1st May 2022
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Rector’s letter for May
Well, May is here! With a late Easter (although not quite as late as our Orthodox brothers and sisters) April seemed to speed past. We are now on day 15 of the 50 days of Easter, a season of joy and hope.
And yet joy does feel a strange emotion to feel when there is so much happening in the world to cause worry and anxiety, and there is so much suffering across our world as a result of conflicts.
Locally, many people will be worried about how they will be able to afford to pay their utility bills going forward, coupled with increases in petrol and diesel costs as well as basic foodstuffs. In addition, increases in National Insurance contributions will add further financial pressures on working households.
As Easter people we are called to pray in hope for the wellbeing of other people and for the natural world, and to do what good we can in the world, where we are. May each of us be aware of these issues and the impacts on others and prayerfully consider our individual responses.
Local elections take place on Thursday this week, and a few recent reports on the radio have suggested turnout may be low. Can I urge you to vote, as a low turnout is not good for democracy.
This Spring there has been a real sense of rebirth and growth, of coming out of the darkness and into the light. With COVID restrictions now lifted people are taking the opportunity to meet friends and relatives and make up as best they can for the last two years.
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
After two years in the waiting, the Diocese of Edinburgh’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela will take place in May. Twelve pilgrims (peregrinos in Spanish) will start out from Ferrol in northern Galicia on 16th May and walk 73 miles into Santiago de Compostela, over six days. The weather in Ferrol, on the Atlantic coast, is similar to ours just now, overcast and 19 degrees during the day, 10 degrees at night. Santiago is a bit sunnier and on the sunnier days is currently reaching 25 degrees during the day. There will be a daily report posted on Facebook as we progress through Galicia. My trial packing of my rucksack is weighing in at 7.5 kg. With 1.5 litres of water at the start of every day my rucksack will weigh about 9kg (about 20 lbs).
With effect from Monday 4th April the Scottish Government regulations changed. Those attending church are no longer be required by law to wear a mask. However, I know that many people have chosen to continue wearing a mask for now.
Each congregation has been asked about reintroducing the sharing of the ‘common cup’ at Holy Communion once again. We are using a second chalice for those wishing to share the common cup. Many are choosing to receive Holy Communion in both kinds, albeit by intinction and placing the wafer in the communicant’s hands.
Bishop’s Lent Appeal – The Welcoming
Thank you for the donations to the Bishop’s Lent Appeal which have been collected by both churches. Donations were received at the post-service brunch at St Mungo’s on 24th April, and at the post-service lunch at St James’ on 1st May. These will be added to the donations made by bank transfer, and the respective Treasurers will be transferring the funds to the Diocese shortly.
New Equipment in both St Mungo’s and St James the Less
Last summer each church was invited to apply for funds from the Province for ‘COVID Recovery’. Both of the Vestries approved a bid for funding to improve our ability to live-stream services. All of the items purchased arrived in late March and early April. With the help of people who are more technically minded than I am, (who understand Local Area Networks and other aspects of computing), we have started to set up the systems. At St James two dedicated cameras have been installed and were used for the first time today, to coincide with the Bishop’s visit for the Patronal Festival. With the knowledge now gained from setting up that system, over the next few weeks we shall set up the system in St Mungo’s.
Another result of lockdown has been the number of enquiries and bookings for weddings over the coming months. I had the honour of celebrating the first religious wedding held at New Hall Estate last week, and on 14th May there is a wedding at St James’, and a wedding at St Mungo’s on 23rd July. There are two weddings booked for next year already, and a few more enquiries coming in.
Sunday brunch at St Mungo’s is back
On Sunday 24th April there was a welcome return of the Sunday brunch after the service at St Mungo’s. The brunches will now be on the 4th Sunday of each month. The offers of food were generous, and we all had our fill with plenty left over for doggy bags. Donations were gratefully received and were included in the amount to be allocated to the bishop’s appeal.
