News from the Scottish Episcopal Church

October 2021

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


Special edition of Inspires Online will mark COP26

Welcome to the October edition of Inspires Online, the monthly magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
This month, in addition to this regular edition, a special edition of Inspires Online will be published to mark the hosting of The 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
World leaders will gather at COP26 from 31 October to 12 November to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Scottish Episcopal Church will be in attendance, along with other representatives from the Anglican Communion.
The special edition of Inspires Online will include a message from the Primus, details of online worship and daily video messages during COP26, and articles about climate change initiatives being taken by the Scottish Episcopal Church and by partner organisations.
Keep an eye on your email inbox over the next couple of days for the arrival of the special edition.

In addition, a dedicated COP26 Hub has been set up on the Scottish Episcopal Church website, where news, events and other information such as online worship details will appear throughout the conference. The Hub can be accessed here.


SEI Lecture available to watch again
The 2021 SEI Lecture, the sixth in the annual series, was given on 28 October by the Rev Dr Michael Hull, SEI’s Director of Studies.
To Filioque or Not to Filioque: The Warrant of Holy Scripture was hosted by the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and was held in the University Chapel, Glasgow University. It was streamed live on the SEC’s Youtube Channel and Facebook page and can be watched again here.

The billing for the Lecture said:

Despite the best laid plans of East and West, the filioque controversy continues, not only between Constantinople and Rome, but within many Reformed churches where the Nicene Creed is received and believed neither for its conciliar (synodical) nor for its historical (traditional) pedigree but for the warrant of Holy Scripture. Reformed attempts to heal the East–West breach crystalised in the World Council of Church’s ‘Klingenthal Memorandum’ to the end that the West should drop the filioque, but few Reformed churches have done so, even if they offer options.
Little has changed from the ninth century when a pope approved of the filioque doctrine yet advised against using the word in the Creed. What is the warrant of Holy Scripture? Should Christians filioque or not?
The Revd Dr Michael Hull, who delivered the lecture, is Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute (Edinburgh), the training agency for authorised ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Dr Hull also tutors in biblical studies and Christian doctrine at SEI, acts as the Editor of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal and ministers as an associate priest at St Vincent’s Chapel (Edinburgh). He earned his doctorate in biblical theology at the Gregorian University (Rome) and has published in the field. A native New Yorker and now adopted Scot, Dr Hull came to SEI and moved to Edinburgh in 2015, after sixteen years as a professor of Sacred Scripture at St Joseph’s Seminary (Yonkers, NY), whilst serving in a variety of ecclesiastical and pastoral roles in New York.


Prayer for Black History Month
October has been Black History Month, with the theme “Proud to be.”
Catherine Ross, Editor at Black History Month UK magazine said when launching the campaign theme: “It’s been a challenging time for many Black and Brown people, with so much in the media about racism, inequality and injustice. We wanted the theme of Black History Month 2021 to focus on celebrating being Black or Brown, and to inspire and share the pride people have in their heritage and culture – in their own way, in their own words.”
Reflecting on the theme, and offering prayer for the month, the College of Bishops and the Liturgy Committee wrote a special prayer to be used.
Commenting, the Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange said: “In a society that is still divided along lines of race, we pray for justice for members of our congregations and communities who experience racism, and for the strength of all those who choose to stand against it.
“May we as a church for all of Scotland be proud of our communities, and ever mindful of the need to work for racial justice and reconciliation in society.”
God of our Salvation,
you have created the people of the world in your own image:
Give us grace, we pray, to rejoice in the differences of culture,
language, and race by which you have enriched humanity;
to repent when we fail to recognise Christ in one another;
and to pursue justice and peace for all your children;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, taking our human nature,
accepted death upon the cross, and lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for eternity.
OnMediators appointed for Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney
Following the meeting of the Episcopal Synod on 30 September, a Mediation Steering Group appointed by the bishops has now taken the first steps towards setting up a mediation process for the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, to help the diocese move forward from its current difficulties.
The Steering Group, comprising David Strang CBE, the Rev Liz Crumlish and Morag Hendry, have appointed the University of Dundee Mediation and Early Dispute Resolution Service to run a mediation process.
A general invitation has been sent out from the Mediation Steering Group to the diocese providing information about the proposed process and inviting those who might wish to participate to make contact. The process is entirely voluntary and all engagement with the mediation team will be confidential. The mediators are all accredited by Scottish Mediation and have expertise in resolving workplace conflict.
The Steering Group also wishes to ensure that individuals are supported appropriately during this period of dispute resolution and have made arrangements to offer confidential pastoral support and care to anyone who may wish to engage in this process.
The bishops invite all members of the Scottish Episcopal Church to join with them in holding the Diocese, and the future mediation process, in their prayers and they encourage members of the Diocese to engage positively with that process, which they hope will help to bring healing.
Further details are available here.

