Saturday 1 September 2012
- Institution as Rector of
Rev Christine Barclay
Some 120 people gathered in St Columba's, Bathgate - a church well and truly full! - to join the celebration as the Bishop of Edinburgh led Christine to her new place as Rector of that church and of St Peter's, Linlithgow.
The service followed the customary pattern, starting with the presentation of Christine to the Bishop by the secretaries of the two churches, followed by the Gospel reading and a sermon from Bishop John. Then we came to the formal act of institution, where the Dean of the Diocese read from the legal document by which the Bishop actually made the appointment. And, a very important part, where not only did Christine commit herself to her latest commitments, but so did the two congregations commit themselves to support her in her ministry, as evidence of which she received the traditional presentations of bibles, stoles, oil, and bread and wine - to say nothing of the keys of the two churches.
The exchange of peace somehow merged neatly into the following hymn - "Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee" - and we had reached the climax, with the Bishop celebrating the Eucharist and he, the Dean and the new Rector administering communion.
But if that was the liturgical climax, we still had the feasting to come, with a wonderful buffet prepared in the church, to say nothing of the celebratory cake. Oh yes, and then there were short speeches too, from the Dean and the two vestry secretaries.
It was a wonderful and joyous day, and a day for whch many people well deserved the thanks expressed. Perhaps none put that thanks better than Bishop John in a note he sent afterwards to the two vestries:
" I was enormously grateful to you and to all who did so much work to make Saturday's service so special. I thought it went incredibly smoothly and I felt proud of the two congregations for the way you welcomed us all and provided us with such an excellent lunch ... My prayers for you and for Christine as you together enter into this new phase of mission and ministry."