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”.
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.
For those with big questions about death, dying and funerals, having someone to talk to can be invaluable. But how do you start those conversations, and with whom? GraveTalk was an idea launched through the Church of England to do just that.
On a wet Saturday afternoon in August some 30 members of the congregation gathered in the hall for tea, cakes and two hours of ‘GRAVETALK’ – organised by Nicki.
Each table was given 3 cards with relevant topics for discussion. People could discuss or not as they choose. Some questions were directly related to funerals but others where a sideways look like ‘ What is your favourite possession and who would you leave it to?’ or ‘How would you like to be remembered?’ Some people had already made plans or part plans for their funeral but, of these, not all had told anybody where to find the list of their wishes! There is a lot to be decided including:
Burial or Cremation
Religious or Non-Religious Service
Music, Hymns, Readings from Scripture, Poems, Eulogy etc etc.
Is there to be a Reception after?
If Cremated where do you want your remains to go?
If you don’t have a Funeral Plan who will pay?
There followed a talk by Andrew Purves from one of our local Funeral Directors. He gave an informative talk about their service and the different options available from type of coffins to type of Services, from local Crematoriums to possible Burial Sites, etc.
Hopefully it got those who attended to think what they would really like to happen after they died. Then to write a list and let their family and/or lawyer and/or priest know where the list is kept.
On Palm Sunday there was a joint walk with the Parish Church, through the Dell and Colinton Park, with stops at various locations to meditate on some of the Stations of the Cross.
During the week there were service each day with a Eucharist and Washing of Feet on Maundy Thursday. On the morning of Good Friday‘Experience Easter’ for youngsters was held and followed by a three hour Vigil from 12-3pm.
Easter Day started at 7am with a Service of Light followed by coffee and croissants in the hall. Nicki then took the usual 8.30 service before returning to a full church for the 10.30. She gave a special address to the children and after the service there was an Easter Egg Hunt in the grounds.
A consignment of 20 hats and two scarves, courtesy of our Secret Knitters, has been delivered to the Diocesan Office for the Mission to Seafarers.Given the weather we have had of late, I am sure that they will be very much appreciated.
Margaret writes: “Thanks are due to our Band of Secret Knitters. If you are wondering how to pass the long, dark winter nights, perhaps you would consider knitting hats or scarves for the Mission to Seafarers or little jackets for babies. There are patterns in the knitting box in the Baptistry”. A consignment of bright, cosy hats and scarves has been delivered to the Diocesan Office. As there has been a significant drop in the temperature I am sure that those sailors fortunate to receive a hat will be most grateful. Another parcel has been sent to the charity Knit for Peace which sends knitted items to areas of the world in need of warm clothing.
On Sunday 3rd September we marked the beginning of the school year with a lively service followed by a BBQ for our youngsters and families. The readings and prayers were led by our teenagers. The younger children enjoyed playing Follow my Leader down the aisle with Nicki as part of the sermon and joining in the actions for some of the hymns. The sun shone on our church garden for a tasty BBQ: a chance to swap holiday stories, meet new friends and for the children to bond over games.