News from the Scottish Episcopal Church

July 2020

Welcome to 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

Video supports return to public worship
The Rev Elaine Garman presents a guidance video

An increasing number of Scottish Episcopal Churches are preparing to re-open for public worship as part of Phase 3 of the Scottish Government Route Map out of lockdown.

Only a handful of our churches were in a position to re-open on 19 July, the first Sunday after the Scottish Government confirmed its guidance on re-opening for communal worship, placing a cap of 50 people in attendance at a worship service in a church building.

However, with the help of a guidance video produced to support Scottish Episcopal Churches who are working their way through the SEC Advisory Group guidance on Phase 3, a steady stream of applications for re-opening is reported across the province.

The College of Bishops stresses again that no church should feel under prerssure to open, and that it is fully expected that a significant number of churches will simply not be able to open at this stage, for a variety of reasons.

However, for those in a position where re-opening could be possible, the guidance video offers a demonstration of what Church may look like in Phase 3.

The video shows some of the new procedures, demonstrated by the Rev Elaine Garman at St John's, Forfar, and the Rt Rev Andrew Swift, Bishop of Brechin, that the congregation and worship leaders are required to use during worship. It is important to note that the video has been designed as a supporting resource for the official Phase 3 Guidance, rather than as a definitive guide in itself. Vestries considering re-opening their buildings should ensure to read the full Phase 3 Guidance document.

You can view the video at: Full re-opening guidance for Phase 3 is available on the SEC website, here.

In addition, a set of Frequently Asked Questions has been published by the Advisory Group, available here.
50 churches open for private prayer

Over 50 Scottish Episcopal Churches opened for private prayer after the Scottish Government announced Phase 2 of its Route Map out of lockdown.

We are now into Phase 3 of the Route Map, which allows churches to open for public worship up to a maximum attendance of 50 people at a service. Consequently, some churches have decided to stop private prayer and instead move to offering public worship, but as of 22 July the majority of SEC churches that have requested to open for prayer or worship had opted for private prayer.

A list of churches open for private prayer is available here.

The details published in the above link are subject to change in a rapidly moving situation, and it is expected that some churches will now opt to move from private prayer to public worship. The list available here will be updated when new information becomes available. However, it is recommended that anyone wishing to attend a church for private prayer should seek confirmation of stated opening times locally.

If any church has been omitted in error or halted private prayer, or if any details are inaccurate or have been revised, please contact

Why I welcome a return to our church buildings

The Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute, reflects on the opportunity presented to return to his church for prayer.

We can pray at any time and in any place, writes Rev Dr Hull. St Paul reminds us to pray without ceasing and to give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5.16). God has made everything and is present everywhere. The Covid-19 pandemic, though, has limited our options, particularly in terms of communal prayer in our churches. Private prayer – turning our minds and hearts to God, reading Holy Scripture, using the Prayer Book or availing ourselves to online services – has become the order of the day.

Now, with the easing of restrictions, we can go back to our churches for private prayer. I can’t wait. Although there’s nothing lacking in prayer at home or outdoors, there’s nothing quite like praying in our churches, even without services, because we’re never alone in a church. A church is never ‘my space’; a church is always ‘our space’. As beautiful as my home may be, as magnificent as the great outdoors are, a church isn’t just a building. Every church is purpose-built by us, the people of God, to God’s glory and for worship. When we can’t get together in church, the presence of our God and of God’s people still abides there uniquely.

I once heard a moving story about a church’s restoration. Because of a generous and unexpected legacy, a congregation had more than enough money to do up their old tattered church, from a radiant-heating system below the floor to a new roof. Everything was to be replaced or redone – except the pews. The members were reluctant to refashion them. You see, the pews were original to the church. They were well-worn with time, even threadbare in places. The nicks and the chips, the lumps and the bumps, the scratches and the scrapes had all been made by their forebears in faith who, by their rising to sing and to praise, by their sitting to listen and to reflect, and by their worshiping generation after generation, had weathered those pews with their baptisms and funerals, Morning and Evening Prayers and innumerable services throughout the years. The pews, at least for this congregation, stood as a reminder that when one prayed in them, one was part of their Christian community – past, present and future.

As the Covid-19 pandemic wanes and we are allowed back in our churches for private prayer, I am so glad to be back. It’s not because God’s presence is lacking elsewhere, but because God’s presence is so tactile there, akin to Jesus’ Incarnation. I am in my weakness a wee bit like Doubting Thomas in so far as I want to see and to feel (John 20.24–27). I can’t wait to slide into a familiar pew. I can’t wait to pray and to give thanks, even in an empty church, confident that when I do, I’ll not be alone but with God and God’s people.

