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 19 : Trinity + 8, Sunday 2 August 2020
COLLECT: Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech You to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of Your laws and the works of Your commandments; that through Your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is alive and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
READINGS: Isaiah 55:1-5, Psalm 145:8,915-22, Romans 9:1-5, St. Matthew 14:13-22
WE PRAY for our churches as we prepare to re-open for public worship soon, for our local communities as we cautiously return to business and social interaction, welcoming visitors but praying for people to be considerate of others. We pray for + Kevin, the diocese of Glasgow, and our Galloway Regional Council of Episcopal churches.
THOUGHT for the WEEK: The feeding of the 5000 in this week’s gospel is about the rich symbolism of bread. Although no longer a staple diet in the West, it is still central to life itself in many poor countries today. Hence bread as the important symbolism in our eucharistic main act of worship ----soon to be enjoyed again! When many of us were growing up food may have been reasonably plentiful (thank you to those reading who endured rationing) but it was singularly unexciting. Diets now include Italian pizzas, French cheeses, and Chinese carry-outs. My grandchildren laugh at my meat and two veg thinking! On age and its value, Bishop Kevin addressed our virtual Galloway Regional Council of churches ( I attempted to chair it by zoom) recently and gave inspiring words of wisdom in recognising the post 60 status of most of us; God is faithful to us in love. Experience leads to truth. Have faith in doubts, the Holy Spirit may be speaking to you. Growing up I was taught to express gratitude for even small things. I hope at least one of the Disciples thanked the wee boy who shared his lunch with the 5000! Stephen
QUOTE of the WEEK: “Youth is wasted on the young!” Oscar Wilde
NEWS: Both vestries are working hard on implementing the stringent requirements for re-opening our churches for public worship, and we aim for Sunday 16th August. SH
In the light of the First Minister’s announcements on 9 and 14 July 2020 regarding entry into Phase 3 of the Scottish Government's Route Map, revisions have been made to the guidance originally issued on 6 July 2020 by the Advisory Group of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the pastoral guidance issued by the College of Bishops.
The main updates on previous guidance are:
Numbers permitted at worship in church buildings will be strictly limited to 50 people, with physical distancing remaining in place at 2m;
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.
Reflections/ My Manifesto for the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway
I believe in God.
I believe in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
I believe in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway.
And that is why I have responded to what I believe to be God’s call discerned with and through the College of Bishops, to come to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway.
Faithfulness is my strategic plan as I move to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. Faithfulness is an old fashioned word but at the electoral synod meeting, attended by the whole College of Bishops, during the group work it was the word faithfulness, that summarised my experience of that group and the whole electoral process in Glasgow and Galloway.
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 ...