I turned away a funeral this week.
Well, I tried pretty hard to make it work - someone who was 'Church of England' (a thing maybe only admitted after death in the West of Scotland, or maybe very shortly before...) had shuffled off this mortal coil and wanted the 'right' funeral. So an Episcopalian priest was requested. We don't have a parochial system as such in our Anglican Province - canonical areas I suppose sum it up. The chap hadn't come to see us in life, but in death he was in 'my patch'...
The day was no good for me - not an unusual occurrence. My local retired colleague was away that day. My colleagues over the water in Greenock and Port Glasgow otherwise engaged. And at that point I ran out of Episcopalian ministers who were sensibly close.
Other days - no good for the family. Other options - church rather than crem - no good for the family.
Well, I hope the Church of Scotland funeral that the family get is OK for them - I'm sure it will be. The minister who has taken it on needs another funeral like a hole in the head, IMHO.
Questions for me - how important are funeral ministries for random people who decide they want something Anglican in a country where that's not the establishment?
Is it good to be importing into Scotland the English - the C of E will 'do' us when we die - that I lived with during my curacy, and I see my C of S colleagues doing for ordinary non-church going Scots?
Do we drop everything and mess up established community building activities (in my case a eucharist, and set of social & business meetings on 'my' island) to meet such a demand?
I very nearly started to cancel a regular service and shift meetings and plan complicated multiple ferry journeys, until I suddenly thought - no - this is not a priority.
But I am sorry for my C of S colleague who has to take on yet another funeral service. I wonder if ATBAB will be before or after Crimond...
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