Sunday’s Sermon on Vocations

Here’s what I said on Sunday about vocations

[Sorry about the poor audio. We’ve some major problems with the sound system that are going to take some weeks to sort out – however, the Vestry are well aware that Something Needs to be Done].

The Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church have asked the whole church today to reflect on vocations. The idea is that on this Sunday, when the readings tend to reflect on the idea of Jesus as the great shepherd of the flock, we think about the notion of calling. So we must think about how we discern God’s calling and what we might make as an appropriate response.

I am aware as I begin to open up that subject that we are stepping on sacred ground and must mind where we go. Immense amounts of sadness and disappointment have been the result of vocations, and not exclusively clerical vocations, which the church has not been able to affirm and rejoice in. On the other hand, this is, as the gathering place for the diocese, a place where vocations are delighted in and celebrated in ordination services and in various ways of thanksgiving for lay ministry, including the Ministry Celebrations Service in the summer.

But I do with caution. And I begin with my own experience. [Read more…]

Inspection of TISEC

TISEC – the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church has had the inspectors in (from the Ministry Division of the Church of England, since you ask) and they’ve just released their final report.

There is not much for anyone’s comfort in the report as the inspectors indicated that they had no confidence in the governance of TISEC and in its formational ability. Both of these are hugely significant. The later means the ability of the institution to form people appropriately for the ministries that they are being trained for.

I’m not going to say much about this at the moment. There will be many things said and many words spilled over this before the year is out. It is minority interest no doubt for most people who belong to the Scottish Episcopal Church. However, how we train people for ministry is fundamental to who we think we are. There’s a sense about, that this report means significant change – not only for TISEC but also for the church, not least for the Mission and Ministry Board who have the responsibility for overseeing this work. There are funding implications and pastoral implications to this and that’s why, even though I’ve never been shy of speaking about TISEC, at the moment, I’m saying little other than to suggest that anyone who cares about the Scottish Episcopal Church needs to read the report in full for themselves.

And it can be found here: