“Our Bishop is a link, through the Episcopal line, to the first stirrings of Christianity in Scotland: a reminder that we are integrally linked with Episcopal tradition in Scotland…”
A note from our Priest-in-Charge, the Rev Jim Geen
It hardly seems only a couple of months since we became an independent charge, so much has happened in the intervening time.
This edition of the magazine will coincide with the visit of Bishop Gregor, which we have all been looking forward to for some time. For most people who are not within an Episcopal tradition and indeed for some Episcopalians the question must go through their minds: ‘nice, but why get so excited?’
For us, in the Scottish Episcopal Church, our Bishop is a link, through the Episcopal line, to the first stirrings of Christianity in Scotland: a reminder that we are integrally linked with Episcopal tradition in Scotland and not a plant from a neighbouring sister church, despite what many have come to think. The history of our church is long and in most cases noble, too long to go into here but perhaps a worthy topic for the study group.
Apart from the historical links, a visit from our Bishop reminds us that we are part of a much bigger family. It is sometimes easy to become so dedicated to our own mission that we forget the rest of our family in the SEC and that we are an important and contributory part of that family.
The Bishop is important to us because he is our priest, our Father in God, a fact often forgotten. Bishop Gregor is priest, pastor and teacher to all members of the SEC in his Diocese, both lay people and clergy. Obviously he can’t lead the worship and care pastorally for all of us and so he appoints and authorises priests to act in his stead; the priest has no authority other than that given by the Bishop.
The priest leads worship, preaches, teaches and cares for those committed to their charge under the authority of the Bishop and under their guidance. When the Bishop visits, the priest continues to assist throughout the visit but takes a back seat as the Bishop is the true pastor of the flock gathered there.
A brief but, I hope, informative gallop through why our Bishop is important and his visit is such a joy. He comes not as a distant figure but as a spiritual father to spend time ministering to his people. The Bishop’s visit will, I know, give us a boost as we seek constant guidance for our mission in Maybole and Girvan.
May God’s Holy Spirit strengthen and guide us as we seek to show the compassion and love of Christ to all those we meet.