Pastoral Letters

From Bishop Ian...

Happy Easter!

This has been a year of loss - work, businesses, patterns of living, mental health, family contacts, the deaths of so many people. We have also lost so much from the life of our churches. The clergy and vestries have worked very hard to maintain pastoral support, and online and on-paper services have enabled us to be part of the worshipping life of the Church. For some people this has meant feeling part of the Church for the first time in years, and for others it has been their first contact with any Church. But for most members of our Church it has not been the same, something has been lost.

The Court of Session’s recent Ruling against the Government’s lockdown closure of public worship is right, I think, to say that online worship can only ever be an alternative to in-person worship. That is how it has felt to most of us, but what is missing in the Judgement, I think, is a recognition that, in the circumstances of a major public health crisis, online worship has proved an acceptable and even vibrant alternative for many, including those who have felt separated from Church for so long. Someone said, a year ago, “Wouldn’t it be good if people said at the end of this time, ‘We couldn’t have got through it without the Church?’” I think there are many who would say that, despite the fact that for much of the time our church buildings have been closed.

Very thankfully, the re-opening of many of our churches in time for Holy Week and Easter is enabling people to participate in person in the worshipping life of the Church again. Congregations will be restricted to 50, and there will be other Covid precautions in place. But it means that many people will again be able to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church. Easter Communion is important to so many people because this is the time when we celebrate the heart of our faith. Not every church will be ready to open on Easter Day, but Easter is not a single day, it is a season of 50 days, and I hope that most congregations will be able to re-open for worship some time in Eastertide.

But let’s not forget that some will not yet feel ready or able to return to church. Online and on-paper worship will continue to offered so that people can stay in contact with worship. Congregations have always tried to reach out to people who cannot come to church, often because of health, and have kept in contact with sacramental and pastoral visits. But now technology now offers additional ways of including everyone.

We also have to keep asking whether, when the Pandemic is over, we really want to return to the world as it was? After all, that means loneliness, discrimination, inequality, privilege, and environmental destruction. How can we change anything? we say. But, as Archbishop Stephen Cottrell said, “Our [moral] compass has slipped; we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that things can’t change, that this is just the way the world is.”

In a world that needs to change, we have to be willing to change ourselves if we want the world to change. Crisis is an accelerator of change – and this crisis will speed up many changes that were already happening, including some that have been much needed in the Church. The world facing so many challenges needs a Church that is different and yet at its heart, the same - more humble, more simple, more generous, more hopeful, more loving.

Easter is about transformation, God bringing life out of death. As we gather in church or online or at home, I hope we can pray and reflect on what this means for us now. What needs to die, what needs to rise again, what needs to change in the Diocese, in each Charge, and in us, for us to become that Church?

I have now been serving as your Bishop for two and a half years, and have grown to love the people, the clergy and congregations, the communities and the landscape of this diverse and distinctive Diocese. Every day I thank God for calling me to serve you here, even as I ask him to show me how to do it better! I thank you for all that you are and all that you want to become, and pray that, by God’s grace, we will be what God would have us be.

With prayer and blessing for a very happy Easter,

Bishop Ian

News from the Scottish Episcopal Church

January 2021


Welcome to the first edition of 2021 of Inspires Online - the monthly electronic newsletter of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Inspires Online highlights news and events from across the Church and also includes news from organisations related to the Church.

It is good to hear from our readers so please do get in touch with us either by replying to this email or by contacting Donald Walker, Director of Communications at, or Aidan Strange, Digital Communications Co-ordinator at




New schedule for SEC online worship

The regular Sunday online worship provided by the College of Bishops is to be supplemented this year by broadcasts to mark many of the major feasts and festivals in the Calendar, as well as significant national commemorations.

The weekly Eucharist service has taken on increased importance once again with the return of lockdown, which has required places of worship to close their doors until further notice.

Just over one third of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s congregations can join online worship provided by their own church, but for others, the provincial broadcast might be their only opportunity to take part in joint worship.