Tuesday Lunchtime Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s
Starting on Tuesday 3rd May at 12.30 pm there will be a weekly time of Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s. There will be some variation in what is offered, including centring prayer, Christian meditation following the World Community of Christian Meditation model of John Main, and Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
Whipman and Lass
The West Linton Whipman and Lass week starts with the installation of the Whipman and Lass on Friday 3rd June, at which I am officiating. On Saturday 4th June the ride out takes place, and we are looking for volunteers to help offer refreshments from St Mungo’s church garden during the day. Please contact Ian Kerry if you are able to help. Revd Peter Woodifield will represent St Mungo’s at the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial on Saturday 11th June. On Sunday 12th June there will be a joint act of worship in the marquee on the Lower Green, with St Andrew’s Church of Scotland.
We hold our weekly Bible study at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, online. On 26th April we commenced a study of the Gospel of Luke. This runs weekly until 12th July. Why don’t you join us to explore the texts, understand their context, and just as importantly, explore how they speak to us and how they inform us today?
Monday Study Night in Easter: ‘A Season of Pilgrimage’
On 25th April, we started this course designed by our diocese (Revd David Paton-Williams and Revd Sophia Marriage), on the theme of Pilgrimage. It is designed to facilitate reflection and discussion on each week’s theme. There is a course booklet, available in PDF format, which I can email out to all who are interested. Please let me know if you would like to join in with some or all of these sessions. On 2nd May we shall be exploring Iona and the theme of ‘Companions on the way’. On 9th May we shall be exploring St Andrew’s and Queensferry and theme of ‘When the tough gets going’. On 16th May we shall be exploring Lindisfarne and Melrose and the theme of ‘Baggage Allowance’. Our final session on 23rd May we shall be exploring the Ruthwell Cross and our own church and the theme of the ‘Journey to the Cross’.
Faith Development ‘Faith Books’
When we have a fifth Monday in the month, I lead a discussion at 7.00 pm about a book as a way of introducing people to different authors which may pique an interest to read more of their work (or not!).
The next 5th Monday is on 30th May 2022. The book to be discussed ‘Generous Justice, How God’s Grace Makes Us Just’, by Timothy Keller. The books for the rest of 2022 are listed below. That should leave plenty of time to get the books or borrow them from someone (including me) or from a library.
- Monday 29th August 2022: ‘In The Shelter: Finding a Home in the World’, by Patrick O’ Tuama
- Monday 31st October 2022: ‘Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi’, by Ami-Jill Levine.
In looking for new or used books, I have often used www.bookfinder.com I am sure there are other search sites that will help people find the above books.
Diocesan Big Walk to Net Zero
On Saturday 28th May people will walk from various starting points in the Diocese to St Mary’s cathedral. There is a ‘Big Walk’ starting at 09:30 from The Balmwell Toby Carvery (opposite Mortonhall Crematorium) – a distance of about 5 miles. If you wish to join me for breakfast at the Toby Carvery, I shall be there from about 8.30 am. We expect to arrive at the cathedral between 11.30 and 12:00, allowing time for conversation, reflection, and traffic lights! Let me know if you are interested in joining the Big Walk. Lunch will be available in the cathedral and then there will three sessions; two talks and a final session led by the interests of those attending on issues relating to how the church can work towards net zero carbon emissions. Please note this is an amended route. The original intention to start from Roslin was not practicable.
Mid-week Services on Zoom
Our services on a Wednesday evening at 7.30 pm follow the regular pattern of services set out below. They are all on Zoom.
- 1st Wed of the month: Healing service (if you wish someone or a situation to be prayed for send an email to me or Marion Mather)
- 2nd Wed of the month: Christian Meditation (a time to settle, a short line of scripture, 15 minutes of silence, and a closing prayer).
- 3rd Wed of the month: Iona Abbey evening service liturgy
- 4th Wed of the month: service in the style of Taizé
At 9pm every Wednesday evening we hold the service of Compline. Please do join us for this short service of calm and settling prayers before sleep.
