On a sunny Saturday, at the beginning of July, Kate and Gabriel were married at St.Cuthbert’s
St Cuthbert’s was one of the twelve churches in the Edinburgh Diocese which participated in Thy Kingdom Come, ten days of continuous prayer from Ascension Day to Pentecost.
The church was open for twenty four hours, 9.00am on Thursday 6 June to 9.00am on Friday 7 June and there were always people available to welcome and help as necessary. Both church and garden were prepared to be places to find peace and prayers in different ways. A range of ways to focus on prayer was offered, from icons, candles and a prayer tree (the first thing to see as people came into the church) to picture making and a prayer walk. There were also more formal services, morning, afternoon, evening and night prayer and a final morning prayer service on the Friday morning.
The painting was clearly enjoyed. One of the volunteers had serendipitously found a pile of discarded slates and had brought them with stones in for people to decorate and write thoughts on. These are now in various locations around the church garden. The prayers for healing were obviously very personal and moving. For some people the three “Stilling and Examen” sessions were a new experience. Based on the examen of Ignacias Loyola the basic five steps were becoming aware of God’s presence, renewing each day with gratitude, paying attention to one’s emotions, choosing one feature of the day and praying from it and finally looking forward to the next day. These five steps provide a useful structure to contemplation and prayer.
It is not possible to measure the success of such a venture. What has come back from those who participated in both the organisation and the separate parts of the event is that it was for all very meaningful. One person said that for her the most special was praying the Novena prayers at 4.00am in a silent church, aware of others from the 114 countries around the world at their different times of day and night also praying. For those who simply sat and waited to welcome people it was a time for peace and reflection: even just watching the candles in the darkness at midnight or seeing the daylight come up through the windows and people beginning to go to work through the open door were moving in their different ways. Comments were made about the formal prayer services being “restful and intimate”; about” becoming aware of the many gifts of people in the congregation” and above all the feeling that at St Cuthbert’s ”we are a praying people”.
Compiled from comments from people who took part.
It is said that “time flies when you’re having fun”. Well, I can hardly believe my placement at St Cuthbert’s will soon be at an end – on Easter Sunday. I arrived in September somewhat nervous at all that lay ahead. I quickly found that I had no need to be anxious. Everyone has been encouraging and helpful as I’ve learned about many aspects of church ministry. I very much appreciated the warm welcome I received. I also appreciated the many ways you took me into your hearts and supported the different things I was involved in; including the Pilgrim course, the Welcoming the Light event and my first sung Evensong.
I have enjoyed preaching and assisting with services as well as pastoral visits and giving home communion. With your encouragement and useful feedback, I have grown in confidence in each area of ministry. Nicki has supported me to do things well but also to take risks and be less worried about getting things wrong than I might otherwise be. This has helped me to try things out, trusting God’s help, and become more capable and at ease with what is required of me.
All being well, I will be ordained in St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow on Saturday 14th September then I will begin my curacy in my home diocese. It will be a joy to be back, but I will miss Edinburgh and the lovely people I’ve met here. Thank you for being so good to me. It has been a real pleasure to be your ministry student.
the young people are seen bunching flowers to give to members of the congregation
here is one of the younger children about to present a bunch to Sarah
St.Cuthbert’s held their AGM after the 10.30 service on the 9th of December. Sixty three members of the congregation attended. Nicki gave her annual report in the Sermon slot during the service. This and other reports, including a copy of the Church Accounts, can be found from the links below:
click here – to read The Revd.Nicki McNelly’s AGM report
click here – to read the Treasurer’s report
click here – to read the ACCOUNTS AS APPROVED AT AGM ON 9/12/2018
click here – to read the Annual Reports Booklet
The hall was well filled with congregation, friends and neighbours for the annual Burns Supper. This was the first time that Nicki and her husband attended our event. However, from Iain’s splendid rendering of ‘The Address to the Haggis’, it was obvious that they had attended many Burns Suppers in the past.
Following the meal there was entertainment from several members of the congregation.
More photos can be seen on our Facebook page.
On 16th December, family and friends gathered for Sophie’s christening which took place during the morning service. Her mother Leanne had been christened at St.Cuthbert’s and had attended the Sunday School too.
Later Leanne emailed Nicki:
“Just wanted to say thank you again for such a lovely service on Sunday. All our friends and family commented on how lovely it was and that Sophie will be getting penguin themed pressies from now on!”
To find out why Sophie will be getting ‘penguin themed pressies’ read Nicki’s sermon.
Like some other churches we had spent months making knitted and crocheted poppies. Ours decorated the font, flower displays and window cills.
On Sunday we had an Act of Remembrance at 11am with a ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ being played on a bugle. In the evening there was a joint service with the Parish Church to ‘Pray for Peace’ including the ‘Beacon of Light’ moment at 7pm in unity with those around the nation.
Like some other churches and public buildings we ‘Lit up Red’ to support Poppy Scotland.
On the Saturday afternoon we had a Street Party in the Hall. People were ushered in through the Church to hear the bells, look at the decorations and read the story boards about people’s relatives who had served in the World Wars. There were also biographies about the 11 young men, from the first WW, who we commemorate every Remembrance Day – see more. After 3/4 of an hour of music, entertainment and singing there was a delicious afternoon tea served by waitresses with fetching Union Jack aprons.
On 28th October Bishop John was with us for a Confirmation Service. Church was full with family and friends who had come for this happy occasion. The candidates are seen posing for a photo after the event. More photos on our facebook page.
On Friday a group of ladies decorated the church with flowers and harvest produce.
Another group put up displays about different aspects of our Church life.
On Saturday the doors were open for people to come in and look around. They ask questions about the life, work and architecture of the Church from members of the congregation. There was Play Church for children and, for part of the morning, an augmented choir sang to the visitors.
A video of ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ can be seen on our Facebook page.
On the Sunday at 10.30am there was wonderful Harvest Service when the children collected the offerings, for the foodbank we support, to put on the play church altar – see photos on our Facebook page.
The final event of the weekend was a memorable Choral Evensong.