A schedule of where each broadcast will come from has been planned for all Sundays from now until Easter 2, as follows (subject to any late changes):

31 January:         Diocese of St Andrews
7 February:         Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney
14 February:       Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway
21 February:       Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness (Lent 1)
28 February:       Diocese of Edinburgh (Lent 2)
7 March:              Diocese of Brechin (Lent 3)
14 March:            Diocese of St Andrews (Lent 4)
21 March:            Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney (Lent 5)
28 March:            Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway (Palm Sunday)
4 April:                 Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness (Easter Day)
11 April:               Diocese of Edinburgh (Easter 2)

A provisional programme is being prepared for beyond the existing schedule.

To accommodate additional broadcasts that fall on significant midweek calendar dates, it has been decided not to continue with Service of the Word or Evening Prayer on Thursdays, which ran weekly from May until it was temporarily suspended in November to allow resources to switch to Advent and Christmas worship broadcasts.

The effect will be to continue with, on average, one additional provincial worship broadcast per week, but without the regular Thursday slot. Some weeks there may be two midweek broadcasts, and other weeks might have none.

There will also be a full programme of Easter Week broadcasts, as happened last year shortly after lockdown was announced.

Meanwhile, online worship that was offered over the Christmas season appears to have been well received. Seven different worship broadcasts and two video messages from the Primus and the Church Leaders Forum were delivered over a nine-day period, along with daily video recordings of the O Antiphons.

Viewers commented on the high quality of contributions from musicians and singers across the province who participated across the services. Over 40 people took part, from all seven dioceses.

The highlight was arguably the creation of a provincial online choir for the Advent Lessons & Carols service. Organising and delivering the virtual choir service was an ambitious project and gratitude is due to those who answered late pleas to come on board and get involved. Feedback from some participants is that they thoroughly enjoyed being able to sing as a group, albeit at some distance in both space and time. The venture will be attempted again – but not every week!

List of churches offering online worship

As mentioned in the preceding article, around one third of Scottish Episcopal Churches are offering weekly online worship services.

A list of those that the SEC communications team is aware of is available here at the provincial  website.

The list was last updated on 30 November 2020, and will be updated again in early February. Any additions or amendments required should be sent to

Church makes clear its position on closures

Following media reports that church leaders had threatened legal action if the Scottish Government does not reverse its recent decision to close places of worship during the current phase of the Covid pandemic, the Primus issued a statement to make clear that the Scottish Episcopal Church was not part of the group seeking change.

“Having worked closely with the Scottish Government during the pandemic, alongside the Church of Scotland and many other denominations, in a bid to protect the vulnerable by stemming the spread of the virus, I would like to state that we have no part in the move to take legal action against the Government,” said the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the SEC.

A group of 500 church leaders – 200 from Scotland and 300 from elsewhere in the UK –signed a letter to the First Minister calling for her to lift the ban on communal worship, stating it would seek judicial review if the closure of churches is not dropped from lockdown restrictions. No SEC churches signed the letter.

The Church of Scotland has also distanced itself from the call for legal action.
Earlier in the month, the College of Bishops issued a pastoral message to the Churches and congregations of the Scottish Episcopal Church, at the onset of the latest lockdown.

“Many of us have watched, with growing concern, the rise in the number of those testing positive for Coronavirus,” said the Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops. “This rise has been seen right across Scotland during the past few weeks and may get higher still as the effects of the recent holidays become clearer.

“Many of our churches had already decided to remain closed or to suspend face to face worship as this situation unfolded, limiting the numbers to 20 people had given an added headache to our larger churches while sustaining the weekly opening regime had become exhausting for some of our smaller congregations. The awareness of the speed of transmission in the new variant had made it quite clear that the position of Places of Worship was becoming more and more difficult to sustain, a situation made clear by the First Minister.

