The winner of the 2023 Alastair Haggart Bursary is the Very Revd Sarah Murray, Provost of Inverness Cathedral, Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. The Bursary Committee unanimously selected Sarah’s proposal – a sabbatical to explore ministry and spirituality in cathedrals – from a strong field of applications, commending it for the educational benefits such study time would bring to her own context and to other cathedrals across the Province, and for its relationship to the Provincial Net Zero Action Plan. £2500 has been duly awarded to this project.
Provost Sarah writes:
I was delighted and somewhat overwhelmed to hear that I had been awarded the Alastair Haggart Bursary Award. By the time 2024 arrives, the Cathedral here in Inverness will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Consecration of the building and space, and I will have been ordained for eleven years. This seems an apposite point to spend time on Sabbatical reflecting on the nature of ministry and spirituality in cathedral settings. I hope and plan to explore the distinctive nature of what it is to be a cathedral, a place which nurtures and cares for a regular congregation as well as a transient congregation of visitors from across the world, and how this sits alongside a place and space for other events, such as concerts and events to take place.
As a result of this Bursary, I shall be able to explore a variety of cathedrals both in the UK and in other places further afield to learn, reflect and meet with others in cathedral ministry, and then to provide some reflective work on the learning, great ideas and how this then works in my context. I hope to share this with the Diocese and further afield as well.
As an additional piece of work, I’d like to explore the use of outdoor space as a spiritual place and space, and link this to Carbon Net Zero and the possibility of creating some local resources.
I’d like to offer my thanks for this opportunity and the funding through the Bursary Fund which allow time and space in a sabbatical to explore themes that will be formational and enjoyable at this stage in my ministry.
The Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus and Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, said on hearing of the award:
I am absolutely delighted that Provost Sarah has been awarded the Alastair Haggart Bursary. The Cathedral in Inverness has developed an important ministry to the community of Inverness, but Sarah is keen to further the ministry and mission of this wonderful building. This award will enable her to explore other cathedrals to share ideas and to learn from their work.
The Bursary Committee thanks the family of the late Alastair Haggart, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1977-85), for its continued generosity in funding this Bursary. It is awarded annually and aims to help finance sabbaticals or other similar leave of absence on the part of full-time ministers at a stage in the person’s life when such an experience will significantly enhance his or her development. The outcomes of the project should also be of benefit to the wider Church.
The 2024 Bursary will be advertised on the SEI website in October, with applications being due by Epiphany 2024.
Photo courtesy of the Very Revd Sarah Murray