Statement on slavery and racism

At the end of June, the College of Bishops issued a statement in response to the recent outpouring of anger and hurt by people who are discriminated against because of their ethnicity. The College wishes to express solidarity with those affected by these issues, and also recognises that our church, like most historic UK institutions, must examine its own history in this regard. The following statement is offered both to the SEC’s own diverse church community and as a contribution to the wider conversation:

“The Scottish Episcopal Church believes that all human beings are created in the image of God. We believe that slavery and racism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It pains us to recognise that neither the past nor the present life of our society is immune from the consequences of these evils.

“We acknowledge that the slave trade brought wealth to Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and that our church, like many other institutions in this country, benefited from this wealth (notably in the foundation of a number of our church buildings). We further acknowledge that the attitudes which excused trade in human beings in the past continue to foster both overt and institutionalised racism in our own century. We seek to make ourselves aware of these attitudes, to repent of them and to apologise to all who continue to bear the consequences of slavery and racism.

“We also wish to make clear that modern day slavery in any form is wrong and we will seek to call it out. The gospel imperative is to love our neighbour, to privilege the poor and bind up the broken-hearted. We are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Therefore we commit ourselves to continue to work further with all people on existing and new initiatives to eradicate slavery, racism and other injustices in the world today.”
Bishop Kevin translates to Glasgow & Galloway

The Rt Rev Kevin Pearson became the 15th Bishop of the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway, upon his translation from the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles on 1 July.

The enthronement of Bishop Kevin was originally to have taken place with a service at St Mary’s Cathedral on 4 July, but this had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

A service of welcome will follow, when appropriate. At present, Bishop Kevin will remain physically based in Argyll & The Isles until circumstances allow him to move to Glasgow.

Bishop Kevin demonstrating a maskHis first service as Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway was on 5 July, as part of the service broadcast by St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, and can be seen here.

He also led the provincial Eucharistic service from St Mary’s, Glasgow on 19 July, the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost. Watch it here.

Bishop Kevin, who recently marked the 40th anniversary of his ordination, has said that since being elected Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, he has been asked frequently what his strategy and Mission Plan will be. He replied:

“I believe in God.
“I believe in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
“I believe in the Diocese of Glasgow & 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 & Galloway.

“Faithfulness is my strategic plan as I move to the Diocese of Glasgow & 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 & Galloway.”

His full response, and reflections, can be read here.

The See of Glasgow & Galloway became vacant in 2018 following the retirement of the Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan who had served the diocese as Bishop for eight years.

Bishop Kevin has served as Bishop of Argyll & The Isles since February 2011 and before that was Rector of St Michael & All Saints Church in Edinburgh, Canon of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh and the Provincial Director of Ordinands (responsible for the discernment and selection process for candidates for ministry). He is also currently the Convener of the Council of the Scottish Episcopal Institute (responsible for the training of those entering authorised ministry) and serves on the provincial Standing Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Bishop Ian’s message to Argyll & The Isles

The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, has written to all those in the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles as he takes on the position of acting Bishop following the translation of Bishop Kevin Pearson from Argyll & The Isles to Glasgow & Galloway. His letter appears below:

Dear friends,

This is a time of change in every way. Especially for Bishop Kevin and Elspeth as they move to a new ministry and (when the situation allows) to a new home in Glasgow. They take the love and thanks of the Diocese with them, and they have all our prayers as Bishop Kevin takes office in Glasgow & Galloway.

The process of electing a new Bishop of Argyll & The Isles now begins, while the daily ministry and mission of the Diocese continues. As the Acting Bishop, appointed by the College of Bishops, I’m delighted to be at the service of the Diocese, and to send greetings and best wishes to you and to each congregation. Bishop Kevin served as Acting Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane before my own election, so it feels very good to be giving the same gift to Argyll & The Isles. Please pray for me, as I will for you. I never take it for granted that in each Diocese the Bishop is prayed for, every day. But across the SEC we’re also now praying for all of you, the clergy and people of this Diocese, as you begin the journey towards the election of a new Bishop.

What is the role of an Acting Bishop? It means being available for episcopal ministry in the Diocese, such as Confirmations and Institutions, presiding at Diocesan Synod, overseeing and guiding the life of the Diocese, and most of all offering pastoral support and encouragement to clergy and congregations. Once the Covid-19 situation has changed I will hope to be with you regularly. Until then, I will be supporting you, and especially the Diocesan staff and officials, from here. So please do not hesitate to get in touch, via the Bishop’s Office. 

