Rector’s Letter – August 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


1st August 2023


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for August


I arrived home from my visit to the States two days ahead of my suitcase. It didn’t make the connection from Heathrow to Edinburgh that I managed. It was a very minor inconvenience but brought home to me one of the points I made on Sanctuary Sunday (25th June) in my sermon. In that sermon I asked what we would take with us if we had only a short while to pack things into a bag and leave our home, to flee persecution. In my suitcase there were several things I needed, and without them I had to ‘make do’ for 48 hours. No great hardship but going without prescription medicines for too long might have been an issue. If my life depended on taking those medicines every day, then it would have been very different.

I had two days on holiday when the air quality was poor due the weather system bringing the smoke from wildfires in Quebec down the east coast covering from Boston down to Washington, DC. The advisory on the TV and radio on those days was to limit the amount of time spent outside, and given the particulates in the air, to use a face mask if you intended being out for very long. Of course, these wildfires are a direct result of changing weather patterns and climate change. There has been very low rainfall this year and in the summer the temperatures have been higher and winds stronger. Again, I was not really inconvenienced, but for those who live in the areas – across the world, not just in Quebec – their lives have been turned upside down. It was heart-rending to see people interviewed who had to leave their houses in a hurry as a fire changed course and burned down their home, with so many of their cherished belongings as well as their home burnt within minutes. Some had managed to snatch cherished or essential items, some had literally nothing but what they stood up in. I am sure the same has happened across the Mediterranean and other parts of the world where TV cameras or mobile phone cameras have not recorded events. Some of these people will be able to rebuild their homes and their lives where they live, but for some where the changes to the climate have been more permanent and have made life impossible, the only option has been to move away to different places. Migration as a result of climate change is now happening.


Our season of Creation, which starts on the first Sunday of September and ends on St Francis’ Day on 4th October, will inevitably include comment about the climate emergency facing our planet. Materials have been issued by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland for this year, with the theme of ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’. I look forward to reading these over the next few weeks, in preparation for the season of Creation.


‘Normal Service resumes’

Our mid-week 12:30 pm Holy Communion services resume from 16th August. Our Monday evening Faith Development sessions restart on 21st August and our Bible Study (the Book of Daniel) starts on 22nd August. Details are given later in the letter of all our activities. Might now be the right time for you to join us at one or more of these?


Penicuik Churches Together

The next PCT Sunday evening service to be held at St James will be on Sunday 10th September, at 7.00 pm. Note the slightly later time.

We continue to support ‘Gather on the Green’ an initiative to have a visible presence in the new housing development above Mauricewood. Gather on the Green usually takes place on the 2nd Sunday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. We held a successful BBQ in June which was in glorious sunshine. Please let me know if you would like to help at Gather on the Green at future events. We are doing another BBQ on 13th August.


Services in the style of Taizé

Following the service in the style of Taizé at St Mungo’s, 14th May I held another service at St Mungo’s on Sunday 30th July. There will also be a service at St James the Less on 27th August at 5pm.



Wee Sing at St James the Less on 20th August at 5pm

On the back of the success of the service at the end of the Whipman Week I have decided to do a similar service at St James on Sunday 20th August starting at 5pm. Following the same format, we will teach the songs that are unfamiliar then have a break for refreshments, before coming together to sing, and play. If you have an instrument or wish to bang a djembe drum and the like, please do come along. I can send out the music for anyone who wants to play an instrument. This lively service is suitable for all ages, and we encourage children to make a joyful noise with drums and bells and the like.

August sermon series at St James: ‘What is the Bible?’ How Does it inform our views on human sexuality?

You may recall that in June 2020, during the first lockdown I undertook a four-week sermon series on the above subject. As it was on Zoom, I did not complete the series as the final sermon, a sermon on human sexuality and a follow-on discussion and meaningful consultation about permitting same-sex weddings in St James the Less was not appropriate for Zoom. It needed to be done face-to-face.

On 6th and the 20th of August, I shall deliver three talks on this subject. The text of the talks and related documents will be issued to the congregation. During the 20th August service there will be chance for people to reflect on the content of the talks and the related documents. I will then ask that people take time to reflect further on all they have heard, and then on 3rd September I will ask members of the congregation to indicate their views on the subject of allowing same-sex marriages to take place in St James the Less. The Vestry will receive the results of the consultation, and they will decide on whether to allow same-sex marriages to be undertaken in St James. Any member of the congregation who is unable to attend on 3rd September who wants to have their view added, should contact me so I can send them a simple form to complete.


