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 16 : Trinity + 5, Sunday 12 July 2020
COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all Your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve You in holiness and truth to the glory of Your name; 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 55:10-13, Psalm 65:9-13, Romans 8:1-11, St. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
WE PRAY for Bishop Kevin, and all churches as we prepare to re-open. We pray for the national economy, local businesses and farms, and for those who have lost their jobs.
THOUGHT for the WEEK: The readings this week are all about “sowing the seed”. This is of course the spiritual interpretation of faith, or growing in grace. In 1995 I moved from an inner-city Belfast parish to a rural parish in County Antrim. I was shocked by how little children seemed to know about their own countryside. In exasperation I asked the Sunday School do you not even know what a cow looks like? Don’t be silly Minister they replied, we’ve seen coos on Emmerdale! NB Antrim & Galloway have similar accents--- We can all be guilty of ecological ignorance. One of the negative aspects of lockdown easing has been people loutishly dumping their rubbish in beautiful rural and seaside resorts. The parable of the seed sowing is all about faith growing in the most unlikely places. Even on hard ground it can grow if watered. The watering is God-awareness in our lives, prayer, bible reading, worship, fellowship with each other (maybe by phone or internet). In rural Kent there is still a practise of the vicar, church- wardens and choir, walking the bounds of the parish, and asking God’s blessing on the crops. Sounds like a great idea. I am a big fan of the church being seen and I may have a cunning plan! By the way thank you to our local farmers and small businesses for literally keeping us alive. Stephen
QUOTE of the WEEK: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant”. Robert Louis Stevenson
NEWS: Under Phase 3 government legislation churches may re-open for limited public worship. Rather endure the stringent regime for Phase 2 private prayer only, waiting until the College of Bishop's implement guidelines SOON for regular worship seems more sensible. Meanwhile it is “business as usual” with Sunday outdoor prayers & pastoral care for all. SH
Although the Scottish government has announced that churches may re-open for private prayer, the Scottish College of Bishops have issued a lengthy document detailing how we must oblige certain requirements before we may proceed. Our vestries much first agree to re-opening, then the diocesan bishop’s approval be sought. The documentation is too detailed to print here but may be followed on
I will continue to say the office of Morning Prayer on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays inside our churches, with prayers said outside St. Mary’s and Greyfriars at Sunday service times for those who feel able to attend, and will advise you as soon as our beloved churches may be re-opened, albeit in a limited way.
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.
This is to confirm that Bishop Kevin becomes our new Bishop tomorrow, Wednesday 1st July. Please check out our website and social media platforms (detailed below) for further news, including details of the Diocesan litany video with voices from across the regions, which (at the time of writing this) should be available to view from the late evening of today, Tuesday 30th June (or early morning, Wednesday 1st July…).
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 ...
This is my final communication as your Interim Bishop, and it is simply to say thank you to you all for making us feel so welcoe. I have travelled across large parts of the diocese and even when the reason for meeting might have been to sort issues, you welcomed and supported me through it all.
I have visited wonderful places and joyful congregations, I have driven new roads and discovered unknown railways and stations. I think I now know the difference between Glasgow and all the other bits, and I no longer have to keep looking at a map!
I know you will welcome +Kevin and Elspeth and take them to your hearts and I am confident that the diocese will go from strength to strength.
So, thank you all again, Jane and myself look forward to seeing you all at the Cathedral when we can gather and formally welcome +Kevin into his Diocese.