Church Magazine - July and August

Submitted by Caroline on Tue, 09/07/2019 - 15:35
Path to church showing digging for water repairs

From the Rector’s Desk

Thank you For the Pentecost gifts to the church. All those practical items are very much appreciated and will be put to good use.

Organ Restoration: During July, work on the restoration of our organ will begin. Hopefully, there will not be too much disruption during the work but look out for any changes to service venues!

Summer Fruits  - Thursday 18th July at 4pm: Our annual fête in the church garden with refreshments, stalls, hoopla and, with luck, some entertainment to round off this popular gathering. Get your tickets now, at a donation of £10

The Festival Garden of Contemplation: Come along and spend awhile pondering and praying in our beautiful garden as you follow the prayer trail. Why not bring a friend along too. The garden will be open throughout August 24/7.

Mary Sumner Day -  Friday 9th August at 2pm: You are warmly invited to a celebration of the life of Mary Sumner and the work of the Mothers Union throughout the Diocese and the wider world. The service will be followed by afternoon tea.

The Afternoon Services - Tuesday 9th July & 20th August Come along and join the jolly band at our Afternoon Service. We gather for a short Eucharist and afternoon tea. All welcome.

Student on placement: Once again we have been asked to welcome a final year student from our Theological Institute into our ministry team and congregation. I am delighted that Russell will be with us for many months over the coming year as he moves towards the completion of his studies.

The View from the Rectory Cat Basket

This month ‘Madam’ has decided to take a summer break from her  jottings and has asked Archie to write in her stead. If you need a  translation from the Scots please ask and I’m sure Lady Grace will oblige, she has been learning Scots since her arrival. As she says it’s the only language Archie understands and unless she learns to speak it he will never do as he is told!

Imperial Grand Duchess indeed.  Did ye ever hear such a load o’ tosh? 

Compliment her oan her singin’!  She yowls like a banshee in a high wind.  The racket wid gar ye greet an’ the “Ither Wan” has left the country tae get away frae the noise. Ahm shuvin’ cheese in ma lugs tae deeffen masel. She might be a’ airs an’ graces, an’ she’s bonnie right enough, but she’s got a brain the size o’ a peanut an’ lungs like a blacksmith’s  bellows. 

Ach, she’ll settle doon and quieten doon eventually.  They say that  patience is a virtue but it wis never ma strong point - but Ah’d better learn some because she maks the Dug Collar awfy happy an’ ither folks happiness is important - or so Ahm telt. Sometimes this luvvin yir neebur business wid gie ye the dry boak.

Noo, whaur did Ah pit the cheese?


Supreme Laird o’ the Cat Basket and, High Chief o’ the Clan MacMoggie

The Epistle to the Flock

Some of you will, I hope, remember that in my Sunday after the    Ascension sermon I preached about what we may or may not leave behind when we have gone. I have continued to ponder this theme following various events in my recent life; not least the death of my old friend Br. Kentigern SSF who died recently at the age of 50. At his memorial service at St. David’s Pilton we were invited to share memories of Kentigern, who was a jolly, larger than life character. Many and varied memories were shared and I realised that we all leave behind far more than we actually realise. Kentigern left us many memories but even for those of us remembering the same event we recalled it differently. We had all taken to our hearts what was important to each of us, so when we all spoke of an event we         realised that there was so much more to it than we had remembered. It was a joy to remember Kentigern more fully than I had remembered him on my own and it told me that we all need to share memories of the same events to bring the richness of those memories fully to life again.

There is always more to remember than we are first aware of and we remember far more than we realise. It has echoes for me of the way in which we remember and read Scripture. We never fully remember what it actually says because we can always see something new every time we return to the text. In a recent edition of the Church Times the theologian Mark Scarlata wrote:

“One of the greatest joys of studying scripture in depth is that, no matter how many times you go back to a particular verse or story, there is always something new that emerges. The beauty of scripture is that it’s an active voice that continues to speak to our world as it draws us to its world, where the divine drama of God’s movement unfolds before our eyes.”

