Still Speeding Along (Sort Of)
Posted Tuesday 15 May 2012
Clergy at Culloden (photo from Tuam Website)
It is difficult to speed too much when half of your week is taken up by the Dean driving a mini bus with a speed regulator on it, a bit of a come down after the open road on his Golden Wing! Why I hear you ask was Dean Cliff driving a mini bus? It was to ferry around the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.
+Patrick and his clergy were spending the inside of a week with us as we explored together the complexities of deep rural ministry. They arrived on Monday and I caught up with them at the Cathedral as we shared the Eucharist and I gave them an introductory talk on the diocese and its history. On Tuesday we had arranged for a bit of an outing. Dean Cliff drove us in the minibus over to Poolewe, going via Dundonald and Laide, we arrived at St Maelrubha’s for a short service of prayers and then a wonderful lunch prepared by the congregation of Poolewe. The clergy and lay Ministers of the area had gathered and we had an interesting conversation on mission priest ministry and new mission stations.
The next leg of the journey was through to St Donnan’s at Nostie, using the newly reopened Stromeferry Bypass, by now it was actually getting very warm, the sun was shining down and we had a 20min wait to enter the repaired stretch of road, needless to say herding Irish Clergy is the same as Scottish clergy, impossible and as the lights changed to green a mad flurry of sunbathing priests clambered back into the bus and off we went. At Nostie the peace of the small church worked its magic and the bus became meditative until we reached Dornie (all of five minutes) and the cameras appeared to photograph Eilean Donan Castle.
I left the party at Drumnadrochit as I was being picked up to drive through to a vestry meeting in Aberlour. Is that +Mark’s daughter meeting him? And much to Mrs Strange’s delight it was actually herself, daughter indeed….
The following day the clergy of Moray, Ross and Caithness gathered at Arpafeelie with our visitors, we talked about the challenges of our own charges and parishes and the need for a missionary vision, I sent them all out in small group for an Arpafeelie walk and then Jane produced a hot buffet supper for them all, the talking just went go on go on go on.
Thursday was the inevitable trip to Culloden Moor and a walk over to the Irish Stone that marks the spot where the Irish Regiments in the service of France held the line to allow many highlanders to escape from the battle; we discovered much shared experience and many similar historical difficulties in our time together. Onwards to Forres and a trip round the Ben Romach distillery before I again left the party as they visited St John’s, Forres and had Evening Prayer at St Columba’s, Nairn. I rushed home to help get dinner ready, Jane this time producing a highland dinner for 18!
Our new friends left us on Friday morning following a farewell Eucharist at St Michael’s and All Angels, Inverness, a new experience of Anglo Catholic liturgy for some, I am sure. We parted at the door of the church and I for one felt we were saying farewell to people who we will share time with again, we had learnt from each other and we had shared with each other.
Haste Ye Back.