by Gillian Raab
My first official task after being elected Vice Chair of SCoJeC was to represent us at the service of celebration held in Glasgow Cathedral to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The instructions with my invitation reminded me to wear a hat, and to arrive in time to be seated a full hour before the service was due to begin. I was less than thrilled at the prospect of sitting for over an hour on the hard Cathedral seats, but this time proved to be much more interesting than I had expected. I found that I was seated in the choir with other faith community representatives, close to where the Queen and Prince Philip were to sit, and with a fine view of the medieval building. The hour passed quickly in interesting conversation with my neighbours, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, Abbot of Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfriesshire, and Dr Maureen Sier, the Baha’i representative, who has a senior position in the Scottish Interfaith Council, and it seemed no time at all until the Royal and Ecclesiastical processions made their formal ways round the aisles, with churchmen and women in their robes, the Company of Archers with their feathered caps, and Heralds and Persuivants in playing-card costumes.
The service itself was entirely Christian, with the Interfaith Council respresented by Sister Isabel Smyth, a Roman Catholic. This disappointed some among the interfaith representatives, who remarked that similar events in the past had been more ecumenical, but it was nonetheless a splendid occasion, with prayers of thanksgiving for the Queen, a psalm read by the First Minister, and wonderful organ music, and I was proud to have represented SCoJeC there.