Continuing our Mission: Leading Your Church Into Growth Prayer
Each weekday morning we pray for growth in our church. If you are not able to join us online for Morning Prayer at 9 am, can I encourage you to pray this once a day. The prayer is given below.
God of Mission, who alone brings growth to your Church, send your Holy Spirit to give:
vision to our planning, wisdom to our actions, and power to our witness.
Help our church to grow:
in numbers, in spiritual commitment to you, and in service to our local community, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
St Mungo’s Website
The new website address for St Mungo’s is www.stmungoswestlinton.org
If you would like to help maintain the new St Mungo’s website; checking that the content is up to date, supporting the uploading of sermons etc., please let me know, Training can be given. I can assure you it isn’t very complex, as I learnt how to do it fairly quickly. Maybe one of our younger members would like to support the church by helping with this?
In Touch Magazine for St James the Less and St Mungo’s
The deadline for content to be submitted for the next issue is 8th May 2022. I would like to encourage you to submit something for inclusion in the magazine; a poem, a review of a book or a film, an article on a subject of interest? If you wish to submit an article please send them to email@example.com
Financial giving to St James the Less or to St Mungo’s
Church finances are feeling the effects of the lockdown, as the amounts normally collected in the offertory plate are obviously not currently being collected. If you are able, can I ask you to prayerfully consider setting up a recurring monthly payment to the church via on-line banking, to contribute financially on a regular basis. Details of the bank accounts are given below for each of the churches.
St James the Less:
Monthly donation by bank transfer (include your name in the reference line when setting this up – only the Treasurer knows the name of the donor). Bank details are: St James Episcopal Church Penicuik, acct no 17117264, sort code 80-22-60.
Monthly donation by bank transfer (include your name in the reference line when setting this up – only the Treasurer knows the name of the donor). Bank details are: St Mungo’s Vestry, acct no 00817851, sort code 80-09-39.
Praying the Daily Offices
In the Daily Offices prayer booklet there are specific prayers for each day of the month. I recommend these to you, as an aid to your prayer life.
Regular Weekday Services
Morning and Evening Prayer and the Wednesday evening services are online using Zoom. Sharing the Daily Offices each weekday with others is a wonderful way of connecting, praying and praising together with a natural rhythm of the week. It is also one of the few times we can hear the psalms being read more than just a few verses at a time. Please do consider joining us at 9 am and or 5.30 pm for about half an hour, whenever you are able.
Ecumenical Relations and Community Involvement Work
The Penicuik Ministers continue to meet on Zoom for coffee and chat and supportive prayers on a roughly monthly basis. Revd Dr Tony Foley (Church of Scotland West Tweeddale churches) and I have met up and had a good chat together. We shall endeavour to meet several times each year and jointly plan activities related to the Whipman and Lass and joint services across the year.
Once a month the Penicuik Churches Together (PCT) has a joint Sunday evening service. On that Sunday our usual schedule will be adapted so that members can attend the PCT service. St James’ will host the PCT service on 26th June, at 6.30 pm
The EH26 Resilience Group continues to meet occasionally. It remains a good way to connect in with the needs of our community and support how those needs are met. I am also still attending the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership ‘Care for People Planning Group’ Zoom meetings, and both the Afghan Resettlement Programme meetings and Ukrainian Refugee scheme meetings.
The Ministry Team
We meet on a monthly basis to plan for the coming months; planning services and faith development activities as well as exploring other aspects of what is offered to the congregations and to our local communities.
In Other News…
On 9th April quite a few who will be walking together in Spain gathered in a nice café in Leith before having a camino practice walk, of 13 miles up the Water of Leith to Balerno. The weather was kind to us and it was good for people to start getting to know each other.
