In ordinary times, we’d have had a big bring-and-share lunch after the service and gossiped our way into our new relationship, but these are not ordinary times!
Instead, the first combined service for St Mary’s and St Andrew’s congregations, worshipping as the pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney, took place under COVID restrictions, complete with masks, hand sanitiser and no congregational singing. With mixed feelings St Andrew’s, unable to return to their own building since lockdown, came to join the St Mary’s congregation with nods and called greetings. St Mary’s, still accustoming ourselves to the new style of worship, did our best to provide a welcome without all the usual demonstrations of friendship we’d like.
Nevertheless the service was a success, with Bishop Anne presiding and preaching. Father Terry was installed as an honorary Canon, and he and Father Isaac were each installed as assistant priest to the other’s congregation. Stewarding duties, along with readings and intercessions, were neatly divided between the two congregations. Considering that everyone is still finding their feet both in the familiar and unfamiliar way we currently have to worship, and in our newly defined relationship with St Andrew’s and with Bishop Anne, our service on 27th September was a good first step for the future.