I love the fact that he says that Scripture is an ‘active voice’ of God’s movement in the world. Scripture is exciting and the meaning is     always so very deep, and that makes it worth exploring. Exploring time and time and time again. I think that is why I love the  Benedictine Lectio Divina approach to reading Scripture, a way in which you sit in silence with the words as they are read three times to you and then in prayer allowing the text to speak to you. You then offers a word or a short phrase into the silence, something that has struck you as important, something that God has put into your head and heart for you to hear and ponder upon. Try it for yourself; read aloud a short passage of Scripture to your self and then sit with it in silence for five minutes, repeat this three times and see how it speaks to you. Try it with a friend or friends as part of a meditation. See if what you remember is actually what you hear or see again? You’ll probably realise that you have remembered something different to what it actually says and that brings me nicely back to Muriel Spark’s poem ‘Authors’ Ghosts’ that I used in my post Ascension Day sermon:

I think that authors' ghosts creep back

Nightly to haunt the sleeping shelves

And find the books they wrote.

Those authors put final, semi-final touches,

Sometimes whole paragraphs.


Whole pages are added, re-written, revised,

So deeply by night those authors employ

Themselves with those old books of theirs.


How otherwise

Explain the fact that maybe after years

have passed, the reader

Picks up the book - But was it like that?

I don't remember this . . . Where

Did this ending come from?

I recall quite another.


Oh yes, it has been tampered with

No doubt about it -

The author's very touch is here, there and there,

Where it wasn't before, and

What's more, something's missing -

I could have sworn . . .

What we remember and what we leave behind for others will be very different to what we think we remember or will leave behind because we are all individuals and we remember those things which are  important to us. My memories of Kentigern were very different to those of others but what a joy when we could all share our memories of him and remember him more fully than we might have done on our own.

We leave much behind but we will never know what others will remember. What will your memories of this year’s festival be? What will the memories of your friends be of the festival? All very different but what great fun one can have sharing those memories of others. Just like the way in which we can bring Scripture to life when we share it with others.

I hope that your Summer will be enjoyable and that your memories will be rich and full and grow even more when you share them with  others.

Yours aye, Dean

Notes from the Organ Loft

Another choir season came to an end last Sunday (June 23) with a special choral service celebrating midsummer.  Additional singers from the ranks of the congregation, clergy and beyond swelled our numbers to double the usual size and the combined choristers made a joyful noise in psalm arrangements and descants.  Ironically, Caroline’s sermon which followed was on the merits of listening to a ‘still small voice’.  But we were able to demonstrate that during communion with Norma leading the choir in Elgar’s Ave Verum, and Claire and Kitty duetting in the Lloyd-Webber Pie Jesu.

My thanks to all who participated and rehearsed for this mini-festival: I hope those in the congregation enjoyed hearing the music as much as we did providing it.  And on that topic – a special pat on the back for Ritchie whose descant to Westminster Abbey (opus 1) had its world premiere.  We look forward to more!

As term ends, I’d like to acknowledge with thanks the commitment and skills of our regular choristers who don robes week in, week out, for services – not forgetting Sheila, who retired from the choir at  Easter after many years of choral singing since her teens at  St Thomas’s Corstorphine.  Twelve of us, plus Walter, enjoyed a splendid lunch at her local, The Bridge Inn at Ratho, after choir practice on Saturday 22nd June to mark her long and loyal choral career.

Over the summer months a start will be made to the organ renovations, with more to follow next summer.  The likelihood is that we will still be able to use the church for Sunday services, and we may well have a choir presence too.  Things will be less formal, though, and if any member of the congregation would like to sing from the choir stalls please let me know – any musical friends, family, or summer visitors also invited! 

Ian Lawson

Organ repair update

The repairs to our organ are due to start at the end of July and will include refurbishing all the pipes and replacing the electrics.

As part of our renewal of giving campaign this year we have received monies which will form the basis of an organ endowment fund which will ensure that maintenance can take place regularly without the need to make a specific appeal. A huge thank you to everyone who has given money for this purpose. There is still time to make a  contribution to the repair of the organ and the Vestry would be very grateful for any further donations. Please have a word with me or the Treasurer, Graeme Thom about this.

