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Celebrating the extension of the franchise in 1918

posted 13 Aug 2018, 04:10 by Dean Fostekew

Yesterday, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield,  we remembered those who campaigned to change the voting system in our country 100 years ago.

Sunday 12th August 2018

100th Anniversary Commemoration of Women gaining the vote.

Genesis 1:26-31

Galatians 3:26-29

Mark 12:28-34

There are times in human history or in deed in the history of God’s creation when the right things happen and change occurs. the ‘Big-Bang’ starting point of Creation was one such point, the resurrection of Christ another and so on. Some of these change points are noticed but others are so small, as to be almost insignificant. Yet, their effect upon the world can be enormous. 

Just look at the worldwide movement today that has sprung from one woman saying; ‘Enough and no more’ to Harvey Weinstein’s abuse. Women throughout the world have been encouraged and in many cases supported to speak out against their suppression and oppression and that is a very good thing. Women as over 50% of the world’s population are hardly a minority group, yet throughout human history they have been treated as second class to men; as weaker and less able and less important to the dominant male, even in the faiths of the world (or even especially in the faiths of the world) and in the church.

The dominance of the human males led to women being treated as a minority group, whereas in fact men and women are equal. Equal in God’s creation and in God’s love and affection. As Genesis, right at the beginning of the Hebrew, Christian and Islamic scriptures tells us:

“So God created humankind in his image,

   in the image of God he created them;

   male and female he created them.” 

Genesis 1:27

St.paul, also affirms this in his Epistle to the Galatians:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

        Galatians 3:28

And Paul, as we know was rather misogynistic in many of his views on women.

Men and women were and continue to be created equal by God and are as equal in God’s eyes as when God first dreamed us up. It us humans who have decided that ‘some are more equal than others’  to steal from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

BUT! As I have already said we know that men and women have not been seen as equal throughout human history. Within our 20th and 21st century development changes have begun that continue to develop today that have sought to redress the balance.

100 years ago, as a direct result of the ‘Great War’, the ‘War to end wars;’ 1918 saw changes to legislation that took into account the carnage that ordinary men had endured and suffered and the changes in the rôle women played during that war and the devastation war had played on their lives. Women who had been long campaigning for it finally got the right to vote. WELL, some of them did, it was class biased!

the suffrage or votes for women movement began in the late 19th century and gained increasing support from women and some men as the new century dawned. Many of us know the stories of women who campaigned for the vote and perhaps like me, you have such a woman in your family history.

On the cover of this morning’s booklet, you will see a woman in Edwardian dress. It’s not a middle class or upper-class women, you can tell that by the quality of her clothes. This is an ordinary working class woman, a feisty woman who knew her own mind and was prepared to speak it too. Phœbe Alice Money née Filewood was my great-grandmother and from stories my Grannie told me of her she was certainly as strong minded as my Grannie was.

As a young girl, Phœbe was put into ‘service’ at a large house. She lasted a day having walked out after throwing the shoe polish brush at the housekeeper for bullying her. Phoebe was not going to be bullied by anyone, she could certainly keep her three brothers in order as well! Unlike her sister Eliza, servitude was not for Phœbe, her brothers weren’t in service so why should she be? 

Phœbe supported the suffrage campaign and when she eventually came to vote in 1928 (she didn’t own property valued over £5 in 1918 and neither did my great-grandfather, so was not eligible to vote) she turned up to vote wearing the rosette of the opposite party to the one my great-grandfather was supporting! No way was she voting as her husband told her to!

Phœbe’s story is one of millions around the world but none the less I am very proud of her and she has always been an inspiration for me to stand up for what I believe in, and to challenge the status quo when it needs to be challenged, especially when some are not being treated as equal as others.

God did not create human beings to be treated with anything other than dignity, respect and equality because God made us in God’s image. We are like the very self of God. God does not discriminate and as such we the creation should not either - despite what our imperfect natures may make us think at times. We may be imperfect reflections of God but that does not give us an excuse not to treat everyone with respect and as St.Mark says:

“…to love one’s neighbour as oneself…”

Mark 12:33b

When we can learn to follow  Jesus’ commandment as Mark further tells us:

‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ 

Mark 12:34b

Equality and love bring us close to God. Today, we are commemorating a step along the way that has brought our Society closer to God. Women gaining the vote and ordinary working class men over 21 gaining the vote as well was the beginning of change that has led Scotland, today to open the franchise to all women and men of 16 and over.

Voting is not a God-given right, it is something we men and women do out of respect for each other and each others opinions. Having the vote should never be taken for granted, we have seen all too often how easily the vote can be removed or suppressed. Voting in my mind is something we should all exercise, even if it is to spin our ballot papers.

