Rector’s Letter – from June 2019 Magazine

Dear friends,

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our first Vestry Awayday at the Bield Christian Retreat Centre near Perth. The May sunshine made the fresh leaves sparkle and the gardens were a riot of colour. We enjoyed exploring the grounds, the walled garden, the labyrinths and the art gallery, sensing the tranquillity of the place and appreciating the hospitality. Most of the day, however, was taken up with the serious work of discovering what exactly the responsibilities of Vestry members are according to the laws of the Scottish Episcopal Church (the Code of Canons), the constitution of St Mary’s and the Charities and Trustees Investment Act (Scotland) 2005.

It is no surprise to know that Vestry members are responsible for the financial wellbeing of the church, the maintenance of our assets, including buildings, grounds, furnishings, vestments and documents, and the care and safety of the people we are involved with, including complying with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups and Data Protection requirements. Many of these tasks are delegated to individuals like the Treasurer, the Secretary or the Health and Safety Advisor, but the ultimate responsibility still resides with all Vestry members who have a duty to scrutinise reports and have an informed opinion on all aspects of Vestry business. I wonder how many of you are aware that Vestry members also have some responsibility for spiritual matters? The Canons make it clear that whilst the Rector is responsible for worship, assistance and co-operation is expected from Vestry members when it comes to the spiritual welfare and nurturing in the faith of members of the congregation of all ages and the mission of the church. We found also that, according to charity law, members of Vestry have an ambassadorial role within the congregation and in the wider community.

I am delighted to report that rather than be daunted or disheartened by the level of responsibility expected of them, our Vestry members were excited by it. Much enthusiastic discussion ensued and great ideas were shared which, I have no doubt, will be put into action during the months ahead. I am very grateful to the Vestry for giving up their time to come to the Bield at their own expense and for being so ready to embrace their responsibilities. I would encourage you to speak to our Vestry members if you are interested in joining the Vestry or getting more involved in the life of the church. We are looking for members of all ages with all kinds of backgrounds, interests and skills to take on different roles or just to help with simple tasks. I would ask you also to pray for the Vestry as they seek to grow in faith and follow the advice of Peter (1 Peter 4.10-11):

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God, whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ, to him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever.

With love to you all,