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General Synod 2017 and the Canon on Marriage

posted 10 Jun 2017, 08:10 by Dean Fostekew

At its General Synod meeting (Governing body) this week, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted on many agenda items of relevance to the life of the Province and our denomination within Scotland. For many the most significant vote was on the amendment of Canon XXXI on Marriage.


Following a long process of preparation and widespread discussions and conversations over many years that tried to encompass the breadth of views held throughout our Church the members of the General Synod voted in favour of the proposed amendment to the Canon. Thus allowing couples in a committed relationship to marry in church regardless of their gender. For some this was an act that brought great rejoicing, for others deep pain and hurt. The vote was taken in the three houses of Synod with Bishops voting 80% in Favour, Clergy 67.7% in favour and the laity 80.6% in favour. Overall that was a 75% of General Synod in favour. The vote was taken by secret ballot and in silence following a period of prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The result once given was received in silent prayer. It was a respectful and dignified debate and process.


Our denomination now formally acknowledges that within its body there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage and allows those with differing views to hold their views with integrity and respect. It gives those who may not be happy with same sex marriage a conscience clause that does not force them to do anything against their will and those who would wish to celebrate such unions the option to be licensed by their bishop and the Registrar General to do so:


“In the light of the fact that there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage in this Church, no cleric of this Church shall be obliged to conduct any marriage against their conscience. Any marriage which is to be conducted by a cleric shall be solemnised strictly in accordance with the civil law of Scotland for the time being in force and provided said cleric is satisfied, after appropriate enquiries, that the parties have complied with the necessary preliminaries as set forth in the civil law……  No cleric shall solemnise a marriage between persons of the same sex unless the said cleric shall have been nominated on behalf of the Church to the Registrar General for Scotland.” Paragraph 1 Canon XXXI


This is a significant change in our Church and a change that tries to say that we are an inclusively diverse’ church. A church that respects the beliefs and values of each other and will agree to disagree, despite the challenges this may bring. There will be guidelines for good practice coming from the General Synod and the College of Bishops in the very near future as to how those clergy that wish to be licensed to perform same sex marriages can be proposed to the Registrar General and how members of congregations who may hold differing views will have their views respected and affirmed.

Come Holy Spirit

posted 5 Jun 2017, 08:08 by Dean Fostekew

Come Holy Spirit and change the hearts of those who wish ill to others.
Come Holy Spirit and open our hearts to hear the voices of those who are persecuted, discriminated against  or treated badly.
Come Holy Spirit and fire us with life giving and life changing energy to challenge the things that are wrong in our world.
Come Holy Spirit, come.

'Au revoir' to Brenda

posted 29 May 2017, 04:39 by Dean Fostekew

At the end of yesterday's service we said goodbye to our deacon The Rev'd Brenda Johnson. Brenda retires after 14 years of service at the Church of the Good Shepherd and the community of Murrayfield. She will be greatly missed, especially by the Messy Church Community, Brenda was a founder of the Messy Church community in Murrayfield.
The congregation have valued and benefitted from having a vocational deacon on the clergy team and Brenda has modelled that ministry superbly alongside the priests.Her ministry of service in the community has been much valued by very many people.
We sent Brenda off with various gifts and a cake and coffee party, with her special request for marmalade and morning rolls. It was a party enjoyed by everyone. 

Ascension Day

posted 22 May 2017, 02:27 by Dean Fostekew

ThisThursday sees the church celebrate the Ascension of our Lord. the day on which we remember Jesus taking his leave of us and returning to his Father on heaven.

Service  at 10am at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield

Reflections on an Ecumenical Conference

posted 15 May 2017, 05:38 by Dean Fostekew

As a member of the Provincial Inter-Church Relations Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church, I attended the ecumenical conference in Castel Gandolfo, Rome with my colleagues at the invitation of the Roman Catholic members of the Foculare Movement. Foculare is an ecumenically minded and focused movement within the Catholic Church. The movement was founded in 1943 by Chiara Lubich as a response to the effects of war on the people of God. It seeks to offer help, support and guidance to all whom it encounters and focuses especially on social action and justice for all and everyone regardless of faith, creed or race.


While I was at conference, I spent much time reflecting on what I heard in relationship to what we do here in Murrayfield and what we have done over the past 30 years as well. Without wishing to over state things; what we do is further down the road than many others and as such it should be an inspiration for us to do even more together.


