Church Magazine - May

Submitted by Caroline on Thu, 02/05/2019 - 19:13
decorating the font with spring flowers

From the Rector’s Desk


Come the 14th May I will have been your Rector for 10 years. Thank you to all of you for love and support over the past decade. I really count it a privilege and honour to be your priest and deeply value your prayers for me. Thank you.


19th May Good Shepherd Sunday

This year we transfer our patronal festival from Easter IV to Easter V, as the joint service for Christian Aid Week falls on Good Shepherd Sunday. The Service on the 19th will be followed by Brunch and fun and to conclude the day I will show my ‘slides’ from my recent     sabbatical travels in New Zealand and Australia. Look out for more details.


Thy Kingdom Come - Ascension to Pentecost Prayer Days

Wednesday 5th June, 9am— 9pm

Once again we will be joining Christians around the globe to pray for our world, our Church and all God’s people from Ascension Day to Pentecost. This year the Diocese is trying to ensure that we have 24 hours of prayer on-going throughout that time. The Church of The Good Shepherd will ensure that the church is open for prayer from 9am to 9pm and that prayer candles burn for another 12 hours+ following 9pm. Look out for more details nearer the time.


Joint Service for Christian Aid

Sunday 12th May, 1030am

The congregations in MCT come together to pray for the work of Christian Aid. This year’s preacher (see above) is a specialist in Christian/Muslim relations and will no doubt give us much food for thought. Please note that the service begins at 1030am.


Pre-General Synod Meeting

Wednesday 29th May, 6 - 8pm

Members form the Diocese who are on General Synod will gather at the Good Shepherd for a simple supper and a talk through the papers. If   anyone is able to come along and help with a bit of washing up (pudding plates and cups) please let me know. The main course and crockery is dealt with by the caterer.


Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of Christ’

Monday 20th May, 11am

If you missed my talk on this painting there is another opportunity to hear it when I share my thoughts with the Sheep Gatherers. Everyone is     welcome to join us for coffee, cake and the talk, in the church.


The Lady Grace

You will see from elsewhere in this magazine that the Rectory has a new resident. She is settling in well and as you will read she is contemplating whether or not to continue her Aunt’s legacy of writing in this publication. Grace is certainly as much a character as the Lady Gladys was!


Church Cleaner Required

The Church is looking for a new cleaner.  Please contact Angela and Bruce Walker if you know anyone who might be interested in this post. 


The Epistle to the Flock

By the time you read this epistle, Easter will have passed and we will be well into Eastertide, those days and weeks following the resurrection. In many ways we will be living in resurrection light (or life). I have never     believed that the resurrection was a single event at a single point in time but an event that happened and whose ramifications still ripple through to this day.

At the point of Jesus’ resurrection something amazing happened. He lived again for his followers and disciples. The power of that event,    however, was so great that it is still happening today. Jesus’ re-birth into new life affects each and every one of us today as it has in the past and will do in the future, until he returns. Resurrection was not a discrete    action at a specific point in history alone but the beginning of a         transformation of creation that still continues.

I suppose one way to look at it and to liken it, is to think of the ‘Big Bang’ theory. At some point in time creation began and the universe exploded into being. The ‘Big Bang’ was so enormous that we can’t even begin to contemplate its power as that power was God. God is a very creative God, whose universe is still growing and changing and developing and will do so for eternity. The resurrection, I think, was like a second ‘Big Bang’ in God’s creation and as such its power continues to grow and   develop and affect the whole of creation, us included. It is the power that changes our lives and helps to transform creation again and again and as it does so it re-makes us along the way.

There will be very few of us who have not lived through some sort of life changing experience, when we have come out of it differently to how we went into it. I know that I am very different physically, mentally and emotionally following my health scare three years ago. My body changed and so did my attitudes to life. I see things differently and some of what was important before is no longer as important now. My priorities, hopes and aspirations changed and three years on I am glad they did. As I have reflected on my experiences I have come to see them in the light of the resurrection and the changes that event makes in us. In some ways I feel re-born, made anew. I’m different to how I was before. This helps me to understand the resurrection of Jesus. He was different to how he was before but he was still Jesus. I’m still Dean but I am different.