The further stops that may be added to the organ have been the subject of discussion between our Director of Music and the organ builder. We want to make sure that we have the best possible blend for the organ. I know that members of the congregation have enquired about contributing to the financing of this and again we are very grateful. Such a contribution may be to remember a relative or celebrate an anniversary.

If you wish to consider making a donation for the additional stops, please speak to me or Ian Lawson, our Director of Music.

Valerie Clough


Water Water

The emergence of water from underneath our church pathway caused curiosity at the lower end of the scale to something approaching alarm at the higher end from some members of the   congregation. What was the source… a fractured pipe… a migrating underground stream, many of which are prevalent in the area… or something else more threatening?

Finding out which of these options was the cause was the first step and considering the appropriate remedial measures was the next; preferably avoiding the significant disruption and cost of widespread digging and reparation.

At a meeting on site, with our main plumbing contractor, some investigatory digging was done at what looked like the most  promising locations. Whether by this process of divining or even by Divine    guidance I know not, but we struck the equivalent of gold…the source of the bubbling water stream, very quickly indeed! It was a fracture in the main water supply pipe from the street to the church buildings.

Later in the same day, the contractor was able to mend the pipe with a new junction connector, fill in the holes and finish with temporary surfacing. An area of the pathway has undoubtedly been damaged by the flow of water beneath and this will be monitored over the coming winter when this damage can be properly assessed.

The lead mains piping is very old and will probably be subject to more damage. The right course of action would be to lay in a new mains supply pipe to replace the old one. This can be done relatively easily under the lawn rather than the pathway. With equipment now available the requirement to dig out a complete trench would not even be necessary. In terms of health and safety, a lead-free water supply, particularly where the children’s nursery is concerned, would be appropriate.

This will be investigated in the coming months where costs and methods can be ascertained.

Thanks are due to our contractor, P. Blackhall Ltd. For their prompt and efficient service, and to the staff of the Montessori Nursery, who stored a considerable amount of water for their use during the short period when the mains supply was shut off.

Ian Spence



I have given notice that I will stop being Treasurer as from the Church’s financial year end 30 September 2019. I am, however, happy to prepare the annual accounts. We therefore need a new treasurer to start from 1 October 2019.

The Treasurer is part of a team - the finance committee – who are helpful and supportive. There is also support from the Diocesan office. I have drafted a job description and can give a copy to  anyone interested.

The post is not onerous although a certain attention to detail is required. There is satisfaction in knowing that you are helping in this way.

I shall continue to be around and would be happy to “chum” a new treasurer over the initial period.

Please speak to myself, Dean or a member of the finance committee if you would like more information or could help in filling this post.

R Graeme Thom


EMBRACE the Middle East

Mark Calder, who came and spoke to us last year, is seeking sponsorship to raise funds for the Christian charity ‘EMBRACE the Middle East’. The charity has over 160 years’ experience helping people of all faiths and none and Iraqi refugees, returning to Iraq to rebuild their lives and homes.

He’s running 14 ultra marathons (a total of 1725 miles) on pilgrimage routes in Scotland and Northern England. You can donate on the website or I can forward your donations.

There is more information in the latest Embrace magazine available at the back of the church.

Jim Paterson


Climate Strike?


On May 24th Judith and I helped as stewards for Edinburgh school pupils as they staged a march to Holyrood to raise awareness of the climate crisis.  I understand that this is a potentially controversial activity and I did think through carefully whether I wanted to support it.  The impression I got on the day was that most of the children taking part are very serious about the  problem.  There was great creativity on show in the colourful banners that they had made.  The short speeches that they made were clear, well argued and to the point.  Namely that they are scared for the future and are genuinely puzzled why the adults in the room are not taking the necessary steps to address the problem.  Holly (13) said: “I am too young to vote and we can’t wait for people my age to come into power. That’s why we need to strike to make our voices heard.”

Our teenagers want action not words and I was encouraged by hearing them to continue my own efforts to campaign and to live more sustainably.

Caroline Longley

Cumbrae 2019

Submitted by Dean on Tue, 02/07/2019 - 14:02
red flowers with the church spire behind

Fourteen of us have just returned from the beautiful Isle of Cumbrae on the Clyde Coast, where some of the temperatures were positively Mediterranean. During our time on the island we explored three paintings; Van Eyck's 'Arnofini Marriage', Breugel's 'The census at Bethlehem' and Lotto's 'Annunciation' pondering on how the painter had used Scripture as his inspiration to pain what he painted. Our discussions were wide ranging and perceptive.

