From the Moderator
Although the person of the Moderator changes every year, there is a well-established programme of activities and events which is followed by each Moderator including two official overseas visits and four Presbytery visits.
During my year of office the four Presbytery visits are to Lothian, Dunkeld and Meigle, Dumbarton and Gordon while towards the end of October we will be in the United States and Canada and in the spring of 2017 we will spend a fortnight in Kenya.
Lothian Presbytery is the first of our official Presbytery visits and the varied programme of services, visits and activities has been designed for us to showcase some of the good work the church is doing and also for Margaret and me to meet as many people as possible and to offer support and encouragement.
The programme includes an assembly at Dunbar Primary school, a pilgrimage walk from St Mary’s Whitekirk to North Berwick, a visit to MacSween’s haggis factory and another to the Torness Nuclear Power Station, an ecumenical clergy lunch with some 25 colleagues and another with the military chaplaincy team at Glencorse, a theological breakfast at Longniddry Parish church, an opportunity to meet people interested in ministry, a messy church at Mayfield Easthouses, an evening spent with Muirfield Riding Therapy and even a microlight flight at East Fortune. Not sure I will wear my kilt on that occasion!
As well as celebrating communion at a meeting of Lothian Presbtyery, I will be the guest preacher at church services in Dalkeith’s St John’s and King’s Park, Northesk in Musselburgh, a joint service of the two congregations in North Berwick, and, after a Sunday afternoon with Lawrence Twaddle on East Coast FM, the visit will finish with a service of thanksgiving at the West Church in Haddington.
It is a full and fascinating programme and it promises to give us a real insight into the varied life and activity of the church in East and Mid Lothian.
We fly out to the United States on the 20th October and beginning in Jacksonville, Florida, our itinerary takes us to Louisville, Kentucky and the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, to New York, Princeton and finally to Toronto and the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.
During the visit we will be joined by the Convener and General Secretary of the World Mission Council, the Reverend Iain Cunningham and the Reverend Ian Alexander, and as we visit the different venues and meet the various church officials we will be discussing opportunities for American Presbyterian ministers to train and work in Scotland, learning about some of the work the Presbyterian church is doing to support people who are homeless and exploring further mission partnership working with the Canadians.
I have also been invited to be the guest preacher in churches in Jacksonville, New York and Toronto.
If you have been following Mrs Mod’s Blog, or from what I have explained above, you will know that the life of Mr and Mrs Moderator is endlessly varied, interesting and enjoyable, but as well as being very aware of the great privilege of representing the church in this particular role, we are also very grateful for all your all your love and prayers to sustain us.
With best wishes
PS During my recent weekend at Balmoral I was invited to a game of golf at the 9 hole estate course with the Princess Royal’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. It was a lovely, sunny autumn afternoon and although, as with all things at Balmoral, the outcome of the match is a closely guarded state secret, suffice to say the General Assembly was not disgraced!