Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney

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Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney
Ecclesiastical province Scotland
Subdivisions Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Chaplaincies, The Isles
Congregations 47
Cathedral St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen
Current leadership
Bishop The Right Rev. Anne Dyer
Dean Vacant
Map showing Aberdeen & Orkney as a coloured area covering the area around Aberdeen, with Orkney and Sheltand
Map showing Aberdeen & Orkney within Scotland

The Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney is one of the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Created in 1865, the diocese covers the historic county of Aberdeenshire, and the Orkney and Shetland island groups. It shares with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen a Christian heritage that can be traced back to Norman times, and incorporates the ancient Diocese of Orkney, founded in 1035.

The diocese is considered the most conservative of the dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and was the only diocese to reject a change in the church's teaching to allow same-sex marriage in 2017.[1]

The first female bishop of the SEC, Anne Dyer, was appointed to the diocese in November 2017 and consecrated and enthroned on 3 March 2018. Her gender, support of same-sex marriage, and that she was not elected by the diocese itself (she was appointed by the College of Bishops in accordance with the SEC canonical process when a diocese fails to meet the requirements to elect its own bishop), caused some controversy,[1][2][3] and two senior clergy, the Dean (Emsley Nimmo) and another member of the Cathedral Chapter, resigned their diocesan roles in protest.[4]

The diocese has a strong companion link with the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Samuel Seabury, the first Episcopal bishop outside the British Isles, was consecrated in 1784 by Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen, and John Skinner, coadjutor bishop. Clarence Coleridge, suffragan bishop of Connecticut, was consecrated by a Bishop of Aberdeen in 1981; he was elected 13th diocesan bishop of Connecticut in 1993.

List of bishops

Below is a list of modern, non-papal bishops of the united diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney. The earliest bishops of these dioceses as well did not recognize the later doctrine of papal de facto jurisdiction in non-Roman dioceses, much less the modern doctrine of papal infallibility[citation needed].

Bishops of Aberdeen and Orkney
From Until Incumbent Notes
1865 1883 Thomas Suther Died in office.
1883 1905 Arthur Douglas Died in office.
1906 1911 Rowland Ellis Died in office.
1912 1917 Anthony Mitchell Died in office.
1917 1943 Frederic Deane
1943 1955 Herbert Hall Died in office.
1956 1972 Frederick Easson
1973 1976 Ian Begg
1976 1991 Frederick Darwent
1991 2006 Bruce Cameron Installed 1992, Primus 2000-2006.
2006 2016[5] Robert (Bob) Gillies
2018 Incumbent[6] Anne Dyer First woman bishop in the SEC

List of deans

The following have served as Dean of Aberdeen and Orkney:

Churches and clergy

The diocese currently has 18 stipendiary clergy and 41 churches.

