St James the Less Penicuik and St Mungo West Linton
Scottish Episcopal Churches
23 Broomhill Road
30th June 2022
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Rector’s letter for July,
Well, I guess it had to happen! After having dodged COVID for such a long time, I caught it. Luckily my symptoms were fairly mild compared to some, but I was frustrated at the lack of energy and ability to engage my brain. I tested positive early on a Thursday morning and it wasn’t until 8 days later that I tested negative. I am slowly losing the cough that erupts every now and again. My energy levels are slowly returning. Last week I was finding I had to take an hour out at 2pm each day, now it is at about 3.30 pm! I see that as progress. At least in the last week I have been able to read and not fall instantly asleep whenever I lifted a book and attempted to read it.
The enforced rest did help me in some respects. I spent more time in quiet contemplation and prayer than I would normally do, and it helped me remember the importance of getting the balance right being ‘being’ and ‘doing’. I will try to hold on to this valuable lesson going forward…
In the last week I have not been as productive as normal, and I am behind on quite a few tasks and emails. I hope to get through the worst of the backlog over the next few weeks.
I am mindful of and so thankful for all the hard work of the scientists who developed the various vaccines and systems for rapid diagnosis, and the teams who then manufactured and administered the vaccines. I am mindful of the people who are still shielding because they are vulnerable, and the treatments available for some who are immuno-compromised. I continue to take a test before I take a church service and before going into a care home or individuals’ homes.
Whipman Week in West Linton
This year was the first Whipman week I have experienced as Rector, as the two previous years were non-events due to COVID lockdowns. I experienced Whipman Week for the first time about 18 years ago when my elder daughter was in the West Linton Pipe Band.
This year, it was my privilege to be the officiating minister at the installation of the Whipman and Lass. I attended several events during the week, and thanks to Ian Reid I was asked to be in the worst dressed man competition, Luckily, I didn’t win it. Peter Woodifield represented St Mungo’s at the wreath laying by the Whipman and Lass on the Saturday at the end of Whipman Week.
On the Sunday at the end of Whipman Week, I led the worship in the marquee. We had a reasonable turnout of 43 people (and three dogs), and the feedback from those attending was positive. It was also Revd Tony Foley’s birthday that day, so we all sang Happy Birthday to him as well. Thanks go to Carol Kilpatrick for helping with the refreshments in the marquee and for those from St Mungo’s and St James the Less who came along to lead and support the worship. I hope next year we can get even more people attending on the Sunday evening for an enjoyable evening of worship, not just with members of St Andrew’s Church but with folk who are not regular church attenders.
Next year Whipman Week will start on Friday 2nd June, and will officially close on Saturday 10th June. We shall organise worship in the marquee for Sunday 11th June at 6pm. Put these dates in your diary now!
Hunter and Lass Week in Penicuik
Unfortunately, I had committed to helping out at the Big Walk to Carbon Neutral to the cathedral before I had the dates for Hunter and Lass, so I wasn’t able to be present at the main event on the Saturday. There were stalls for Penicuik Churches Together and Forest Church. I will get the Hunter and Lass dates for 2023 in the diary so I don’t double-book myself next year!
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Both congregations held Jubilee lunches on Sunday 5th June after their church services, and these were well attended. St James also held an afternoon tea for neighbours of the church, which was a lovely way to spend time with people who do not regularly attend St James but live close by.
There is one more wedding booked for this year; on 23rd July at St Mungo’s. There are two weddings booked for next year already, and a few more enquiries coming in. It is always a privilege to celebrate weddings, and to be part of each couple’s special day.
The last two years have understandably meant we have not been able to regularly visit people in local care homes. Last autumn we were able to visit residents in Cowan Court in Penicuik as part of a rota with other churches in Penicuik. Some months it had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions, but we now hope we shall be able to visit regularly as part of the Penicuik Churches Together rota. We shall also start to visit Aaron House as part of a rota with Penicuik Churches Together.
I was recently in contact with Whim Hall Care Home and will be setting up a regular schedule for visiting and holding a service there for residents.
This form of ministry is so important. I am grateful for the volunteers who help deliver this ministry. If you wish to join the teams that visit these homes please let me know. We hold a short service, with prayer, readings and a few hymns. Where appropriate we have also offered a short communion service.
Tuesday Lunchtime Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s
Since Tuesday 3rd May at 12.30 pm Ben Haynes has led a time of Contemplative Prayer in the undercroft at St Mungo’s each week. This is 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.
