Greyfriars and St. Mary’s is a linked charge of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. The church in Kirkcudbright dates back to Medieval times, and in Gatehouse of Fleet to 1840. We hope you will find in these pages welcome, inspiration and information.
We don’t go around the streets of Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright wishing each other a Happy Pentecost in the way that we wish each other a Happy Christmas and Happy Easter. Christian churches in the UK are much more shy about God as the Holy Spirit than our fellow Christians elsewhere. In churches in Greece and Cyprus, the worshipping congregation joins the crowds in the streets joyfully greeting one another. Church and community are one. Even in the Netherlands, and the Dutch are similarly conservative, Pentecost, or Pinterfest, lasts two days, and there are often family get-togethers. Nowdays socially distanced of course … The first Pentecost came at a highly significant time in the life of the early church. The first followers of Jesus had all gathered together. The first fears of the fearful knock on the door, and arrest by the Roman authorities or temple police; had subsided. But now they were in a sorry state; weak depressed, lonely, confused. Jesus had miraculously come back from the dead, but had now with the Ascension returned to heaven. The scene is set for us in the Acts of the Apostles When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house. Not only had God manifested Himself in the power, discernment, and comfort of the Holy Spirit, this was also the birth-day of the church. Following on from this, the bed-rock of the Church’s faith is the belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. God the Father Who loves us, God the Son who died for us, and God the Holy Spirit who enlightens and empowers us. Put another way, the three great festivals of the Church; Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Three good bases for life itself.
Weekly Pastoral Letter 10 : Pentecost, Sunday 31 May 2020
Pentecost prayer:God Who at this time taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending to them the light of Your Holy Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, Who is alive and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Readings: Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-37, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, St. John 20:19-23
We pray for our nation’s economic and social recovery, government and church leaders, health and care workers, elderly and young families, local businesses. We pray for civil rights in Hong Kong.
Rector’s “Thought for the Week”: A former bishop of Winchester said “I have known projects abandoned for lack of funds, but not for lack of the gifts of the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit may be the unseen One of the Holy Trinity, yet He is ever present. Recently I have been avidly reading a hero of mine, Florence Nightingale. Her popular image is of the “lady with the lamp” bringing medical care, hope, and comfort to the diseased and destitute troops of the Crimean War. Her real legacy was however the UNSEEN work of tireless organisational skills brought to the chaos. She also bequeathed us something very VISIBLE; modern nursing and ultimately the NHS. She struggled to explain to her generation the dangers of infection, as we have struggled in our generation to avoid coronavirus infection by necessary self-isolation and social distancing. Miss Nightingale left us very visible modern nursing. The Holy Spirit has left us the very visible Church worldwide. “Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost the disciples found it easy to do hard things” – A.J. Gordon, an American hymn writer and cleric. Stephen
News: Thank you for all who pray for me as I individually pray for you, and your families. This Pentecost Sunday I will say prayers outside St. Mary’s and Greyfriars at usual church times should you happen to be passing ! We pray for sister churches in ecumenical partnership. Greetings have been received from, and returned to, an old friend to both our churches; Canon Elliott Lindsley in New York. He is sorry he cannot be with us this year.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is broadcasting weekly Eucharistic services from their media channels.
The services are held in private with no congregation, in line with SEC guidelines following government advice to suspend church services as part of the national effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The communications team is pleased to announce that as of this Sunday [31 May] we will be trialling a method of joining our broadcast Sunday and Thursday worship services by telephone.
This service is designed for members of your congregation and your community who do not have access to the internet, but who wish to join our provincial broadcast services.
The service is run via Zoom, and as such there are a few steps for telephone callers to take to join the service, but we have aimed to make access as simple as possible.
The service is run via a freephone line and will not incur any charge to the caller when it is accessed via a landline or mobile phone from within the UK.
As we have no method of contacting the people who might want to use this service, because they do not have internet access. Please share the details where appropriate; however, in order to keep this service sustainable, we ask that you only distribute the details to those who you believe cannot access the internet, because there is a cost implication to the GSO, who will pick up the charges for every call. If someone has internet provision, we would ask them to continue to access provincial services online rather than by telephone.
Although our church services are in abeyance, the Rector will (sadly it has to be alone) pray the office of Morning Prayer in both our churches at the exact time when public worship would normally have occurred ie Sundays at 9.30am & 11am, Wednesdays St. Mary’s 9.30am and Thursdays Greyfriars 10am. During this private time of prayer I will pray for every church member and adherent and their families. Please email or phone me CONFIDENTIALLY any prayer requests. Fee free to join me in spirit.
I also intend to email or land-mail weekly a short meditation (not a sermon!), with news, prayers, and readings of the day (temporarily replacing the weekly pewsheet); posting this also on the website.
During my time alone in church I may take the liberty of appropriate clerical action against any spiders’ webs ...
The Scottish Episcopal College of Bishops has appointed the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson as the next Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway. He is presently Bishop of Argyll & the Isles, where he ministered for nine years, and prior to this was Dean of Edinburgh. We welcome him and his wife Dr. Elsbeth, and uphold him in our prayers.
Following the announcement by the First Minister that Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s route map will take effect tomorrow [Friday 29 May], the College of Bishops has confirmed that the minor easing of lockdown restrictions permitted under Phase 1 does not result in any change to existing guidance previously issued by the College of Bishops for the Scottish Episcopal Church. Church buildings therefore remain closed for the time being and the guidance issued on 23 and 26 March 2020 remains in place.
The Advisory Group established to provide guidance for SEC churches has had its first meeting and is working to address the respective phases of the Government’s route map. Initially, therefore, it is concentrating on guidance for Phase 2 which will be issued as soon as it is available.
When, in due course, the reopening of churches becomes permissible, as the College of Bishops has previously indicated, no church will be required to reopen against its will. The vestry of each church will be responsible for assessing, in the light of guidance produced, whether it wishes to reopen and is in a position to put in place the measures which will be necessary for any such reopening. It will then need to approach the Bishop for consent to reopen. Guidance will indicate the appropriate process to follow but, in substance, the intention is that both the vestry and Bishop will need to be content before any reopening can occur.
(The Church of Ireland and parts of the Church of England church buildings are now open for private prayer.)
I thought I ought to write to you all again, to update you and to share my thoughts and prayers with you.
I have been able through modern digital means, to attend staff group meetings and to join some of you for worship, that is enabling me, from the hills of Cromarty, to keep connected with you and with your diocese. I will keep trying to catch up with as many of you as possible, please bear with me.