We also had time to explore the island and to boost the local economy with visits to the shops and cafés. Many kilos of 'Ayrshire' potatoes have found their way back to Edinburgh. The time away has been much enjoyed and we have already booked our return for 2020. Look out oft he 'Save the dates' posters coming soon.

Cathedral Big Sing

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 15/06/2019 - 12:27
Cathedral Big Sing
Members of the choir joined with singers from around the Diocese on Saturday 15th June for a 'Big Sing'. Culminating in Evensong in the Cathedral. It was good to see and hear members of different congregational choirs singing together in the Mother Church.

Church Magazine - June

Submitted by Caroline on Mon, 10/06/2019 - 22:10
The cat Lady Grace

From the Rector’s Desk

Give the Church a gift at Pentecost

Let’s try and revive the old idea of giving our Church a gift at Pentecost, the birthday of the Church per se. Donations of practical items such as liquid hand wash, washing up liquid, dish cloths etc. are much welcomed and appreciated. Thank you

Thy Kingdom Come

From Ascension Day to Pentecost the Diocese is engaging with the  worldwide pryer movement ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This is a time to pray for the growth of the Church and to pray specifically for those we might wish to see come to faith or to return to church. Members of our families and friends may fall into these categories. Look out for the daily prayer leaflets to help you pray and come along on Wednesday 5th June (see above) and join in an act of prayer or light a candle for those you wish to pray for. We are offering 12 hours of ‘open church’ along with others in the Diocese to ensure that the full 10 days are filled with prayer. When the church is closed a prayer candle will burn throughout the 10 days as a symbol of our corporate prayers rising to God.

BIG SING @ The Cathedral —  Saturday 15th June, 1030am

Many of you are familiar with what a ‘Big Sing’ is if you remember our gatherings in the past. The Big Sing at The Cathedral is a Diocesan event and hopes to welcome singers from around the Diocese for a day of    singing, fun and fellowship. Even if you don’t sing your are invited along too. Evensong will be sung by the massed Choir at the end of the day as well. Look out for the posters and come along for the day or for Evensong both of which promise to be wonderful events.

Cumbrae19 —   26th June to 1st July

If you wish to join us on Cumbrae for the whole time or a day or two we can usually squeeze a couple more in. This year the addresses are     entitled ‘Look Again’ and as last year Dean will hep us explore three paintings through Scripture, eyes and our hearts. Chat to Dean if you are interested.

Murrayfield Club AGM —  Wednesday 3rd July, 11am

All are welcome to the AGM. Come and hear how well the Club is doing now that we have secured our funding for another three years and what our hopes for the future are. Coffee and cake will be served.

The Epistle to the Flock

By the end of June, we will be past Midsummer and the days will start to shorten. Thankfully not by very much initially and hopefully we still have many evenings to sit out in the garden to the later hours, without a torch or candle. I am hoping that we have as lovely summer as we did last year and that we can all sport tanned faces and happy smiles. It is always good to be hopeful.

Our faith teaches us to be hopeful and that has been the message of Eastertide as we have journeyed through it. If nothing else the  Resurrection is all about hope. Hope that goodness will always overcome the bad, that the light will always find a way though the darkness and that things will get better. Things in the world and in home politics may dismay us and cause us pain but we must hope for better and pray for better too. Alongside hope must always go prayer. Prayer is never to be an added extra, it should be the mainstay of our lives and our faith. We need to pray daily for the needs of these around us, for our country and for our world and our brothers and sisters who in habit it alongside us.               At the moment the future may look a bit bleak, are we on a  self-destruction or extinction course? I hope and pray not. We human  beings, can change things for the better if we can all agree to do so. Things do not have to remain the same, they can change.