“The re-closing of our churches is difficult, especially for those who have had the privilege of meeting together over the past few months, yet it is now what we must do. The provision of Provincial online worship will continue and many of our churches will meet together via a variety of platforms. We must continue to pray for each other, for the communities we serve and for the authorities charged with protecting the nation.

“Please continue to pray for the College of Bishops as we will continue to pray for you until with the help of science and our health service we can once again have the freedom to meet together.”


Argyll & The Isles election

At the time of writing, the Electoral Synod in the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles was preparing to meet to consider and vote on the three candidates who were short-listed for the episcopal vacancy.

The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, has been the acting bishop in the diocese since the translation of Rt Rev Kevin Pearson from Argyll & The Isles to Glasgow & Galloway in January 2020.

A report of the outcome of proceedings will appear in the February edition of Inspires Online.


Provincial Welcome Day

The annual gathering of clergy who have recently been ordained or joined the Scottish Episcopal Church from elsewhere, and for new Lay Readers, normally takes place in February at the General Synod Office in Edinburgh, as shown in the above photograph from last year.

This year, of course, a physical gathering is not permitted because of lockdown restrictions, but the day will still go ahead … drum roll … online via Zoom.

Around 18 invitations have been accepted for the 23 February event, to gain an overview of the work of the Province, and a brief overview of the work of each area of the General Synod. Guest speakers include the Primus, Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, Rev Dr Michael Hull, SEI Director of Studies, and Mr John Stuart, Secretary General of the GSO.

OnBishop Ellinah mourned in Scotland

News of the death in January of the Bishop of Swaziland, Ellinah Wamukoya, was received with great sadness in Scotland, where she was a great friend and a regular visitor thanks to the Diocese of Brechin’s long-standing relationship with the Diocese of Swaziland.

Bishop Ellinah, who was the first female bishop in the Anglican Church in Africa, had recently undergone surgery and was convalescing when she contracted Covid-19. She died in Eswatini on 19 January, aged 69.

She was widely known in the Province of Southern Africa and throughout the wider Anglican Communion for her advocacy of environmental issues and the integrity of creation, and in 2016, she was listed by BBC News as one of the 100 most inspirational and influential women in the world.

The Diocese of Brechin welcomed Bishop Ellinah to Scotland several times as part of the three-way relationship formed by the Dioceses of Brechin, Swaziland and Iowa, and she visited most recently in 2018 when she attended the consecration of Bishop Andrew Swift.

Visits to Swaziland – renamed Eswatini in 2018 – by representatives of Brechin Diocese have also taken place over years, including a youth pilgrimage and, in 2019, the installation of Mrs Patricia Millar (the Companionship Links Officer for the diocese) as a Lay Canon of All Saints’ Cathedral in the city of Mbabane.

Bishop Andrew said: “It is a devastating news that Bishop Ellinah has died.  She has been a great friend and support of the Diocese of Brechin for her time as Bishop of Swaziland and I found her a wise and insightful colleague as I have developed my understanding of the episcopacy.

“It was a privilege to have her attend my consecration and to visit her diocese in 2019.  She planned to retire later in 2021, so her death before she was able to end her ministry and spend retirement with her husband Henry and their family is very cruel.

“Bishop Ellinah was an inspiring bishop with a great and effective presence in the wider Anglican Communion as well as in her own province and diocese.  She will be greatly, greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.”

The Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange, added: “I spent time with Bishop Ellinah during meetings of the Anglican Bishops In Dialogue, and her joy in her ministry and her care for us all was wonderful.

“Her evening greeting of ‘Primus Mark have you been good today?’ accompanied by her wonderful smile will be a lasting memory.”


St Mary's hosts The Service on BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland programme The Service will feature Scottish Episcopal Church worship again on Sunday 7 February when it comes from St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of the Cathedral, will lead the worship, with intercessions from the Rev Canon Oliver Brewer-Lennon and music from the BBC archive of recordings from St Mary’s. The programme will be broadcast at 12 noon and will be available to watch again here shortly after transmission.