This is a time of hope for the Diocese, but also a time of anxiety for the world. The Covid-19 Pandemic is just beginning in some places, such as South America, where its devastating effects are still to be seen. And in Scotland, as we move through the phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions, we may hope to worship in church again but we also have worries about being prepared. Good news about schools returning, workplaces and shops re-opening, and freedom of movement restored, is mixed with worries about wellbeing and mental health, those who have to shield, people losing their jobs, and the ongoing reality of climate crisis.

I have two posters on my wall: one says ‘Keep calm and carry on,” the other “Now panic and freak out.” They sometimes feel appropriate for a Bishop’s office! But at the moment they seem to be saying what many of us feel in this situation that changes every day.

They make me smile, but I hope they also keep me humble. Because, going through this terrible pandemic, and coming out of the restrictions of lockdown, we have to keep God’s love in the front of our minds. It is God’s love that accompanies us when we stagger from calm to panic and back again, God’s love that gathers us whether in church or online, and God’s love that leads us into the future as a Diocese and as God’s world.

With love and blessings, Bishop Ian.
Round-up of media coverage

The Scottish Episcopal Church has featured in a significant amount of media coverage in recent weeks, although none more unexpectedly or regrettably than in the aftermath of a tragic situation in Glasgow city centre.

Six people were taken to hospital with serious wounds after an incident at a hotel housing asylum seekers during the coronavirus lockdown, and a man was shot dead by armed police.

The SEC was contacted by Channel 4 News that evening, looking for an interview with a church representative in Glasgow, and The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, spoke to presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy live from the incident cordon, about the anxieties of the asylum seeker and refugee community in the city. The report can be seen here.

The Provost was also interviewed about the incident and its effect on Glasgow by Sky News, BBC News and the Press Association, and was heard on Classic FM news the following day.

Bishop Ian Paton’s contribution to the June edition of Inspires Online – ‘Black Lives Matter’ – prompted an interview with a reporter from The Times newspaper, which those with a Times subscription can read here.

The subject of Black Lives Matter was also highlighted in the Edinburgh Evening News, where a mural outside St John the Evangelist on Princes Street questioned the values which led to the building of monuments to those who benefited from the slave trade. The mural depicted the column in St Andrews Square on which stands a statue of Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount Melville, presenting the structure as made up of building blocks representing contradictory old and new values, alongside the caption ‘Wish you weren’t here’. The story can be read here.

A considerable amount of coverage addressed the re-opening of church buildings for private prayer and then for communal worship.

The re-opening of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh for private prayer was covered by most of the national press, including The Times, The Guardian and The Scotsman, as well as STV.

Preparation for Phase 3 re-openings was covered by the Glasgow Times, which carried an interview with Rev Canon Gordon Fyfe, Synod Clerk of the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway. Read it here.

Bishop Anne Dyer was featured in a Press & Journal report about places of worship preparing to reopen for services across north and north-east, and a report in The Sun about the decision not to allow communal singing in churches included the Scottish Episcopal Church’s position.

The re-opening of churches on a Sunday for the first time since March saw two out of the three ‘open’ SEC churches feature in the media. The Daily Mail carried a report and photo of the Primus welcoming worshippers to St Margaret’s in Aberlour, and footage from this service was shown on BBC Reporting Scotland and BBC Scotland’s news programme The Seven. A report on the BBC website also highlighted and provided a link to the re-opening guidance video produced by the SEC.

A further report on the guidance video will appear in the 24 July edition of the Church Times.

In addition, the Press & Journal covered the re-opening of St James’ at Stonehaven, along with photos of the socially-distanced congregation.

Unfortunately, a late change meant that the Rev Canon Dr Marion Chatterley, Vice-Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, was unable to appear on the BBC One worship programme Reflections At The Quay at the start of July, and although the Vice-Provost was set to appear at a later date, the BBC then ended transmission of the weekly faith programme.

The SEC has received a number of queries asking why Reflections At The Quay has been stopped, at a time when only a fraction of churches are able to re-open for communal worship, attendance is capped, and many worshippers do not feel comfortable about returning to communal spaces. Anyone wishing to raise the matter should contact Ian Small Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs, BBC Scotland, on

Rounding up, the SEC has also been mentioned in several media reports about joint representation with other churches and bodies over issues such as the debts of poor countries (The Guardian), safe passage for child refugees (Christian Today), human rights in Iran (Church Times), and climate change (The Catholic Universe).
Our Digital Church

Eighteen curates of the Scottish Episcopal Church gathered on Zoom last month for a day-long training session with Petko Marinov, the Digital Missioner of Glasgow & Galloway, for an extended version of Our Digital Church - a course aiming to equip Episcopalians with the necessary skills to represent our Church and congregations better online through an increased understanding of the digital world and the missional opportunities within it, be it church websites and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or even e-mail.