Change though is scary because we do not know what change will bring but if we did not change over the years we would not have the Health Service, education for all, met the person we love the most,  taken a job we thoroughly enjoyed or whatever. Change is the thing that helps us to grow and it is change that can bring our hopes to     fruition. Change is often about steeling one’s self to do something new or different and to see how it goes. Change is needed in our world in order to save the planet from a miserable future and to ensure that our descendants have a future at all. Change is needed in government so that individuals and communities are able to thrive and add their skills and energy to society. Change is needed in society so that all are treated equals and change is needed in our church to help us welcome more people into faith and to journey alongside them as they journey alongside us.

In all this change there is probably not one person who has the right ideas or methods needed, it is more likely that we need to collaborate with each other and to learn from each other in order to achieve more than one or two individuals might achieve on their own.

That brings us back to living our lives in and with HOPE. Hope is the key to our future. For it is with hope that we ask God to guide us through change and into a brighter world.

Keep on praying day by day that ‘Thy Kingdom come O, Lord’.

Yours Aye Dean

The View from the Rectory Cat Basket

Having now been resident in Edinburgh for the last couple of months, I actually believe that I am beginning to feel settled into the city and more importantly into the somewhat bizarre life in the Rectory. I can certainly say that no two days are the same. All the comings and     goings keep me entertained. It can at times, however, be quite         exhausting greeting the all and sundry and making them feel  welcome in my home. I do so feel that this is the role of the Lady of the House and actually being ‘a Lady’ I does I think add a gravitas to the welcome given.

In the weeks since my arrival I have thoroughly explored the house and briefly the front garden. I can’t say that I appreciated the garden at all, so wet and unbecoming. I am quite content, as was my dear Aunt Gladys before me, to remain firmly indoors and to admire the polities from a distance. As Jane Austen said in one of her novels, one can be “quite wearied by a haha”.

One thing I have been undertaking in the house is a tidy up. I often find things in places they should not be and have to remove them for safe keeping until such times as the Dog-Collar can be trusted to put them away properly. (If truth be told Lady Grace is a bit of a ‘magpie’ and likes to collect things for her basket. I do so wish that my spatula and the vegetable knife didn’t end up in her travelling box. Ed) Some people, pointing no paws, do need to learn to put things away when they have finished with them. Men! I will get them trained eventually and that includes Archie. It is all very well his saying that Gladys let me do this or that, but I am not Gladys and I do not appreciate his sleeping on top of me rather than alongside me or hiding his food bowl from me. Honestly, you’d think he would have learned to share his food before now. (Archie, is in two minds about Lady Grace. He is enjoying the company, despite her constant chatter but does resent her stealing his grub! Ed)

No doubt my dear public, things will improve for me as time goes on and I am sure that I will get those men exactly where I want them, even though it may take a little time to get there.

With my kind regards

Lady Grace

Her Imperial Highness, the Grand Duchess

Gentle Grace Fortescue  de Monceau of Milgill

2019 Group

Thursday 18th July 2019, 4pm 

Summer Fruits — Our annual fête in the church garden with  refreshments, stalls, hoopla and, with luck, some entertainment to round off this popular gathering. Tickets: a donation of £10


Sunday 6th October (time to be announced)

Piano Recital — Ancute Nite Doyle has kindly agreed to give us another piano recital Tickets: a donation of £15


Saturday 16th November, 11am

Talk — Simon Green, Project Manager at Historic Environment Scotland will give a talk in the Church on The Lost Buildings of Edinburgh, looking back at what we have lost and also at what was proposed but never built. Tickets: a donation of £6 (Numbers may be limited)

Thy Kingdom Come

Submitted by Dean on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 09:20
Thy Kingdom Come

The Church of the Good Shepherd, is joining with many other congregations in the Diocese to keep 10 days of prayer from Ascension Day (30th May) to Pentecost (9th June). This is part of a worldwide movement praying for more people to come to know Christ and explore what being a member of a church is like. The Good Shepherd will be offering 24 hours of prayer on Wednesday 5th June. There will be different opportunities for prayer from 9am - 9pm and 24 hour prayer candles will also be lit as a symbol of our prayers through the night. Come and join us as we join other Christians in Scotland and around the world in praying for the coming of God's Kingdom.

Wednesday 5th June

9am Morning Prayer

10am Holy Communion

5.30pm Evening Prayer

8.30pm Compline

Pray for God's people and for Creation