News from the Scottish Episcopal Church

February 2020

Welcome to Inspires Online - the monthly electronic newsletter of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Inspires Online highlights news and events from across the Church and also includes news from organisations related to the Church.

It is good to hear from our readers so please do get in touch with us either by replying to this email or by contacting Donald Walker, Director of Communications at, or Aidan Strange, Digital Communications Co-ordinator at

Date set for enthronement of new Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway

The Rt Rev Kevin PearsonThe Right Reverend Kevin Pearson will be enthroned as the new Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway at 12 noon on Saturday 4 July, at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.
Bishop Kevin, who was elected at a meeting of the Episcopal Synod in January, is currently the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles and his election to Glasgow and Galloway represents a historic ‘translation’ of a Bishop from one See to another. The See of Glasgow and Galloway became vacant in 2018 following the retirement of the Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan who had served the diocese as Bishop for eight years.

Bishop Kevin has served as Bishop of Argyll and The Isles since February 2011 and before that was Rector of St Michael & All Saints Church in Edinburgh, Canon of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh and the Provincial Director of Ordinands (responsible for the discernment and selection process for candidates for ministry). He is also currently the Convener of the Council of the Scottish Episcopal Institute (responsible for the training of those entering authorised ministry) and serves on the provincial Standing Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Bishop Kevin was elected to Glasgow & Galloway by the Episcopal Synod, a body comprising the Diocesan Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In accordance with the Church’s canonical process, the right of election had passed to the Episcopal Synod, following previous processes of vocational discernment within the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway.

Following the election at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, Chair of the Episcopal Synod, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said:-

“I warmly welcome the unanimous election by the Episcopal Synod of Bishop Kevin as Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway. The election follows a period of vacancy and since the right of election passed to the Episcopal Synod during the summer of 2019, the Bishops have continued to listen carefully to the views of the Diocese and to engage in a process of ongoing prayer and discernment throughout the autumn.

“Bishop Kevin will bring his wealth of experience as a Bishop to his new role in Glasgow & Galloway as well as his deep love, knowledge and understanding of the Episcopal Church. As he prepares for this new ministry, we hold him and his wife Elspeth in our prayers.

“The Bishops are aware that, in electing Bishop Kevin, this will in due course create a new episcopal vacancy in Argyll & The Isles and we will look forward to supporting that Diocese as it seeks a new Bishop.”

Bishop Kevin said:-

“I am delighted, excited and humbled to be elected as the new Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway. I am looking forward enormously to entering this new phase of ministry and serving the people of Glasgow & Galloway. My wife Elspeth and I already know many in the Diocese but are also looking forward to living there and getting to know the people and the area better. We shall be very sad to be leaving the people of Argyll & The Isles which we have grown to love deeply over nine years of ministry there.”

Bishop Kevin is married to Dr Elspeth Atkinson who is Chief Operating Officer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Prior to that Elspeth was Director of MacMillan Cancer Support in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and for most of her career held senior roles in Economic Development in Scotland.

Brexit Statement from the College of Bishops

On Friday 31 January the Primus, Bishop Mark issued a statement on behalf of the College of Bishops on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

“Today the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. The decision taken by the people of these islands in 2016 has led us along a path that often seemed unclear. Since that referendum, we have spent a great deal of time as a country engaged in a debate that spanned three national elections and which at times seemed to be about much more fundamental issues than our membership of the European Union.

“That debate does not end today. There is still a conversation to be had about how best to ensure we protect those who are vulnerable. There are still questions to be answered about how we address major global issues, including the climate crisis, and there is still uncertainty and division within the country about what the future holds for us all.

“Over the previous months and years members of the College of Bishops have collectively and individually expressed deep concerns about the way the debate was conducted. At times the rhetoric used in the negotiations caused significant anxiety and distress to various parts of society: European citizens, industry workers, the NHS, those who rely on medication to live their daily lives and the poorest in our communities. The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK the EU has prevented us from leaving with no-deal at this stage, but it has not taken away entirely the significant risks to society posed by that outcome. We call on the Government to do everything in its power to avoid a no-deal conclusion at the end of the transition period, and to negotiate in good faith towards a future partnership that works to assuage the legitimate fears held by many and that serves to benefit all parts of society.

