Rev Dr Roderick J Grahame Celebrates Silver Jubilee

Reproduced from the Go For It Blog on the Church of Scotland website with kind permission (see article link below).

Go For It

Look Forward in Faith

by Rev Dr Roderick J Grahame

Brechin-Cathedral-Crossroads-StorytellersThis very week, I celebrate the Silver Jubilee of my ordination to the ministry. Someone said to me recently: “You can’t be that old, you must have gone into ministry from Primary School!” If only! My boyish looks unfortunately hide my real age!!

So what changes have I observed in the Kirk these last twenty five years? For one, dog collars have become an increasing rarity. I used to think my “bishop” during my Probationary period wore his to bed, until I saw him one day in a collar and tie – shock, horror! Personally, I think this rarity is a good thing. At the Reformation, we sought to get away from “priestly” status, and regard the clergy as people within the community itself, set aside for that particular religious task, just like butchers had their function and tailors had theirs.

For another thing, funerals from home have become very few. Almost all my funerals in the early years began at the home of the deceased, before going on to the Cemetery or (sometimes) Crematorium. Funeral Parlours were very scarce. Church weddings were far more numerous, and consequently Baptisms too. Sunday Schools were still thriving, and Sunday shopping had yet to be invented to any great degree (I recall our Kirk Session debating this issue in 1993).

On the other hand, some things have changed very little. The Gospel is still preached and lived out by the faithful folk of God.

“God continues to work in, and through, the Church.”
Roderick Grahame, Brechin Cathedral

It is the people I remember most. Including the man who had a metal plate in his head from a war injury, and a woman, who, in her nineties, travelled with my party to the Holy Land and Egypt – looking like Miss Marple with a wide sun hat!

So what about the future? Yes, the Church is changing and we must change with it. But I am actually very optimistic about the future of the Church! In my twenty five years of ministry, I have had my fair share of successes and failures. Yet, it is the failures and the mistakes that I have learnt most from! For almost in spite of my inadequacies and (less often) those of my three congregations I have served, God has managed to work out God’s purposes. God continues to work in, and through, the Church. Sometimes we work with God, often against. Yet God never fails, always succeeds.

The scenery may, in future years, collapse and fall – this may include some of our beloved institutions, traditions and practices. But the play goes on …

God is the author, chief actor and director. Me and you? Just extras on the stage, who say their line and exit into the wings.

So here’s to the next twenty five years – whether I spend all of it in earthly ministry or with (hopefully and finally) the saints in glory! But the Church will go on after my stint on the stage – because that is God’s desire; and God will not be thwarted.

Rev Dr Roderick J Grahame
Minister at Brechin Cathedral and part of the Brechin Cathedral Crossroads Storytellers Project

About Brechin Cathedral
Brechin Cathedral is receiving a Go For It Main Grant for Brechin Cathedral Storytellers (pictured below and above), which provides weekly Drama Groups and a Summer Drama Holiday Club for local school pupils, culminating in community performances of dramatised Bible stories.
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