News from the Scottish Episcopal Church

November 2022

Welcome to this edition 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


Robert to develop strategy on Net Zero 2030

The Standing Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church has appointed Robert Woodford as a part-time consultant to help develop a strategy for the SEC to work towards its net zero target by 2030.
Members of General Synod 2022 will remember Robert’s excellent presentation on Day 2 when he led a session on behalf of the Provincial Environment Group built around the question: ‘What is Net Zero?’
Robert has now been engaged as a part-time consultant until the summer of 2023, during which time he has stepped down from PEG.
Standing Committee has also agreed on the appointment of a full-time post related to the environment and Net Zero, but it was recognised that it would take time to recruit to that post so Robert’s interim consultancy has been put in place to ramp up the effort in the near term.
The main scope of Robert’s work is to develop a strategy that guides and empowers SEC members with a clear pathway forward and set of processes to take urgent action on Net Zero.
The key objectives include the holding of a consultation process with a broad set of stakeholders across the SEC. This is complemented by a series of webinars, the first of which will be held in December (see next item in Inspires) followed by three more in February and March.
Other objectives include:
  • Creation of a measurable, action-oriented strategy for Net Zero 2030 which will be released for consultation with the wider SEC community in February/March 2023;
  • Identification of a set of key near-term actions, priorities and interim targets;
  • Working with Diocese Environment Groups to build a cross-diocese team that can work closely with local charges to implement actions to address the climate emergency;
  • Development of Key Performance Indicators and OKRs (Objectives with Key Results) to effectively measure the success of the Net Zero Action Plan over time.
Robert will not be involved in matters involving individual churches, such as the gathering of carbon emissions data, environmental audits, insulation advice or fundraising assistance.

On"The pathway to Net Zero is challenging and requires every body and every part of the SEC to come together in new creative ways," says Robert. "In consultation with the SEC community, I am committed to delivering a strategy that empowers people at all levels to carry out effective and measurable action.

"I believe that by focusing on the tangible results that deliver meaningful real-term reductions in carbon emissions we can all positively respond to the climate emergency with credibility, justice and hope."
Aside from his new role with the SEC, Robert is also the Executive Director and co-founder of the Deep Time Walk Project, where he is responsible for building a global network of Deep Time Walk practitioners as well as developing the organisations' product strategy. He has worked in senior positions with Macromedia/Adobe and Qualcomm, and now works on a range of creative initiatives bridging the areas of climate change and ecology through his consultancy Opus Earth. He has a degree in music from Durham University, a Masters in Management from Durham Business School, a Masters in Regenerative Economics from Schumacher College (Plymouth University) and an MSc in Science & Theology from Edinburgh University.


Webinar: What does “Net Zero 2030” mean?

Date: Thursday 8 December, 12 noon to 1pm
Presented by: Robert Woodford, Provincial Environment Group consultant 

This webinar will give an overview of Net Zero and how the Scottish Episcopal Church intends to use this concept to take urgent, effective and measurable action to address the climate emergency. Participants will gain an understanding of what Net Zero is, how it compares to Carbon Neutral as well as delve into the eight building blocks that are being used to create a robust, legitimate and transparent Net-Zero Action Plan. Attendees will also find out about the consultation process that will occur early next year, how they can get involved and ask questions.

This webinar will follow a similar format to the Provincial Environment Group presentation given at Synod earlier in the year.

Registration is through Eventbrite. Click here for details.


Bishops attend signing of St Margaret Declaration

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane both attended a special service at Dunfermline Abbey for the signing of a historic declaration of friendship between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland.

The St Margaret Declaration was formally endorsed on what is St Margaret’s Day – which marks the 11th century Scottish Queen who is buried in the abbey – during a service which also celebrated the building’s 950th anniversary.

Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, was in attendance along with around 300 invited guests from the local community, ecumenical partners, civic society and heritage organisations.