Makar appointed in Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway
Bishop Kevin Pearson is delighted to announce the appointment of the Rev Kirstin Freeman as the Makar of the United Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. The term makar, borrowed from Scottish literature, relates to a poet or bard, coming from the Middle Scots word for maker.
In this inaugural honorary post, spanning an initial term of four years, Kirstin will mark events in the life and witness of the Diocese by the creation of bespoke pieces of art that will encourage congregations, communities, and individuals to interact with new directions of creativity and mission throughout the Diocese and further afield.
Kirstin’s visceral poetry and thought-provoking artworks have long been enjoyed by friends and colleagues and have made multiple appearances in our diocesan communications. Bishop Kevin views this appointment as a unique opportunity to crystalise creative forces in the Diocese and help shape new liturgy, prayers, art and resources, as well as a chance to offer a different angle for people to journey with their faith and engage with the issues of the day.
The position of Diocesan Makar is an Honorary appointment of the Bishop, intended to give creative voice to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway by means of poetry, prose, or other artistic endeavours, either by suggestion of the Bishop, or when moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit to create pieces of art relating to significant events in the Church and the world, as well as our mission, ministry, witness, and faith.

Pilgrims gather in Fife for walk from Ceres to St Andrews

Church members in the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane recently had the chance to embrace the inspiring theme of Pilgrimage that the Scottish Episcopal Church has adopted for the next while as an enduring season.
Diocesan pilgrims joined together on the Fife Pilgrim Way from Ceres to St Andrews, led by guides Revd Alasdair Coles and Nick Cooke. About 30 began the journey in Ceres, and with those joining along the way at stops at Craigtoun Park, Hallow Hill and Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church, the group was about 60-strong by the time it reached All Saints' Episcopal Church for refreshments and Evening Prayer.
"I enjoyed the pilgrimage,” said one participant. “The stages were easy. I joined at Craigtoun, which was interesting and poignant for me since I was born there when the large house was a maternity hospital. It was good to have pauses for spiritual moments. It was an opportunity to meet old friends and to make new ones. In the latter case there was one gentleman who had been an undergraduate at St Andrews in the 1950s and had come all the way from London principally to walk the pilgrimage."
Highlights from the day can be viewed here
Primus the guest preacher at Bishop Forbes evensong
The Most Reverend Mark Strange, the Primus of the SEC and the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness was the guest preacher at this year’s evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral Dundee, to remember Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin from 1847 to 1975.
All were welcomed by Provost Elizabeth Thomson at her first Forbes Evensong. Bishop Mark, preaching on the text Mark 10.17-31 (“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”) reflected on the privilege and wealth that Forbes had enjoyed in his upbringing, for example his mother having lived in a stately house in the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, but that he worked for the poor of Dundee’s industrial developments.
An enhanced cathedral choir and a good turnout of diocesan clergy and lay readers all added to the celebration and remembrance, after last year’s service had to be held on Zoom due to Covid restrictions. A reception with refreshments followed with a chance for those attending to catch up with others from around the Diocese. “We are still in the pandemic,” reported the Brechin Bulletin,  “but the easing of restrictions allows a careful return of some elements of ‘normal’ church and diocesan life.”

Children’s Chapel makes successful return online

Children’s Chapel made a welcome return after a summer break, offering online worship for young children who are unable to attend church.
The Rev Canon Audrey Stewart was joined by Hazel for the relaunch, which attracted a strong audience. It can be watched again here.
Children’s Chapel will be broadcast on the first Sunday of every month, with the next broadcast scheduled for Sunday 7 November.