The session was organised by the Rev Canon David Paton-Williams and the Very Rev Sarah Murray who oversee the formation of curates across Scotland.

In a lively discussion, the curates joined by Sarah, David and Petko explored ways to audit their local church presence, craft an authentic voice for their digital communities and curate content that brings the Good News to all people. Tips were shared about developing a routine of digital representation that is faithful to the teachings of the Church supported by further knowledge of the missional opportunities to be found online and the potential to be the Church and interact on a worldwide scale in movements of social justice and responsibility like Care for Creation and Black Lives Matter.

Our Digital Church began in the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway in 2019 as a follow-up to a previous course on the internet and social media for beginners, organised by the Canon and Digital Missioners of the Diocese to build up necessary digital skills across Episcopal communities. Both courses ran three sessions each with interest from across Glasgow & Galloway, as well as the neighbouring dioceses. Our Digital Church is to be offered again in further settings and shareable educational material from the course is being produced.

If you would like to know more about Our Digital Church, future offerings and resources, contact Petko at
SEC broadcasts its first-ever online Gaelic service

The Scottish Episcopal Church – aka Tha Eaglais Easbuigeach na h-Alba – broke new ground in July with the broadcast of its first-ever online Eucharist in Gaelic.

The Rev Canon Dr Iain McRitchie led a Celebration of the Eucharist for the Feast of St Drostan from St Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness.

The service attracted over 1,000 views on Facebook and YouTube, and was then picked up by Gaelic television channel BBC Alba. Clips from the broadcast were shown on news programme An Là on Saturday 18 July.

Iain was joined digitally by John Varwell as a reader and Precentor. The congregation in the Psalm was made up of Stephen, Rachel and Anna Varewell; and Seamus, Maggie, James and Eoghann Campbell from Skye.

The Gospeller was the Rev Canon Simon McKenzie, Priest in Charge of Mid Argyll and Arran.

Music was by Soisgeul – The Gaelic Gospel Choir, with grateful thanks to Mary Ann Kennedy and Gareth Fuller; and the Inverness Gaelic Choir conducted by Jamie MacGregor.

’S math a rinn thu, a h-uile duine!

The service – with English subtitles available by enabling captions - can be viewed here.

Journal explores ‘Church, Ministry and Coronavirus’

The Summer 2020 issue of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal is available online. 

Entitled ‘Church, Ministry and Coronavirus’, the issue was conceived as the nation entered ‘lockdown’ and the churches with it. The impact on our lives is unprecedented. Significant theological concerns have come to the fore in the worldwide crises of the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue of the Journal reflects not only on the life of the Church, but on society, community and the value of human life. Responses to the pandemic by Governments around the world have curtailed freedom of movement and worship, social interaction, and economic activity. The virus’s devastation of death and illness dominates our news feeds. And in its wake, there are increasing levels of mental illness, child abuse and domestic violence; there is confinement of vulnerable people to homes where they are unsafe; and there is concern that the pandemic is being exploited to corrode civil liberties and to subvert democracy. 

‘Church, Ministry and Coronavirus’ draws together contributions from a variety of disciplines to resource the people of God in their exploration of the issues and discernment of the theological truths to be applied now and in the coming years. The present crises demand our theologically informed vigilance. In the bedrock of our Christian faith is the belief that each and every human being is created in the image of God and that the glory of God is each one of us fully alive and flourishing in a community of persons. In a time when a cacophony of voices shout for our attention, the prophetic voice of the Church is urgently needed.

The Journal can be accessed via the SEC website here.

In addition, the July/August edition of the SEI Newsletter can be accessed here.

Don’t forget the lockdown ‘lifers’

In her latest column for the Press & Journal newspaper, Bishop Anne Dyer reminds us that lockdown was a way of life for many people long before coronavirus, and asks that we do not forget them as restrictions are eased for the rest of the country.

“Age and various kinds of ill-health confined people to their homes. And of course, not just them, but also to a significant degree their carers,” writes the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney.

“Over the last few months we have been sharing some of their experiences. We now appreciate what it means to be confined.

“We understand what is missed when a person is not free to go out when they want. We are frustrated when the world just does not work that well for us any more.”

She continues: “It would be really good if we could carry the memory with us of our experience of not going out, and use this to make sure that those who live at home all the time have a better experience of being a part of our common life.”

You can read the full article by clicking here.
Trans-Atlantic solidarity over racial justice

Scotland and the US joined in prayer and solidarity in a recent online vigil for racial justice hosted by St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee.

In a powerful address, Donna Scarfe and Bishop Alan Scarfe of the Diocese of Iowa spoke about the situation in the US and highlighted some of the inherent issues of racism from centuries ago that still stand today. Over 80 people from Scotland, the US (and at least one from Israel-Palestine) joined in prayer and worship in solidarity and protest at the events that have unfolded in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US and the alarming responses by some in power.