Name Link Clergy Founded History/notes
St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen [1] 1817 Raised to cathedral status 1914.
Carpenters Arms Fellowship 4 Everyone [2]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Gerry Bowyer
Fresh Expression, affiliated to the Anglican Church through Church Army
St Clement, Aberdeen [3]
  • Rector: Paul Watson
  • Curate (St Clement): Nicholas Bowry
  • Deaconess (NS) (St D): June MacCormack
St Devenick, Bieldside [4] 1894 Current building 1903. Member of the Evangelical Alliance
St James the Less, Aberdeen [5]
  • Hon. Priest-in-Charge: Richard Hines
  • NSM: Ruth Edwards
St John, Aberdeen [6]
  • Rector: Vacant
1720 Congregation dates to 1720. Building 1851
St Margaret of Scotland, Gallowgate [7]
  • Rector: Emsley Nimmo
  • Hon. Curate: John Duthie
  • Hon. Curate: David Wright
1867 Building 1870
St Mary, Carden Place [8]
  • Rector: Vacant
  • Curate: Jason Hobbs
1863 Building 1864
St Mary, Cove Bay [9]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
1864 Shares building with Cove Congregational Church
St Ninian, Aberdeen [10]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Joan Lyon
  • NSM: John Tsukada
St Machar, Bucksburn [11]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Duncan Heddle
1874 Building 1880
St Thomas, Aboyne [12]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vittoria Hancock
1909 Linked with Ballater and Braemar
St Kentigern, Ballater [13] C19th First met in chapel and iron building; current building 1907
St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar [14] 1895-1898 Originally (until c. 1959) private chapel to Mar Lodge. Services currently not being held
St Andrew, Alford [15]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
St Ternan, Banchory [16]
  • Rector: Vacant
St Andrew, Banff [17]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Jeremy Paisey
1722 Present building 1833
All Saints, Buckie [18] c. 1689 Used a variety of chapels during C18th persecution. Current building 1876
St James the Less, Cruden Bay [19]
  • NSM: Peter Whalley
  • NSM (Ellon): Carole Fox
  • NSM (Ellon): Robert Spencer
  • NSM (Ellon): Sylvia Spencer
C18th United with Ellon. First church 1765, current building 1843
St Mary-on-the-Rock, Ellon C18th United with Cruden Bay. First chapel 1816, current building 1871
St Luke, Cuminestown [20]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
C18th Building 1844
St Peter, Fraserburgh [21]
  • Hon. Priest-in-Charge: Keith Suckling
1721 First chapel destroyed 1745, rebuilt late C18th, current building 1891-1892
St Drostan, Insch [22]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Alastair MacDonald
1894 Shares minister with All Saints' Woodhead
All Saints, Woodhead of Fyvie [23] 1849 Meets monthly
St Mary, Auchindoir [24]
  • Rector/Priest-in-Charge: John Walker
  • NSM: David Atkinson
St Mary, Inverurie [25] 1841
St Anne, Kemnay [26] 1938 Linked with Inverurie
All Saints, Whiterashes [27] 1858 Linked with Inverurie
Christ Church, Kincardine O'Neil [28]
  • Priest-in-Charge: David Greenwood
St John the Evangelist, Longside [29]
  • Rector: Richard O'Sullivan
1716 Linked with Peterhead and Old Deer. First chapel 1728, rebuilt 1801, current building 1853-1854
St Drostan, Old Deer [30] 1851 Linked with Longside and Peterhead
St Peter, Peterhead [31] 1699 Numerous meeting places during C18th persecution. Current building 1814 (oldest building in this list)
St Matthew & St George, Oldmeldrum [32]
  • Hon. Priest-in-Charge: Robert Spencer
St John the Evangelist, New Pitsligo [33]
  • Rector: Vacant
1835 Current building 1870s
All Saints, Strichen [34]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
St Congan, Turriff [35]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Vacant
1738 First chapel burnt 1746, chapel 1772, chapel 1825, current building 1862
Westhill Community Church [36]
  • Rector: Ian Ferguson
1972 Daughter church of St Devenick's Bieldside, independent 1986. Own building 2014. Evangelical Alliance
St Colman, Burravoe [37]
  • Rector/Priest-in-Charge: Neil Brice
  • NSM: Elizabeth McNab
St Magnus, Lerwick 1861 Building 1864
St Olaf, Kirkwall [38]
  • Rector: David Dawson
St Mary, Stromness [39]
  • Priest-in-Charge: Tom Miller
1885 Building 1888. Linked with Kirkwall since 1943

Recently closed:

Name History/notes
St Peter, Torry Now converted to sheltered housing[11]
St John the Baptist, Portsoy Dependent of All Saints, Buckie; sold 2016 due to declining fabric[12]
Chapel of Christ the Encompasser, Fetlar Maintained by Society of Our Lady of the Isles - use ended 2015 when the increasingly frail nuns moved to Unst[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b Farley, Harry (5 January 2018). "Scottish Episcopal Church clergy rebel after 'divisive' appointment of bishop to conservative diocese". Christian Today. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  2. ^ Farley, Harry (27 November 2017). "Splits emerge among Scottish Anglicans after gay marriage vote". Christian Today. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Davies, Madeleine (5 January 2018). "Aberdeen & Orkney letter questions new Bishop". Church Times. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "Resignations Follow Aberdeen & Orkney Appointment". Scottish Anglican. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  5. ^ Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney announces his retirement.
  6. ^ The Rt Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.
  7. ^ 'ADAMSON, Very Rev. Alexander Campbell', Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014; online edn, April 2014 accessed 8 Sept 2017
  8. ^ "Denis Philip Bovey". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  9. ^ 'STRANRAER-MULL, Very Rev. Gerald', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 7 Sept 2017
  10. ^ Installation of Isaac Poobalan as Provost and Rector St Andrew's Cathedral Website.
  11. ^ "Geograph:: Aberdeen churches past and present". www.geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  12. ^ http://allsaintsbuckie.aodiocese.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/getPart.pdf
  13. ^ "Society of Our Lady of the Isles". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
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