The Declaration, which follows the Saint Andrew Declaration between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland on 30 November last year, describes the Churches’ shared beliefs, ‘rooted in the Apostles, Christ’s first disciples,’ and acknowledges a common heritage as Christians in Scotland. It was signed in the presence of Princess Anne by The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly, and The Most Rev Leo Cushley, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

“It was an joy to be asked to attend the 900th anniversary of Dunfermline Abbey on the Feast Day of St Margaret of Scotland,” said The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus. “We were also gathered to witness the signing of the St Margaret Declaration, and we were privileged to be joined by the Princess Royal.

“Lord Wallace of Tankerness and I each read an opening collect, linking those who signed the Saint Andrew Declaration in Edinburgh last year with today’s signing, and Bishop Ian [Paton] read one of the prayers.

“After the service I paused at St Margaret’s grave in the churchyard and gave thanks for her witness to the people of Scotland.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church was also represented by The Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo, Rector of St Margaret’s in Aberdeen, Rev Bonnie Evans-Hills, Priest-in-Charge of St Margaret’s in Leven, and Rev Canon Prof Charlotte Methuen, Convener of the Inter-Church Relations Commitee.

A full report of the service is available on the Church of Scotland website.

Our picture from Dunfermline Abbey shows, left to right, The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Lord Wallace of Tankerness, past Moderator of the General Assembly; The Most Rev Leo Cushley, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews and Edinburgh; and The Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.


Baptism marks a provincial worship 'first'

The Provincial Online Worship broadcasts continue to be offered at 11am on Sunday mornings.  Over recent months online worshippers will have noticed an increasing number of churches hosting the online worship.  As the live stream capacity of our churches increases, the team behind the online worship is looking forward to visiting more local congregations.
In recent months worship has come from St Mary Magdalene’s, Dundee; St Mary’s, Hamilton; St John's, Wick; with a special service for All Souls from St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.  There was a very special moment on the Feast of All Saints when, in a Provincial online worship first, the Church welcomed Cassandra Deans as she was baptised in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, by the Provost, the Very Rev John Conway.
Throughout Advent there will be a regular Celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday mornings.  Advent 1 came from St John’s, Perth, and this Sunday’s service will come from Holy Trinity Melrose.
In addition to the normal Sunday schedule there will be two special services for Christmas.  24 December will feature a Midnight Mass, and on Christmas morning the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus, will lead a Celebration of the Eucharist.


Ukraine support officer employed to assist churches

Since the beginning of the war, thousands of Ukrainians have come to Scotland seeking a safe and secure home. Churches and faith communities have an important role to play in welcoming Ukrainians and ensuring that they are supported within their communities.

Thanks to funding from Action of Churches Together in Scotland, David Moodie has been employed by Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees as Churches Support Officer with a dedicated role in assisting churches across Scotland in their responses. If you or your church are already supporting Ukrainians, or would like advice or help to begin work in your community, David would love to hear from you. Please get in touch for more information, advice, and support:

David says: "Over the past few months churches have opened information hubs, organised trips and activities, collected money and materials, started language clubs, and that’s not to mention the many church members who are hosting Ukrainians in their homes. The response has been incredible and shows that churches are places of welcome and hospitality.

"However, there is still much to be done. Finding accommodation for all the people who have arrived is a huge issue and the need for hosts is as great as ever. Help with learning English is consistently raised as a priority need. And as we look to the long-term, people will require ongoing pastoral and spiritual support. Local churches are uniquely placed to make a real difference in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. They can provide community and connection for New Scots in their communities, and they also have much to gain from the friendships that will be built.

"Ephesians 2 verse 19 says “So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household” This verse reminds us that Jesus draws together people from all different backgrounds and makes them into one family. In God’s eyes there are no insiders and outsiders, no citizens and refugees: everyone is welcome in God’s family. As we welcome the stranger and build diverse communities, we reflect the expansive and generous love of God."