Church in Society awards, Part 6: Faith in Community Scotland

In the fifth part of our series highlighting the work of Scottish Episcopal Church partners, this month we focus on Faith in Community Scotland.
Every year, the Church in Society Committee invites grant applications from organisations working on a variety of issues in Scottish society, and includes projects from the local, such as providing school uniforms for a local primary school, to the national, such as a third sector coalition combating climate change.
Here, community development worker Alan Ramsay describes the objectives and activities of Faith in Community Scotland, an anti-poverty charity that works alongside local partners in communities across Scotland to address poverty and inequality.
On‘Our local partners are mainly faith-based groups or projects that have grown out of the work of faith groups,’ writes Allan, pictured right. ‘Established in 2005 we have a strong track record of working in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities, journeying alongside local people as they aspire to unlock potential and bring positive changes to their communities.  We offer particular support around community research and statistics, identifying and applying for funding for local work, coaching for local leaders and community development staff support on the ground in communities.  We have always offered training with the aim of enhancing existing skills and we facilitate networks on themes such as prison throughcare (support to people involved in the justice system), food justice, refugees, and other issues – we believe that there is a huge value in bringing people together to tackle issues collectively.
‘Faith in Community Scotland also hosts Scotland’s Poverty Truth Community (PTC), a movement of people working and campaigning to end poverty in Scotland.  The PTC seeks to bring the voices of people living with the effects of poverty to the heart of discussions on poverty and inequality so that decision makers in government, local authorities and other bodies such as health boards have a better understanding of the impact of their decisions.
‘We recognise that poverty comes in many guises and the PTC is currently working with people in the asylum and refugee system, and a major focus of current work has been working with partners opposing the £20 per week cut to Universal Credit.  Individual members of the Community work with partners on their campaigns, especially Nourish Scotland on enshrining Dignity in Practice in projects that engage with people experiencing food insecurity, and the Right to Food – proposed legislation currently before the Scottish Parliament.      
‘We work in a relational way that helps bring together people in communities and we very much believe that “presence” is a key part of how we do things. When life was so upended by COVID last year one of our greatest challenges was recreating that sense of supportive accompaniment and presence that has been a hallmark of our work to date.  Thankfully we were able to use tools like Zoom – and good old fashioned phone calls – to keep in touch with the local leaders and activists we engage with.
‘Before the National lockdown was announced we had already been working with some local partners on the issues they felt that COVID (and any lockdown) would create in their communities and our staff and trustees developed and launched a Rapid Response Fund that ran during the first few months of lockdown and ensured local faith groups and projects had access to small sums of money that they could use to support people facing extreme hardship. Around 170 grants were made with an average value of £567. The work enabled by these grants focused on the themes of Isolation, Vulnerability, Mental Health & Wellbeing and Low Income & Poverty.
‘We were struck by how well local groups used the funding, and the range of approaches that they used to address specific local issues – we see this as firm evidence that if people are trusted they will use resources in the most effective way.  Without the support of our partners across faith groups and denominations as well as in the funding sector this would not have been possible.
‘With over 15 years of work alongside communities, we remain inspired by the passion and commitment of local people as they work to make a difference on the issues that matter most to them. It is a privilege to be asked to accompany them on their journeys and we welcome the opportunity to develop relationships with new local partners: one of the silver linings of working during COVID has been how Zoom has allowed us to connect with more people from further away.
‘We remain grateful for the support from the Scottish Episcopal Church, and we encourage your congregations to get in touch with us if they’re interested in community development and tackling issues in their local communities.  We have a small grants programme currently open: Greener Spaces, Fairer Spaces which gives grants to local faith-based groups for work around the environment, fuel poverty and climate change and we are launching new work in partnership with Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, Faithful Welcome, which will encourage and enable faith communities to support refugees and asylum seekers in their communities adjust to life in Scotland.’
Further information Faith in Community Scotland can be found at or by emailing Allan Ramsay:

(Main picture shows church volunteers helping with the Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels initiative)

On On

Joyful occasions at October ordinations

Saturday 9 October saw St John’s Cathedral, Oban filled with family and friends, choir and congregation, together with clergy from the Diocese and from around the Province, to celebrate the ordination into the priesthood of Beki Cansdale, by Bishop Keith Riglin (pictured above left).
“We rejoice and pray for Beki’s continued ministry as Assistant Curate amongst us,” said Very Rev Canon Margi Campbell, Provost of St John’s and Dean of the Diocese.

Elsewhere, the Rev Philip Schonken was ordained Deacon in St Andrews Cathedral Inverness by the Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness (pictured above right). Philip now serves as Assistant Curate at Holy Trinity Elgin, St Margaret’s Lossiemouth and Gordonstoun in the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness.