The SEC has also been represented twice recently on BBC One Scotland weekly worship programme Reflections At The Quay.

The Rev Maggie McTernan of St Margaret’s in Newlands, Glasgow, was one of the two hosts on 27 December. She was joined by the Rev Roy Henderson of Pollokshaws Parish Church. Music came from archives of hymns and carols recorded in earlier years, including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing from Old St Paul’s in Edinburgh.

Then on 24 January, the Rev Diana Hall, Rector of St Anne’s Scottish Episcopal and Methodist Church in Dunbar, co-presented Reflections alongside Church of Scotland minister the Rev Anikó Schuetz Bradwell of Humbie and Yester, Bolton & Saltoun parishes.

Music from archives included footage from St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, and there was also music in the studio from renowned accordion player Gary Innes. The broadcast is available to watch again online here:

Ms Hall has also appeared twice on radio recently. On 29 January she was a guest on the Daily Service programme on BBC Radio 4 LW, where she explored the theme of ‘Resurrection and the life everlasting’ as part of a series on the Apostles’ Creed.

The 15-minute programme, which is a mix of Christian reflection, worship and music, can be listened to again here.

The previous week, Ms Hall was the guest on BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought For The Day slot on 21 January. She spoke about singing, from sea shanties to Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken, as she discussed how congregations have missed being able to sing in churches during the pandemic, while adding that many of us across the country are still singing at home.

“Music has the power to reframe how we experience the world,” said Ms Hall. “When times are hard we might find we can sing of longings we dare not speak; that melody can give hope we struggle to find; and that a shared rhythm brings solidarity, helping us to keep on keeping on.

“We are all learning to sing a new song at the moment. As we do, may we find encouragement and hope for each new day.”

The programme is available to listen to again at the following link, with Ms Hall appearing at the 1hr 22 minute mark here.


Primus supports Covid vaccination programme

The Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange, has signed a joint statement with Faith Leaders from across Scotland in support of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The statement says: “We faith leaders in Scotland understand the difficulty that our communities are facing during this pandemic. We urge all faith communities to take measures that will ensure their safety and the safety of others. Furthermore, we support the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the community and we encourage people to be vaccinated so that they keep themselves and their neighbours safe.”

The full list of signatories can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Primus was also one of the joint signatories to an interfaith statement in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, although this time as the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, rather than as Primus or on behalf of the College of Bishops.

The UN Treaty came into legal force on 22 January 2021. It prohibits signatories from taking part in any activities involving nuclear weapons, including possessing, transferring, using, or encouraging use of nuclear weapons.

As part of the joint statement, Bishop Mark appears in a short video produced to demonstrate how people of diverse faiths in the United Kingdom welcome the treaty and share a common goal of a more peaceful world, which can be viewed here.

Later on the same day, Bishop Mark addressed an online peace vigil held by Pax Christi Scotland, part of a global movement which promotes peace, respect of human rights, justice and reconciliation.

He was joined by the Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Bishop William Nolan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galloway, and Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer, a member of the cross-party anti-nuclear group in the House of Lords.

The vigil contains a powerful personal reflection from Bishop Mark about his fear of nuclear war as a child and then a teenager, which starts at the 28-minute mark on this link.


SEC in the media

The coming of spring and the hope that it brings during these difficult days is the theme of the Rt Rev Anne Dyer’s monthly column in the Press & Journal newspaper.

The Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney talks about green shoots visible in the frozen ground, and the new life coming that is entirely beyond our control.

“If ever there was a time when hope is needed, surely it is now,” writes Bishop Anne. “For those of us for whom belief and spirituality are important, then our hopes are rooted in the saying of our prayers and believing in a higher power who loves us.

“For others it might mean looking on the bright side, seeing the best in any situation, being especially thankful for the words and actions of others which build harmony and peace.

“Hope is a precious thing, not something that we can grasp with our hands, but something more ephemeral. It has to be protected and nurtured.”