For up to date context, advice, and resources please check the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees Ukraine page. And for any support, information, or just to connect, please email David at

OnRev Phillip Blackledge leads Prayer For The Day on Radio 4

The Rev Phillip Blackledge, Rector of Holy Trinity, Melrose, is this week hosting BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day programme.
Broadcast each day at 5.43am, and available subsequently on the BBC Sounds App and website, Prayer for the Day has been broadcast daily for several decades, and continues to attract over 400,000 listeners daily.
Fr Blackledge notes that his scheduled broadcasts, which run to 2 December "incorporates the beginning of Advent, St Andrew's Day and World Aids day.”
Recording from his makeshift home studio, on Saturday 26 November he spoke about Advent Sunday, taking place the following day. He said: “In medieval times the actual date of the civic new year varied from place to place, sometimes 1st March, sometimes 1st September, sometimes Christmas Day, but the church always began it’s new year with Advent - with a season of fasting rather than a celebration. It’s part of the tradition stretching back to Christianity’s Jewish roots, where the new day begins at nightfall, with quiet time and waiting for the dawn… Advent is a reminder to us that we need to look up from the noise and the haste, to breathe deeply, to take time, and to remind ourselves that however things may seem to us, there is one who watches over us and loves us.”
You can hear Fr Blackledge on BBC Radio 4 at 5.43am, or on BBC Sounds here.

Fr Blackledge also gave Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Scotland earlier this month, when he explored the meaning of sacrifice. You can hear him here at the 1:22:00 mark. The previous week, Thought For the Day was given by Bishop David Chillingworth, former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Bishop David highlighted the threat religions face when used by others to seek political gain. You can hear the full broadcast here at the 1:23:24 mark.

Around the Province

Aberdeen & Orkney

Acting Bishop John Armes has issued an update on appointments in the diocese. The Rev Brenda Dowie has been licensed as Priest-in-Charge of St Mary’s, Stromness, in what represents a return home for Brenda who was brought up in the Orkney town. The licensing was done on Bishop John’s authority but in his absence, but he will be in Orkney in the first week of December when he looks forward to blessing Brenda’s new ministry in person.

In a further development, the Rev Dr Jenny Holden has been appointed to a new diocesan post as Advisor for Christian Life. “I am delighted to make this appointment and I know that Jenny brings many gifts to the role as well as significant experience prior to ordination,” said Bishop John. Jenny starts her new role in February, and Bishop John hopes to install her at the Aberdeen & Orkney Synod on 4 March.

OnElsewhere in the Diocese, a ‘Jacket Potato Appeal’ is underway at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Aberdeen, where coats and other warm clothing are being collected to provide to those in need in the local community – along with a baked potato and hot drink – at an event being held on 10 December.
Argyll & The Isles

Bishop Keith Riglin was a recent visitor to the Isle of Lewis, where he confirmed a member of the congregation at St Peter’s in Stornoway and blessed the Godly Play Room at the Morven Gallery at Barvas. In January, Bishop Keith will visit the Isle of Cumbrae, where a public meeting will be held at the Cathedral of The Isles to discuss the closure for a period of the College of the Holy Spirit at Millport.

St John’s Episcopal Cathedral Oban, Oban Parish Church and Oban Baptist Church are coming together to create Las Posadas Oban. Mary, Joseph and their donkey will be seeking lodgings throughout Oban and Lorn each night through advent. You can follow Mary and Joseph’s journey through December on the blog here.

OnClaire Benton-Evans, Children and Youth Officer for the Diocese of Brechin, led a Refresh! workshop at St Mary Magdalene's in Dundee offering fresh ideas, recommended resources and new things to try for Advent and Christmas. Anyone who missed this lively and well-attended event and would like a copy of the handout (full of hyperlinks to the resources ex-plored) should email Claire at
As part of the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’, a yearly international campaign calling for an end to violence against women and girls globally, a group from across the diocese was brought together by the Rev Roxanne Campbell for the annual Reclaim The Night march on 28 November.
Donations of warm winter jackets and coats are still needed for St Mary Magdalene’s 'Big Coat' Project over the winter months. Women's and men's coats are accepted but they are especially short on men's coats. Please contact Rev Canon Kenneth for further details

At the end of last month, members met at St Paul’s & St George’s in Edinburgh for the diocese’s October Synod. Bishop John’s address to the Synod can be read here.

This year’s digital advent calendar will be themed around doors within the diocese, and how what’s behind them can help prepare us for the coming of Christ. If there’s a door in your church building or community you would like to feature, please get in touch with Miranda Heggie, the Diocesan Communications Officer at

St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh is offering a 'Come and sing' day on Saturday 10 December where participants will perform Handel's Messiah (Choruses from part 1) and Christmas Carols with the cathedral choir 'in a rehearsal and concert experience'. The rehearsal is from 1.30pm to 4.30pm and the performance is 6pm to 7.30pm. Tickets are £15.

Glasgow & Galloway

OnTowards the end of November, Bishop Kevin Pearson and Robert Burgon, the Diocesan Treasurer, presented Tina Connelly, the Operations Manager at Children in Distress, with a cheque of the final total from the Bishop's Lent Appeal. Through the generosity of people across the diocese over the past months it was possible to donate £11,609.74 to support CiD's vital work of helping suffering children in Romania.

Petko Marinov, Diocesan Digital Engagement Officer, has been offering free Zoom workshops to improve the skills and understanding of everyone who looks after or is interested in the online presence of church communities. The first was held on 19 November: ‘Ten Digital Commandments for Church Communicators’ – and the second part is on Saturday 3 Dec 2022, 10am-11.30am on Zoom: ‘Capturing the Christmas Spirit’ - how to gather information and advertise events through the seasons of Advent and Christmas in your church. To register, click here.

The Diocesan Advent Quiet Day will be held online over Zoom on Saturday 10 December, starting at 10am. To register, email the Rev Les Ireland at

The Rev Verity Brown was welcomed by her new congregation of St Ninian's Pollokshields, the wider Glasgow regions and the diocese at her institution as rector on 29 October. Meanwhile on 23 October, the community of St Andrew's, Milngavie celebrated with enormous gratitude Fraser Gold’s 60 years of faithful service as a Lay Reader.
Moray, Ross & Caithness

A Choral Eucharist to celebrate the Patronal Festival of the Cathedral will be held at St Andrew’s in Inverness on Wednesday 30 November, at 7pm. The Provost, the Very Rev Sarah Murray, will be celebrant and preacher, with organ voluntaries featuring the work of Alexander Mackenzie, Alexandre Guilmant and William McGibbon. All welcome.

Celebrate the Immaculate Conception: a day of activities, devotion and reflection on The Stem of Jesse will be held at St Ninian’s, Invergordon, on Saturday 10 December from 10.30am to 3.30pm. For further details of the event, which is for all ages, contact Fr Simon Scott at

St Mary’s, Culloden, will hold a series of Advent Bible Studies on Thursdays in December from 2-4pm, looking at three women in the Bible and their roles: The shunnamite woman in the book of Kings, Lydia from the book of Acts, and Mary the mother of Jesus.

Inverness Cathedral Choir has vacancies for new singers. ‘Come and experience singing fabulous music in beautiful surroundings. We are always striving for excellence, and we would love to hear from you to become part of our choir.’ For more details, contact Adrian Marple at

St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane
OnBishop Ian Paton is very pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Lara Dose as Rector of Holy Trinity, Dunfermline. The service of Institution will take place at Holy Trinity on Tuesday 6 December, St Nicholas’ Day, at 7.30pm, when Lara will be welcomed to Holy Trinity and to the Diocese. Lara has been serving in the Diocese of Chelmsford as Priest in Charge of St Andrew with St Agnes, and Town Centre Chaplain, Romford, and says “I’m enthusiastic about working with the congregation to develop future growth.”

