News: July 2018


July update

From the Provost

Dear friends,

Over the last couple of months, a group of people from across the Cathedral have gathered over a couple of Saturday mornings to consider how we might articulate a vision for our Cathedral, and put into words the Cathedral’s calling. I would like to thank that group, and offer to you all that vision for your prayer and comment:

St Mary’s Cathedral, where all are nurtured in faith and hope and love: through transforming encounter with God in word, music and beauty,

and with one another in the warmth of welcome,

the depth of theological conversation

and in generous action for our community and city.

We then thought about how that vision might be expressed, and set out five strands of our calling:

St Mary’s Cathedral, as part of the Diocese of Edinburgh, seeks to respond to God’s mission by:

Proclaiming the good news of Christ through the rhythm and practise of the church’s worship and prayer; by seeking excellence in all we do; by responding to the common search for meaning and purpose of all who pass through our doors.

Nurturing faith, hope and love wherever they are found: by teaching and exploring scripture, tradition and the practise of prayerful living.

Offering examples of generous and loving service, by creative use of our resources of people and buildings and by responding to local need.

Engaging with our Diocese, our city and civic partners to help build a sense of the common good and a community for all.

Witnessing to our responsibility for God’s creation, through our appropriate stewardship of the world’s resources.

It would be good to hear from you, the wider congregation, with your response to this vision. Please let me or the other clergy know your thoughts over the summer. In the autumn we will outline more fully how we will put some flesh on these bones, as well as the financial challenges that that all presents.

One of the many aspects of the Cathedral’s mission that we talked about, was our welcome of visitors to the Cathedral, and how we can help to draw them in to the prayer which is at the heart of the Cathedral’s life. We reflected that some of our daytime services during the week don’t seem to engage our visitors in the ways that we might hope, and in particular our lunchtime communion service often has a very small (or no) congregation. In response, from July, we are going to alter the pattern of our weekday services a little, to see if that helps draw more people into prayer. Our 7.30am Morning Prayer and Communion will remain the same, but our lunchtime service will move to 1pm, and on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, it will be in the form of mid-day prayer, in the choir, and to which all visitors will be expressly invited as it starts. On Wednesdays and Fridays it will remain a Communion service in the Lady Chapel. In addition, we will move our 11.30am Prayer Book Communion Service from a Thursday to a Tuesday from July 3rd onwards. Our evening services will remain unchanged. The new pattern of services will be on the Music and Services list at the back of the Cathedral and on the website.

There are also going to be changes in both the Vergers’ department and the Cathedral office over the summer. After 25 years as foreman of the Cathedral Workshop, Andrew Ramsay is having to step down on health grounds. I am delighted that Andrew has agreed to become our second Verger, alongside Colin Campbell. He will officially take up that post on July 14th. He brings a wealth of experience about the building to the job of Verger, which will be immensely helpful. He tells me, however, that the more ceremonial aspects of the role are not part of his previous life, and well out of his comfort zone! I am sure you will make him most welcome and put him at his ease about all that when you see him on a Sunday.

In the office, Anne Backhouse is standing down as Cathedral Secretary at the end of July after several years of service. We are immensely grateful to Anne for her patience, diligence, and cheerfulness, in what is sometimes a stressful environment, with many competing demands. She has administered much of the Cathedral’s life with immense skill, and she will be much missed from the office, but fortunately not the congregation. We wish both her and Peter a very happy retirement. If you would like to give something toward a leaving present for Anne, then please give it to the clergy, or in an envelope to the office (marked for the attention of Rosemary!)

I’m delighted that Rosemary Kaye is going to swap seats in the office and take up Anne’s post of Cathedral Administrator, while James Parsons, who is currently one of our Alto Lay Clerks, is also going to take up the post of Publicity and Social Media Officer, based in the office. As well as overseeing the many printed materials produced by the Cathedral, James will be developing our publicity, both printed and digital. We look forward to welcoming James in that role from the beginning of August.

Thanks to many of you for your generous response to the Organ appeal launched with the last edition of Magnificat. I’m delighted to say that we have already raised nearly £30,000 toward our target of the further £200,000 we need to go ahead. The plan had been for the overhaul of the organ to begin after the Festival this year. Unfortunately we have now learnt that Harrison & Harrison, the organ builders, are unable to schedule the work in time for it to be completed by the Festival next year.  This means that the overhaul and restoration is now scheduled for September 2019 – July 2020. Whilst this is later than we had planned and hoped, and it does mean that our organists will have to struggle with a somewhat failing organ for a year, it also gives us more time to raise the money, and complete the stonework renovations going on above the organ.

Finally, you will receive a copy of the Festival events in and around the Cathedral with this edition of Magnificat. Please do come and enjoy what the Cathedral has to offer, and let others know about the wide selection of concerts and other events on offer (many of them are free!). I am looking forward to enjoying the Festival at the Cathedral, and seeing the ways in which we can develop our ministry to all who come through our doors, drawing us all in to deeper praise of God and love of neighbour.

With every blessing for the summer,


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