She concludes: “The tiny green shoots in my garden tell me that hope starts small and grows. The blossoming of a garden suggests that lots of tiny hopes build together into a force that moves people forward towards a better future.

“The occasional blue skies and sun on my face, even in Aberdeen in January, cause me to look up expectant of good days not too far ahead.

“I can’t help it, I am hopeful.”

The full article can be read here.

The Press & Journal also carried a news report update on the temporary closure of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, which can be read here.

Elsewhere, the Aberdeen Evening Express and the Inverness Courier picked up on the joint call by faith leaders in Scotland, including the SEC, for people across the country to accept the offer of a coronavirus vaccine. The story can be read here and here.

The Inverness Courier also reported on the decision at General Synod to back a motion which paves the way to a commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030, while also reporting on the Primus’ charge. The report is here.


In Fife, The Courier reported on St Lukes Scottish Episcopal Church in Auchmuty, Glenrothes, presenting its local primary school with 50 new computer tablets, as shown above.

“Church elders at St Lukes Scottish Episcopal Church in Auchmuty, Glenrothes, made the offer to Warout Primary School to help with blended and home learning for pupils,” said the report.

“The donation is part of a larger partnership planned between the church and school to support young children’s learning.

“It comes as a £380,000 refurbishment of the church, one of the oldest in the former New Town, nears completion.”

The full story can be read here.

Investment Committee seeks new recruits

The SEC’s Investment Committee is looking for a convener and two new members as it seeks to return to full complement in 2021.

The Committee is responsible for overseeing the performance of the SEC Unit Trust Pool. It meets two or three times a year with the Church’s Fund Managers to review performance and to discuss matters of policy. Membership of the Committee is suited to individuals with an active involvement in the investment industry.

Anyone interested in volunteering, or looking for more details, is encouraged to contact GSO officer Daphne Audsley by email at

Meanwhile, there are no committee reports to bring to readers in this edition of Inspires Online, but there will be an account of the January meeting of Standing Committee in the February edition.


To Absent Friends

A project to give people across Scotland an opportunity to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about people we love who have died led to a creative project in Forfar which culminated in the production of a short film and a video conference.

The pilot project was part of, and funded by, the To Absent Friends Festival.

St John’s Episcopal Church was approached by Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to consider becoming involved in a bid to encourage more openness about death, dying and bereavement.

“Clearly this is shared by faith communities and a range of community organisations,” says the Rev Elaine Garman, Rector of St John’s. “As a church community we were really interested and liaised with the HSCP on behalf of Forfar Action of Churches Together. We decided to invite people to contribute something in word or voice as we could not meet face-to-face during the pandemic restrictions.

“But we wanted to add more to it and decided to involve Angus Creative Minds, a not-for-profit centre with the focus of using creativity to benefit health and wellbeing. They interpreted the individual stories in visual form and created a short film. We then invited the contributors and others to an online video-conference event, facilitated by the Rector of St John’s, to view and discuss the film.

“The evaluation was extremely positive from participants, contributors and artists alike. Using local artists and listening to their feedback on the sense of privilege and responsibility of interpreting personal stories reinforced for those who were participating in the video conference a wonderful sense of hope and community. We plan to extend the event across Angus next year.”

The film produced through the collaboration of Forfar Action of Churches Together, Angus Health and Social Care Partnership and Angus Creative Minds can be viewed here.

Our photo shows, left to right, Elaine Colville, Senior Nurse for Palliative Care, Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, Sheila Newcombe, Angus Creative Minds, and Rev Elaine Garman, Rector, St John’s, Forfar.

Gender and Liturgy in Conversation

Bishop Ian Paton will be one of the guest speakers at an online conference, ‘Responding to the Sacred: Gender and Liturgy in Conversation’ in April this year.

The free event on Facebook and YouTube will feature a new panel discussion each day from 12 to 16 April, culminating in a plenary session and act of worship on Saturday 17 April.

Organisers say: “Taking in a wide range of perspectives, our speakers will discuss issues in the field of gender and liturgy, in the context of liturgical reform beginning within the Scottish Episcopal Church.”

