Inaugural Post: Notes from Newcastle - our Rector General reflects on a visit to the North East
A RECENT visit to the Durham and Newcastle SCP Chapter was especially poignant for me. The train journey took me through landscapes of my childhood I'd not seen for several years. I passed within a mile of the village of my birth, and close by the homes of many of my recent ancestors. The meeting itself brought back many memories. Martin, with whom I was ordained was there, as was Christopher who had been a curate in Darlington when I was, Jonathon who had ministered to my father as he died, Stephen who had been a priest in Manchester and Gilly whom I had met at meetings in London. A very rich experience!
The meeting itself, held in a modern church in a deprived Newcastle estate, was lovely, hospitable, friendly and affirming. It was encouraging to meet new people, and to see the interest in membership from curates and new incumbents. It was also lovely to see the commitment to membership - some travelling as many as 50 miles to be present. Two had come out of a retreat for a few hours to attend.
For me this coming together of memory, friendships and priests together was focussed in a gentle and peaceful mass. We joined together to concelebrate and then met over a very north eastern buffet lunch (I'd forgotten corned beef and potato pie!). We then talked about our thoughts, hopes and ideas about SCP in its 25th year. I felt all who left the meeting went encouraged.
In itself, the meeting was a vignette of what I hold to be special in SCP. Women and men priests many of whom had made long journeys, coming together bound by their sympathy and love for the inclusive catholic tradition in the Anglican church: committed to affirm and encourage one another and share their faith as priests in new, and traditional, ways wherever they are.
My visit to Newcastle inspired me to delight in what SCP gives me and other priests. In SCP we have journeyed together over 25 years. As we celebrate this silver jubilee year we have an opportunity to celebrate and renew our vision for our Society. It is my hope that chapters and members will see this year to be one of celebration and commitment to the future.
European Provincial Rector