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Road to the Isles

21 June 2013

THE SON of a French lecturer at Aberdeen University, the Very Revd Andrew Swift, Dean of Argyll and The Isles, was baptised in St Joseph's RC Church in Aberdeen, and "grew up as a post-Vatican II Roman Catholic in Dunblane". There were two schools in the town: all the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians went to one, and the Episcopalians to the other; so Episcopalians were always the "other".

By the time he joined the RAF, the "RC" on his papers did not mean very much, he says in the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Inspires. He went on to become a research scientist for the Admiralty, based at Rosyth, specialising in the design and build of steel and composite ships -which included blowing them up. He married Mary, an Episcopalian, and his first two children were baptised in the SEC.

By this time, he had found an "itch" about God which he had to do something about; so he turned to the Episcopal Church. "This was something different. This was those strange children who had been sent to a different school, this was a church where the priests were sometimes married, and sometimes even women. This was not in communion, literally, with my roots, and where I had come from.

"When Bishop Idris Jones received me as an Anglican in May 2000, in St Aidan's, Clarkston, I had an overwhelming sense that this was a journey into somewhere new."

The family moved south, and he became a design manager for Type 45 Destroyers, before going to theological college. "During my ten years in England, I was transformed from a designer and manager of the building of warships into an Anglican priest." It was another perspective on "a national yet international Church".

In 2010, family reasons drew them back to Scotland, where he became Priest-in-Charge of Cowal and Bute in the diocese of Argyll & The Isles. There was no Bishop, and no money, but, three years down the line, the two congregations are growing, and money is coming in. Last year, the new Bishop, the Rt Revd Kevin Pearson, appointed him Dean - a post similar to that of archdeacon in England.

He has come a long way since he designed warships, but, in a diocese consisting largely of islands, the sea is never far away, and he is often on the water.Road to the Isles

 

THE SON of a French lecturer at Aberdeen University, the Very Revd Andrew Swift, Dean of Argyll and The Isles, was baptised in St Joseph's RC Church in Aberdeen, and "grew up as a post-Vatican II Roman Catholic in Dunblane". There were two schools in the town: all the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians went to one, and the Episcopalians to the other; so Episcopalians were always the "other".

By the time he joined the RAF, the "RC" on his papers did not mean very much, he says in the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Inspires. He went on to become a research scientist for the Admiralty, based at Rosyth, specialising in the design and build of steel and composite ships -which included blowing them up. He married Mary, an Episcopalian, and his first two children were baptised in the SEC.

By this time, he had found an "itch" about God which he had to do something about; so he turned to the Episcopal Church. "This was something different. This was those strange children who had been sent to a different school, this was a church where the priests were sometimes married, and sometimes even women. This was not in communion, literally, with my roots, and where I had come from.

"When Bishop Idris Jones received me as an Anglican in May 2000, in St Aidan's, Clarkston, I had an overwhelming sense that this was a journey into somewhere new."

The family moved south, and he became a design manager for Type 45 Destroyers, before going to theological college. "During my ten years in England, I was transformed from a designer and manager of the building of warships into an Anglican priest." It was another perspective on "a national yet international Church".

In 2010, family reasons drew them back to Scotland, where he became Priest-in-Charge of Cowal and Bute in the diocese of Argyll & The Isles. There was no Bishop, and no money, but, three years down the line, the two congregations are growing, and money is coming in. Last year, the new Bishop, the Rt Revd Kevin Pearson, appointed him Dean - a post similar to that of archdeacon in England.

He has come a long way since he designed warships, but, in a diocese consisting largely of islands, the sea is never far away, and he is often on the water.

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