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 13th August.

Aaron House, Penicuik: We are part of a 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 2nd August.

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 10th August.

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 a simplified form of 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. Our Bible study took a break over the summer. We shall commence studying the Book of Daniel on 22nd August.

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

Our current study uses David Runcorn’s book, ‘Spirituality Workbook: A Guide for Explorers, Pilgrims and Seekers’, published by SPCK in 2006. We re-commence on Monday 21st August, discussing chapter ten, ‘With Unveiled Faces: Human Identity and Spiritual Formation’. It won’t matter if you haven’t read previous chapters, each chapter is standalone.


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.  We have just held a discussion on ‘: Your God is Too Small’, by J B Phillips. The remaining book for 2023, which we will discuss on 30th October is ‘God of Surprises’, by Gerard Hughes, SJ.




Mid-week evening services on Zoom

On the first Wednesday of each month, at 7.30 pm, we hold a service of Prayers for healing online. If you wish someone or a situation to be prayed for, send an email to me or Marion Mather.

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 is 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 6th August 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. If you wish to make a donation by cheque, please make out the cheque to ‘St James Episcopal Church Penicuik’.

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. 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.


Diocesan and Provincial Activities

There haven’t been any meetings in July.


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. There will be some Sundays when reserved sacrament will need to be used, and during the summer holidays there may be more frequent use of reserved sacrament.  Several non-stipendiary ministers have helped over the summer, for which I am thankful.

From the Registers


Cecile Flowerdew, sister of Ros Kerry, on 15th June

Ben Miller, son of Gillian Little, on 29th June

Charlotte Brown, on 18th July



Sophie Dickson & Graeme Brown at NewHall Estate on 3rd June


In Other News…

After a very busy few months, it was nice to get away on holiday. As you might expect I took a good supply of books to read. I did several days of sightseeing; Gettysburg Civil War site and historic sites in Philadelphia, but mainly it was downtime in the sunshine, with plenty of iced tea and books to read. I read the last of Ian Rankin’s Rebus stories. It was really good. I then read ‘The Missing Musk’ by Bob Gilbert, an interesting book about mysteries in the natural world. Also a good read that I can heartily recommend. My discovery of the holiday was an author I hadn’t heard of before, Kristin Hannah, as I dived into her absorbing novel ‘The Nightingale’. I have been told I should read her book, ‘Winter Garden’ next, so it shall go on my wish list. I then relaxed into some of Val McDermid’s Tony Hall series of crime stories. I have returned a few pounds heavier; it must have been the burgers and the Philly Cheesesteaks…

Since returning I have tried to keep up the reading – although this time it is ‘Doughnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth – for a Diocesan clergy book group. If you want to read it and discuss it, please let me know.

Whilst I was on holiday, I took some time to consider whether I should change my car. I was conscious that despite it being economical, normally achieving around 53 mpg, it was a diesel, and most of my driving is local to West Linton and Penicuik. I studied the electric car market, and despite the alluring shiny adverts for new long-range models (c. 280 miles range), I realised that I would seldom need a long-range capability. It was illogical to buy a really expensive new car with the capability to drive long distances without a charge when I so seldom need that capability. So, I decided to look at used cars with a range of between 100 and 150 miles, and within that range the ubiquitous Nissan Leaf comes out as the most reliable and relatively reasonably priced. I managed to source one at a good price, and to trade in my old car. So, I am adapting to driving an electric car, and quite enjoying it. I recognise, as an article in a newspaper pointed out, that ‘going green’ in any number of ways, is so much easier if you have money, and in most situations, ‘going green’ will save money. It isn’t an argument for doing nothing but does point to one of the main barriers for so many people to making changes that will support a move to net zero.

Misty was glad to see me return from my holidays but had been thoroughly spoilt by my daughter and her husband whilst I was away.

So, it is back into the routines and programmes of study and discussions, of preparing and leading services, of meeting people and praying through each week with members of our congregations. It’s good to be back.



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 30th October when we shall discuss, God of Surprises, by Gerard Hughes SJ.


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.  We commence our study of the Book of Daniel on 22nd August.

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