to regular services after the pandemic, and Fr Roger and I continue to offer support to all concerned.