To the synod office

scottish-field-754831To General Synod Office in Edinburgh yesterday, where I discovered lying prominently in the reception room (Room 1) an up to date copy of Scottish Field and a small pile of Scottish Fields for recent months.

Can anyone confirm whether this is anything to do with the fact that the leader of the Scottish Tory Party has been asked to speak at the Provincial Conference? Does the one follow the other as night follows day, or are these two things in fact unrelated?


  1. I might prefer a group discussion on Scottish Field to listening to speeches by members of the conservative party at the provincial conference.

  2. Do you speak as someone from Rural parts of the Nation, Kimberly?

    There is a Rural Commission for people like you, you know.

  3. Robin says

    She is an Elder of the Kirk, I believe, so she’s a Christian as well as a politician. I’ve met her, and even though we disagreed on politics I thought she was great fun.

  4. I quite admire Ms Goldie myself, though not of course her politics, and I’m unsurprised to hear that she is good fun.

    I’m going to gloss over the claim that someone is a Christian because they are an elder of the kirk and leave someone more qualified to respond to it. I’m sure you are right, Robin.

  5. Would it be out of the question, Robin, for Ms Goldie to become the new Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway?

  6. “Do you speak as someone from Rural parts of the Nation, Kimberly?”

    no, not at all.

  7. Kelvin says

    Just checking.

  8. In a former life I used to work for the Scottish Field, (along with the Scottish Farmer and a now defunked climbing magazine) and so I am somewhat surprised to hear of you suggesting that it is Tory in nature. I and those in the office I worked certianly, at that time (early 80’s) saw it as liberal (the same couldn’t be said for the Scottish Farmer)! Has it really changed that much?

  9. My prejudices were formed by doing a curacy in Perthshire. I’d love them to be completly inaccurate.

    However, I’m aware that I was not the only person in the room yesterday who perceived the mag as a symbol of a right-wing rural affairs agenda.

    Us townies know nothing about the country. At least, it would seem that way by the way I’ve heard people speak at diocesan and general synods.

  10. David says

    As a born n’ bred countryman, it’s at least refreshing to see an admission that “…townies know nothing about the country.” For too long the rural economy has been dealt blow after blow by politicans and civil servants who have no understanding of the countryside and the people who live and work there. Country folk, particularly farmers in recent years, face challenges every bit as painful as those who inhabit inner cities. Suicide rates are proportionately higher than in urban areas and the pastoral issues for rural clergy (often lacking the support of clergy teams) equally as challenging.
    It’s understandable that town/city dwellers perhaps find field sports and other aspects of country life distateful, not having been reared to them and not fully understanding what is actually going on – fed, as they often are on an unbalanced diet supplied by the media and politicians with a class chip on their shoulder. However, I would ask that urban folks try to show a degree of tolerance and cease from their continual bashing of country people, their lifestyles and their economy. The countryside is not a playground for city dwellers at weekends and holidays – for many of us it is home and a workplace.

  11. Robin says

    > Would it be out of the question, Robin, for Ms Goldie to become the new Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway?

    As far as I know, it would be OK, since she’s baptised and over 30! And Glasgow & Galloway has had a Bishop Goldie before, so there’s precedent!

  12. Robin – we are in the process of removing the 30 year lower age limit for bishops this year. If Ms Goldie turns out to be younger than we think, she is still in with a shout.

    David – thanks for your post. It is similar to what’s been said to me in synod. To be honest, as someone whose formative years were mainly in a part of the country where the dominant industry was coal, the idea that the farming/rural economy has been particularly ill treated by either European or national government thinking has always seemed very puzzling.

    There are many things which bring town and country together. Clergy complain of the same degrees of isolation in town and country, for example. People also often complain about the ability of young people in the country to find affordable housing locally. However, to someone who has lived succesively in Perth, Bridge of Allan and the West End of Glasgow, that complaint again seems to unite rather than divide us.

    As for field sports, I feel less strongly about the sports themselves than I did when I was younger. However, I feel more strongly than ever that all of us, whatever sector of society we live in can only muddle along by a common respect for the law and it has sometimes been difficult for someone like me to perceive such a respect in those advocating certain field sports.

    I don’t think field sports are a human rights issue. And I don’t think that civil disobedience (ie lawbreaking) is an appropriate or proportionate response to the banning of hunting with hounds.

  13. Robin says

    > Robin – we are in the process of removing the 30 year lower age limit for bishops this year.

    Is this to remedy the understandable confusion potentially caused among electors by your being eminently ‘episcopabile’ while you still look as if you’re well under 30?

  14. I’m ridiculously flattered on all counts. But no – I’m 42.

    Lower age limits are being removed from ordination canons because of the risk of it being seen as age discrimination.

    (Well, actually, because it was clear age discrimination).

  15. Robin says

    > But no – I’m 42.

    So you *are* the answer to the riddle of the Universe!

    I’d have imagined there would have been an exemption for such things. An 18yo Bishop would be a bit ridiculous, to say nothing of the risk of being stuck with her/him if she/he proved a bad choice. However, I don’t expect it will make any practical difference. Even under the existing Canon, did we ever have a Bishop as young as 30? The youngest I can think of was my own mentor, Bishop George Sessford, who was 42 when he was consecrated . . .

  16. Robin says

    I meant to write,

    “being stuck with her/him for half a century if….”

  17. David Bayne says

    “Annabelle, our Bishop” has a certain something, don’t you think?

    The age restrictions on Ordination that we are in process of removing did have a point. They were introduced across most post-Reformation denominations (I’m not sure about the RCC) to prevent beardless youths being presented to (with!) prosperous and influential livings by well-connected parents. My favourite Scottish example is Alexander Stewart, the illegitimate son of James IV who was made Archbishop of St. Andrews in 1504 at the age of 14 – or, possibly, 11. The archdiocese didn’t have to cope with a half-century episcopate, though: he died fighting beside his father at Flodden.

    Being of a slightly earlier vintage than The Provost, it’s the moving of the upper limit that has me exercised. Combined with the hole in the pension fund, it hints at a return to “ad vitam aut culpam” By the time people are worried about me having done 50 years in CD, I’ll be 97………..

  18. Andrew says

    I think that it is nearer to the mark to describe ‘The Scottish Field’ (or was when we lived in Bromley and it was the most exciting post of the month) as ‘Unionist’
    The Editor in the 1950’s lived about 2 miles away in South London so The Scottish Field kept us in touch with Jimmy Shand, John Buchan, The Edinburgh Tattoo and The Fortingall Yew Tree. And those sherry party photographs to commemorate Law Firm anniversaries. We couldn’t recognise anyone but they looked nicer than the people who came to our own parties. So we grew in ignorance monthly as we happily anticipated another 3 weeks in Pitlochry.
    However in 2009, Old SF’s appearing in Room 1 must herald the employment of a dentist in Forbes House, or a gentle reminder of ‘The Homecoming’. I believe they provide the ‘Peoples Friend’ at 121 George Street, but I could be wrong.

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