"Thoughts and prayers are not enough," was the challenge that Donna left the audience with as she shared from her personal and family experience.

The vigil was arranged by the Rev David Gordon, Interim Priest at St Paul’s Cathedral, Stuart Muir, the Pastoral Musician, and hosted on the evening by Elliott Scarfe, the Bishop’s PA and Zoom expert.

The service was supported by members of the Diocese of Brechin and the Diocese of Iowa with liturgy being led by representatives from both areas of participation.
Inverness Cathedral aims to ‘inSpire’

As lockdown settled in and the variety of grants became available for charities, a number of applications were made from St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, writes the Very Rev Sarah Murray, Provost of the Cathedral.

It was with great delight and some surprise that we were successful in our application to the Well Being Grant, which was operated by the Corra Foundation, we were granted £21,500. This fund is specific to the needs of the community in light of COVID-19.

‘inSpire’ is the outreach project at the Cathedral, the Church in the Community. In a usual year we provide a Winter Jacket Bank and a School Uniform Bank and a Holiday Lunches with Activities. This grant will enable us to extend the number of families we shall be able to support. We anticipated that we would be serving 50 lunches each day we offer them through the summer holidays, however with just under a week to go before the holidays begin, we have already received 120+ applications for lunches. We offer lunches to all children and young people aged 0-18 years of age and cater for all dietary and allergy requirements. 

The ‘inSpire’ Project will be open three times a week and as families come to collect their lunches, they will be able to order school uniform and winter jackets for the new school year. We are currently in the process of securing further funding for the lunches to ensure that we turn no one away at this time.

Footnote: the name of the project ‘inSpire’ came from the fact that the Cathedral has no spires, although they were in the original plans and funds ran out before the building of the spires on top of the tower could be completed. We also hope that the project will offer some inspiration and hope to those we welcome into our doors.
Standing Committee report

The provincial Standing Committee met towards the end of June.

Normally, the annual meeting in June allows some reflection on the meeting of General Synod. In the absence of a Synod meeting, this year afforded no such possibility but active consideration was given to the holding of a meeting of Synod later in 2020. The Committee took the view that it would not be appropriate to organise a physical meeting of Synod. Whilst recent news has been encouraging in terms of bringing coronavirus under control in Scotland, there remains considerable uncertainty as to what the position might be in the months ahead. The Committee did not wish to expose Synod members to having to travel unnecessarily to a physical meeting, nor to expend time and resources in organising such a meeting which might, in the event, have to be cancelled at short notice.

Instead, therefore, the Committee intends to arrange a virtual meeting of Synod in either late November or early December. At this stage, specific details about the meeting remain to be worked up but the Committee intends that the agenda will be restricted to a single day, which is expected to be a Saturday, to maximise attendance. The meeting will focus on business of a less complicated nature and which can be addressed in a virtual meeting. Advice is being sought as to whether the meeting can properly be constituted as a legal, and formal, gathering of the Synod or whether it needs to be regarded as “informal” with decisions being ratified subsequently at the next physical meeting. More information will be made available to General Synod members as soon as we are in a position to do so.

In a discussion about longer term strategic matters, the Committee took stock of how the pandemic and lockdown had been affecting the church generally including a report on financial matters, benefiting from information supplied from dioceses. The Committee was apprised of the work of the Advisory Group which has produced guidance for congregations for both Phases 2 and 3 of the Government's route map. Board conveners and staff also reported on recent developments within provincial boards and committees. Preliminary consideration was given to the question of provincial quota for 2021 but no decision has yet been taken as to proposals to be brought to a future General Synod.

The Committee also noted the extensive work undertaken in recent weeks by the provincial communications team, including the much-appreciated twice weekly offering of provincial online worship. As has already been publicised, the Committee confirmed provincial grant payments to Aberlour Childcare Trust, Scottish Women's Aid and the Scottish Association for Mental Health of £20,000, £15,000 and £15,000 respectively to assist those organisations address particular needs arising in connection with the pandemic.

Finally, the Committee agreed the dates for General Synod in 2022 as 9 – 11 June. (The dates for the 2021 General Synod had already been set for 10-12 June and it is hoped that, by that time, a physical gathering of Synod will be possible.)
Glen goes online

The Provincial Youth Week (known as “Glen”) is going online this summer. COVID-19 has meant that this popular annual event held at Glenalmond College has been cancelled, but during lockdown young people and youth leaders from all over the Province have stayed in touch online for youth-led Zoom worship, games and conversation.