Resurrection is something we will never fully comprehend, just as I do not expect to understand how the ‘Big Bang’ came about. God is beyond human comprehension but it is exciting and challenging to explore what we think went on. This for me makes Eastertide a very stimulating time of the year because I am continually pondering and thinking about what resurrection was, is and what it might or might not mean. I don’t have the answers but I love asking the questions. I hope you do too.

Yours aye and a Happy Eastertide, Dean


Easter Flowers

Many thanks to all who helped to decorate the church for Easter. 

We had an excellent team and the church looked very spring-like and lovely. Special thanks to Pat Syme for her wonderful creation for the altar, and thanks too to those who made such generous               contributions.   Anna and Sarah.


The View from the Rectory Cat Basket


Oh! The trauma of it all! Moving home is so terribly stressful and   disconcerting. One minute you know where everything is and the next you have no idea where things are and who the dickens you are   living with! I am never going to move again.


I was very comfortable in Stratford-upon-Avon, the children had all left home and I was ready for a quiet    retirement or so I thought. My late Aunt Gladys, however, had other ideas. In her will she bequeathed me all her worldly goods; a comfy cat basket, a    rather nice set of ceramic bowls and two human beings known  collectively as ‘The Dog-Collars’. All well and good, I thought, when I received news of her gift but then came the news that if I wanted to    receive these gifts I had to move to Scotland and look after the ‘Dog-Collars’. Apparently, Aunt Gladys, had found them easy to            manipulate and control and she thought I would be a worthy     successor to herself. In fact she said that she thought I was the only one of her relatives that she would trust to look after the ‘Dog-Collars’ and Archie.


Well Archie was another surprise, he is my late Aunt’s companion. She kept that very quiet and now I have met him I know why. He’s delightful but hardly of my family’s pedigree and background. No doubt he loved my Aunt but I will need to keep him in his place until I am sure he knows who is boss.


Let me introduce myself, now you know why I am now resident in the Rectory. I am Grace, the Imperial Grand Duchess of Millgil but I am happy to be known as the ‘Lady Grace’ and to use my family name of ‘Fortescue de Monceau’. Aunt Gladys, was my mother Mimi’s   sister and although I am a Lilac and she a Brown Burmese, we do share a lot of looks and traits in common. For a start we are both   exceptional singers and have been complimented on our looks, but I am really too modest to say so. I am a little older than Aunt Gladys was when she arrived in Edinburgh but I have had many years    raising a family in the home of the Bard. All my kittens are off doing their own thing now and my time has come to live a quieter life. Well, trust my dear Aunt to decide that my life would be very different from what I planned. I can’t for the life of me imagine what the view from the Rectory Cat Basket will be like. 

Yours ever, The Lady Grace Fortescue de Monceau 

Her Imperial Highness Gentle Grace of Milgill *  

(* Lady Grace is an Imperial Grand Champion within the British    Burmese Society )


Treasurer’s Report


Thank you to all those who have returned the pledge form which was enclosed with the Letter of Renewal. I would encourage everyone to respond even if there are no changes to your circumstances. It is perhaps an indication of your commitment to the Church.


At the meeting held on March 24 to decide on the future of music in the Church it was decided that our existing organ should be repaired. The money raised over the years together with reserves built up from legacies will hopefully cover the cost – but not for the additional pipes. Nevertheless it was suggested that an organ fund be set up to cover any costs that will no doubt arise in the future. This would    include the replacement of the digital piano. Thank you to those who have already contributed to this fund.


Graeme Thom


Notes from the Organ Loft


Exciting times lie ahead, with the congregation's approval given at the recent EGM for the organ renovations and potential additions.  The repairs are likely to take place over the summer, and I have had a useful meeting with the organ builder, to talk about possible new stops.  These were 'prepared for' at the last major rebuild in 1967 but the pipes were never installed.  We are discussing options for a slightly different range of additional stops and once I have prices I'll produce a revised wish-list.  The Swell Geigen and Choir Flageolet remain on the list but potentially we are looking at an Oboe stop instead of the Clarion and a revoiced Trumpet rather than an extra one.