Diocesan Office Manager and Bishop’s PA, Carol Aitchison, will be retiring from the Diocesan Office in Spring 2023 and we wish her well as she plans for this transition, reports the Diocesan Facebook page. The Diocesan Administration Board have now advertised two part-time roles (each 20 hours per week) to support the Bishop, Dean and Diocese going forward. These will be based in the Diocesan Office in Perth. Full details here.

OnAppointment of Fife Pilgrim Way Pastor

Members of the ecumenical Steering Group for the Fife Pilgrim Way Pastorate initiative are delighted to announce the appointment of Rev Duncan Weaver as the first incumbent Pilgrim Pastor in Scotland. Duncan will be working closely with the Pastorate Steering Group over the coming 12 months pilot phase. 
Duncan brings a wide work experience of police service, Army chaplaincy in the UK and Germany, school teaching and pastorship, and leading outdoor pilgrimages with a wide range of age groups. He was originally ordained in the Church of England and enjoys using new resources and liturgies to help others encounter God in new ways. He recently moved to Cupar to be nearer his family. 
Rev Canon Kenny Rathband, convenor of the Steering Group, said: "We are delighted to have appointed Duncan from a strong field of applicants. He brings to this pioneering role a broad life and work experience which will be highly relevant to the pilgrim walkers and cyclists using the Fife Pilgrim Way and the local church congregations that we want to see enjoying and using this outdoor pilgrimage resource for spiritual renewal." 
A Commissioning Service for the launch of the Pastorate will take place at Ceres Parish Church on 30 November 2022, St Andrew's Day. This marks the first anniversary of the signing of the historic St Andrew Declaration between the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, committing both denominations to new collaborative partnerships across Scotland. The Fife Pilgrim Way Pastorate is the first practical example of this in action. 
At the Commissioning Service, a Memorandum of Agreement will be signed by the Pastorate stakeholders in this initial pilot phase. These comprise the Abbey Church of Dunfermline; the SEC Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane; the Parish Churches of Ceres, Kemback & Springfield, Auchterderran Kinglassie, and St Columba's Glenrothes; and the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum SCIO. 
A large grant for the pilot phase has been provided by the Church of Scotland Presbytery of Fife Mission Fund, which supports the development of innovative and pioneering new ways of being church across Fife. 
For further information on the Fife Pilgrim Way Pastorate, please email the Steering Group via

Glasgow and Bethlehem host Joint Advent Service

A joint Advent Service between Glasgow and Bethlehem is to be held on 3 December.

The ecumenical service at Glasgow Cathedral (St Mungo’s or High) will have a simultaneous link to the same service in the Church of St Catherine, Bethlehem.

The Christian communities in the two cities of Bethlehem and Glasgow, have enjoyed a Municipal Twinning Agreement since 2007. 

The combined service of Readings and Carols will be led by local leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church in Glasgow and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Bethlehem.

There will be a reception in the Cathedral supported by the Lord Provost’s Office after the service along with a chance to see the ’50 Faces of the Holy Land’ exhibition.

The service is free to attend and walk-ins on the day are most welcome, however, to assist with planning for the reception catering, those intending to attend are asked to register here.

Standing Committee report
The provincial Standing Committee met in November. The Committee focused on various aspects of its members’ duties as charity trustees for the General Synod. This included:

  • Monitoring the work priorities of the Synod’s boards and committees. The Committee considered an updated version of a consolidated workplan including contributions from the provincial boards and committees on their plans for the year ahead. The Committee intends to bring a version of the plan to General Synod 2023 to enable the Synod to see at a glance the work being carried on across the provincial board structure.
  • A session with the convener and a member of the Investment Committee who gave an illuminating and encouraging presentation on the investments held by the General Synod. The Committee considered the investment priorities for the future and how best those financial resources could be used to support the Church’s needs and objectives in the years ahead.
  • The annual report of compliance with the Church's ethical investment policy. Members were pleased to note that as at 30 September 2022 the Unit Trust Pool held no investments either directly or in pooled funds in the restricted categories of oil & gas extraction, armaments, gambling, pornography and tobacco and was thus fully compliant with the policy
  • On finances: A report on the projected financial outcome for 2022, showed that a surplus for the year was expected owing in part to the prospect of an increased distribution from the Unit Trust Pool. The Committee received budget bids from the boards and committees and provisionally agreed revised budgets, which show financial deficits, for 2023 and subsequent years. The budgets will come for consideration to General Synod 2023. The Committee has decided to apply accrued reserves to fund these deficits in the short term. That will enable the Province to release more than £360,000 to Dioceses by way of Transitional Stipend Assistance Grants spread over 2023 and 2024 to help congregations with prospective cost increases.
  • Work on a revised risk register, initiated by a subgroup of the Committee, was discussed in detail and engaged members in considering their overall responsibilities in relation to risk management.

Having met representatives of the Provincial Environment Group (PEG) at its previous meeting, the Committee agreed the appointment of Robert Woodford on a part-time consultancy basis until the summer of 2023. He will work with PEG on the development of strategy to support the SEC in working towards its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The Committee received reports on other matters including discussions with the Scottish Government seeking amendment to the Controlling Interest in Land Regulations which, if not amended, will create significant work for dioceses in the coming months. Reports were also received on the development of health and safety and risk assessment resources for congregations, and from the Bishop of Edinburgh on his work as the acting Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.

Alastair Haggart Bursary applications invited

Applications are invited by the Alastair Haggart Bursary Fund Committee for the 2023 award. The Bursary is awarded annually in memory of Bishop Haggart, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1977-85). It aims to help finance sabbaticals or other similar leave of absence on the part of full-time ministers at a stage in the person’s life when such an experience will significantly enhance his or her development. The outcomes of the project should also be of benefit to the wider Church.

Due to the recent generous legacy received from the estate of the late Mrs Mary Haggart, awards totalling up to £2,500 will be made in 2023. The Committee will convene in mid-January 2023 to make the adjudication and the winner/s will be notified by the end of that month.

More details, including how to apply, are available here.

Personnel Committee: Convener vacancy

A vacancy will arise in the convenership of the provincial Personnel Committee in June 2023 and expressions of interest are sought.
The Committee works on policy development in relation to clergy personnel matters generally. It does not handle individual cases. A particular focus for the Committee in recent years has been that of clergy well-being and its work has included the development of a bullying and harassment policy for the church, the preparation of a complaints procedure, guidance on clergy time off and, in conjunction with Place for Hope it has promoted a training course "Living with Differences".
The Committee benefits from external support from an HR agency and meets four or five times per annum depending on business. The intention for the future is that some meetings will be held in person, others online.
The convener is a lay person to avoid possible conflict of interest arising. The post holder should have skills in the chairing of meetings. A professional background in HR/personnel matters is not essential but experience of dealing with HR/personnel issues would be of benefit. The Convener is also ex officio a member of the provincial Administration Board, which meets twice yearly.
The current convener is very willing to speak to any person who may be interested in the position. Whilst the vacancy does not arise until June 2023 an incoming convener would find it helpful to attend at least one meeting of the Committee before taking up office.
Vacancies in the membership of the Committee are also expected to arise in the coming year and expressions of interest are encouraged from any person (lay or ordained) with a background or experience in HR matters.
Expressions of interest in either the convenership or membership are invited and should be sent to John Stuart, Secretary General, on by no later than 31 December 2022.

Kalendar for 2023 available for free download
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow compiles an annual Kalendar for the Scottish Episcopal Church containing all the readings for Daily Prayer and for the Sunday Lectionary along with a host of other information. This year, for the first time, the Kalendar is available as a free download. It can be accessed here.