Speakers include: Bishop Ian Paton (SEC), Merete Thommassen (University of Oslo), Bill Paterson (MindfulnessFife), Leon van Ommen (SEC, University of Aberdeen), Bridget Nichols (Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin), David Jasper (SEC, University of Glasgow), Lisa Isherwood (University of Winchester), and Beverly Clack (Oxford Brookes University).

For more information visit here.

How long, O Lord? 

The Covid-19 plague weighs heavy upon us, writes Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute, pictured right. As 2020 passed into 2021, New Year’s celebrations, if they occurred at all, were muted. Many of us had already begun to experience temporal disorientation: one day rolled into another with little differentiation. We were caught unawares by this plague last year; we’d come to think it’d be long over by 2021; but it drags on. Though an end may be in sight with vaccines, its variants and mutations push the goal posts farther and farther away. We ask with the Psalmist: ‘How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?’ (13.1).

It’s been far too long already. Not only has this pandemic cast into sharp relief the fragility of our lives on earth, but also the futility of looking to ourselves for relief. As the Psalmist says also says,
 ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish’ (146.3–4). The fact is that, on every level, we are doomed without God’s help. To put our trust in human leadership or ingenuity, to think that now is the time for nothing more than scientific research and fearsome endurance, is to miss the mark. This pandemic is wake-up call. In all its ugliness, this plague starkly reminds us that God alone is our salvation, that he alone is our defence, that we should trust in him at all times, and that we should pour out our hearts before him in prayer (Psalm 62). Not that it wasn’t the case in 2020, or at any time past, but 2021 is an opportunity for earnest prayer and supplication.

‘Prayer’, says St John Damascene, ‘is the ascent of the mind to God or the beseeching of good from him.’ Our Scottish Book of Common Prayer provides a prayer for times of sickness: ‘O Almighty and merciful God, with whom are the issues of life and death: Grant us, we beseech thee, help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality, and sanctify to us this affliction, that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Note the complexity of this prayer: it acknowledges that life and death are in God’s hand; and, whilst at the same time asking for deliverance and acknowledging distress, the prayer asks God’s help in turning our hearts to him. The prayer, in other words, recognises that hardship is an occasion for grace.

Were we to make this prayer our own and a staple of our devotions for 2021, grace would comfort us through the present (and ongoing) suffering. But there is much more to be had. That self-same grace will abide with us long after the pandemic has passed. It is grace, and only grace, that imparts the wisdom we need now and in future, for as St Paul reminds ‘this world is passing away’ (I Corinthians 7.31) and ‘our true citizenship is in heaven’ (Philippians 3.20). As the world is passing away, so too the pandemic will pass away; likewise, we shall be on this earth but a little while before we pass away. We may or may not be better off in terms of our physical health or material prosperity in the post-pandemic world. And it really doesn’t matter, because we were made for eternity (Ecclesiastes 3.11). Yet, if we are better off in terms of co-operating with God’s grace and valuing divine wisdom, having prayed fervently for deliverance from the scourges of Covid-19 and having put our hope in him, then there will have been a silver lining to the cloud that now overshadows us.

Our Prayer Book also provides a prayer of thanksgiving from sickness ‘O Lord God, who dost not willingly afflict the children of men, and in thy mercy has assuaged the grievous sickness that hath prevailed amongst us: Accept the praise and thanksgiving which we now offer unto thee for thy great goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ There is intuition in these alpha-and-omega prayers: the first is surely to be answered, which in turn demands the thanksgiving of the second. I’ve bookmarked both in my Prayer Book, anticipating the second every time I say the first.

‘How long, O Lord?’, asks the Psalmist, and so do we. In this New Year, like in no other year, let us lift our minds to God and beseech his grace and deliverance, lest us ask good from him, ever mindful that the greatest good to come after deliverance from this plague will not be our earthly well-being or a return to normal, but a renewed turn to God.

