When the Past and Present Meet For A Moderator

It's a beautiful Sunny morning here in Canterbury. I've just arrived on the high speed train from London. The last time I visited Canterbury was well over 35 years ago when I attended the ordination of my good friend. Canon Iain Ferguson in Canterbury Cathedral. I remember it being a splendid affair at that time. I imagine it will be even more colourful for the enthronement of an Archbishop.

This has been a wonderful few days down here in the London. On Tuesday evening I preached at a special service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the life and witness of David Livingstone. This was followed by a reception in Dover House which is the Scottish Office in London.

The National Trust had an additional reception yesterday evening at John Murray's  Publishing House in Albemarle Street just off Piccadilly. It was quite an experience to be in the same rooms where some of the great literary figures of the  19th century hung out, people like Byron and Wilde and David Livingstone. Our host one of the  Murray brothers explains how the home which their family has lived in since 1812 was the place where philosophers and thinkers would gather. We even saw the room where Byron's diaries were burnt in the fireplace to prevent the truth of his life affect his reputation. Livingstone was a friend of e Murray family and they did much to support Livingstone in his work.

I think there is a great opportunity for the churches in Scotland to use this bi-centennial year of Livingstone's birth to promote a sense of adventure and mission in the minds of many more people. I believe there are interesting partnerships that could be formed and nurtured to bring about the fulfilment of some of the work that Livingstone started.

I truly believe that we have many young women and men in Scotland who are made of the same stuff as Livingstone. We who are in leadership roles need to be able to inspire more young people to become involved in programmes that will transform our communities at home and abroad. The door is certainly open in Malawi for all kinds of people to become involved in helping their economic recovery. In doing so we will also discover that it will help ours in the UK.

Earlier yesterday I was part of a Christian Leaders Reception being held at Downing Street to celebrate Easter. I found this really enjoyable. I was delighted to meet up with the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Great Britain Gregorios, he tells me that Metroplitan John Zizioulas who taught me Systematic Theology at Trinity College Glasgow will be in attendance today at Canterbury. I'm hoping that I will have the opportunity to meet up with him again some thirty five years later.

It seems that My past is catching up with me this weekend. While chatting to the father of Mumford and Sons in  a reception at 10 Downing Street I discovered that he is friendly with John Coles the leader of the New Wine Movement. John and I and Iain Ferguson first met as teenagers when John was a young student working in Glasgow. it is truly amazing how and where paths from the past intertwine again.

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