“We hold in prayer all those for whom today is a day of joy, and all those for whom today is a day of regret. We pray that as a society we do not see today as an end in itself, but a chance to work to improve the lives of the people of these islands and to play a positive role in the life of the global community.

“We hold in prayer especially those who have been excluded from the conversation such as European citizens denied a voice at the ballot box, but whose lives are affected significantly by these decisions. We call on the Government to ensure that these, our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family are not used as bargaining chips. They deserve certainty on their status.

“We ask you to hold in prayer all those in elected positions, upon whose shoulders falls the burden of responsibility – for our Prime Minister and First Minister, for our Governments and Parliaments in London and in Edinburgh and for our local authorities. We pray also for the European Union institutions.

“As Bishops in Scotland we recognise the distinct nature of the debate in this nation. We acknowledge that a majority of the people of Scotland voted against the outcome we face today. We therefore recognise that for many in Scotland, today is not simply the beginning of a new relationship with the European Union, but marks a significant moment in our ongoing national conversation about the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. We call on all in Scottish society to learn from divisions caused by the Brexit process and to move forward in the debate on Scotland’s future in a respectful, peaceful and compassionate way.

“As Christians we believe that one task we are given is to show compassion and empathy to our neighbour, especially at moments when we disagree. We believe that we are asked to consider those who are less privileged than ourselves when we make decisions. We believe that our call is to give food to the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to invite in the stranger, to clothe the naked, to heal the sick and to show humanity to the prisoner.

“When the clock strikes 11pm tonight we will still have that call.

“Tomorrow we will still be the same people we are today, still have the same hopes and fears as we do today, still be part of the continent of Europe. Our shared history will not change, and our shared hopes for the future will remain. The challenges we face in this country and across the globe will still be the same. We will still have to work together to face these challenges. We will go to Church on Sunday and pray, as we do every Sunday, for all the people of the world.”
Scottish Episcopal Church in Roundtable Discussions with First Minister

The Scottish Episcopal Church took part in a roundtable discussion convened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 27 January, along with Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations. Representatives from civic society discussed preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and Brexit’s implications for Scotland. John Stuart, Secretary General of the SEC, represented the Primus, who was in Inverness for the Celtic Bishops’ Conference.
Celtic Bishops’ Conference 2020

The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church was joined by 12 Anglican bishops from the Church in Wales and Church of Ireland at this year’s Celtic Bishops’ Conference, held in Inverness for the first time (27 to 29 January).

The agenda for the three-day event at the Kingsmill Hotel included preparations for the Lambeth Conference 2020 later this year, which extends an invitation to all bishops from across the worldwide Anglican Communion of more than 165 countries to help seek God’s direction for the future of the Anglican Church.

As part of the programme of events, the bishops visited Deputy Provost Elizabeth McAllister as her guests for afternoon tea at Inverness Town House.

Deputy Provost Elizabeth McAllister said: “I am delighted and honoured to welcome the Celtic Bishops to the Inverness Town House and to recognise the importance of the Celtic Bishops’ Conference being held in the City of Inverness. The Highlands prides itself in welcoming people of all Faiths and beliefs and on behalf of the councillors and citizens of Inverness hope that our working relationship with the Interfaith Community remains strong, particularly at a time when people are experiencing particular hardship for a variety of reasons.”

The Primus, Bishop Mark said: “We are delighted to welcome visiting bishops from the Church in Wales and Church of Ireland, to continue our regular dialogue in areas of shared interest. We are also grateful to the Deputy Provost of Inverness for marking the occasion, and to the city’s people for their warm welcome this week.”

The bishops completed a walking pilgrimage through the city following their visit to the Town House, before Eucharist at St Michael and All Angels. They attended a farewell dinner at which the guest speaker was the Rev Canon Dr Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms, before the Irish and Welsh bishops returned home.

