Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh announces retirement

July 7, 2016

The Very Rev Dr Graham Forbes CBE has announced that he will retire as Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh on 10 June 2017, the date that will mark 40 years since Graham was ordained priest in the Diocese of Edinburgh.

In a letter to Cathedral Members Dr Forbes says: “You and the daily cycle of prayer and worship, which our open doors symbolise, have sustained me. The opportunities and challenges of the last 26 years beyond the safety of the Cathedral have been substantial. Law and justice loomed large: membership of the Parole Board was followed by 3 years as HM Inspector of Constabulary (during which time Dunblane happened) and then chairing the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission investigating miscarriages of justice (Lockerbie was one of our cases) and serving on the Cabinet Office’s security vetting appeals. Health and medicine were never far away: 13 years on the General Medical Council, as well as chairing the Scottish MMR Expert Group and the UK Government’s ethics committee on Pandemic Flu. Five years’ involvement in armed forces’ pay meant visiting troops in Afghanistan, or being submerged in a ballistic submarine or shivering in the Falklands or roasting in the Gulf.

“Secure in the knowledge of your prayerful support, I found these and other experiences deepened my understanding of priesthood. These 26 years exposed me to journeys, literal and metaphorical, which I could never have imagined, as I was installed as Provost in 1990 or made deacon in our cathedral in 1976. The awards of a CBE in 2004 and honorary doctorates are gratifying, but much more so have been the honour and privilege of journeying with you in times of joy, at weddings and baptisms for example, in times of special challenge, and with loved ones as they faced their final journey on this earth. In all of these I discovered that I was the one who was being ministered to and witnessed examples of faith and courage far greater than my own.

“What next?

“I will continue to chair the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), the Court of Edinburgh Napier University, and the Committee of Scottish University Chairs. To ease me into the next stage I plan to go on a 6 month sabbatical which will end in June next year.

“Clearly the Cathedral is poised to enter into its next stage. It is in safe hands with John McLuckie as Vice Provost, ably assisted by Kenneth Fleming and Paul Foster, as well as our ‘retired’ clergy. Our musical life under Duncan Ferguson’s excellent care continues to blossom and lift our hearts. Bishop John, in whose gift (in consultation with the Cathedral Board) is the appointment of my successor, will value your prayerful support as he looks ahead.”