Rector’s Letter – April 2023

St James the Less Penicuik and St Mungo West Linton

Scottish Episcopal Churches


The Rectory

23 Broomhill Road


EH26 9EE

01968 678254

07950 607574


30th March 2023


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for April


The daffodils are finally coming into bloom after a cold March. My snowdrops maintained their flowers for a considerable time this year, too. The clocks have changed to British Summer Time, and at least the birds think Spring is approaching, as they start to sing and gather materials for new nests. I even have a Great Spotted Woodpecker gracing my bird feeder several times each day.


We have journeyed together through Lent, and we now approach the holiest of all weeks in our Christian year. This coming Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, when he was fated by so many people, as they shouted “hosanna’. The Hebrew word is actually “hoshi’a na,”, which means ‘save (me/us)’ and has been used as a proclamation to say ‘I am saved’. In some translations of the Bible the word ‘hosanna’ is translated as ‘Praise God’. It certainly helps us makes sense of the proclamation, ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ that we shall hear in Matthew’s passion narrative this Palm Sunday.

On Easter Day we shall also be urged to say and sing songs with the word Alleluia (Latin spelling) or Hallelujah (transliteration of Hebrew). ‘Hallel’ means joyous praise in song, and ‘Jah’ is the shortened form of YHWH/Yahweh / Jehovah. During Lent we avoid songs and don’t have scriptural passages with Alleluia in, so it provides a marked contrast to the joy of bursting forth in praise once more as we celebrate the resurrection on Easter Day.


To really celebrate Easter Day and understand its full meaning I would encourage you to journey with us through Holy Week. I will send an email on Monday to Wednesday with the scriptures assigned for those days, and encourage you to attend the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. To travel with Jesus from his triumphal entry to Jerusalem to the foot of the cross and his tomb, day by day, is an important part of our faith. It makes the experience of light returning into our churches on Easter Day and proclaiming ‘Christ is risen!’ even more meaningful and joyous.


Tilly and Neville Suttle

We were all saddened by the death of Tilly on 16th March, just five weeks short of Tilly and Neville’s 61st wedding anniversary. It was so good that Neville was able to attend both the burial at Eddleston Cemetery and the memorial service in St James the Less, and that his own spoken tribute to Tilly was heard by all present and by those watching on Zoom. We all continue to pray for Neville, for Karen and Theresa, and also pray for Neville in his ill-health. I shall inform you all of any opportunity that may present itself to meet together on Zoom with Neville, as an in-person get-together is not likely to be possible.


Draft Provincial Net Zero Action Plan (2023-2030)

You are hopefully aware that the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Provincial Environment Group consulted on the above draft. The consultation period has now drawn to a close. You can still read the current draft, at:


Any action we take as individuals and collectively as congregations is a contribution to tackling the climate emergency.


The Bishop’s Lent Appeal

This year the appeal is for financial support for a water filtration plant at the St Nicholas Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana. Cape Coast is a partner diocese to Edinburgh. I hope that both congregations will wish to support this, in all likelihood including collections at the fellowship brunches/lunches in late March and in April. Individuals can donate directly via and this will ensure any gift aid can be added to your donation, giving a valuable 25% increase in its value.




Holy Week Services

There will be services in both churches on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday this year. Penicuik Churches Together has services each night of Holy Week as we visit each other’s churches. Details are in the monthly list for April.

Palm Sunday evening at 7pm at St James the Less we shall be holding a service in the style of Taizé. In this style of worship we sing simple short chants and repeat each many times over. The short chants, when repeated again and again, take on a meditative character. Using just a few words, they express a basic reality of faith quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality slowly penetrates our whole being. If you have never experienced a Taizé service, I recommend it to you. There will be a service in the style of Taizé at St Mungo’s West Linton at 6pm on 14th May, too.


Mothers’ Union Diocesan President and Lady Day Service

On Monday 27th March at St James the Less Bishop John celebrated Holy Communion, and Catherine Pow was installed as the new Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union. It was a lovely occasion, and not surprisingly the tea and cakes afterwards were excellent. Please pray for both Catherine as she commences her presidency and the Diocesan Mothers’ Union branches.


Music Lovers: The Old Grey Thistle Test on 22nd April at 7 pm

I foolishly volunteered to lead an evening, on Saturday 22nd April. It has the working title ‘Inheritance Tracks’, and it will be a trip down memory lane to the music my parents listened to and that had an influence on my musical tastes. Be prepared for some Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller, Count Basie, Ink spots, etc.

If you fancy sharing your passion for Gregorian chant, Wagnerian Opera, Peruvian pan pipes, Lieder song cycles, flamenco, blues, or whatever, please let me know and we can find a suitable date to explore your musical interests.


A Piskie and a Presbyterian Go On Pilgrimage.

We had a ‘full house’ in the St James the Less hall on Saturday 18th March for a couple of talks, by the Revd John Urquhart (Penicuik Trinity Community Church) and myself, about walking el Camino de Santiago. £400 was raised for Food Facts Friends.


Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s: Wednesday Lunchtime

The Contemplative Prayer sessions held at St Mungo’s are 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.


Ministry in Care and Nursing Homes

Cowan Court, Penicuik: We have been part of a rota with the other Penicuik churches, visiting Cowan Court on a Sunday afternoon for the last year. We visit Cowan Court about once every 5 or 6 weeks. Our next visit is on 30th April.

Aaron House, Penicuik: We are part of a new rota with the other Penicuik churches, visiting Aaron House on a Wednesday afternoon at 2pm. As with Cowan Court we will visit once every 5 or 6 weeks. Our next visit is on 16th May.

Whim Hall, Lamancha: We started visiting Whim Hall in September and our pattern of visits is on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month. Our next visit is on 13th April.


If you are interested in supporting this rewarding ministry by being part of the visiting teams then please let me know. Normally three of us attend each time, so we can support and guide people through the service and have a chat afterwards with whoever attends. We use the Liturgy for Reserved Sacrament and sing a few well-known hymns. Your prayers are welcome for this increased activity in and for members of our local communities.


Faith Development for all

We hold our weekly Bible study at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, online, for up to an hour and a half. During the Easter season we shall explore the readings from the previous Sunday, including the Book of Acts.

We are a mixed group that comes together, often including some folk from much further afield than Penicuik and West Linton. We come together with the common aim of exploring the texts, understanding their context, and just as importantly, exploring how it speaks to us and how it informs us today. We enjoy exploring our different understandings and learning from each other. Please do join us, we are always happy to include more people.


Monday Study Night

We will start a new study on 17th April. The study will be using David Runcorn’s book, ‘Spirituality Workbook: A Guide for Explorers, Pilgrims and Seekers’, published by SPCK in 2006. It would be advantageous to have a copy of the book if you wish to join us for these sessions. The book has 23 short chapters, split into five sections; i) Then and Now – insights from Christian history and tradition, ii) Life Together – spiritual life in community, iii) Becoming Who I Am – Identity, personhood and spirituality, iv) When You Pray – Ways and Understandings, and v) In the Midst of Life – spirituality in the real world. is a good site to search for new and second-hand copies of this book. Used copies are available for about £4.


Faith Development ‘Faith Books’

When we have a fifth Monday in the month, I lead a discussion at 7.30 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!). 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 books on our reading list.

The books for the rest of 2023 are:

29th May: Unapologetic: Why Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford

31st July: Your God is Too Small, by J B Phillips

30th October: God of Surprises, by Gerard Hughes


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. 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. It is a good way to start and end our day, coming together for worship, with daily readings including the psalms; a good rhythm for worship in the Anglican tradition of saying the Daily Offices.

If you wish to access the Daily Office liturgy with the daily scripture readings, 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

In Touch has just been circulated to all on email and is issued in paper format to those who do not have email. The cost of a paper copy is £2 for an A4 version, and about £1.50 for an A5 version. We print a very limited number of paper copies to keep out costs down, and to reduce our consumption of paper. If you receive an email version but would also like a paper copy, please let Sue Owen know and we invite you to make a suitable donation (preferably by bank transfer rather than in cash) to cover the cost. The deadline for content to be submitted for the next issue is 7th May 2023. 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 in the Storehouse for a chat. Revd Dr Tony Foley (Church of Scotland West Tweeddale churches) met in early March to plan our ecumenical activities for the year. Once a month the Penicuik Churches Together (PCT) has a joint Sunday evening 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.

Diocesan and Provincial Activities

Lent is normally a quieter time, and there have been no activities in March.


The Ministry Team

We continue to meet monthly 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…

Misty continues to settle in well – although she does have a habit of thinking 5 am is a suitable time to wake me up. She continues to attend the Sunday services at both St Mungo’s and St James the Less and is behaving reasonably well.

As is standard practice for stipendiary clergy, I shall be taking the week after Easter off as annual leave, with the added bonus that my daughter Lorna will be visiting from the USA. I shall also be heading off for a retreat during w/c 24th April, which should be a yearly event but COVID rather put paid to that for two years!

I pray you have a blessed Holy Week, and I hope to see you at one of our services or other activities soon.


Nick Bowry



We have a regular pattern of services. Details of these are set out below. You can access them by computer, tablet 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

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+441314601196,,92002197798#,,#,040775# United Kingdom

+442034815237,,92002197798#,,#,040775# United Kingdom


Wednesday Evening Services at 7.30 pm (not July or August) (Zoom only)

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Meeting ID: 963 0384 1875 Password: 040775

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+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

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+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 7.30 pm (Zoom only)

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 7.30 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 29th May Unapologetic: Why Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford


The other books for 2023 are:

31st July: Your God is Too Small, by J B Phillips

30th October: God of Surprises, by Gerard Hughes

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 previous Sunday’s gospel reading. 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