The Rev David Todd was ordained Priest in St Mark’s Portobello by the Rt Revd Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh. David will continue to serve in that charge as Assistant Curate and as Actors Church Union Chaplain in Edinburgh, and the Rev Russell Duncan was also ordained Priest by Bishop John in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, where he will continue to serve as Assistant Curate.

Lewis church to feature on BBC ALBA’s Alleluia!

BBC ALBA, the dedicated Scottish Gaelic television channel, was a recent visitor to St Moluag’s on the Isle of Lewis.
The church at Eoropie, the most northerly village in the Western Isles, was the location for filming of spiritual series Alleluia!
While picturesque, St Moluag’s does provide challenges for film crews, because as well as being so remote there is no electricity supply at the building. However, the logistics were overcome with the help of the Rector, the Rev Canon Peter Moger, and congregation member Jenny Stewart. Thanks in part  to their efforts, St Moluag’s will feature prominently in most episodes of the forthcoming series of Alleluia! which runs from 21 November to 2 January 2022.
OnResearch project on pioneer ministry in the SEC
A research project conducted by the Mission Board and led by Rev Dr Richard Tiplady, SEI’s Director of Mixed Mode Training, seeks to identify examples and experiences of pioneer ministry across the breadth of the SEC and the lessons that can be learned therefrom. Using the adjacent image as a way to inspire your thinking, the research uses the innovative Sensemaker research tool to learn from people’ stories and to clarify the key lessons from those stories. You can contribute to this research using this link. Richard is keen to hear from people from across the SEC, so your contribution will be very welcome.

OnObituary of Dr Arthur Stewart

Following the recent death of Dr Arthur Stewart, a member of Westhill Community Church in Aberdeen, an obituary was published in the Press & Journal newspaper headlined ‘Aberdeen worship leader and body expert who helped make oil rigs safer dies aged 63’.

The obituary said: “To some it could have seemed like Arthur Stewart was a man of contradictions, juggling both scientific research and a deep Christian faith.

“Yet for the Robert Gordon University sports science expert, a knowledge of human physique and loving the outdoors only deepened his belief in God.

“So much so that even in times of adversity he and his family still released an album of worship songs called Broken and Blessed.

“A further track called Gracecatcher – written during his illness – was released just days after his Arthur’s death.

“Today we remember the life of a man who advised Olympic officials and helped make oil rigs and helicopters safer.”

The full obituary can be read here.
A mighty fortress is our God
Reformed Christians around the world celebrate Reformation Day at the end of October to mark the now famous All Hallows’ Eve of 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the main doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, writes the Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute. The Theses spread like wildfire in Europe. By 1521, Luther found himself summoned to and condemned by the Diet of Worms. He would have been murdered, despite putative assurances of safe conduct, had not Frederick the Wise hidden him in Wartburg Castle, where Luther remained for almost a year under a pseudonym. He had time there to translate the New Testament into German, as well as to pray, study and reflect. Years later Luther wrote several renowned hymns including ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’ (‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’). Whenever I sing the hymn, I cannot but stand in awe of Luther’s resilience in the early days of the Reformation. Not even 40 years old, he risked life and limb to be true to his conscience and to follow the Lord in ‘holiness and righteousness’ all his days (Luke 1.75).
‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’, though the first line, may not have been the hymn’s original title; in the earliest extant manuscripts it is titled ‘On Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength’. The hymn is mutatis mutandis an interpretation of Psalm 46 through the prism of Christianity and a stark reminder of the cost of following our Lord. The final stanza demands everything of the Christian:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.