One of the strongest things I have taken away from the meeting is the phrase; “The other person completes me by their diversity”. What this means is that it is in our differences that we can come together and see glimpses of the truth. We all carry around our particular prejudices and preferences and often, it has to be acknowledged, our misunderstandings of each other and our each others faith or denomination. What we all need to remember, however, is that REAL TRUTH belongs only to Christ. Christ resurrected and found in both Word and Sacrament. We get glimpses of this truth when we celebrate our diversity and from the relationships we form from our diversity with others. Christ belongs to all Christians and to all God’s people and not just us! Working ecumenically makes us stronger as a church, as individual Christians and as human beings and when we work together we can and do transform society. 


In MCT we do this via; Christian Aid, the Murrayfield Club, Messy Church, Ecudare, the joint study groups and in the worship and prayer we share. Working together sets in motion; ‘the art of loving’ and opens our hearts to each other. The week in Castel Gandolfo affirmed for me the value that is MCT, that is ecumenical working and it has deepened and renewed my personal commitment to working together for Christian unity.


In an ecumenical audience with Pope Francis, he sent his greetings back to the churches we serve and the people we love - that is all of you. These fraternal greetings were echoed by the Orthodox and Reformed leaders as well and together they offer us support and encouragement for all that we do together. They also challenge us to do even more together for the sake of unity and in the name of Christ.

Sunday 14th May Christian Aid Joint Service 1030am

posted 6 May 2017, 02:45 by Dean Fostekew

Next Sunday 14th May the three congregations in Murrayfield will join together for worship at 1030 at the Parish Church. The service will use liturgy for Christian Aid Week and we will bless and commission those who will be doing the door to door collections over the coming week. The service is followed by a lunch in aid of Christian Aid.

Good Shepherd Sunday 7th May celebrations - all welcome

posted 2 May 2017, 09:29 by Dean Fostekew   [ updated 2 May 2017, 09:30 ]

This coming Sunday is our feast of title and the 'Good Shepherd' is a lovely dedication for a congregation to have, being named for Jesus himself. It sets before us all an image of a caring and loving shepherd and challenges us all to live up to his example. 

Following the celebratory service at 10am everyone is invited to the hall for 'brunch' and fun. 

Come and joins us. 

Royal Air Force Association Annual Service

posted 27 Apr 2017, 08:54 by Dean Fostekew

This Sunday (30th April) sees the members of RAFA join with the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield congregation for their annual service. This year they will be joined by members of the RAF Cadet band and local ATC members as well. This is always an uplifting and enjoyable service when we remember all who served in the RAF and all who currently serve in the armed forces. All Welcome.

10am Sung Eucharist for the Edinburgh, Lothians & Borders RAFA

Services in HOLY WEEK

posted 8 Apr 2017, 06:41 by Dean Fostekew

Palm Sunday (9th) 10am Palm Gospel, procession & Passion Eucharist beginning in the hall.
Holy Monday 7pm service at Saughtonhall United Reformed Church
Holy Tuesday 7pm Stations of the Cross in the garden
Holy Wednesday 10am Holy Communion
                             7pm Service at the Parish Church
Maundy Thursday 1130am Chrism Mass (in the Cathedral)
                               7pm Eucharist of the last Supper
Good Friday 2pm Liturgy of the Cross
Holy Saturday 10am decorating the Church for Easter 
Easter Day 8.15am Dawn service on Coltbridge Bridge (Roseburn high street)
                   10am Festal Sung Eucharist 

Passion Sunday

posted 1 Apr 2017, 09:35 by Dean Fostekew

Tomorrow, the 2nd April, sees the beginning of the Passion-tide season and is the Sunday that sets the way to Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem On Palm Sunday (next week) and his eventual passion and death on the cross in Holy Week. As the Good Shepherd congregation we will, tomorrow, use the Psalms of Ascent (120-134) which would have been sung and said by Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem two thousand years ago. The Psalms of Ascent were traditionally used by the Jews as a joyful song of praise as they made their way to the temple in the Holy City. We will join with them and begin our service at the foot of the hill into the church and then make our way into the church and back out again at the end of the Eucharist as an act of witness to Christ and his final earthly days.

Come and join us at 10am.

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