The Celtic Bishops’ Conference is held every two to three years, with the venue rotated among the nations. It was last held in Scotland in 2011, at Pitlochry.  It is expected that the next Celtic Bishops’ Conference will be held in Ireland, in two years’ time.

In attendance were, from the Scottish Episcopal Church:

The Rt Rev John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh
The Rt Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney
The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane
The Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll & The Isles and Bishop-elect of Glasgow & Galloway
The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Rt Rev Andrew Swift, Bishop of Brechin

from the Church of Ireland:

The Rt Rev Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Waterford, Lismore, Ossory, Ferns & Leighlin
The Rt Rev Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross
The Rt Rev Andrew Forster, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe
The Most Rev Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, Bishop of Glendalough, Primate of Ireland and Metropolitan
The Rt Rev Kenneth Kearon, Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe
The Rt Rev John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher
The Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry
The Most Rev Patricia Storey, Bishop of Meath & Kildare

and from the Church in Wales:

The Rt Rev Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph
The Rt Rev Andy John, Bishop of Bangor
The Rt Rev Dr Joanna Penberthy, Bishop of St Davids
The Rt Rev June Osbourne, Bishop of Llandaff
Alastair Haggart Bursary Award Winner Announced

This year’s winner of the Alastair Haggart Bursary Award is the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

The award, set up by the family of Bishop Haggart, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church from 1977 to 1985, offers an annual grant to help fund a sabbatical or similar leave of absence for someone in authorized ministry. Such leave should occur at a stage in the person’s life when the experience will significantly enhance his or her ministerial practice and development. The outcomes of the project should also be of benefit to the wider Church. Grants in recent years have funded studies of ‘pilgrimage’ and ‘interim ministry’ and also a sabbatical in the Tantur Institute of Ecumenical Research. Another beneficiary produced a meditative Lent Study Guide based on a daily artwork, having spent time in art galleries in Washington and New York.

Provost Holdsworth plans to travel to the States and stay in Virginia Theological Seminary, the largest Episcopal seminary in the United States, there to engage in theological thinking and writing on the theme ‘Full Inclusion – a Liberation Theology of the West’.

Such research will be amplified by travel to Mexico City and Havana, enabling him to make contact with Christians living in different contexts to his own, build up friendship links within the wider church and influence his own future work in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Provost Holdsworth has been involved in many movements for progressive change both in the church and in the world, particularly the move towards the ordination of women and the campaign for equal marriage in Scotland. He has also been a political campaigner in the secular field, standing in a General Election in 2005 by way of campaigning against the Iraq War. He now wishes to begin to think through what has been learned in the course of all this and share his experience and thinking with others, both within and beyond the boundaries of the church, by means of writing.

On hearing of the award Kelvin said: “I’m thrilled to be awarded the Alistair Haggart Bursary. It gives me an incredible opportunity to do some theological thinking about my own experiences in ministry. It will also enable me to rekindle old friendships and make new ones in different contexts within the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Mark, Acting Bishop of the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, writes: “I am delighted that the committee agreed that this year’s award should go to Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth. Kelvin has worked tirelessly in pursuit of a more open and diverse church. He has developed a wonderful liturgical and spiritual life at the Cathedral and can now find the time and space to reflect on all of this while presenting to the Church a carefully considered theological reflection on this powerful ministry”.

This story originally appeared in the February edition of the Scottish Episcopal Insitute (SEI) Newsletter.  You can download the SEI newsletter at our website here.
Photo Album: 25 years of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood

Anniversaries only come around once – so while this event might have happened a few weeks ago, we would like to share our full set of photos from St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth, where the Scottish Episcopal Church celebrated 25 years of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

You can view the full album here.

Click here for the accompanying booklet Called by Name: Reflections from the first women priests.

A little more conversation, a little less distraction please

To mark Time to Talk Day (6 February), when people are encouraged to be more open about mental health, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer wrote in her regular column in The Press and Journal newspaper that it is also time to listen.