SEI’s next newsletter imminent

The January issue of the SEI Newsletter featured the ordinations of the Rev Harriet Johnston to the priesthood at St James the Less, Bishopbriggs, and the Rev Liz Crumlish as deacon at St Oswald’s, Maybole, both by the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. The newsletter also covered the SEI’s online weekend in December, and the Periodic External Review report. It can be accessed here.

The February edition will be published on Monday 1 February.

How to order 2021 Kalendar and Red Book

The latest version of the annual Kalendar of bible readings from the Scottish Episcopal Church contains all the references for Daily Prayer readings through the year along with all the holy days.

Following feedback in recent years, it now also includes the readings for Sunday Eucharists.
The Kalendar is an easy way of finding out which readings should be read in church or in private devotions and particularly this year might be useful to people sustaining their spirituality through daily prayer and bible readings at home.

In addition to the readings the Kalendar contains the Bishops' Instructions for Fasting, GMT/BST dates, sunrise and sunset times for Easter, key interfaith dates, a list of those saints' days next year which are omitted though falling on Sundays and other feast days and details of the main movable feasts for twenty years ahead.

Copies of the Kalendar, published by the Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, can be ordered here. The Kalendar is also available on kindle from Amazon here. (Works better on a tablet than a phone due to the tabular nature of the information).

Meanwhile, copies of the 2020/21 edition of the Scottish Episcopal Church Directory, aka The Red Book, are still available.

Each copy ordered costs £9 plus £3.20 for postage and packaging, subject to possible delay because of lockdown restrictions.

The book has been an annual fixture for over one hundred years, providing information and details about our churches, clergy and vestries.

Back copies of the 2019-20 version are also still available, at the discounted rate of £6, which is inclusive of postage.

To place an order, please send an email to

Zoom event: ‘Acting like a Christian’

How is acting like a Christian different from acting like everyone else?

Jesus says that everyone will know his disciples by their love. How are his disciples known in the twenty-first century by that criterion?

Michael Hull, SEI's Director of Studies, will facilitate a discussion titled 'What does it mean to love like a Christian (John 13.34–35)?' on Monday 22 February, from 7pm to 8pm, on Zoom.

"For five Monday evenings in Lent, we will consider these questions," says Rev Dr Hull. "We will look to the sources of Christian ethics: to God’s revelation in the Bible and in the world. We will look to constructively critical voices from scientists, philosophers and theologians. We will try to articulate principles to guide Christian behaviour as individuals and communities, to identify what place such principles have in the public square as opposed to private life, and to develop some facility to apply such principles to contemporary ethical questions."

Register here.




Rev Richard Cornfield will be appointed Priest in Charge at St Margaret of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Rev Alice Moira Grigor died on 27 December 2020 aged 71. She served as a Curate at Curry Rivel with Fivehead and Swell 1996-98. She then became a Curate at Nailsea Church with Tickenham 1998-2000. She was Team Vicar in Ross, Herefordshire 2000-06. She was Priest in Charge at Quinton and Welford with Weston, Gloucestershire 2006-14. She was Curate at Pebworth, Dorsington, Honeybourne 2011-14. She became Vicar at Quinton, Welford, Weston and Marston Sicca 2014-14. She retired in 2015 and held Permission to Officiate, Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness from 2016.

Rev Iain Lothian will be appointed Rector at St James the Less, Edinburgh on 6 May 2021.

Rev Paul Romano will retire as Rector at St Ninian, Glasgow on 30 May 2021.

Dr Jamie Wright will be ordained Deacon by the Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh on 28 February 2021. She will be appointed Curate at Old Saint Paul's, Edinburgh.