Advent Course: People of Bethlehem in Scripture

To Christians, Bethlehem is best known as the birthplace of Jesus, and perhaps secondly as the hometown of David, the founder of the royal dynasty from which he was descended. Bethlehem occurs very much earlier in the Bible, and in the first two occurrences the central characters are women. Their stories also concern issues relevant to Christian faith and life, not least during the season of Advent.

The Reverend Canon Dr Nicholas Taylor, Convenor of the SEC Liturgy Committee and a biblical scholar, will be joined by members of the Church from across Scotland, with varied experience of Christian life and witness in the Middle East, in presenting a series of four studies based on the figures of Rachel, Ruth, David, and Jesus. Sessions will be delivered via Zoom on the Wednesday evenings of Advent (30 November, 7, 14, 21 December), and will include questions for discussion and points for prayer. There will also be a concluding reflection, drawing together the threads of the four studies, on the Wednesday after Epiphany (11 January). All will be welcome to participate, and a recording of the presentation will be available for use at other times. Sessions will begin at 7.30 pm.

This course is complementary to, and not in competition with, that to be offered by the Reverend Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies in the Scottish Episcopal Institute, on the Monday evenings of Advent.

To receive the Zoom link for sessions, or if you have any enquiries, please contact Nicholas Taylor or Jan Benvie 


Anglican’ Christianity: A four-part series in Advent 2022
What does it mean to be an ‘Anglican’ Christian?
Over 40 Churches around the globe, consisting of no less than 85 million people, identify themselves as ‘Anglican’. Yet, Anglicans are divided among themselves in terms of doctrine and practice as was demonstrated in the most recent Lambeth Conference (Summer 2022). This Series looks to four staples that Anglicans have classically identified as the bases of their doctrine and practice to highlight harmony rather than discord.
The Series will be offered on the Mondays of Advent 2022 at 7pm (Edinburgh time) in four 30-minute webinars, each of which will be posted on YouTube. The Series is meant to be a resource for Anglicans/Episcopalians to use creatively during the Season of Advent, for example as a refresher course for individuals or a conversation starter for church groups, with discussion questions at the end of each webinar.
1. Holy Scripture: ‘all things necessary to salvation’ and the rule of faith (Monday 28 November)
2. The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds: symbols and statements of faith (Monday 5 December)
3. The Dominical Sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Monday 12 December)
4. The historic Episcopate: a universal and locally adopted means of unity (Monday 19 December)

Presenter: Revd Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies and Tutor, Scottish Episcopal Institute. Time: 7pm to 7.30pm (Edinburgh time) on Monday evenings in Advent 2022.

Registration is free. All are welcome. The link to register is here.

OnSEI Journal seeks new copy-editor

The Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal is seeking a new copy-editor, due to the retirement of its present copy-editor in December 2022, to begin work in Spring 2023.
The Journal is academic, peer-reviewed and quarterly with complex and heavily footnoted articles and book reviews in the broad subject area of Anglican theology. The timetabling of editing revolves around a seasonal timetable: (1) Spring: submissions by 1 February with publication on 20 March; (2) Summer: submissions by 1 May with publication on 20 June; (3) Autumn: submissions by 1 August with publication on 20 September; (4) Winter: submissions by 1 November with publication on 20 December.
Once the editorial board has accepted pieces for publication, the copy-editor is to read each one thoroughly and provide suggestions for the editor in good time via MSWord’s track changes. The post is entirely homebased and parttime. As numbers of the Journal vary in page length, the estimated time for each number is approximately 40 hours. A rate of remuneration according to professional standards will be negotiated with the new postholder.
It is essential that the new postholder be able to demonstrate some experience in proofreading and/or copy-editing on a reading level akin to the Journal’s, the ability to work independently and the temperament to be flexible. It is desirable that the new postholder be familiar with the Modern Humanities Research Association Style Guide and the Society of Biblical Literature Handbook of Style.
For an initial conversation about the post, please contact the Journal’s editor, the Revd Dr Michael Hull on

OnAdvent: What’s it all about?