We hold our weekly Bible study at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, online. We almost at the end of our study of the Gospel of Luke. We resume again 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?
Monday Study Night: History of the Church
We have just completed a short course on the history of Christianity in Scotland, and how the Scottish Episcopal Church was formed out of the Scottish Reformation and affected by the aftermath of the 1715 and 1745 rebellions. We had an interesting discussion on the impact of the 18th century penal laws aimed at curbing the Episcopal Church, and the relationship between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church in the USA.
Monday Study Night: The Eucharist
Commencing on 5th September at 7 pm, online, we shall be exploring the Eucharist, using the Pilgrim course booklets. If you wish to join us for this discussion, please let me know. The course booklets cost in the region of £4.50.
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 29th August 2022. The book to be discussed is ‘In The Shelter: Finding a Home in the World’, by Padraig O’ Tuama.
The final book for 2022 is listed below. That should leave plenty of time to get the books or borrow them from someone (including me) or from a library.
- 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.
I have started reading the Ami-Jill Levine book, well in advance of our discussion in October. It is an interesting read, as it explores parables from a Jewish context, and provides some different approaches and understanding of the parables. I hope to have finished reading it by the end of July, so happy to lend my copy out in August if anyone wants to borrow it.
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. They will not run in July and August, returning on 7th September.
- 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. This service will continue over the summer months, without a break.
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.
In Touch Magazine for St James the Less and St Mungo’s
The deadline for content to be submitted for the next issue is 7th August 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
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.
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 have recently gone back to meeting face to face after two years of meeting online. Revd Dr Tony Foley (Church of Scotland West Tweeddale churches) and I have met up a few times to discuss shared services and activities in West Linton. No doubt we shall soon start thinking about Christmas services!
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’ hosted the PCT service on 26th June, at 7.00 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…
Although my vegetable beds are not as productive as last year, my soft fruit bed is crammed full of bushes with a good potential crop of raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. This will be the first year the blackcurrants have given a decent crop, so long as I harvest them before the birds get to them… The blueberry bushes I planted last year are also bearing a modest crop this year.
My broad beans are growing well, but my mangetout seem to have been attacked by something, so not as many are growing this year. The apple and pear trees I planted about 18 months ago are now established and growing, but I need to be patient for a crop of fruit for another year, I guess. The pre-existing apple and plum trees look like they will give a reasonable crop this year, although the last few days of windy weather have thinned out the fruit a bit.
My elder daughter and her husband return from Vancouver in late July and will look after the Rectory whilst I am away on holiday from 6th August, on Iona. I shall be staying in the Abbey for Community Week; a week when Iona Community members come together for worship and workshops, for walks, pilgrimage around the island and boats trips, and plenty of time to catch up with friends not seen for far too long. The programme will include presentations by some of the people who contributed to the book, ‘Young, Woke and Christian’, edited by Victoria Turner and published by SCM earlier this year. It is an interesting and challenging read, and even if you don’t agree with some or all of the views of the writers, it does inform us as to what some active young church leaders and theologians argue the church should be addressing, i.e. being awake to injustices in British society.
I am also looking to plan a trip to the States for September to visit my younger daughter. Trans-Atlantic air fares have really shot up in price though. I sense many an hour looking for ‘cheap’ flights and maybe by routes that do not involve Heathrow airport, given the chaos with luggage there just now.
As the schools break up and quite a few people head off for holidays, I wish you all a time of rest and safe journeys, arriving and returning with your luggage if you are flying away. If you are not heading away, I hope you have a warm summer with sunny days, and just enough rain (overnight, of course) to save watering your garden and vegetable beds.
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.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 628 956 1588
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St Mungo, Holy Communion at 10.30 am on Sunday.
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Meeting ID: 934 1719 0423
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St James the Less, Holy Communion at 10.30 am on Sunday.
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Meeting ID: 920 0219 7798 Password: 040775
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Wednesday Evening Services at 7.30 pm (not July or August)
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Meeting ID: 963 0384 1875 Password: 040775
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Wednesday Evening Compline at 9 pm (all year)
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Meeting ID: 953 4545 7224 Password: 040775
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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
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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 29th August 2022, when we shall discuss ‘In The Shelter: Finding a Home in the World’, by Padraig O’ Tuama. The list for the remainder of 2022 is:
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. We shall be studying the Book of Joshua starting in 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
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