From Abide With Me to Aretha Franklin … the Right Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, spoke candidly to Big Brother winner Cameron Stout on BBC Radio Scotland’s Moved by Music show about her secular childhood, coming to faith, facing and overcoming hurtful rejection as a woman, the music that has inspired her on her journey, and her hopes for the future of the ‘feisty’ Scottish Episcopal Church.
The 30-minute interview is available on the BBC Sounds website for 28 days. Here are a few extracts from the wide-ranging and fascinating interview.
On her childhood: “My family were not a church-going family. [On Sunday] we would sleep in, have a nice lunch, watch the sport, watch the afternoon film, go for a walk. I became Christian when I went to university.”
On her calling: “I worked for Unilever, and I thought I ought to work for a charity, maybe a Christian charity, and I went to speak to my vicar about this and he said ‘oh no, I think you should join the church.’ I said I think I will do anything for God, but I won’t do that. The women I had seen who were part of the church were very elderly; I would imagine they were lovely, but they seemed to live lives that were a long way away from mine.”
On community: “We might find there is lots going on that’s not involving us, and it’s not about us starting something, but about us joining in and being supportive. Churches that are for things, not against things, would be really good.”
On public perception of the church: “A lot of what we have done was with a harsh voice and a wagging finger. It’s no surprise that people don’t want to listen to what we have to say. Now, if we want to enter a public space, we have to do so humbly, with a quiet voice. I have to earn the right to share my faith.”
On the future of the church: “Most people are concerned about their own life – their own home, how they are going to pay the bills, how they are going to look after the elderly and their family, how their children might have a better life. Every now and again something frightening happens, like you get sick, or you lose a loved one, or you might lose your employment, and then there are some big questions to be faced. Surely if God is loving and kind then the church through ordinary folk needs to be present to help at times like this.”
On musical inspiration: “Everywhere in my life I have been really blessed by having fantastic women friends and the same is true in the church. I am blessed to have been living through decades when women are coming into their own, and sisters are doing it for themselves.”