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Autobiographical Note

I think that some of you may already know that I have something of a special interest in the Scottish Episcopal Church. It was in the Spring of 1955 that contact was first made between that Church of the Anglican Communion and myself.

I had settled in Scotland some five years previously and during that time my son had been born and the child who was to be my daughter was 'due any minute'.

My upbringing had been within the strict and circumscribed little clique of a Congregationalist chapel and in common with so many I had rebelled in my teens and early twenties against its strictures whilst at the same time continuing to rely upon its fellowship for social contacts - thereby building up something of a guilt complex.

The removal to Scotland was followed by a somewhat traumatic period. I found myself now far away from the small social coterie with which my religious life had hitherto been identified. Congregationalism in Scotland, I found, differed little from the established Presbyterian Church, and whilst some earlier contacts with the Church of Scotland had proved very happy, I realised that this had been due in great measure to my having been 'adopted' ecclesiastically by the good people with whom I had lodged in Aberdeen before my marriage. Nevertheless brief contact with an 'establishment' and lengthy sittings at the feet of Presbyterian Divines such as James Stewart and Roderick Bertume (?) had given me some resolution that 'The Church' was something more than the small eclectic gathering of people of similar taste, class, and disposition with which I had hitherto identified it.

And so perhaps, oddly. I have to thank the Presbyterian Establishment of Scotland in some degree for my being ready when the time was ripe for my introduction to the Anglican Communion by way of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The story of that Spiritual journey is one which to me in retrospect remains tremendously exciting, but it is not the subject of this paper.

Suffice it to say that one Sunday evening in late summer I found myself in my car at some red traffic lights at a 'T' junction. I was going to church because I had to make up my mind not only about my own religion but also what, if anything, my family would be taught. If I turned left I should have gone to a Congregationalist evening service. The turn to the right led to St. Aidan's. I can still see that light change to amber and I still wondered which trafficator (direction indicator)  to operate.

Well, if you are a Scottish Episcopalian you are an Anglican - and unless you are just a Church of England immigrant, you usually know why. You do not 'fall into' the Episcopal Church by accident.

If you are an ordinary Scot and you want your child baptised or the banns read or grandma buried you don't go to the Rector as a matter of cause. If you go to a ship launch at Clydebank you won't find a priest in a surplice and scarf and in the ancient Cathedrals of Scotland you won't be invited to listen to the liturgy on a Wednesday afternoon - you'll be charged 2/6 by the Ministry of Works.

As an Episcopalian you will find yourself a member of the third largest  'denomination' or branch of the Church, but there's a very big gap between the 'silver' and the 'orange'. You'll find your church dismissed as the 'English Church' - a term regarded as anathema by the hereditary Episcopalians - and you'll find your Church regarded with bewilderment by those who can only identify the Roman Church as 'Catholic' and the Establishment as Protestant. But it has its recompenses. You may find yourself at the receiving end of the most astonishing confidences by members of the 'Big Two' who regard you as a benevolent neutral who may sympathise with their private heresies! and not repeat you to the Priest or Minister. (Tradeston works staff.)

The Estate of William John Green, 2004

(The remainder of this paper has not been transcribed from the original manuscript because it declines into a series of short notes that were clearly intended as an aide memoire for a lecture delivered verbally. From this point forward the subject matter concentrates entirely on Scottish religious history. - R.J.G. July 2004)