On 28th October 2017 we had our annual Margaret Allan Lecture, hosted this year by Letham St Mark’s Church in the Letham area of Perth. Unfortunately, we were unable to complement this with workshops. However, we had a very profitable day led most ably by Rev. Tom Gordon who spoke on the theme of ‘Supporting People In Times Of Loss.’ Tom Gordon is a Church of Scotland minister who worked in parish ministry in two Edinburgh parishes for 20 years before serving as chaplain at the Edinburgh Marie Curie Hospice for 15 years. He co-facilitated the hospice’s bereavement support service, participated in education programmes on aspects of bereavement and spiritual-care, and contributed regularly to professional journals on bereavement and chaplaincy issues. He wrote two books during this time – A Need for Living, about his chaplaincy work, and New Journeys Now Begin, on loss, grief and bereavement. He retired from full-time work in 2009.
He now has more time to give to his writing and has completed a trilogy of books of contemporary parables for every Sunday of the three-year Lectionary Cycle. A further book, Look Well to This Day, published in November 2014, contains a ‘thought for the day’ for every day of a full year, and he will have another book in a similar format published towards the end of 2017. He also continues to be a regular contributor to anthologies of worship, reflective, poetic and teaching material. (All Tom’s books have been published by Wild Goose Publications and are available at www.ionabooks.com)
As another main commitment, Tom also continues to offer bereavement and spiritual-care training and support. He continues to be asked regularly to assist local churches in the development of their bereavement support work and the training of those who are or might be involved. He has scoped, developed and is currently facilitating the Acorns Bereavement Programmes in Edinburgh and Stepping Stones Bereavement Programmes in his home village in East Lothian. He is currently working on a second book on issues of bereavement, grief and loss.
The Lecture was followed by a question and answer session in which many of the 35 people present participated. Tom covered a wide range of subjects in the context of loss and this proved very helpful. We usually think of loss in terms of bereavement but other experiences of loss can be just as traumatic e.g. the loss of employment; the loss of a home; or the loss of a friendship.
During the business session we were happy to add a new member to the Council. We welcome Mr Scott Reynolds who is a Divinity student and candidate for the Church of Scotland Ministry of Word and Sacrament and look forward to his contributions as we work together to promote the work of the Association.
Kenneth D. Mackay, D.C.S.