Rector’s letter for June 2022

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 June 2022


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for June,


May, in my opinion is one of the best months in Scotland. Normally the driest month in terms of rainfall, and with the light remaining until later each day, and the midges are yet to come out in force. This year, with a late Easter, all of May has unusually been in the Easter season, with Pentecost on Sunday 5th June. I am old enough to remember when we called it Whitsun!

As you will get tired of me saying, it was a month that included the long-awaited Diocesan pilgrimage on el Camino Inglés from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela. This was first scheduled to take place in the ‘Year of Pilgrimage, 2020’, postponed in to 2021 and then postponed again into 2022, in what has now been termed a ‘season of pilgrimage’ by our Province. A ‘season’ is seemingly an indeterminate liturgical period! I am glad to report that twelve of us set out and the same twelve returned, all in one piece (well just about).

I find that it takes a few weeks after I return for the experience to distil into some reflections and for me to get a sense of what the pilgrimage had to teach me. It will be interesting to see what the thoughts are of the other pilgrims, in due course.

We managed a lovely service of Compline on a fairly warm evening in the garden of the albergue in Bruma, despite it being at 840m above sea level. In Santiago the hoped-for service in St Andrew’s chapel in the cathedral did not happen. Clearly the cathedral policy has changed since 2018 and we were not allowed to hold a service there, despite our best attempts to persuade the cathedral authorities to let us. Instead, we attended an Episcopalian service in the Church of Santa Susanna, which is located in the main city centre park. The service was led by a retired C of E priest from Oxfordshire and Holy Communion was celebrated by an Episcopal priest from Maryland. There is also an English-speaking welcome team based upstairs in the Office of the Peregrinos, where pilgrims queue up to collect their certificates. It was one place where it was possible to get a reasonably good cup of tea.

At Provincial level there has been a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and at local level many congregations have been investigating local pilgrimages; short walks in their areas, some between churches or other meaningful sites. The labyrinth at St James the Less is another opportunity for ‘pilgrimage’ of a shorter kind, but where people can still slow down and take ‘time out’ to walk with God in silence. I also have a table-top cloth labyrinth; tracing a finger around it can be another way of take time out to be with God.

In peoples’ busy lives, finding time to stop and listen to God is important, and of course, the busier and frenetic our pace of life, the more we need to time to step away. I hope that, even if it doesn’t involve a 6 day walking pilgrimage, you may find time to be with God, in the beauty of His creation.


COVID Restrictions

It is now two months since the Scottish Government regulations were relaxed. It is good to see people being comfortable to set their own personal ways of living and for each person to be sensitive to the levels of social and physical contact of others.

We are using a second chalice for those wishing to share the common cup, whilst many are choosing to receive Holy Communion in both kinds, albeit by intinction and placing the wafer in the communicant’s hands.



I have celebrated at two weddings this Spring and there will be 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. It is always a privilege to celebrate weddings, and to be part of each couple’s special day.


Tuesday Lunchtime Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s

On Tuesday 3rd May at 12.30 pm Ben Haynes led the first weekly time of Contemplative Prayer in the undercroft 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. It would be lovely to see you, so you can experience the richness of this form of Christian prayer.


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 at 6 pm there will be a joint act of worship in the marquee on the Lower Green, with St Andrew’s Church of Scotland and hopefully others from the village. Please do come along and join us.


The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Bank holidays are on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June. On Sunday 5th June after the church services in both St James the Less and St Mungo’s there will be a Jubilee Celebration Lunch.


Faith Development

We hold our weekly Bible study at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, online. We are currently studying the Gospel of Luke. This runs weekly until 19th 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 June: ‘History of Christianity in Scotland and the forming of the Scottish Episcopal Church’

On 6th June we started this four-week exploration of the history of Christianity in Scotland, and how the Scottish Episcopal Church was formed out of the Scottish Reformation and the aftermath of the 1715 and 1745 rebellions. In the first week we explore the early missionaries, Ninian, Kentigern/Mungo and Columba plus the influence of Patrick. In the second week we explore the Synod of Whitby and hop forward about 400 years to Queen Margaret and Saint of Scotland and her influence. In the third week we cover the Reformation and in the final session we cover the impact of 1715 and 1745 and bring us up to date.




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 I am sure there are other search sites that will help people find the above books.


Diocesan Environment Group & The Big Walk to Net Zero

On Saturday 28th May I walked with a small group of people from The Balmwell to St Mary’s cathedral. We had a nice lunch outside on a warm day and then listened to two speakers about the theology behind getting to net zero and how we might get there. After a tea break we had a session led by the interests of those attending on issues relating to how the church can work towards net zero carbon emissions. The information from this session gave useful feedback to the Diocesan Environment Group.


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 in 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 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


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 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.

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 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…

The only problem with going away in mid-May was the challenge of getting lots of seedlings out and planted before I went and hoping it would rain enough and that the slugs would not get too hungry. It seems to have been drier than I wished and several seedlings didn’t survive. A few have evidence of slug damage. I may have a reduced crop of beans and peas this year, and I suspect I will be lucky to get anything from the chard seedlings. The good news is that the lack of frosts in May means my soft fruit bushes are looking good, and I am also hoping that the apple and plum trees will give a reasonable crop this year.

My faithful spinach plants are growing away and I had a first good early crop of 2kg of rhubarb before I went off to Spain.


Nick Bowry

Zoom-based Services


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

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

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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

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 953 4545 7224 Password: 040775

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+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

‘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 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. 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