The story of the suffrage movement is a long and painful one and the story of women’s equality struggle is one that continues to be written and lived every day. Lest we forget anyone involved in helping us today try to forge a society based on the Kingdom of God, where all are equal, all are equally loved and all are treated with equal respect.

This is what Jesus teaches us!



posted 7 Aug 2018, 02:50 by Dean Fostekew   [ updated 7 Aug 2018, 02:50 ]

This coming Sunday the 12th August, we at the Church of the Good Shepherd, are commemorating the centenary of women gaining the vote, for the first time in Great Britain. Our service will remember this women, like my own Great Grandmother who supported the suffrage movement, often in opposition to members of their families and celebrate the achievements of women over the last 100 years. Come and join us in Murrayfield for this special service as we give thanks and pray for equality.


posted 2 Aug 2018, 03:46 by Dean Fostekew

During this month of August, the Church of the Good Shepherd's garden is open 24/7 as the 'Garden of Contemplation and Prayer'. Please feel free to pop in at any time to wander around the prayer garden. Dotted around the garden are various signposts with spiritual quotes to help you meditate on life, faith and doubt. They are there to help you  find a sense of peace in a busy world. 

Come and find an oasis of calm in the hectic Festival City. 

The Church is on Murrayfield Avenue (13a EH12 6AU) - you'll find us on 'Google maps'. You can easily walk from the city or travel on the 12, 26 or 31 Lothain buses to Roseburn Bridge and then cross over the road and walk a little way up the hill.

Enjoy the pilgrimage.

St.Mary Magdalene

posted 23 Jul 2018, 05:34 by Dean Fostekew

Yesterday, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield, we kept the feast of St.Mary Magdalene an often misrepresented saint. Mary was in fact the first evangelist of the risen Christ and the first person sent by the risen Jesus to be his messenger or missioner. 
Mary was over whelmed by grief at Jesus' death and as St.John tells us she went to the garden tomb and was surprised to find the tomb empty. In her grief and anger Mary failed to recognise the risen Jesus, until he spoke to her. Then she was over joyed and amazed to be in his living presence again. Resurrection was a unique and unexpected event. 
When she recovered her senses she was sent by Jesus to tell his disciples that he had returned from the dead. This Mary did and in doing so became the first evangelist of Christ. As such Mary Magdalene is a far more important character in Christian history, than the stories about her have usually conveyed.

Thursday 19th July SUMMER FRUITS

posted 19 Jul 2018, 01:16 by Dean Fostekew

Come along and join us for our annual Summer fête from 4pm. Stock up on your jams and preserves; enjoy a game of hoopla and afternoon tea. Then round the afternoon off with a performance of 'Box and Cox'. You'll find us in the garden of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield Avenue.

Thank You and coming up next

posted 11 Jul 2018, 08:54 by Dean Fostekew

Many thanks to everyone who made the celebrations of my Silver Jubilee of priesting such happy and memorable occasions.  

Coming up next week on Thursday 19th July at 4pm is our annual 'SUMMER FRUITS' event. Come along and enjoy afternoon tea and a small fayre on the lawn before a performance of 'Box and Cox' put together by our Director of Music, Ian Lawson. Thanks are due for the organisation of this event to the members of the 2018 committee, from whom tickets for the concert can be obtained. 

Coming up!

posted 3 Jul 2018, 02:15 by Dean Fostekew

Silver Jubilee

On Wednesday 4th July 2018

Dean celebrates 25 years as a priest.

He will preside at the Eucharist at 10am. 

On Sunday 8th July at 10am

He will preside at a celebratory Eucharist.

You are invited to attend either of these services of thanksgiving at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield.


10am Thursday 5th July in the Dove Room at the Parish Centre - all are welcome.

Summer Fruits ‘Cox & Box’

Thursday 19th July from 4pm

Come and join us for afternoon tea and prosecco and be entertained by Ian lawson and Friends.

Get your tickets now (before they sell out)

from Kate Doyle 

and members of the 2018 Committee

Good Shepherd on the 'Costa del Clyde'!

posted 26 Jun 2018, 09:24 by Dean Fostekew

A group of us from the congregation have left Murrayfield and are enjoying a few days on the Isle of Cumbrae, staying at the retreat centre at the Cathedral of the Isles (look it up). The weather is fabulous and most of us have had a good walk around the island, or sunbathed after a morning spent 'reading' Bassano's painting entitled; 'The Adoration of the Kings'. 

We are on the island for a holiday and a bit of a retreat time. Dean is sharing some of the learning he has gained over the past few years from his ad hoc study of art history and art appreciation as a friend of the Scottish Galleries. We are certainly using our eyes and hearts to see, what the artist is trying to convey to us in his painting. 

Tomorrow we study Picasso's 'Guernica' and on Thursday; 'The Taking of Christ' by Caravaggio.