Back in the present, the choir rehearsed on three successive Saturdays to bring you music for Passiontide and Easter.  We tried several types of psalm, a new hymn, and the Roberton arrangement of All in the April Evening.  Recently I discovered an entry in my diary for Easter Monday in 1979 describing a day off work spent listening to Elgar's oratorio The Apostles: "Decide that the section 'At the Sepulchre' is the best bit in it and would make an excellent Easter anthem."  It's only taken me 40 years, but that's what we were singing during communion on Easter Day, along with the usual jolly descants.

Easter also marked the last service Sheila was singing in the choir, having decided finally to cast off her cassock and retire from weekly choral duties.  We shall miss not only her rich alto but also the many unseen things she has done for us, notably looking after the choir wardrobe, and of course her steadfast loyalty and    reliability, travelling in from Ratho in all weathers to sing.  So a big thank you, Sheila, for all you have contributed to the music of the church - and to James for your unfailing support.  I hope you enjoy being able to sit together in church at last!


Ian Lawson


2019 Group


At the end of November, the last fund raising (and social!) event of 2018 was James Lawson’s Centenary talk in the Church on the strategic role of North Queensferry in the First World War. He particularly described the dramatic surrender of the entire German Fleet shortly after the 1918 Armistice, when the ships were escorted from their rendezvous in the North Sea into the Firth of Forth by the British Grand Fleet (who throughout remained nervously at ‘battle stations’).


With its little World War I Museum, usefully located in North Queensferry station’s old waiting room, and the tiny old lighthouse down on the quay, in the impressive shadow of the Forth rail bridge, the village is definitely worth a look. Dunfermline’s Carnegie Library, with its excellent and extensive museum (not to mention the splendid café), could also be included in this railway expedition.


Events planned for this year:-


Sunday 19th May - Good Shepherd Sunday - Talk and Brunch

After the 10am service, Dean will take us with an illustrated talk through his recent sabbatical trip over the Equator.

NB At the back of the church there will be a list of suggested items for those wishing sign up to bring something along to the Brunch afterwards.


June/July - Annual ‘Summer Fruits’ Garden Party and Entertainment

Date to be arranged


Sunday 6th October - Piano Recital

After the highly successful evening Ancuta Nite Doyle has kindly agreed to give another autumn recital. It is the only day of the year that she can fit us in, so it is not to be missed!


A Saturday in November - Talk by architectural historian Simon Green. Simon will take us on a colourful illustrated tour of “The lost buildings of Edinburgh and those that were proposed but never built”. Fascinating stuff. Date to be confirmed shortly.


Eco - Congregation News


The last two months have all been about Climate Change and the  urgent need for government action.


‘Running Out of Time Climate Rally’

At the beginning of April MSPs debated Scotland's new climate change law for the first time. Campaigners gathered outside the   Scottish Parliament on the 2nd April calling for urgent action to cut climate pollution over the next decade. It was all part of the Stop     Climate Chaos rally with people holding clocks and waving signs to reinforce the message that we're 'Running Out Of Time'.                 Eco-Congregation Scotland took part in the rally.


By the time this goes to press Transition Edinburgh (an organisation that connects and supports community groups, and initiates practical projects that strive for a greener, fairer, healthier and more resilient Edinburgh) will have held a Climate Emergency event on April 25th to see what actions on climate change are being taken elsewhere and what different sectors of society should be doing.

For more see:


Good Food Nation Bill Consultation

As a Scottish Food Coalition member with an interest in the            environment - and links to many churches addressing food insecurity. Eco-Congregation Scotland works with a range of organisations   committed to Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation through transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable food system. The Scottish Government held a consultation on the Bill that closed in April for  submitting views on new laws relating to the future of food.             Eco-Congregation will provide follow up information in due time.

For more information see:


Eco-Congregation Working Group

With four volunteers coming forward we can now establish the     working group and start to progress our actions as part of our        submission for an Eco-Congregation award this year. We shall keep the congregation updated as progress is made.