I have managed to start planting seeds in my cold frame in the vain hope they will have grown sufficiently that they can be put before I head off to Spain. Hopefully we won’t get late frosts like last year. My over-wintering spinach has really started growing now, as has my rhubarb. The apple and pear trees I planted last year have survived the winter and are in different stages of flowering.
During Lent I decided to reduce the amount of red meat in my diet. I took to batch cooking large pots of vegetable casseroles and curries which I then froze. I used some tasty recipes that are low in cholesterol. I didn’t miss the meat too much, although I did have the occasional bacon butty. Watch out for recipes appearing in ‘In Touch’.
We have settled into a regular pattern of services. Details of these are set out below. You can access them by computer, table or smart phone, as well as by phoning in from your house phone to the numbers given below.
Morning Prayer at 9 am, and Evening Prayer at 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 628 956 1588
One tap mobile
+442034815240,,6289561588#,,#,040775# United Kingdom
+442080806591,,6289561588#,,#,040775# United Kingdom
St Mungo, Holy Communion at 10.30 am on Sunday.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 934 1719 0423
One tap mobile
+442039017895,,93417190423#,,,,*062021# The United Kingdom
+442080806591,,93417190423#,,,,*062021# The United Kingdom
St James the Less, Holy Communion at 10.30 am on Sunday.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 920 0219 7798 Password: 040775
One tap mobile
+441314601196,,92002197798#,,#,040775# United Kingdom
+442034815237,,92002197798#,,#,040775# United Kingdom
Wednesday Evening Services at 7.30 pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 963 0384 1875 Password: 040775
One tap mobile
+442080806591,,96303841875#,,1#,040775# United Kingdom
+442080806592,,96303841875#,,1#,040775# United Kingdom
Wednesday Evening Compline at 9 pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 953 4545 7224 Password: 040775
One tap mobile
+442080806592,,95345457224#,,1#,040775# United Kingdom
+443300885830,,95345457224#,,1#,040775# United Kingdom
Church life continues in a variety of forms online. Several groups and sessions have been set up. Details of the existing groups and sessions being run are given below.
‘Monday Evening Studies’ at 7.00 pm
This is a series of studies and discussions, open to all who wish to join us, including anyone you wish to invite – they don’t have to be a member of St James the Less or St Mungo’s.
All of these sessions will use the following link.
Topic: Monday Evening Studies
Meeting ID: 976 7040 6222 Passcode: 202101
One tap mobile
+442039017895,,97670406222#,,,,,,0#,,202101# United Kingdom
+442080806591,,97670406222#,,,,,,0#,,202101# United Kingdom
5th Monday Evenings at 7.00 pm
When we have a fifth Monday there will be a discussion about a book of Nick’s choice, in a series called ‘Faith Books’. The next 5th Monday is on 30th May 2022, when we shall discuss ‘Generous Justice, How God’s Grace Makes Us Just’, by Timothy Keller. The list for the remainder of 2022 is:
Monday 29th August 2022: ‘In The Shelter: Finding a Home in the World’, by Patrick O’ Tuama
Monday 31st October 2022: ‘Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi’, by Ami-Jill Levine.
If people wish to read these books but don’t wish to buy them, I am happy to lend them out. Get in contact with me if you wish to borrow a book.
These sessions are suitable for people at any stage of their faith journey; from those enquiring to those with many years in the faith.
Weekly Bible Study
Tuesdays at 2pm
This is a chance to discover and explore the Bible through reflection and discussion. Join us whenever you can. We are currently studying The Gospel of Luke, this year’s gospel readings on a Sunday. Why don’t you join us to explore the texts, understand their context, and just as importantly, explore how they speak to us and how they inform us today.
Meeting ID: 925 1096 2481
St Mungo’s House Group
Thursdays at 7.30 pm
Contact Markie Woodifield for further information.
Monthly Book Group
The fourth Monday of each month at 2 pm
Contact Angela Sibley for further information.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 669 139 189 Passcode: 040775