The Area Council met on 23rd of May at St Columba’s Church, Aberdour. We also welcomed our new Bishop Ian Paton to his first meeting of the West Area Group. On arrival we were served a delicious buffer provided by Dean and Elisabeth Norby. Dean is the Priest-in- charge of the All Souls Churches (which also includes St Serf’s, Burntisland and St Peter’s, Inverkeithing.
The meeting was preceded by the Bishop blessing the new Rectory built next door to the church. It started with prayers in the garden then moving to the kitchen and the living room. Not all of us could squeeze into the new Rectory but we could hear what was said. Bishop Ian then asked us to form a circle around Dean and Elisabeth in togetherness, love and friendship, for the final prayer of thanksgiving.
After the blessing, we took the short walk to the church for the meeting. Bishop Ian opened the meeting with a short prayer. He then spoke about his vision for our Diocese. He has already visited some of our churches and is pleased with a lot of work being done by the congregation. He stated that our mission is dependent on us as people of God. Bishop Ian also suggested that sharing ideas and finding ways of talking more about Jesus was a way of growth and mission.
He expressed about the need for clergy too devote more time to leadership, allowing all of us to play our part in developing mission and ministry.
Bishop Ian also talked of “being” and “belonging”, that we are Episcopalians but are part of the family of churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. He is keen to establish links with Soloman Islands in the Pacific, as well as India and South America. We hope that our Diocese will be able to host some of the visiting Bishops who will attend next year’s Lambeth Conference.
We were also reminded that our mission is to be a welcoming congregation and be willing to accept people for who they are, so they can feel that they are part of our community.