In June, the Glen leadership team sent out an online survey to ask who might be interested in a virtual Glen during the first week of August, and the response was very positive. This has led to the planning of Glen 20 Online. The theme is ‘Heroes?’ – looking at men and women in the Bible and in our world today who are surprising or reluctant heroes, and exploring what they can teach us about living out our faith. While face-to-face Glen cannot be replicated, there will be a daily opportunity for young people to get together for worship, house groups, fun, challenges and chat.

With a mixture of morning, afternoon and evening activities, plus some offline things to do, it is hoped that lots of young people (“delegates” at Glen) will be able to join in. The event is made possible by the hard work and enthusiasm of Provincial Youth leaders, nearly all of whom volunteer their time and energy each year.

Bookings closed on 22 July, but for further information, contact the Provincial Youth Committee Enabler, Claire Benton-Evans
Safeguarding young people online

The Scottish Episcopal Church has produced a new guide to good safeguarding practice for church leaders who are connecting with young people online. Young people are used to inhabiting online spaces where they work together, play together, share, socialize and develop friendships. During lockdown and in times of social distancing, being in community with our young people means joining them in these online spaces. This is new territory for many adults, and we are unsure of the ground. There is detailed guidance on the safe use of Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook and more: you can read these essential guidelines in full on the Provincial website here.

In the media, the expression “a headline that sings” is industry-speak for an effective way of drawing attention to a story and impressing the reader. The red-top press are the main exponents of such a technique, and The Sun provided a fine example when reporting on the return of public worship earlier this month. The focus of the story was the restriction placed on singing. The headline? ‘Silence of the psalms’.
Child Poverty Fund seeks new applications

Earlier this year the Scottish Episcopal Church launched a fund to help to target child poverty in Scotland.

Grants of up to £5,000 have been made available, on successful application, for a pilot period of one year for congregational programmes specifically focused on the alleviation of the effects of child poverty.

The initiative followed a discussion on child poverty at General Synod 2018. The church recognises that child poverty is a wide-ranging and complex issue and encourages its congregations to work with other partners whether ecumenically, with other faiths or with secular groups/agencies.

The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and member of the Mission Board, said: “This is an important way for the Scottish Episcopal Church to put faith into action. Churches are in a good position to know the needs of their communities.”

The Fund is managed through the Church in Society Committee of the SEC, on behalf of the Mission Board, and the Committee is delighted to report that two congregations have made successful applications so far this year. St John the Evangelist, Alloa, is supporting their local primary school with the provision of school uniforms for the new academic year in September. School uniforms and decent new clothing is important to maintain a common identity among all the pupils, so that those children whose families are basically living in poverty are not discriminated against in any way when they come to school.

The Baby Bank project at St Paul’s & St George’s, Edinburgh, provides new and expectant parents in financial difficulty with a ‘Starter Pack’ of essentials, which supplement the Scottish Government Baby Box scheme. The church believes that through building relationships they can enable and assist families living in poverty to access the full range of support that is available to them through Government and charitable schemes, as well as providing supplemental essentials.

Both projects support families in a practical way, and the Church in Society committee believes that they show how the love and compassion of God can be realised through the work of the church in our communities.

The Acting Convener of the Church in Society Committee, Rev Elaine Garman, said of the Fund: “We are encouraging a diversity of initiatives to seek funding. We wish to aid those who are in need, enabling them to access resources and opportunities, and empowering them to use their skills and gifts. With the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are aware that many families may be struggling to make ends meet, and we particularly encourage congregations to look at how they can assist their communities at this time, and invite them to seek funding from the Child Poverty Fund.”

Details of criteria for selection and how to apply can be found here.
Lambeth postponed by further year to 2022

The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that the next Lambeth Conference will be in the summer of 2022, following the postponement of this year’s scheduled event because of the coronavirus epidemic and global restrictions on travel and mass gatherings.

When postponement of this year’s gathering in Canterbury was announced in March, it was expected that the event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021. That timetable has been revised by putting the conference back by a further 12 months.

This decision follows extensive consultation with various parties including the Anglican Primates. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was part of that consultation and supports the decision.

Bishop Mark Strange said: “The conference should only take place when we are confident that the majority of Provinces will be able to attend.”

Announcing the decision, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is convener of the Conference, said: “As with most large-scale events and conferences of this nature, planning in such an unstable climate is difficult. As an international gathering there are a significant number of uncertainties that make preparations for a 2021 meeting challenging.

“Whilst some lock down measures are starting to ease in some countries, social distancing measures, travel restrictions and quarantine measures could impede logistics and delegates’ travel planning for the foreseeable future.

“There are also the risks of a potential second wave of the virus and the reality that there are different phases in how the pandemic is spreading around the world – with no vaccine yet available that is something we have to take very seriously. The safety and health of conference delegates is of utmost priority.”

