Across the Ancient Diocese of Moray
Posted Tuesday 5 June 2012
St Margaret's, Aberlour
St Michael's, Dufftown
This was to be a week of Moray and it started with a Confirmation service at St John’s, Forres. As usual the service was both dignified and joyful, well, up until the time I started to tease the Rector and he gave back as good as he got. The four candidates were a delight and the piles of cake that followed a sore temptation to a hungry Bishop. We left with the essence of Rosa Mystica Incense on our clothes and the promise of a good lunch at Inverugie.
Monday had me chairing a vestry meeting at St John’s, Inverness and presiding for the Feast of St Matthias at Arpafeelie. Tuesday was a day of preparation and on Wednesday I headed East. The Bishop was setting up his office in Glenlivet for the next few days as there were a number of appointments at this end of the Diocese. Wednesday evening and I chaired a meeting of the Isla Deveron Group Vestry, at Christchurch Huntly, much of the conversation revolving around on going building works, thankfully Jane had driven through from Inverness and a meal was waiting for me at Glenlivet.
The following morning Jane got up early to drive back to Inverness for work and discovered that we had had snow in the night, I won’t repeat what she said! I headed to Elgin where I was to celebrate the Ascension with a memorial Eucharist for Dr Mora Scott, the service was great, the family and friends made a choir, the readings were about healing and it was good to catch up with friends. On the way back to Glenlivet I stopped at St Margaret’s, Aberlour for another celebration of the Ascension. We held the service in the choir of the church, using the high altar. It really is a stunning place, the incense filled the sanctuary with smoke, and we sang traditional Ascension Hymns and left filled with the joy of the day. Back to Glenlivet and a slightly wonky boiler, we were either very hot or very cold, we phoned the plumber.
On Friday I spent the day visiting and re-connecting with the community of Aberlour, it was really good just to walk around saying hello, I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this type of parish work. Mind you I got lost at least twice as I tried to find peoples homes, but each person I stopped to check directions also wanted a chat, it was great.
The atmosphere was different on Saturday; we drove through to Huntly so that I could rededicate the War Memorial as a new name had been added to it. Corporal Michael Pike was killed in action, protecting others, in Afghanistan. His family and friends, colleagues from the Highlanders and a good number of local residents gathered as we gave thanks for his life and for the lives of the others mentioned on the memorial. The service was conducted with military precision, the bugles played, the pipes called and lamented and the community prayed. I felt very humble to have been asked to do this for this family, a day I will remember.
On Sunday I once more celebrated at St Margaret’s, Aberlour before driving over the hills to Dufftown, here I shared the Eucharist with this small but faithful congregation and held a brief meeting to reassure them about the future following the resignation of their rector. It was really good to discover that two children are counted among the regular members here, things are looking good.
We drove home and got back to Arpafeelie just in time for me to lead a training session on the Ministry of the Word, after that, I sat down in the garden and fell asleep.