Rector’s Letter – June 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 June 2023


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for June


Two days after I wrote my May letter, we received the sad news that the Reverend Doctor Neville Suttle had died, peacefully, surrounded by his family. That feels a bit of a cliché to say, but it is a comforting truth.  Neville had clearly decided he no longer wanted to live uncomfortably with his progressing illness, and chose to stop receiving fluids a few days earlier, fully aware of the consequences. This was a brave and faith-filled decision, the sort of decision someone who is confident in their faith can make.

Neville was a non-stipendiary minister since his ordination in October 1977, giving 46 years of service to both of our churches and their congregations.

My eulogy for Neville – mostly based on information provided by his family – will go onto our websites and provides more information about the other aspects of Neville’s life.

Writing this, two days after his funeral, where 124 people gathered in church, and more online, my sense is that I want to continue to give thanks for Neville’s remarkable life and pray that our lives will be enriched by his memory and by all he did to make this world a better place. I also pray that there are other unique and remarkably committed individuals in the world who are ‘Neville-shaped’ in intellect, enthusiasm and commitment. We certainly need people of his calibre in our broken world.

It seems highly appropriate that the day before his funeral a group of us discussed Francis Spufford’s book, ‘Unapologetics’; an, at times, irreverent but well-written book, written in a modern idiom, declaring how much sense Christianity makes. I think Neville would have approved.

The last book Neville was reading was ‘Magisteria: The Entangled Histories of Science and Religion’ by Nicholas Spencer. It’s on my ‘to be read’ pile of books.

Neville’s family have decided that they would like the proceeds from the donations made in memory of Neville to go to a charity called ‘Mango Trees’. It is a Christian charity which supports education in The Gambia by sponsoring children to attend school, helping Gambian Christians train as teachers and providing funding for schools. If you wish to find out more about the charity, their website is

St James’ Vestry decided, at its meeting on Monday of this week, to dedicate the October fellowship lunch donations each year to a project in Africa that we feel Neville would have been happy to support. We chose October as that is the month of Neville’s birth.


Nothing ordinary about ‘Ordinary Time’

We have just completed the fifty days of the Easter season, with a celebration of the feast of Pentecost. We now enter what is called Ordinary Time. The word “ordinary” here does not mean “routine” or “not special.” Instead, it refers to the “ordinal numbers” (first, second, third, etc.) used to name and count the Sundays outside of the great liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas, and Lent and Easter. As the date of Easter varies each year, affecting when Pentecost falls, the first Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday can have a varied week number. This year Trinity Sunday is the beginning of the Week of Proper 9. During Ordinary Time in Year A, our gospel readings now focus on the gospel of Matthew, and our Old Testament Readings are what are called ‘thematic’, in that they are chosen to relate to the theme of the gospel.


Penicuik Churches Together

The next PCT Sunday evening service to be held at St James will be on Sunday 10th September.

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. Please let me know if you would like to help support this venture.


Services in the style of Taizé

I tried an experiment by holding a service in the style of Taizé at St Mungo’s, at 6pm on 14th May. I borrowed a Taizé cross from Christ Church Morningside, and set out some orange candles to give it just a wee bit of the feel of being in the Church of the Reconciliation in Taizé. We shall do another service at St Mungo’s in the style of Taizé, with some different chants, on Sunday 30th July at 5 pm.

We shall also do a service in the style of Taizé at St James on Sunday 27th August at 5 pm.

Whipman Week Worship in the Marquee – 11th June at 6pm

At the end of the Whipman Week, we shall be once again, be worshipping in the marquee on the Sunday evening. This year it will be on 11th June at 6 pm. I have selected the songs we shall sing and have music scores ready. If you can play an instrument and want to make a glorious noise, please let me know, so I can send you the scores. Please do pass the word around and I hope we will see a good turnout in the marquee. I continue to pray the weather will be considerably drier than last year! If you are willing to volunteer to help set up the space, please let me know. We just need to set out the chairs and get teas and coffees ready.


Contemplative Prayer at St Mungo’s: Wednesday Lunchtime

Ben Haynes has been running contemplative prayer sessions at St Mungo’s on a Wednesday lunchtime for the past year and has now decided to cease offering these. I would like to thank Ben Haynes for organising and leading these sessions. I managed to attend a few and found them a good way to connect with God in silence and contemplation. If you are interested in similar sessions taking place in the future, please let me know.


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 4th June.

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 21st June.

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 8th June.

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. During the Easter season we shall explore the readings from the previous Sunday, including the Book of Acts. Our Bible study will take a break from the end of June until mid-August. 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

We started a new study on 17th April, but you can join us at any time. The study uses 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. See the monthly list to see what chapter we are discussing.


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:

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

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 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 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.

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. St Andrew’s West Linton are joining St Mungo’s for joint service on Sunday 4th June at the Kirking of the Whipman, in St Mungo’s. 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 PCT 50th anniversary service was held on Sunday 28th May in Trinity Community Church. It was a lovely opportunity to share time together with the other congregations and give thanks for fifty years of effective ecumenical partnership in Penicuik.



Diocesan and Provincial Activities

I attended the Provincial Inter-Faith Relations Committee meeting in the General Synod Office on Tuesday 2nd May.


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. I have contacted several non-stipendiary ministers to see if they are able to help and I am awaiting some responses. I live in hope!

In Other News…

May has been a very busy month, which included one wedding at New Hall Estate where I led some of the service in French. Many thanks to Gillian Little for the coaching on the French pronunciation. I am not planning a bi-lingual ministry, but it was great to be able to include French speakers in the ceremony. I have another New Hall Estate wedding this coming Saturday, thankfully all in English.

I head off to Maryland to visit my younger daughter on 28th June, returning on 14th July. Misty will be well-cared for and loved in my absence by my elder daughter and her husband, who will stay in the Rectory during that time. I have belatedly started reading some Val McDermid novels, and I hope to read a few more whilst I am away. I will also be taking a book by Bob Gilbert, called, ‘The Missing Musk’, telling six stories of mysteries and myths in the natural world. The Missing Musk story is one of the six in the book. It is about the fact that in 1913 all the musk plants in the world stopped smelling. The book jacket ‘blurb’ also says one of the stories includes the Pentland Hills in it. Bob is a good writer, and just as importantly, he is an Arsenal supporter. You can hear him talking about the book on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row episode from 23rd May.


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.

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Meeting ID: 934 1719 0423

Passcode: 062021

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+442039017895,,93417190423#,,,,*062021# The United Kingdom

+442080806591,,93417190423#,,,,*062021# The United Kingdom


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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+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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+442080806592,,96303841875#,,1#,040775# United Kingdom


Wednesday Evening Compline at 9 pm (all year) (Zoom only)

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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 7.30 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 31st July when we shall discuss, ‘Your God is Too Small’, by J B Phillips


The remaining book for 2023 is:

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