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.
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!
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.
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.
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 www.runninghome2019.co.uk or I can forward your donations.
There is more information in the latest Embrace magazine available at the back of the church.
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.