Very shortly I’ll be back on the road moving from Blantyre to London to Lusaka. However the past week has been an interesting one. Having completed the visit to Kincardine and Deeside Presbytery last Sunday this past week has allowed me some time to reflect and consider the challenges that face our rural parishes. I attended a conference last Saturday on this very topic. It was well received with over 80 people in attendance. It was interesting to note that within the group of elders and ministers that attended more and more elders are taking responsibility within the church. The linking of congregations has forced many people to think again about the role of ministry.
This was one of the topics discussed at the joint committee of doctrine between the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church when they met earlier this week. The topic of the Priesthood of all Believers was tackled not from the position of church polity but rather theologically asking what does it mean when we talk of the body of Christ the church a priest? It is of course the prieshood of Christ we are talking about. It is he who makes us priests and kings unto God. Perhaps this is a topic I could expand upon in the future.
Anyway it was my first visit to this committee. It was a very congenial affair. And I must confess I enjoyed engaging with the theology if on occasions I did nod off once or twice just after lunch. It is thirty years now since both churches agreed to accept each other’s doctrine on Baptism. And it is fifty years since Vatican ll was involved with all the reforming legislation for the Roman Catholic Church. In all it was a very interesting experience.
The election of the new Pope Francis from Argentina has caught the imagination of the press. The name he has chosen seems to have caused the media to talk about the core calling of the church, which in itself must be a good thing. As Francis of Assisi was one who gave up his wealth and position to serve the poor the implication is that this new man from Argentina will begin to refocus the church on the needs of the poor and reform the legislative body in the Vatican. I wish him well as he takes up his new post and trust that God will indeed give him the insight and wisdom that will be needed for his new responsibilities.
This week has been an opportunity to begin to look forward to the engagements that are coming my way and begin to prepare for them. Very shortly I’ll be heading for George Watson’s college to deliver an open keynote address to the Model United Nations Conference being held there this weekend. This is an interesting conference that happens in universities all around the world. ~it is a bit unusual for it to be organised by a secondary school. So well done George Watsons. Later on in the day I’ll be attending a worship conference being held in St Cuthbert’s Church just off Lothian Road in Edinburgh.
Meanwhile thank you to so many of you who pray for us. It is true to say we feel and know the power and support of such