It is fascinating how different artists use scripture to portray a message to the viewer and how much more one sees when one looks and looks again.

Father's Day at the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield

posted 19 Jun 2018, 05:41 by Dean Fostekew

the readings last Sunday lent themselves to a sermon related to Father's Day and God's parental role in our lives. Below is what I said:

When I was teaching three decades ago we always began the new school year by planting spring bulbs; that we would hope would grow in secret over the coming months and bring us great joy in the dark months of the new year. these bulbs of daffodils and hyacinths never failed to delight the children or the staff and they came to represent more than just pretty flowers blooming in the Winter.

For me they became a symbol for the ‘secret growth’  my young changes were undertaking during the academic year. As the bulbs came to maturity so too were my class maturing and coming to flower - by showing the new skills and abilities they had learned and developed. For many this might have been becoming fluent readers, or more self-confident in their skills in PE or Maths or whatever. their growth was almost unnoticeable until you stopped to look for it and to think back to what the children were like at the begining of the Autumn term.

Today’s first and third readings have much to say about secret growth as does the second but in a more human way than the botanical analogies used in the other readings. In the botanical analogies growth comes from seeds and cuttings, pruning and tending the soil. In the second reading growth is explained by the ways in which our faith can grow as our life experiences develop and our self-confidence blossoms. In all the readings the hope is expressed that we will all see new growth in ourselves and each other in ways that will deepen our faith and lead us to know God more fully.

Most of us will, no doubt, will at sometime rejoiced in the growth seen in loved ones, pupils, friends and ourselves. That sort of growth is always worth celebrating. Our parents, probably rejoiced in us as we passed certain milestones or achieved various things, or explored new vistas. I think today’s readings fit with the secular theme of today - Father’s Day, as many fathers are good at praising their offspring and celebrating the new growth they see. Growth that has been going on in secret until its bursts forth as new skills. Not all fathers, however, or all mothers are good at noticing new growth and celebrating it in their children. This is sad and both parent and child lose out on something that could be life-affirming.

When my nephew married here last month, his bride’s father told his daughter that he didn’t have time to travel to Edinburgh for her wedding. He didn’t attend and it fell to others to fulfil the rôle left open by her father. It was sad for Sarah that her father chose not to share in this stage of her development and maturity and sad for him that he could not see how important this event was to her. He is the loser. Sarah, however, discovered how many others cared for her and went the extra mile to make her day special, including my nephew.

Earthly fathers do not always get it right but we can be assured that our heavenly Father does get it right with us because as St.Paul writes:

“…we ourselves are well known to God …”

2Corinthians 5:11b 

God rejoices in every bit of our secret growth, development and acquisition of skills. He rejoices in the things we get and do right and despairs when we get things wrongs well hoping that we will get them right in the future. Our heavenly Father is always loving, attentive and forgiving beyond measure but he is also a parent who gives us the space to grow and learn new things each day. He gently guides us and never fails to support us, even when we are unaware of it and that’s something we should give thanks for.

Happy Father’s Day, God.

Trinity Green!

posted 4 Jun 2018, 03:54 by Dean Fostekew

Trinity is the season where we return to the green vestments and altar frontals. There are a lot of 'green' Sundays ahead of us until we reach Advent. Well saying that, there will be a few red or white Sundays in the next few months depending on what particular festivals come along but on the whole the next months are predominately green. I used to think that this was the beginning of the boring season but I no longer do as I think the months of green serve, nowadays, as a good reminder to us to care for God's green creation.

If we humans continue to pollute the planet at the rate we are going there will not  be much green left for anyone to enjoy. Our seas are full of plastic and our land is becoming buried under un-recycleable debris. It has got to stop as we are no longer good stewards of God's creation. 

At the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield we are continually reviewing what we can do to reduce our impact on the world and how we can try not to waste the world's resources. We have begun to try and increase the things we recycle; such as collecting milk bottle tops for charity and composting as much of our garden waste as we can. All our hall users are required and encouraged to recycle their waste using the bins provided and we appreciate their help and support. Many of us have also been impressed by the recent campaign that encourages everyone who goes to the beach to pick up and recycle three items of plastic. It doesn't seem like a lot but if we could all do it every time we go to a beach it will make a difference. The seas will not be a plastic filled as they are now and our planet will remain green. we also need to do the same when we visit anywhere or go for a walk. Collect three bits of plastic and recycle it.

The Green Sundays are no longer the ordinary Sundays of the year they are now a call to action to keep our planet clean and green, our seas fresh and clear and ourselves healthy and aware of the needs of others around us. Every time you go to church and see the green hangings ask yourself 'What am I doing?' and 'What more can I do?' 

Let's all be eco-warriors for God's creation.

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