Service Times Trial Period Update

The end of March draws to a conclusion the first three-month trial period of differing service times for St JtL Penicuik and St M West Linton. Both vestries consulted widely and many views were reported back to the meeting. As expected, the vestries concluded that a further three-month trial period would be necessary, with the service times reversed, to allow both congregations to experience both options.

From the 2nd April, therefore, St James the Less will gather for worship at 9.30am, following the established pattern of services. On the 4th Sunday of each month, in order to fulfill the legal requirement of offering communion every Sunday, Rev’d Lynsay will offer an 8am said communion service in church before the main service of Morning Prayer that day. Naturally, with services being so early, coffee can return to being after the service.

For those who find these times too early, perhaps for this three-month period you might consider attending St Mungo’s West Linton, rather than missing church altogether. They will be meeting at 11.30am from 2nd April. As soon as I know when they will hold coffee/brunch I will relay this information. Morning Prayer at West Linton is on the first Sunday of the month and will be followed by said communion, for the same reason that we will be holding an 8am.

On 21st May every member of each congregation will receive a response form, allowing them to register an opinion in the decisions before us. We hope most will be collected from church, but will post out any uncollected forms on the Monday. These forms will need to be returned to the vestry secretary no later than Friday 9th June. This information can then be collated and taken to the next joint vestry meeting on 14th June, allowing us to set the Summer pattern for worship.

Service Times at St James the Less Penicuik and St Mungo’s West Linton.

Three months ago, the vestries of St James the Less Penicuik and St Mungo’s West Linton agreed to trial new times for their services, due to a change in the clergy resources available week by week. Change is always difficult but both congregations have, on the whole, been gracious during this trial period. Before the end of the month the two vestries will be meeting again to make a final decision on this matter. For this reason you will find vestry members here at St JtL saying: “Has anyone asked you…”, we hope you won’t feel pestered but we do want to make sure everyone has had the chance to be heard.

At vestry on Wednesday some known views were brought to the St JtL table, often including questions that need answering or with suggestions from the congregation. This post is designed to answer a few of those questions for those curious enough to read it and to provide a resource for vestry members.


·        The three month experimental period finishes at the end of March, will services now return to 10.30am?
 No. Unfortunately, there is no way we can hold our services at this time with only one member of clergy available across two churches most weeks. The joint vestries will be meeting again before the end of the month. It is likely that we will need a further 3 month experimental period but with the service times reversed.
(9.30am at St JtL and 11.30am at St M)

·         Can’t we use our Lay Worship Leaders to have services from Reserved Sacrament at the time we choose?
No. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, services from reserved sacrament are to be used in extremis. We are not allowed to plan to use this service on a regular basis, especially when it is possible for a member of clergy to celebrate communion with a congregation on the same day. Secondly, Lay Worship Leaders are not Eucharistic ministers. They have been trained and authorised to lead Services of the Word (such as Morning Prayer), or less formal acts of Worship. They offer a valuable ministry and greatly enrich our worship but are not inter-changeable with clergy.

·         Then let’s have Morning Prayer twice a month and communion twice a month with St Mungo’s doing the same. We can then have the time we want.
Firstly, this would require the consent of both congregations, which I am not at all sure it would get. More importantly however, Canon 22 of the Scottish Episcopal Church section 6 states:

In every congregation the Holy Communion shall be celebrated, when in the opinion of the Bishop it is reasonably practicable, at least on every Lord’s Day, on the Great Festivals, and on Ash Wednesday, and appropriate provision shall be made for public
worship on Good Friday.

This means that there must be a service of Holy Communion as well as one of Morning Prayer on those Sundays when Morning Prayer is offered. Attendance at this service has been low to non-existent so far.

·         We used to have services where St JtL started earlier with the priest arriving later in time to preach and celebrate communion, let’s do that.

This, far from perfect, solution allowed worship to be conducted at reasonable times during the interregnum, but is not a sustainable pattern of worship long term. Rushing from one church to the other has pastoral implications for the first church to meet, as the priest is not free to speak to the congregation after the service. The priest is also constantly hopping into a service already on the go, unable to prepare properly, not having gathered with this congregation. Whilst we are looking at ways to cut down the time between services, this would be a last resort.

·         11.30am cuts into the middle of the day, meaning that we can do nothing on a Sunday but come to church.

This is clearly inconvenient. One way round this would be for one congregation to look at meeting in the afternoon/evening. This way one congregation could come to church and then go out, whilst the other could go out, then come to church. An afternoon service might be 4pm in Winter and 6.30 or 7 in Summer to allow for the longer days.

Change is always difficult. Clearly we are all having to make compromises. We believe in God who loves us and gives us life. Our being cries out to worship in response. It is through this worship that we learn our identity in Christ and within the story of God’s relationship with humanity. Surely that we are free to meet in safety, within a beautiful building, blessed with musicians, singers, readers, florists, cleaners, intercessors and a priest is something to rejoice in and give thanks for. Please keep praying that we are able to find an acceptable solution.