Phil Say




The history of Edinburgh in tombstones

Submitted by Dean on Tue, 30/04/2019 - 11:50
Admiring the gravestones

Last Sunday afternoon, a group of some 20 of us from the Church of the Good Shepherd enjoyed a guided tour around part of the Dean Cemetery. There are a large amount of well known Edinburgh forebears buried here and the whole history off our city can read via the inscriptions and dedications to them. The Victorians had desire to see themselves immortalised in ways that we do not, perhaps, share today. Yes these tombs and stones tell us much but they only commemorate the wealthy, not the ordinary people of our city through the ages. In God's eyes we are all equal, God knows every hair on our heads and does not discriminate between us by class, race, or wealth. There is equality in the Kingdom of God. 

That said, however, does not distract from the history contained within our graveyards. We can learn much from what is said and perhaps what is not said as well and a wander through the Dean Cemetery or any graveyard can be fascinating. As I was guided through on Sunday, I could not help but compare the elaborate tombs with the simple plaques that commemorate loved ones in our own Church Garden. The simplicity of their memorials is just as poignant and heartfelt. 

May all the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory. Alleluia!



Submitted by Dean on Tue, 23/04/2019 - 17:14

After the weeks of preparation through Lent we have arrived at the glories of Easter and Eastertide. We have a whole 40 days of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, when we sing or say 'Alleluia!' at every service.

Easter is a time to rejoice because it is the time in the Christian year when we are specifically reminded of the hope our faith can give us. Jesus' resurrection gives us hope of new life in so many ways. We hope that one day we will all rise in Christ and be reunited with each other. We hope that the things in our lives and in our world that need to change will change and change for the better. We hope that the light of the resurrected Christ will shine into those dark places we try to shun or forget; those  things that can pull us down and hijack us when we least expect it. When illuminated by Christ's light we hope that we can change those places of darkness into places of light.

Our prayer this Eastertide is one of the hope of transformation. Changing things for the better and beginning to live life anew.

O Lord, of life and power,

who, through the mighty resurrection of your Son,

have overcome the old order of sin and death,

and have made all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen.

                                 from the Collects of the Scottish Episcopal Church 


Holy Week and Easter

Submitted by Dean on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 09:55

Holy Week is the most important week in the Christian Year. It is the time when we walk to Jerusalem with Jesus and share in his passion and death on the Cross. This year we have we can pilgrimage our way to Jerusalem by walking the Labyrinth at Saughtonhall United Reformed Church and then walk through that Holy City as we follow the Stations of the Cross around the garden of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Both of these activities are designed to help us experience the true meaning of Holy Week and alongside the services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to journey with Jesus to Golgotha. 

Holy Week is a stark and difficult few days but we do not journey through them on our own. We journey alongside millions of Christians around the world and with our brothers and sisters closer to home. As we pray for those we are concerned for and for our own concerns as well, we do so in the knowledge that others will be praying for us, just as we will be praying for them. In doing so we help each other carry our own crosses, just as Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry his Cross.

On Maundy Thursday we gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples and followers. We then journey with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and keep watch until he is taken by force and betrayal. Good Friday sees us walk the way of the Cross and to symbolically stand by the Cross until Jesus dies. It is a hard couple of days and they are days filled with emotion and personal pain for many of us.

Holy Saturday, is almost a 'nothing' day as we see Jesus laid in the tomb but ........ we have the glories of the Resurrection on Easter Day to look forward to and in doing so we hope for new life and for light to shine in the darkness. 

Keeping New Zealand in Our Prayers

Submitted by Rachael on Thu, 21/03/2019 - 17:59

Having not long returned from Christchurch New Zealand, the people of that city and wider country are not only in my prayers but the prayers of the congregation too. No one should be afraid to worship. Keep the prayers going and the candles lit.


Loving God, 

your ways are the ways of peace and love.

Help us to live lives guided by your ways.

We remember the people of New Zealand 

and most especially the people of Christchurch.

We pray for those who lost their lives, their loved ones

and all those injured and affected by the awful deeds done.

May peace, harmony and love reign;

In Jesus' name. Amen.