Priest ordination a first for Bute

Bishop Kevin Pearson and Rev Elaine Garman with visiting clergy and lay readers in St Pauls, Rothesay
Bishop Kevin Pearson and Rev Elaine Garman with visiting clergy and lay readers in St Pauls, Rothesay

On Saturday, June 4, the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles, ordained the Reverend Elaine Garman as an Anglican priest in St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rothesay.

This is believed to be the first time in the history of the Scottish Episcopal Church on Bute that such an ordination has taken place.

The service was attended by church members, guests from other churches on the islands, family and friends of Elaine, and visiting clergy and lay ministers from other churches on the island and elsewhere in Scotland.

The clergy, robed in a colourful range of vestments, caused quite a stir as they processed along Victoria Street into the church on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The preacher at the ordination service was the Reverend Kimberly Bohan, a former rector of St Paul’s Rothesay, now based in a team of parishes in the Diocese of Lincolnshire in the Church of England. The service was followed by a reception in the Discovery Centre.

The following day, Sunday 5 th June, Elaine presided at her first eucharist: a service of Holy Communion. This service took place at Holy Trinity Dunoon, the other church in the linkage.

Elaine Garman has already served a year as the Curate in St Paul’s Rothesay and Holy Trinity Dunoon in her previous role as an ordained deacon.

She has also continued her full time job as the head of public health in Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (part of NHS Highland and Argyll and Bute Council) as well as spending time with her family, sailing, gardening, singing and many more pastimes.

On top of that, Elaine has completed the final year of a part time degree in theology in her year as a deacon. Elaine has also just joined the ‘General Synod’, the national council for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Her new role as a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church will see her leading all aspects of worship in Rothesay and Dunoon churches, including presiding at communion services.

She is still continuing in ministerial training, with the guidance of Dean Andrew Swift, the Rector of the churches. She will share ministry in the charges with Andrew, Canon Hugh Lee, a retired priest based in Dunoon, and teams of lay people in both the churches of the area.

Elaine initially trained for the ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Institute, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s theological college. The training, carried out over several years, was a mix of distance learning, residential periods and placements in various churches. The Institute trains clergy and lay readers for ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Once ordained deacon in 2015, Elaine’s training then changed to effectively an ‘on the job’ mode, working alongside and with the rector of the churches, as well as continuing her studies and other church activities.

Elaine said, “Both the ordination to the priesthood and presiding at my first eucharist were wonderful points in my life. Whilst they are the culmination of many things and much training they mark the start of another phase of service to the two congregations and the people of communities in Argyll and Bute.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church is an open, discussing and engaging church in Scotland and is a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion. It is a diverse church which is widely respected forthe quality of its ministry and worship and for the thoughtful dialogue which is characteristic of its life. It can trace its heritage back to the days of the reformation in Scotland, and has charges throughout the country.