Rev’d Lynsay



What’s that? The beautiful St JtL Peace Pole!

On 21st September, as part of the International Peace One Day celebrations, people will be gathering to dedicate the peace pole commissioned by St James the Less. It has been handcrafted with love and care by Andrew McCaullye, who has repurposed an electricity pole and wax from the remnants of candles burned in church.

Peace Pole
May peace prevail on Earth.

The English phrase, May peace prevail on Earth, spirals around the top of the pole, encouraging onlookers to come close and walk around it. This is matched at the bottom of the pole, with a nod to our Scottish heritage, as we find the phrase in Gallic. Vertically around the pole we find the phrase in Hebrew, a biblical language and a sign of our continuing prayers for all the peoples of the Holy Land. Russian is included in acknowledgement of growing tensions and conflicts in Ukraine and other once-Soviet states, and as a prayer for peace in these lands. Twi is included as a reminder of our diocesan partnership with Ghana, this is one of the most peaceful places in Africa, despite tribes speaking 5 native languages, as well as the official English. Fante, most commonly spoken in Cape Coast is not written down, so Twi serves and reminds us to pray for our partners in Ghana and for peace throughout the continent of Africa. Tibetan is included as we pray for people whose struggle for peace goes on over many years and can all too easily be forgotten.

As we dedicate the pole, we will pray:

Gracious God, hear us.
Sanctify this pole dedicated to the peace you offer through Christ.
Let it be to all who see it a sign that peace will come on earth and a prompt to our prayers and diligent work for peace. Accept here the continual reading of the words “May Peace prevail on earth” as the heartfelt prayers of your people. Grant that all who look upon this pole may be blessed by your spirit of peace. Blessed be your Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; now and for endless ages. Amen. 

I do hope you will lift your heart in prayer and or longing for peace whenever you go past.

To find out more about the Peace Pole project pop over to At the time of posting St JtL’s was the newest peace pole.

St JtL Peace Pole

Our vision

Our Vision for St James the Less

God calls us and gives us grace to use the gifts He has given us to grow as a loving and Christ-centred people, faithful in worship, rejoicing in differences, open to the gifts of the Spirit and working as His servants in our communities

Celebrating our vision!untitled-4

God calls us and gives us grace,
We will be open to God’s voice however it may come to us. Through His strength, not our own, we will do His work.

To use the gifts He has given us,
We rejoice in the many gifts that God gives us. We will use our individual and collective talents to reach out, to serve and to communicate the Christian faith to others in ways sensitive to their needs.

To grow as a loving and Christcentred people,
We will grow in our common worship, deepen our understanding of our faith and draw others into our Christian fellowship. In our relationships we will affirm one another’s gifts and strengths. We will be mutually loving and trusting, accepting our own and others’ weaknesses. We will foster good relationships with other Christians in sharing our journey of faith and we will
do all of this with God’s help and grace.

Faithful in worship,
We worship the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the only Episcopal church in Penicuik, we will offer worship for all age groups in Liturgy and Sacrament, in Praise and Prayer. We wish to encounter God fully in many forms of worship, with dignity, with joy, with humility, with reverence and with enthusiasm.

Rejoicing in differences,
We acknowledge and value our different experiences of God and the varied routes that our spiritual journeys take, all towards the one God. This diversity is a strength to be cherished and supported. We will explore and embrace the richness of faith as understood in a variety of ways in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We rejoice that we are loved as we are, with all our imperfections and at every stage of faith, forgiven and enabled to fulfil our potential as God’s people.

Open to the gifts of the Spirit,
We wish to be bound together and guided by the Holy Spirit to ever greater understanding of God’s word and purpose for us. We rest our faith on three pillars – the Bible, a living, growing church tradition and our ability to reason.

Working as His servants in our communities.
We will serve our communities humbly and to the best of our abilities, as Christ served. We expect no reward beyond knowing that we are partners in God’s work on earth. We will offer service that respects all people as children of God, irrespective of differences, doubts and disadvantages. We will give our time, talents and resources to help to meet the material, emotional and spiritual needs of people, wherever they are. We will work with other churches to bring as many as possible to the loving mystery, majesty and friendship of God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ.


We will realise our vision by:

    1. Worshipping God in a variety of ways. Our worship will be consistent with our talents and character in style, music, timing and duration.
    1. Being open to God’s guidance, in particular by improving our ability to listen to one another
    1. Improving the ways in which we communicate amongst ourselves and with the local and global communities in which we engage.
    1. Creating and supporting collective leadership that enables us to live out God’s purpose for us.
    1. Committing to the effective and sensitive management of change.
    1. Reaffirming and embracing our natural diversity of opinion, practice and individual experience of God.
    1. Seeking out and helping to meet the most pressing needs in our communities.
  1. Recognising, “owning”, celebrating and pursuing this new vision. We will shoulder these responsibilities together, from clergy and leaders, through vestry, to every member of the congregation.