Rector’s Letter – May 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 May 2023


Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,


Rector’s letter for May


A retreat! I have just returned from my annual retreat, this year I was staying on Lindisfarne. As a priest I know I find it hard to balance the need to be in ‘doing’ mode and the ‘being’ mode. The retreat leader primarily used 1 Kings 18 & 19, Elijah’s mountain top story, to guide us. The retreat leader used the phrases, (i) ‘road’ to describe much of our ‘doing’ and ‘journeying’, (ii) ‘table’ to describe a place of refreshment and rest, and (iii) ‘cave’ where we hear God. He was clear that most church leaders find the ‘table’ part the hardest. Elijah was told by the angel to eat and rest, i.e. spend time at the table, before being able to listen to God.  Being with other priests and ministers, it was good to explore our own struggles with the pressures of the ‘road’ and how to be disciplined to set aside ‘table’ time. The retreat had some excellent food, and the weather was bright (although not warm) so relaxed walks with Misty and some of the other retreatants was an enjoyable part of this ‘table’ time.

As I came away from Lindisfarne just ahead of the tide closing off access once more, I reflected that in one sense Lindisfarne has its ‘table’ time each time the causeway is cut off for 3-4 hours twice a day. It is a natural rhythm. My natural rhythm is not quite as regular as the tides. However, having Misty has helped me reinforce an almost daily pattern of a lunchtime walk, where I do my best to ‘be’, and where I find in that silence some necessary ‘cave’ time, to listen to God. It is often the contemplative prayer space where the following Sunday’s Bible readings start to incubate and develop a theme to explore, and where I feel God nudges and whispers to me.

And over the years I have come to live with the paradox that the busier life gets, the more necessary it is to have ‘table’ and cave’ time, but often it is harder to protect time to achieve this.

So, once more I return with a resolve to keep life in a better balance, even if the irony of returning to a lot of emails and the pressures of a full diary are not lost on me.


Easter Season

We are almost at the halfway point of the fifty-day season of Easter, a season of unremitting joy for resurrection people. On the fortieth day of the Easter season, which this year will be 18th May, we celebrate Ascension Day. This year the joint service will be at St James at 7.30 pm. I hope you are able to join us to celebrate this important day in our calendar. And on the fiftieth day, the day of Pentecost, on 28th May, we encourage congregants to wear something red, and to celebrate the birth of the ‘church’.


Neville Suttle

Neville journeyed to Macclesfield on Saturday 22nd April, and he is now living with his daughter Karen and her family. Coco, Neville’s dog, has headed north to Aberdeen, to be fussed over and cared for by Theresa and her family. I ask you to continue to pray for Neville. It is good that Neville can connect using Zoom to our services and remain part of our congregation. Many people have made a financial contribution to the church in response to Neville’s ministry coming to a close. I am in dialogue with Neville about how he wishes the money to be used. If you wish to make a contribution to this ‘fund’, please let Richard Finch know (email


Norman Wagstaff

Norman Wagstaff is a priest from Queensland Australia, who came to our churches on a six month mutual exchange with John Farrant who went out to Norman’s church. Norman’s placement commenced in May 1991, so there will be plenty of people who will fondly remember Norman. I am sad to inform you that Norman has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has decided to have palliative care at home. Please hold Norman and his wife in your prayers.


Bill Little

Gillian’s husband Bill, died on 16th April. Bill had been in Highbank Care Centre since before Christmas, but for the last week of his life was able to receive care in his daughter Rosemary’s house. A memorial service for Bill’s will be at 11 o’clock on Friday 5th May at Penicuik Trinity Community Church, after a burial at Mortonhall at 10 o’clock. Please continue to hold Gillian, and Bill’s sons and daughters in your prayers.


The Bishop’s Lent Appeal

This year the appeal is for financial support for a water filtration plant at the St Nicholas Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana. Cape Coast is a partner diocese to Edinburgh. Both congregations have supported this appeal. If you still wish to make a donation then you can donate directly via and this will ensure any gift aid can be added to your donation, giving a valuable 25% increase in its value.


Penicuik Churches Together

The PCT Sunday evening service was held at St James on Sunday 23rd April. About 20 people attended the service. We sang a number of hymns written by John Bell and Graham Maule and a few songs from Southern Africa too.

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.


Additional Services

We shall be holding be a service in the style of Taizé at St Mungo’s, at 6pm on 14th May. In this style of worship, we sing simple short chants and repeat each many times over. The short chants, when repeated again and again, take on a meditative character. Using just a few words, they express a basic reality of faith quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality slowly penetrates our whole being. If you have never experienced a Taizé service, I recommend it to you and would ask that you spread the word and invite others to experience this style of worship, too.

Also, 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 shall be sorting out the music choices and getting music scores ready over the next week or so. If you can play an instrument, let me know, so I can send you the scores. Please do pass the word around and I hope we see a good turnout in the marquee. I also pray the weather will be considerably drier than last year!

Music Lovers: The Old Grey Thistle Test

I spoke about and played some of my ‘inheritance tracks’ on Saturday 22nd April. If you fancy sharing your passion for Gregorian chant, Wagnerian Opera, Peruvian pan pipes, Lieder song cycles, flamenco, blues, or whatever, please let me know and we can find a suitable date to explore your musical interests. If you have other interests you wish to share, then we can always make a time available one Saturday night.


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.


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 10th May.

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 11th May.

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.


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 be studying the Book of Daniel then.

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:

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

On the first Wednesday of each month, at 7.30 pm, we hold a service of Prayers for healing on line. 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 7th May 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) met in early March to plan our ecumenical activities for the year. 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 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.

Diocesan and Provincial Activities

I am attending 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. Neville’s withdrawal from the rota means that 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.

In Other News…

Misty enjoyed her retreat, getting on well with the other canine retreatant and enjoying the attention of other people too. A walk of four miles was happily accomplished with Misty, but towards the end she was limping a wee bit and her hips were a bit stiff later that day. So, I think I have found her walking limit is over two miles but less than four.

Misty and I took part on the Forest Church walk from Penicuik to Roslin Glen on 23rd April. It was on the theme of the Emmaus Road story and was enjoyable.

I had a nice week off after Easter, and it was lovely to spend time with both my daughters during that week. All to quickly Lorna’s visit came to a close and she is now safely back in Maryland. I will be off to see her for my summer holidays, so not too long to wait.


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

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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 29th May Unapologetic: Why Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford


The other books for 2023 are:

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 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