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17 April 2014


Anglican pacifist: Bishop Colin Scott

Anglican pacifist: Bishop Colin Scott

The Ven. Brian Harris writes:
A DEANERY lay chairman once commented to me that Bishop Colin Scott, who died on 1 April, aged 80, was both a gentle man and a gentleman.

Countless people in Manchester diocese, both lay and clergy, remember him with great affection for his friendship, his absolute trustworthiness as far as confidences were concerned, and his scrupulous fairness in his judgements. He was not partisan in his theology or his approach to people.

Although these may sound like the sine qua non of all priestly and episcopal ministry, they are qualities that were particularly valued in Colin.

Colin John Fraser Scott was educated at Berkhamsted School, and read natural sciences at Queens' College, Cambridge, before theological training at Ridley Hall. He was made deacon in 1958 in Southwark, and, after serving curacies at St Barnabas's, Clapham Common, and St James's, Hatcham, became Vicar of St Mark's, Kennington.

In 1977, Bishop Mervyn Stockwood appointed him vice-chairman of the diocesan pastoral committee, and, after seven years with important diocesan responsibilities, he became Team Rector in the Sanderstead Team Ministry.

He represented Southwark on the General Synod, and was a much respected member of the panel of chairmen of that body. I remember him occupying the chair superbly, and being unflustered for some of the large and very public debates at that time. Canon Scott of Southwark was renowned in General Synod circles, and the qualities for which he was revered there stood him in good stead as he moved to episcopal ministry.

In 1984, he was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of Hulme, when the Bishop of Manchester, Stanley Booth-Clibborn, was inaugurating an area episcopal scheme in the diocese. Bishop Scott and Margaret, his wife, opened their home generously to clergy and laypeople in the area. Clergy and their wives and, later, husbands appreciated the graciousness of the welcome, the complete lack of ostentation, and the real interest in and concern for them as individuals. Every dinner party ended with a trip up to the chapel, which Colin had had installed in the house, for the office of compline. This indicated the place of prayer at the heart of his ministry.

In the diocese, Colin chaired the Board for Church and Society, and as such was responsible for a number of employed staff who spoke highly of his leadership and understanding. He was closely involved with the diocesan link with Lahore in Pakistan, which he visited, and whose bishop he entertained in Manchester. Beyond the diocese, he was chairman of the Council for the Care of Churches from 1994 to 1998, a position that placed him at the interface between the Church and State over the difficult and developing issues connected with church buildings.

After his retirement, he became an assistant bishop in the diocese of Leicester, and again provided much appreciated and typically low-profile support and encouragement for the clergy and their families. He and Margaret became much valued and loved members of the congregation and community of Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

He also became more publicly engaged in the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, a cause dear to his heart. He had not undertaken National Service in the armed forces as a young man, but had worked in farming, and, while set in the middle of the great cities of Manchester and Salford, he enjoyed alluding with a twinkle in his eye to his detailed knowledge of sheep and of rural customs.

After some years of happy retirement in Ashby, he suffered a stroke. Increasing ill-health restricted his activity, and, for the past few years, he lived in a nursing home in Shepshed. For a man to whom family life meant so much, this separation must have been dreadfully frus-trating, but, when I visited him,he never complained. Margaret's care and devotion during his ill-ness had to be seen to be be-lieved.

He is survived by Margaret, their son and two daughters, and their much loved six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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