Placements 4

The first three accounts of placements have detailed those which have been spread over several months. But other students, whether because of the exigencies of geography or the competing scheduling demands of full-time university study, opt to do intensive week-long placements at times in the Church’s year of great liturgical busyness. Two second year ordinands, Helen Randall (Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney) and Eilidh Proudfoot (Diocese of Edinburgh) spent Holy Week in just that way, in St John’s Oban (Diocese of Argyll and The Isles) and Old St Paul’s (Diocese of Edinburgh) respectively.

The photo above shows Eilidh ‘helping to return a very hefty crucifix to the Lady Chapel with a clever pulley system.’ She writes:

When I told people I was heading to Old Saint Paul’s, Edinburgh for an intensive placement during Holy Week, their response was always a smile and a suggestion that I’d need to just bring a sleeping bag to the church. Not such a bad idea, on reflection!

I spent 3 Sundays and all of Holy Week with OSP and received such a warm welcome. The Clergy and team of Servers taught me a lot and observing the care and planning that goes into making Easter at OSP run was helpful. It really does take an army of people behind the scenes.

Each part of the week played a part in presenting the paschal mystery which is beautiful but hard at times. That journey to Jerusalem is not a comfortable one. Easter Day finally arrived with the 5am Vigil after which we clambered up Calton Hill with the choir for their annual rendition of the Hallelujah chorus. The music at OSP throughout the week has been a gift. It really has been an Easter to remember. Thank you to all at OSP for allowing me to share it with you.

Helen writes:

My second year placement took place at St John’s Cathedral, Oban, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles. The placement provided me with an opportunity to be immersed in the sacramental liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal tradition, during Holy Week and Easter, working alongside two female priests.

I found all aspects of the liturgy, words and silence, movement and stillness, presence and absence of flowers, profoundly creative and sacred. I participated in creating a labyrinth in the Lady Chapel, and displaying images for the Stations of the Cross, in readiness for the beginning of Holy Week. This was followed by sharing in the Passion Reading and administering the Chalice in St John’s Cathedral, and later at Kilbrandon Church, on Palm Sunday. It was a joy and a privilege, at the end of my placement, to share in the Easter Day Celebration Eucharist, surrounded by stunning displays of scented spring flowers.

During the week, in between the rhythm of prayer at the Cathedral, I travelled with the curate for Home Communion visits, attended a food charity lunch, visited a community hub, joined a Lent Study and Soup Lunch, and took part in a Messy Church Easter Experience in a remote and beautiful garden on Seil Island.

I greatly valued being at St John’s Cathedral and will carry with me the sacramental liturgy and the importance of a place of worship being a place of safety, welcoming all with open hospitality, to join with others in conversation around the table.

Photos courtesy of Eilidh Proudfoot and Helen Randall