The Archbishop also indicated that there will be opportunities for conversations and debates to take place digitally in the lead up to the Conference. Bishop Mark supported that plan, saying: “The Scottish Episcopal Church will fully participate in the preliminary work of the bishops, just as we will enter into the life of the conference itself.”
Ministry in the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane

Three new Honorary Canons have been appointed at St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth:

The Rev Canon Celia Matthews, in thanksgiving for her ministry to the Diocese in education, spirituality, and at the Cathedral, and her service as one of the first women ordained to the priesthood in the SEC 25 years ago.

The Rev Canon Professor Trevor Hart, as Canon Theologian, in thanksgiving for his ministry as theologian and teacher, as priest and Rector, and as Diocesan Coordinator of CMD.

Canon Dr John Ferguson-Smith, first Honorary Lay Canon, in thanksgiving for his many years of ministry as Convener of the Diocesan and Provincial Administration Boards, and as a Lay Eucharistic Minister.

Their Installation will take place at a suitable occasion when gatherings become possible. It is also hoped that Diocesan Ordinations of Annie Hughes (priest at St John, Perth) and Josh Cockayne (deacon at the Cathedral) will be celebrated in October, even if the numbers of those attending still need to be restriced. 

The Rev Steve Butler will be moving to Pittenweem in the East Neuk of Fife in late July, and will be Licensed as Priest-in-Charge of St Michael, Elie and St John, Pittenweem on 1 August, while the Rev James Bryson, has decided to resign as Rector of the East Perthshire Linked Charge. James’s final Sunday was on 19 July. Prayers have been asked for as James and the congregations look to the future.
New Liturgy Committee convener

In June 2020, Rev Canon Dr Nicholas Taylor became convener of the provincial Liturgy Committee. Dr Taylor is Rector at St Aidan’s, Clarkston, in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, and has been a member of the Committee since 2015. He is a theologian specialising in New Testament studies, and has also served on the Doctrine Committee. He is as a member of the academic staff at the Scottish Episcopal Institute, as well as being on the Editorial Board of the SEI Journal. 

The Faith & Order board, and members of the Liturgy Committee, express their thanks to Dr John Davies for his dedicated leadership as convener through the last five years, and wish him well in the future.
Faith, football and funding

Football’s Faithful Fans was published last year to provide an entertaining volume of pieces from supporters of Scottish football teams, most of whom were people of Christian faith who reflected (lightly) on how their faith in their team could be tested sorely at times. 

All profits from sales of the book were to be allocated to the Homeless World Cup for a dedicated fund to assist African teams participating in the annual tournament and to fund their projects to help disadvantaged people change their lives through sport. The founder of the Homeless World Cup, Dr Mel Young, wrote a foreword to the book.

The Global Partnerships Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church made a grant to the costs of publication of £500. The publisher was Siglum, part of Ekklesia, an independent, not-for-profit thinktank which orients its work around the changing role of beliefs, values and faith/non-faith in public life.

“Anyone whose life combines faith and football – and the personal trials that come with both – will enjoy this lovingly gathered collection of stories” says Graham Spiers, the esteemed sportswriter and broadcaster.

The bad news is that fewer than expected copies have been sold through Amazon, Waterstons and other outlets and the profit margin on these has been significantly lower than anticipated. It is hoped that renewed and improved marketing and promotion of the book will improve sales.

The good news is that the book has sold well at events such as Iona Community Week in Ireland, the Homeless World Cup in Wales and a church event in Perth where football stories, pies, and Bovril produced an entry donation fee and a sale of 40 books! Airdrieonians Football Club have the book in their club shop, as have the Scottish FA at Hampden and The Iona Community bookshop on Iona.

So far £2,500 has been remitted to the Homeless World Cup in sales. The book has generated a hugely generous £2,000 donation from a person in Fife (who wishes to remain anonymous) after her husband had greatly enjoyed the book she gave him as a Christmas present. 

A total of £4,500 has not been raised for the charity, and organisers believe that the figure will surpass £5,000 despite the coronavirus pandemic causing cancellation of promotion events. 

“I hope that the ‘seed money’ provided by the SEC Global Partnerships Committee will be seen as much worthwhile as it was welcome in starting this project,” says Rev Iain Whyte, the book’s editor. “My warm thanks for this support.”
Richard’s recovery aided by reflection

Regular readers of Inspires Online will recall the account of Revd Dr Richard Tiplady’s horrific mountaineering accident earlier this year, when the Director of Mixed Mode Training at the Scottish Episcopal Institute fell 600 feet down a Lake District peak.

