A joyous occasion in Scotland

It didn’t take long for my official duties to kick in, for which I am grateful as there was no time for an anti-climax to hit me after a successful General Assembly.  I use the word ‘successful’ from the point of view that we managed to complete all the business set before us and balance it with great worship and fellowship.

It was a real pleasure to preside at the induction of the Revd Dr David Pickering as the Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland, in the URC in Giffnock on Saturday, 16th July.  Those who were at General Assembly may remember that David was already taking his role seriously because he read the call to worship (at the start of GA) in Gaelic.  The induction service was an inspirational mix of worship and friendship as we were joined by quite a number of ecumenical and civic guests.  The first hymn was one of my favourites; ‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the holy One is here’  and was a fitting start to the service as it spoke a great truth to us all.

Revd Dr David Pickering's Induction

Revd Dr David Pickering’s Induction

The photograph shows the platform party; from right to left: Dr Jim Merrilees, the Synod Clerk, Revd Jan Adamson, the Synod Field Officer for local Mission & Development,  Revd Dr Rosalind Selby, the Principal of Northern College (who delivered a fantastic address), Revd Dr David Pickering and myself.

My previous trip to Scotland was to join the residential synod of the National Synod of Scotland in March this year.  That was also an inspirational mix of worship and friendship but did include some rather physical elements too!  I was invited to take part in a particularly Scottish form of exercise (torture?) called the Orkadian Strip the Willow!  Many in England may know the dance called Strip the Willow; the Orkadian version uses the same footwork as the English folk dance version, it just seems to go on and on until the participants collapse or wimp out!  I guess I must have passed the test given that I was invited back to Scotland; and a great pleasure it was, too.

Alan Yates

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