Our bishop says that when you are considering a link with another diocese, there should be a ‘courtship’ time before the knot is sealed. You can carefully suss out whether you are likely to make a good match. But cities tend to have established twins already, and (though I had no idea about this), Stirling has been linked with Dunedin, Florida since 1964.
So the Rector of the Good Shepherd Episcopal church in Dunedin, Pastor Becky, got in touch with me as it’s their 125th anniversary, and it seemed like a good opportunity to make contact. A couple from their congregation were visiting family in UK and came up to Scotland for our service last Sunday.
It did feel like a bit of a blind date. We had agreed to exchange green ‘working’ stoles, and I thought hard about which one to send back to her. I gathered some of our guides and booklets, and decided this month’s magazine was just about OK to send back as the ‘face’ of Holy Trinity (remembering how Henry VIII was appalled when he discovered that Anne of Cleves did not match her betrothal portrait).
But I found I needn’t have worried, after opening the package of books and brochures from the Good Shepherd. The Episcopal Church of US. is much more like us, in some ways, than the Church of England. And the invitation which the Good Shepherd sends to the community (see above, if you can read it) resonates with us. I’m sure we have a lot to learn from them, and it just feels good and right to look outwards a bit and realise we are part of a worldwide church.