Vacancy: Rector, St Andrew, Callander & St Mary, Aberfoyle

Vacancy: House for Duty Priest, Saint Ninian’s Church, Glen Urquhart

Vacancy: House for Duty Priest: St Mary-the-Virgin, Stromness, Orkney

Vacancy: Christ Church, Kincardine O’Neil

Vacancy: Rector Of St Ninian’s, Troon



Across the Dioceses

For news of activities and events across the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church, check out the diocesan websites:

Aberdeen & Orkney
Argyll & The Isles
Glasgow & Galloway
Moray, Ross & Caithness
St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane



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Pastoral Letter from Bishop Ian - January 2021



Dear friends,

For most people Epiphany means Twelfth Night, 6 January, the last day of Christmas, when the decorations go back in the box and the Christmas tree is taken down for another year. But for others, including me, Epiphany not just one day but a Season that goes from the Feast of the Epiphany to the Feast of Candlemas, and the Crib stays in place and the tree lights are lit until 2 February.

Epiphany means ‘revealing,’ the revealing of Christ for all people, and the Season is the enactment of the journey of revealing that begins with the Magi following the star, continues with the baptism by John, then the calling of the disciples, and ends at Candlemas with the recognition in the Temple by Simeon and Anna. Epiphany is the continuing of the Christmas journey, a time to reflect on the meaning of these events, the Epiphanies that reveal who Jesus is. And as we make the Epiphany journey year after year, the revealing is different because we are different, the world is different.

For the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles Epiphany will include the revealing of a new ministry, as the Electoral Synod meets at the end of January to elect a new Bishop. Please pray for discernment by the Diocese, the Electors, and the candidates, this month.

The journey through Epiphany this year includes another journey, our continuing struggle with Coronavirus. Tragically, the journey has revealed inequalities and loss, and untold suffering. More than 100,000 in the UK have lost their lives, and more than 2 million worldwide. In Scotland, with a second period of Lockdown for most and ongoing restrictions for some, it is likely that greater restrictions may yet be needed. Vaccines and treatments are signs of journey’s end, but we still have some way to go. 

As this journey moves on, we have to keep on acting positively as churches. That does not mean exhausting ourselves (or our Clergy, Lay ministers and Vestry members) with anxious activism at a distance. It does mean attending to worship and witness in whatever ways are possible. 

Some voices have been heard demanding that the Government should allow churches to stay open for worship. Attending worship and attending to wellbeing are closely related, they say, rightly. But does that mean privileging places of worship over concert halls or sports grounds? All contribute to wellbeing, but all could potentially lead to transmission of the virus. 

Christmas and Epiphany celebrate the Incarnation, God with us as a human being among human beings. I think this means that the Church, the Body of Christ, is called to identify with the precautions demanded by Lockdown, not seek to stand above them. In this second Lockdown, as in the first, we have to offer witness and service to society by having to worship and minister in a different way.

We have gained much experience which gives us confidence for the task. We have learned that ‘Stay at Home’ need not mean ‘Stay away from Church.’ We have discovered how to do on-line and on-paper worship, and to try and include everyone. The SEC has developed and continues to offer online Eucharistic worship at 11.00am on Sundays, available via A number of churches also offer local worship online, listed And many clergy or ministry teams found that people really value receiving weekly readings, reflections, and prayers on paper, use them at home .

For personal prayer and devotion there are many resources available online, but I particularly recommend one which gives space for reflection and prayer based on a Scripture reading, and which I have been using every day. “Pray as You Go,” found at

We also have gained experience of keeping in touch with each other and offering pastoral support. We have come to understand that by joining in on-line or on-paper worship with the Church, by keeping in contact and offering support when it’s needed, and by continuing to contribute actively, financially and prayerfully, we can each play our part in the praying People of God.

In its long history the Church has continued its witness through wars, persecutions, and pandemics. And now it is our turn to witness in hardship. As has often been said, our church buildings may be closed but the Church itself remains open. It is important for this to be known in the community, and for the Church to be understood not only for looking after its members but for continuing to serve the whole community, especially in its witness of prayer. 

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who is the Light of the nations
and the Glory of your people,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

On this Epiphany journey, may God gladden our hearts with the good news of his kingdom.

Bishop Ian