June Update

Friday 25th May, 2012

The highlight of MAY was unquestionably the consecration of our new Bishop and his installation as Bishop of Edinburgh. For highlights of the Consecration Service download: Consecration of Bishop John

+John immediately wrote expressing his appreciation of all the work that the Cathedral had to do to make it the success it was.  Musicians and servers, stewards and flower arrangers, vergers and secretaries, volunteers who helped sweep and polish, chair movers and grass cutters – to cite but some of a galaxy of helpers – all contributed selflessly.  Prayers for good weather were also answered – a perfect day to mark a new beginning in the life of the Diocese and the wider Episcopal Church: Deo gratias! Those of you who surf the web might like to visit the Cathedral web site ( and you will find on the front page a link to a series of beautiful photographs capturing the essence of the day.

Another highlight of the month of MAY was the wedding of Organist and Master of the Music Duncan Ferguson.  Duncan and Marie’s wedding was a feast of music and a most joyous occasion.  We wish them every happiness in their new life together.  Deo gratias!

MAY for me has been challenging – not so much liturgically, but as part of my wider work.  For example I was at sea (or more accurately under the sea) in one of our ballistic submarines, followed a fortnight later by 5 days in the Gulf, and next month I will have the privilege of visiting the Falklands.  The death of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi made all of us look back to December 1988 and a small town in the Borders.  Many of you know that I used to chair the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), the statutory body which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice in Scotland and have asked me about this.  I said in June 2007:

“ Our investigation of “Lockerbie” took almost 4 years: The Commission has a very special role within the Scottish Criminal Justice system and has been given extensive statutory powers to enable it to carry out this role. The function of the Commission is not to decide upon the guilt or innocence of an applicant. We are neither pro-Crown nor pro-defence. Our role is to examine the grounds of review identified, either by the applicant, a third party or by our own investigations, and to decide whether any of the grounds meet our statutory test. I am satisfied that the Commission has vigorously and independently scrutinised the many grounds of review in this particular application, and has now produced a lengthy and detailed statement of reasons which I believe comprehensively deals with all of the issues raised.”

It would have been impossible for us to have completed our investigation without the cooperation of other public and government bodies both at home and abroad, and we readily acknowledge this help. I would emphasise however that neither Scottish Ministers nor the Scottish Executive Justice Department, nor for that matter any other official body, has at any time sought to influence or interfere in the Commission’s investigations; and all requests for appropriate grant aid to enable a full and comprehensive investigation and review have been properly met, without question. This has been a difficult case to deal with. The Commission’s enquiry team have worked tirelessly for over three years. Some of what we have discovered may imply innocence; some of what we have discovered may imply guilt. However, such matters are for a court to decide. The Commission is of the view, based upon our lengthy investigations, the new evidence we have found and other evidence which was not before the trial court that the applicant may have suffered a miscarriage of justice. The place for that matter to be determined is in the appeal court, to which we now refer the case.”

We live in one world, and our lives interconnect across continents.  I believe that the God and Father of us all urges us to be the people who pray and live “thy kingdom come” and work for a more just world for all people.