Rector’s Letter September 2022

St James the Less Penicuik and St Mungo West Linton

Scottish Episcopal Churches      31st August 2022

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Rector’s letter for September,

As I was listening to the weather forecast on the radio this morning, I came to with a bit of a jolt as the weather forecaster – in rather too jolly a tone, I thought – said it was the last day of meteorological summer today. 1st September starts meteorological autumn. I was taught at school that autumn started on 21st of September, which is apparently based on the astronomical dating for the seasons.

Irrespective of the weather forecaster’s or my old school teacher’s ideas of when autumn officially starts, just looking out the window and walking in nature tells its own tale of the changing season, and also the impact of human activity on the climate. The stresses of a dry summer (and a hot summer for many people not that far south of Scotland) means many trees have shed some leaves already, and they are already bearing fruit which is ripening up to a month ahead of the normal time.

Naturalists have firm evidence that this year’s weather has been very bad for fauna and flora, and the early fruiting of trees may result in many of our resident birds finding it hard to find berries in the winter. And as if the first words of the weather forecaster weren’t enough to make me want to put my head back under the duvet, he then said the overnight temperature in southern Scotland had been around 6 degrees centigrade. Brrr. But, like many of us, aware of the cost of heating our homes, I shall pray for a mild autumn and winter and seek the most cost effect methods of staying warm and using less fuel to heat my home.

As we enter September, we also enter a five Sunday ‘season’ of Creation. This season has been officially recognised by many denominations as a time to reflect on the beauty and wonder of God’s creation, to reflect upon humankind’s use and abuse of God’s creation and to make a personal commitment to reduce our carbon footprint as best we can, and for some, to take an active role in supporting others to change or to actively campaign for effective strategies to combat the climate emergency. I invite you this Creationtide into a time of reflection and action, in any way you feel moved to act.

Creationtide Psalm Writing Workshops 17th and 24th September

On two Saturdays in September, in the middle of the Creationtide season, there will be a psalm writing workshop at St James the Less (17th) and at St Mungo’s (24th), starting at 10 am with tea and coffee and finishing by 1 pm, with some soup and a roll. There will be a short opening session on the psalms. People will then be invited to draft their own psalm, in whatever style they would prefer. I am offering this at both locations, but it is open for you to attend either one (or both if you really like it), and to invite others to come along too.

Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s: Wednesday Lunchtime

The Contemplative Prayer sessions held at St Mungo’s are now on Wednesday lunchtimes at 12.30 pm. Many thanks to Ben Haynes for organising and leading these sessions. They are a time to be still and come into the presence of God, using some different styles, such as centring prayer, Christian meditation following the World Community of Christian Meditation model of John Main, and Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. It would be lovely to see you, so you can experience the richness of this form of Christian prayer too.

Faith Development

We hold our weekly Bible study at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, online. We resume after our summer break on 6th September to start a study of the Book of Joshua. 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? We enjoy exploring our different understandings and learn from each other.

Monday Study Night: The Eucharist

Commencing on 5th September at 7 pm, online, we shall be exploring the Eucharist, using the Pilgrim course booklets. You don’t need to have the course booklet to join us, but most people like to have a copy. You can download an epub version of the booklet if you don’t want a booklet cluttering up your bookcase, and it is a bit cheaper. (search for Pilgrim Course ‘The Eucharist’ on the Church house Publishing shop website )

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 final discussion for 2002 will be on Monday 31st October. The book we shall be discussing is, ‘Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi’, by Ami-Jill Levine.

It is an interesting read, as it explores parables from a Jewish context, and provides some different approaches and understanding of the parables. I am happy to lend my copy out now if anyone wants to borrow it.

In looking for new or used books, I have often used I am sure there are other search sites that will help people find the above books.

Mid-week evening services on Zoom

Our services on a Wednesday evening at 7.30 pm follow the regular pattern of services set out below. After our summer break the mid-week evening services recommence on 7th September. The monthly pattern is:

  • 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.

Morning and Evening Prayer

We meet online Monday to Friday at 9.00 am and at 5.30 pm. A while ago someone asked me where we access the Daily Offices liturgy. If you wish to access it, go to the Provincial Website, and place your cursor on the ‘Spirituality’ heading. A submenu appears and you can select the appropriate Daily Office from the right-hand side of the page.

In Touch Magazine for St James the Less and St Mungo’s

The deadline for content to be submitted for the next issue is 6th November 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

Financial giving to St James the Less or to St Mungo’s

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.

St Mungo:

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.

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 every month. We meet face to face in the Storehouse for a chat. Revd Dr Tony Foley (Church of Scotland West Tweeddale churches) and I have met since my return from holiday to discuss shared services and activities in West Linton.

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. The schedule detailing where the services are each month is on the PCT website.

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.

I attend the West Linton and District Sustainable Group and the discussions are always worthwhile, and it is good to see so many people in the area concerned about the environment and the climate emergency.

The Ministry Team

We continue to 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…

Before I went away on holiday I managed to pick my gooseberries and make many jars on jam. My broad beans are coming to an end, as are the peas and mange tout. The welcome increased rain has made a difference to my apples, and the plum tree also looks to have a decent crop.

Also, before I went on holiday, I finished laying down a wire around my lawn to act as a perimeter guide for the robot lawnmower I bought recently. Every morning at 9 am (unless it is raining) it wanders off around the lawn and cuts bits of it, before returning to its charging station. I have named it Grace, after my mum, as it was with some of her inheritance that I bought the lawnmower. Grace now stands for Grass Realignment And Cutting Equipment…

My garden also looks a lot neater as my elder daughter and her husband returned from Vancouver on 29th July and looked after the Rectory and my garden whilst I was away on holiday on Iona. They are welcome to visit anytime.

Iona was fabulous as always. The first week was Community Week, where members of the community gather and people who have completed the two year new members’ programme are admitted to full membership in a ‘hallowing service’. The editor of, and contributors to a new book called ‘Young, Woke and Christian’ led a series of sessions during the week, in the very nice new village hall on Iona. I celebrated Communion on the second Sunday I was there – it was special to do so, wearing the stole my daughters bought for me that came from Iona, and at the fabulous green marble altar. Over the two weeks on Iona I met some wonderful people and enjoyed some great conversations. And I only bought three new books in the Iona Community shop. One was a book of poems called ‘Julian of Norwich’s Teabag’ by Martin Wroe and the other two were books of prayers and paintings (on for Advent and one for Lent) by Ann Gerondelis. If you want to know more about staying in Iona Abbey for a week, let me know.


Nick Bowry


We have 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. (Zoom only)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 628 956 1588      Password: 040775

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    Passcode: 062021

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 (not July or August) (Zoom only)

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 (all year) (Zoom only)

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. We take a break in July and August.

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

‘Faith Books’

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 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 shall be studying the Book of Joshua starting on 6th September. 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

Password: 040775

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