Whew! The white smoke was billowing metaphorically around Holy Trinity church, Dunoon, today - and in the other episcopal charges of the Cowal and Bute district - as we were at last able to acknowledge that a new priest had been appointed. The Reverend Andrew Swift, originally from Aberdeen, is currently a full-time curate in a semi-urban parish in Gloucester City, and before training for ministry worked in the shipbuilding industry.
For the first time in almost 30 years there will be a young family living in the Rectory, the last such family belonging to our recently-retired bishop, +Martin. At that time I was one of the young adults in the congregation, and some of us were reflecting the other day that we are now the Old Women of the tribe - though strangely we don't feel like it. Thirty years ago women of my age wore tweed skirts - remember these skirts with the pleats from each side of the hip? - and Pringle twinsets under their sensible jackets and above their sensible shoes. They perhaps wore pearls, or a Luckenbooth brooch. At yesterday's meeting there were jeans, technical-fabric trousers, trainers, hiking boots (so still sensible footwear!), fleeces and T-shirts. Presumably we now head to the grave dressed as we have since we left mini-skirts behind ... but I digress.
Life is short, but at least with a new priest it will be less demanding - just a bit - for the lay team, who may not have to write so many sermons. And it promises to be interesting. What more could we ask for?