Richard was only stopped from a fatal drop over a precipice by the debris from an avalanche which had fallen the day before his accident.

His story continues to be picked up by media outlets, and he features in a four-page article in the July/August edition of Sorted, described as the UK’s only Christian magazine for men. 

The edition also carries a book review by Richard, who continues to make a steady recovery from the injuries he suffered in the fall and has found that talking about what he went through helps him to come to terms with what happened.

Richard also features in Mountain Rescue magazine, the professional publication for mountain rescue teams, which published his own personal account of the incident in its Spring edition. 

“The editor happens to be married to one of the members of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team [who came to Richard’s aid], and she contacted me because she wanted to do a feature on the rescue,” says Richard. “I had written up (for myself only) a long set of reflections about the accident, what happened, what actions I had taken in mitigation, what the MRT and helicopter crew did that was so great, etc. I did this all for my own learning, without any intention of sharing it widely. So I sent that to her and said she could take anything out of the article she wanted. She liked it so much that she published it in full, unabridged.”

Later this year, his accident will feature in a rescue programme on Channel 4 / More 4. The feature will focus on two of the mountain rescue team members involved in his rescue by helicopter airlift, using some the video captured by his climbing colleague and some from the GoPro cameras on the MRT helmets. 

There has also been interest from BBC television programme Close Calls: On Camera who plan to interview Richard next month.
Pioneer Ministry course

This is the second year that a Pioneer Ministry course has been run, which is a joint enterprise between the Faith Nurture Forum of the Church of Scotland, the Presbytery of Edinburgh and the Scottish Episcopal Institute. The course, run by the Rev Dr Sandy Forsyth, and open to lay or ordained members of any Christian denomination, is especially relevant to those bringing to birth a 'fresh expression of church'. It aims to equip them with a grounding in the theological understanding and practical knowledge needed to begin new worshipping communities through pioneer ministry and church planting.

The course is accredited at SQA Level 7 for 10 credits. To be awarded credits, students must successfully complete a final assessment. It is also possible to take the course ‘not for credit’ and in that case there is no assessment.

Classes will take place at New College in Edinburgh and online, from January to April 2021. Practicalities will be confirmed nearer the time, subject to covid-19 requirements, but the schedule is likely to involve six evening classes (6-8pm) and two Saturday gatherings. The course fee is £200.

To register interest, email
Dr Cathy Ross to give this year’s SEI Lecture

This year’s Scottish Episcopal Institute (SEI) Lecture, the fifth in the annual series, will be given by Dr Cathy Ross on Thursday 29 October 2020. Her topic for the lecture is ‘Mission and Formation in a Time of Lament and Hope: Reflections after Covid-19’.

The lecture was to have been held at New College in Edinburgh, but has since been moved to an online meeting via Zoom, with a live Q&A.

Dr Cathy Ross is the Director of Pioneer Mission Leadership Training Centre for CMS (Church Mission Society); and Canon Theologian at Leicester Cathedral. Dr Ross, one of the world’s leading missiologists, is a prolific writer. Her published works include Women with a Mission, Mission in the 21st Century, and Pioneering Spirituality.

Commenting on the announcement the Rev Canon Dr Anne Tomlinson, Principal of the SEI said: “the SEI is deeply grateful to Dr Ross for being willing to deliver the 2020 Lecture on-line rather than cancel. The upside of this is that a much wider audience will be able to participate in the event than previously.”

Further details about the 2020 Lecture will follow ahead of October.


Rev David Beadle died on 22 May 2020.He held a Commission in the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane 1988-2017. He Serves as Non Stipendiary Ministry Assistant Priest at St Andrew's, St Andrews 1989-2017 and held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane 2017-20.

Rev Andrew Taylor-Cook was appointed as Rector at St Andrew, Innerleithen and St Peter, Peebles on 15 June 2020

Rev Jonathan Livingstone resigned as Interim Priest at St Mary the Virgin, Hamilton and St Andrew, Uddingston on 12 July 2020.

Rev Stephen Butler will resign as Rector of St James the Less, Leith, Edinburgh on 31 July and he will be appointed Priest in Change St John the Evangelist, Pittenweem and St Michael and All Angels, Elie on 1 August 2020

Rev Matthew Little was appointed as Rector at St Mary the Virgin, Hamilton & St Andrew, Uddingston on 1 July 2020


Vacancy: Rector & Provost; St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee

We are looking for an experienced pastor, passionate about vibrant and colourful liturgical worship, someone who is warm and generous-hearted, who enjoys spending time with us and someone who will lead us on our journey as disciples of Christ. Transforming physical barriers to achieve step-free access, developing the use of our buildings and outreach to our surrounding community are issues that are important to us.

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

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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