The new academic year at the Scottish Episcopal Institute (SEI) begins today (30 August) with a week’s residential in St Mary’s Monastery, Perth. The ‘Orientation Week’, as it is called, seeks to do many things: by means of an integrated programme of worship, study, topical seminars and leisure time, it aims to welcome the nine new students and incorporate then into the life of the Institute; to ‘form’ that body of eighteen into a new community; to re-establish the rhythm of prayer, work and leisure which will sustain the students through the year ahead; and above all to ‘orient’ staff and students alike to their proper goal, followership and service of Christ, ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith’.
Core SEI staff will be joined at various points through the week by the Chaplain, the Revd Canon Graham Taylor, and the Convenor of the Institute Council, the Rt Revd Kevin Pearson. Mr Nick Cooke FRSA, Secretary of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum, will lead an evening symposium on ‘Pilgrimage’, and the Revd Richard Hall CF, Padre, Army Foundation College, a similar session on ‘Army Chaplaincy’. Mrs Ishbel Smith, founder of ‘Heart In Mouth’, an organisation that works with people in the Third Sector helping them with communication skills, will lead a morning on public speaking. Associate Tutors will join us for one day and engage in a session on the use of ‘Big Blue Button’ – the web conferencing system used by SEI for online learning – while there.
Please hold the students and staff of SEI in your prayers during this week.