The words no doubt sprang from Luther’s own experience of paying a steep price for his faith, even to the point of fearing for his life from the homicidal hands of other Christians. The hymn’s lyrics may not apply literally to all Christians today as they did to Luther (and countless martyrs known only to God), but they certainly do apply to all Christians figuratively.
When a man, who is obviously religiously observant and penitent, kneels before Jesus and asks for eternal life, Jesus is crystal clear. ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’ (Mark 10.21, cf. Matthew 19.21; Luke 18.22). Jesus’ disciples are incredulous at this, yet Jesus drives the point home. ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life’ (Mark 10.29–30; cf. Matthew 19.29; Luke 18.29–30). I daresay we, too, are somewhat incredulous. It is easy to dismiss Jesus’ words as hyperbole, but then along comes Luther to remind us that there is nothing essential in this life other than following Jesus, no matter the cost.
The danger, of course, is to think that the Christian Church is in better shape than it was five hundred years ago. There is little evidence of that. In fact, five hundred years later a Latin phrase coined in seventeenth-century Holland is worth recalling: ecclesia reformata, sempre reformanda, that is a reformed church is always reforming. We have many reformed institutional churches, many denominations, with sound teaching, worship and organisation, but they are robust only insofar as they serve the Lord. They are meant to facilitate the ongoing reform of our very selves under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Although Christian discipleship may differ from context to context, from age to age, from place to place, it is personal, not institutional, for God is our refuge and our strength, not the Church per se, even if the Church is meant to be the people of God (1 Peter 2.9–10) and the body of Christ (Romans 12.4–5; 1 Corinthians 12.27; Colossians 1.24).
Reformation Day is a good day for each one of us to reflect on our own Christian discipleship. It may well be that part of our reflection entails a re-examination of our consciences in terms of our institutional memberships, church wise and other wise, to the end that we do not dupe ourselves or those around us about the price of holiness and righteousness. Following the Lord is a costly activity, not a passive affiliation. The liturgical colour for Reformation Day is fittingly red to symbolise the fire of the Holy Spirit and the blood of the martyrs. It is a day for us to belt out ‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’ with gusto.
Grosvenor Essay available to order

Grosvenor Essay 13, Theology of Authority in the Ministry of the Church, is now available to order from the General Synod Office.

The essay was published by the Doctrine Committee online in 2020. It is now available in print for the cost of £8.00 plus postage. Please email to place an order.

The other Grosvenor essays are available online here.


Rev Jim Benton Evans resigned as Priest in Charge at St Serf, Glasgow; St Kentigern, Glasgow; St John the Evangelist, Glasgow on 1 October 2021. He was appointed Rector at St David of Scotland, Inverbervie; St Mary and St Peter, Montrose; St Andrew, Brechin on 2 October 2021.

Rev Eleanor Charman was appointed Priest in Charge at St John the Evangelist, Inverness on 26 September 2021.

Rev Canon Kathryne Collins retired as Priest in Charge at St Paul, Strathnairn on 26 September 2021.

Rev Lisa Curtice was ordained Deacon by the  Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway at St Marys Cathedral Glasgow on 26 September 2021. She was appointed Curate for the Renfrewshire region.

Rev Russel Duncan was Ordained Priest by the Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Edinburgh on 23 October 2021. He will continue as Curate at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Edinburgh.

Rev Kirstin Freeman was appointed Priest in Charge at St Paul & St John the Evangelist, Airdrie and Church of the Holy Name, Cumbernauld on 9 October 2021.

Rev Lee Johnston was appointed  Priest in Charge at St Andrew, Ardrossoan; St Peter, Dalry; St Andrew, Irvine on 14 October 2021.

Rev Patrick G D Jones died on 27 September 2021, aged 93.  He served as a non-stipendiary Assistant at St Mary, Sandbach, Cheshire 1982-84. He Became Rector at St Kentigern, Ballater and St Thomas, Aboyne and also Priest-in-Charge at St Margaret of Scotland, Braemar 1984. He retired in 1994. He was Priest-in-Charge at Central Buchan Charges 1996-98. He held a Commission in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney 2006-16. He became Interim Priest in-Charge at St Luke, Cuminestown 2009-15. He held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney 2016-19.

Rev Brenda Margaret Massey was appointed Chaplain at St Andrews Cathedral, Inverness on 24 October 2021.


Vacancy: Environmental and Church Relations Assistant, General Synod Office

Vacancy: House-for-duty post at St Peter’s, Fraserburgh

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
The text in this newsletter can be freely shared. Any photographs can be shared only with permission of the photographer. Please contact for details of permission.

Please encourage others to sign up for these regular e-mails at

Comments and feedback are always welcome and can be directed to Donald Walker, Director of Communications at, or Aidan Strange, Digital Communications Co-ordinator at

Please note that the views expressed on websites linked in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Published by the General Synod of The Scottish Episcopal Church – Scottish Charity Number SC015962
Copyright © 2020 Scottish Episcopal Church, All rights reserved
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website

Our mailing address is:
Scottish Episcopal Church
General Synod Office
21 Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh, Scotland EH12 5EE
United Kingdom

Scottish Charity No SC0 15962

view our privacy policy
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences