Rector’s Letter for November 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


6th November 2022


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for November,


Apologies for the late circulation of my letter for November. Taking a holiday in the last two weeks of October is my excuse.


I returned as we start the season of remembrance. All Saint’s Day (1st November) is a festival day I am always glad to celebrate, as we remember those of faith who have been our models, guides or mentors. All Souls Day (2nd November) is an important day for me and for many, although not a festival we are required to keep. It is a time to remember our loved ones, to have permission to show our feelings, to be thankful for having known them, and to call them to mind once again.


Remembrance Sunday follows on 13th November. In West Linton there will be a joint service with St Andrew’s, being held in St Andrew’s, starting at 10.45 am. The service at St James is at the usual time of 10.30 am.


The season of Advent starts on Sunday 27th November, the start of a new liturgical year. How quickly the year has gone.


Talking of holidays…

I decided that I would experiment with taking a holiday with all travel by train and bus. Having preached about the climate emergency, I felt I needed to show it was possible to not use air travel. In my October holiday I took 11 different trains (Edinburgh to London, London to Paris, Paris to Barcelona, Barcelona to Madrid, Madrid to Barcelona, Barcelona to Paris, Paris to Lille, Lille to St Omer, St Omer to Calais, Dover to London and finally, London back to Edinburgh), and none was more than five minutes late. Admittedly the train journeys took considerably longer than a flight would have taken from Edinburgh to Barcelona or Madrid, but my greenhouse gas emissions were about 10% of what they would have been for a return flight. I could also relax, look at the beautiful countryside and have interesting conversations with fellow travellers. I was surprised how many people I met who had intentionally eschewed air travel and were enjoying taking the train.

The cost was between three and four times more than a return flight, and it took me two days of travelling to get to Barcelona – I didn’t want to travel overnight. I bought an over 60’s Interrail ticket, that included the train journeys in the UK. I am sure you will hear more about this holiday over the coming days, weeks, and months; the people I met, the art galleries, cathedrals and churches I visited, and the train journeys themselves. I am glad I tried this style of travel and expect I will do more of this in the future.


Two Advent Courses


Roles Reversed

We shall be offering an advent course that will follow on after the Wednesday 12.30 pm service at St James the Less. The course will be on 30th Nov, 7th, 14th and 21st Dec. It will be led by Joy Middleton. Join Joy for some interesting conversations, over tea and coffee and maybe a simple lunch.


People of Bethlehem in Scripture – Provincial course
To Christians, Bethlehem is best known as the birthplace of Jesus, and perhaps secondly as the hometown of David, the founder of the royal dynasty from which he was descended. Bethlehem occurs very much earlier in the Bible, and in the first two occurrences the central characters are women. Their stories also concern issues relevant to Christian faith and life, not least during the season of Advent.
The Reverend Canon Dr Nicholas Taylor, Convenor of the SEC Liturgy Committee and a biblical scholar, will be joined by members of the Church from across Scotland, with varied experience of Christian life and witness in the Middle East, in presenting a series of four studies based on the figures of Rachel, Ruth, David, and Jesus. Sessions will be delivered via Zoom on the Wednesday evenings of Advent (30 November, 7, 14, 21 December), and will include questions for discussion and points for prayer. There will also be a concluding reflection, drawing together the threads of the four studies, on the Wednesday after Epiphany (11 January). All will be welcome to participate, and a recording of the presentation will be available for use at other times. Sessions will begin at 7.30 pm.
To receive the Zoom link for sessions, or if you have any enquiries, please contact Nicholas Taylor or Jan Benvie 


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.


Young People at St Mungo’s

We held the first of a new monthly activity for young people on Sunday 30th October. Feedback was good and I hope the numbers attending will slowly grow. We played some games and ate a fair amount of pizza. The next event will be on Sunday 27th November. Please pray for this initiative.


Young People at St James the Less

I have requested help in running activities for a small group of young people to meet during the church service, at least twice a month. An email was sent out in October, and already I have had some positive responses. If you are interested in helping, please get in contact with me.


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.

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.

Whim Hall, Lamancha: We have recently started visiting Whim Hall on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month.


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.


A New Liturgical Year

On Advent Sunday – on 27th November – we will move into Year A in our three-year liturgical cycle. Matthew’s gospel provides many of our gospel readings in Year A, so you may wish to find time to read it through as your own personal preparation for the new liturgical year. Matthew’s gospel is the longest of the four gospels, so it will take you longer than reading Mark’s, that’s for sure.


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. We are currently studying the book of 1 Peter. In the New Year we shall be taking a different approach for the first six weeks. We shall look at bible readings each week; not from the Revised Common Lectionary but from ‘The Women’s Lectionary’.

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: ‘The Bible’ and ‘Church and Kingdom’.

We are currently exploring the Bible, using the Pilgrim course booklet. We shall then be following on with the ‘Church and Kingdom’ Pilgrim course starting on 9th January. 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 ‘Church and Kingdom’ on the Church house Publishing shop website. ). The epub versions of the booklets are £4.99. If you wish to receive the booklet, please let me know by 10th December. The booklet cost is £5.99.




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!). 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.

The books for 2023 are:

30th January: Young, Woke and Christian: Words from a Missing Generation, (editor) Victoria Turner.

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.

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 today. So, you will have to start writing something for the next edition, with a deadline of early February 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) and I met this last week. 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…

Well, I do not much to add this month. This coming week the Diocesan Clergy conference takes place (Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon) so I shall not be responding to emails so rapidly but will try to deal with urgent matters that arise. And finally, in March of this year I wrote a reflection for an Advent book, which has just been published by Wild Goose Publications. For each day of Advent there is a bible verse, a factual story about life for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and a prayer. Sadly, for each advent page you turn, there isn’t a chocolate. The book is called, ‘In God’s Time’. If anyone is interested in seeing the book, I will bring it with me to services over the next few weeks – I am still awaiting its delivery though.


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

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 (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 7.00 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 30th January: ‘Young, Woke and Christian: Words from a Missing Generation’ (editor) Victoria Turner.


The other books for 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

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 Book of 1 Peter. 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