"Gradually, over a long period of time, without us really noticing, we are losing the art of conversation. We do not speak to people in a queue or on a bus, we know little about the neighbours on our street, and we do not have proper conversations with friends or family members. Instead we are busy doing other things, mostly through devices such as our phones and tablets. We are clearly very occupied, but maybe not with the things that are most important.

"It really is time for us to turn off and tune into each other instead. If we do this we can build better relationships, combat loneliness, and support those with isolating health issues."

You can read the full column by clicking here.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2020

To honour the memory of all those who suffered and perished under Nazi persecution during World War II, the Rev Cedric Blakey, Convener of the Interfaith Relations Committee attended Interfaith Scotland’s national Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 27 January.
Glenalmond Provincial Youth Camp 2020

Application forms are now available for Glen 2020, the Provincial Youth Week held at Glenalmond College in Perthshire.

The event, held this year from 2 to 8 August, is an annual gathering where young people and leaders from across Scotland get together for a week of fellowship, worship, activities, sports and evening events.

The Youth Week is open to anyone in secondary education up to, and including July 2020. It is also open to those under 18 years old who have left full-time education. Applicants must be sponsored by their local Scottish Episcopal Church congregation.
The application form is available here.
News from the Scottish Episcopal Institute (SEI)

You can download the SEI Newsletter here.

In this month's edition:

*The SEI becomes a member of Eco-Congregation Scotland.
*The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth outlines his plans after being awarded the Alastair Haggart Bursary.
*A tale of two feasts – one with a distinct flavour of haggis - at the Residential Weekend.
*Graduation day celebrations for three SEI candidates at Durham University
*Heartfelt thanks to our SEI Ambassador in the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness
*Update report from January’s meeting of the Institute Council


Rev Canon Dr Marion Chatterley was installed as Vice Provost Cathedral Church of St Mary, Edinburgh on 26 January 2020. 

Rt Rev Frederick Charles Darwent died on 15 January 2020 aged 92. He was Curate at St John's, Pemberton, Wigan 1963-65 then Curate-in-Charge at St Francis, Kitt Green 1964-65. He served as Rector at All Saints, Strichen 1965-71 and as Rector at St John the Evangelist, New Pitsligo 1965-78. He was then Rector at St Peter, Fraserburgh 1971-78 and was installed as Canon at Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Aberdeen 1971. He served as Dean of Aberdeen & Orkney 1973-78 and was Consecrated Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney on 13 Jan 1978. He retired in 1992.  His funeral service took place on Thursday 6 February at St Andrew’s Cathedral, King Street, Aberdeen, followed by interment at New Pitsligo.

Rev Dr Stephen Holmes will be appointed Rector at Holy Cross, Edinburgh on 18 February 2020. 

Rev Mary Jepp will resign as Rector at Holy Trinity, Kilmarnock on 12 April 2020. 

Rev Canon Thomas Montgomery retired as Rector at St Ninian, Troon on 26 January 2020

Rev Martyn Trembath will be appointed Rector at Holy Trinity, Ayr on 6 February 2020.
Report from the Provincial Standing Committee

The provincial Standing Committee had its first meeting of the year in January.  Gathering shortly after the announcement that the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson had been elected to Bishopric of Glasgow & Galloway, the Committee offered its congratulations to Bishop Kevin, who sits on the Committee as convener of the Institute Council. In due course, once an episcopal vacancy arises in Argyll & The Isles, the Committee will make appointments to the Preparatory Committee for an election process there.