The Season of Advent is upon us once again, having begun with the First Sunday of Advent on 27 November, writes the Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute, pictured. The Season is one of anticipation as we long for the adventus (Latin for arrival) of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day and on the Last Day. This Season has spawned treasured effects like advent wreaths and calendars that mark the Season’s progress, as well as unwelcome ones like frenzied shopping and ‘Xmas’ sales that mark the regress of our appreciation for what’s vital in Advent.
What’s Advent all about? The Church devised Advent, just as the Church took the decision to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord on 25 December. By the fourth century, both Christmas and Advent (backdated from Christmas) were gradually becoming fixed in the Western Church with a dual emphasis. On the one hand, we celebrate the past by commemorating Jesus’s birth in humility; the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us (John 1.14). On the other hand, we celebrate the future by awaiting Christ’s return in glory when he shall come to judge the quick and the dead (2 Timothy 4.1). Holding these ‘comings’ together is no mean feat. During the Reformation in Britain, Thomas Cranmer crafted a bespoke collect to do just that. Cranmer had been dissatisfied with the collect for Advent 1 in the Sarum Use. He had little to build on because neither the Gelasian nor Gregorian Uses had Advent collects. Cranmer prayed:–
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son, Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility: that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead; we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
This brilliant collect debuted in the first Book of Common Prayer (1549). It is retained in the latest English (1662) and Scottish (1929) Prayer Books, and in dozens of other Anglican Prayer Books around the world. The collect is closely tied to the readings set for the day, namely Romans 13.8–14 and Matthew 21.1–13.
Romans 13.8–14 is about fulfilling the law through love. St Paul speaks of the radical change required of us, the change that Cranmer underscores in the collect, wherewith we cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. That radical change is rooted in the witness of Jesus speaking of himself as a king (in the language of Isaiah 62.11 and Zechariah 9.9) upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. According to Matthew 21.1–13, Jesus powerfully and unapologetically overthrows the hawkers in the Temple. Note that the Church does not begin the Season of Advent with biblical passages concerning the seemingly harmless tot at Mary’s breast, but with the full-grown adult who is consumed by zeal for his father’s house (Psalm 60.9 and John 2.17). We would do well in Advent to kneel before the baby, for in future we shall stand before the man.
Cranmer’s prayer holds together in dynamic tension the self-effacement of God in taking human flesh and nature in the baby Jesus, and at the same time, the stateliness of God in Christ’s second coming as judge. It holds together the present day, that is our mortal life now, and our future life, that is our resurrection to immortal life. Advent is, to be sure, about Christmas Day in the short-haul of relishing the scene at the Manger, yet the short-haul is ordered to the long-haul of basking in the Beatific Vision (1 John 3.2).
Advent reminds us that the time is short. It is a paradox that so many of us waste our time in the things of this world in the very Season that the Church has devised to prepare us for the next world. Cranmer was spot on to beseech God for grace to cast off works of darkness and to put on the armour of light. We’d never get to it ourselves without God’s help. And, ultimately, that is what Advent is all about: preparing for God’s coming to us full of grace and truth (John 14.1). By God’s grace ‘a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and [we] shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us’ (Matthew 1.23). If Advent is about anything at all it is about imitating Jesus’s humility today to share in Christ’s glory at the Last Day for ‘we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5.10).


Vacancy: Part-time Priest-in-Charge, St Mary’s, Kirriemuir

Vacancy: Pioneer Priest, St John’s, New Pitsligo

Vacancy: Innkeeper(s) and Warden(s) of the Church, The Crask Inn, Sutherland


Rev Lara Dose will be appointed Rector at Holy Trinity, Dunfermline on 6 December 2022.

Rev Brenda Dowie was appointed Priest-in-Charge at St Mary the Virgin, Stromness on 13 November 2022.

Rev Dr Rebekah Sims was appointed Deacon at  Holy Trinity, Stirling on 1 August 2022.

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Argyll & The Isles
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