Sunday, June 06, 2010

A new shepherd!

Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Yesterday - joyous yesterday - marked the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one for Holy Trinity Dunoon. It's been over a year since our congregation set off on the adventure of a road with only a map to guide us; now we have a leader again. In his sermon during yesterday's service of introduction for Andrew our new priest, +Mark, the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness,* gave us a wonderful vision - a vision of sheep. I'm no expert on sheep, so I've forgotten the varieties involved, but it was clear that he considers us the kind of flock who might wander round the back of any shepherd who attempted to drive us from the rear. Andrew, proclaimed the bishop, should emulate those shepherds who march confidently ahead of their flock, not looking back to check if we're still there.

We were certainly there yesterday, with visitors, the local MP, clergy from the C of S and the RC churches - and golly, did we raise the roof. Mr B had written a new setting of the lovely Celtic blessing - "May the road rise to meet you ...", we sang his (and therefore our own) setting of the liturgy, we laughed and smiled and felt solemn and joyful, and at the end of it all, when we knew that all the official stuff that puts Andrew in charge of us had been done in good order, we applauded. And then we sang again.

And then the Marthas (with me at their head, not looking back ....) charged from the church, down the grassy path thoughtfully mowed through the field, into the strategically-parked cars and off to the RC church hall to assemble a fabby feast. None of your finger buffets here: this was an abundance of hot dishes, salads and exotic puddings to sustain the wandering bishop on his homeward journey (you'll gather there are many journeyings for Piskies in this narrative). The party went on long enough for several of us to have missed Doctor Who, but the sun shone and it really did seem as if being a Christian was a feasible option after all.

I cannot, however, end on this uncharacteristically Pollyanna note. Mention of Doctor Who brings me back to the church car-park, where a Tardis had materialised in the shape of a Portaloo perched perilously on the edge of the steep drop down to Kilbride Road. Despite our misgivings, no-one reversed into it, and no-one was catapulted inside it to instant ignominy among the rhododendrons. It served its purpose, and by the time we returned this morning it had vanished.

Just like the Tardis, really.

And I have to report that, the bishop's recurring nightmare about shrinking pulpits notwithstanding, Andrew preached from said pulpit this morning. It didn't shrink.

See? I was listening...

*In case you're wondering why we have to have a bishop from so far away, it's because he's looking after Argyll right now. We are waiting for the College of Bishops to find us a new one. Come on, chaps ...


  1. O Happy Day! I am sure you are so thrilled...What a blessing, indeed, to have found a new shepherd! How nice for him to have submissive sheep!

    Your tardis story nearly made me fall to the floor, laughing. Your Pollyanna reference made me sure someone had gone over the edge, but I did breathe a sigh of relief when you assured that all was well and no Jacks or Jills tumbled down the hill!!!

  2. Take a deep breath, Martha, and tumble into Maryland for a while....

  3. A wonderful day! I did worry that a passing walker might have popped into the tardis just as the port-a-loo people hoisted it back off!

    I think 'cheviots' were the silly submissive sheep you could chase, and 'hebrideans' were smart and sassy and walked round the back of the poor old shepherd. I hesitate to describe any congregation as sheep, but I feel we might be closer (both literally and metaphorically) to being hebridean here in Cowal and Bute!