The Committee welcomed Donald Walker as the new Director of Communications, who had taken up post at General Synod Office earlier in the week. It also noted with pleasure the increase in digital communication activity on behalf of the province in the previous quarter.
Significant time at the meeting was spent considering a report on the preliminary financial results for 2019. The budgets for the year forecast a deficit. The figures inevitably remain subject to audit at this stage in the year, but the Committee was pleased to note that, whilst the General Fund will show a deficit for the year, it is likely to be smaller than that budgeted. The Committee also discussed the request from the Anglican Communion for an increase in contribution from the Scottish Episcopal Church for 2020 of approximately 7% on the 2019 figure. It agreed to support the work of the Communion by contributing at the requested level but nevertheless will be encouraging the Communion in its efforts to place provincial contributions on a more transparent and equitable footing than has been the case to date.
The Committee worked on the planning of General Synod 2020. It considered a submission from the Church in Society Committee, supported by the Mission Board, that the Synod should this year have a substantial session engaging with the important issue of climate change. The topic extends beyond just the remit of the Church in Society Committee, and Standing Committee will work with Church in Society on the objectives and structuring of such a session.
As it does at all meetings, the Committee received reports from the various provincial boards on work in hand and also from the College of Bishops. It encouraged the College and its continuing discussions regarding future strategic issues facing the Church.
The Committee was pleased to hear that the new Ethical Investment Advisory Group,  requested by General Synod, has now been established and will have its first meeting in early February.
Provincial Mission Board Report

The provincial Mission Board met in December at the General Synod Office. Several items were covered, and this was a timely meeting since it followed conferences and discussions which had taken place around the issue of Discipleship.  Consequently, discussions around intentional discipleship took place, including a report from a meeting in London of the Four Nations Intentional Discipleship Group, serviced by the Anglican Communion Office. The Board also continued its consideration of  Christian Values in Education, for which it has formed a small working group. In association with this the Board had the privilege of hearing Lorraine Darlow, the Scottish Episcopal Church representative on the Children’s Ministry Network of CTBI (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland), speak about Children’s Work. In her presentation she spoke of the importance of reaching out to children with God’s love and Gospel to children and the need to inspire people to do this important work.  The Board also considered reports from the Local Mission Resourcing Group, the Youth, Global Partnerships and the Church in Society Committees, including preliminary planning for General Synod 2020. The Board meets next in late February 2020.


Vacancy: Administrative Assistant (Finance & Management), Diocese of Edinburgh

Vacancy: Rector, St Augustine’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Dumbarton

Vacancy: Rector, St Mary’s, Hamilton and St Andrew’s, Uddingston

Vacancy: House for Duty Priest, Saint Ninian’s Church, Glen Urquhart

Vacancy: Christ Church, Kincardine O’Neil

Vacancy: Part time Priest in Charge, St Mary’s, Birnam, Perthshire
Scottish Episcopal Church Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

In April 2021 the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church will lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The pilgrimage, organised by the Rev Cedric Blakey as part of the 2021 Provincial Year of Pilgrimage, will take place from 10-21 April 2021 and is now over halfway booked.

For more information, see the brochure at our website.
Disability Inclusion in our Churches

Through the Roof, a charity that exists to support disabled people in Churches, will hold an event in Edinburgh in February 2020.  The event will cover disability inclusion in our Churches as well as opportunities for:
  • Discovering new ideas and resources
  • Hearing inspiring real-life stories from disabled people
  • Sharing in an inclusive experience
  • Contributing your perspective to encourage others
The event will take place on 29 February 2020 at Barclay Viewforth Church of Scotland. You can read more and buy tickets at the Through the Roof website.
Preaching Women: Gender, Power and the Pulpit

An event to explore “the gifts and insights” women preachers can bring to the pulpit is to be held in Edinburgh later this month.

Preaching Women: Gender, Power and the Pulpit takes place on Thursday 20 February at Daysix, 4-8 Lady Lawson Street, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. The evening will be led by author Liz Shercliff, and there will be opportunity for dialogue and discussion. Tickets cost £5, including refreshments, and are available online at

Across the Dioceses

For news of activities and events across the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church, check out the diocesan websites:

Aberdeen & Orkney
Argyll & The Isles
Glasgow & Galloway
Moray, Ross & Caithness
St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane
The text in this newsletter can be freely shared. Any photographs can be shared only with permission of the photographer. Please contact for details of permission.

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Please note that the views expressed on websites linked in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

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