Cathedral Life

In addition to the daily cycle of prayer and worship, we support a busy programme of groups and activities which are open to all. These vary from Sunday groups for children and young people, through groups which meet in the week for prayer, study, cultural and social activities, to various outreach and fundraising activities for charities both local and worldwide. The work of some of our groups is highlighted below.

Youth Groups

Young people are a vital and visible part of the life of the Cathedral. Various youth and children’s groups meet during the Cathedral Eucharist at 10.30am on Sundays.

In accordance with the policy of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Cathedral operates a Child Protection Policy.

Pastoral Link Visiting

St Mary’s Cathedral maintains a team of volunteers who provide regular pastoral support for our housebound members and for those in need. It also organises social occasions and speaker meetings for those in its network.

Faith and Growth

The Faith and Growth Group seeks to enhance the spiritual and theological awareness of the Cathedral congregations, through a wide variety of activities such as housegroups, discussion groups, retreats and speaker meetings, together with a Book Group and a Poetry Group. It also encompasses a very active Men’s Group, which meets for prayer, discussion, and social activities (


The Christian Gospel has always had a robust message of transformation for life in this world not just the next, and the Cathedral’s Outreach Committee exists to promote issues of social justice both locally and abroad. Core activities include the support of Homelessness projects and a local food bank in Edinburgh, supporting charities in the developing world such as Christian Aid, together with a One World stall on Sundays, and projects encouraging environmental awareness.


Ecumenical links

The Cathedral believes in the importance of Christians working together as witnesses to God’s love for the world.  We have good relationships with our neighbouring Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic churches, and are involved in regular ecumenical/‘churches together’ events such as joint services with one or more local congregations in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on the World Day of Prayer and on Easter morning.

Looking further afield, there are strong links with churches of the Porvoo Communion (of which the Scottish Episcopal Church is a member) and members of Edinburgh’s Church of Norway community meet for worship in St Mary’s.  In our role as Cathedral, we are privileged to host some large-scale ecumenical services for significant occasions; these have included Scottish, UK-wide and international gatherings.



The Cathedral possesses a very fine ring of twelve bells and the Cathedral’s Society of Change Ringers (see ) exists first and foremost to ring the bells before Sunday services, and at other occasions such as weddings and special services. The Society also organises visits to other towers and welcomes new ringers. Change Ringing is both an art and a science, has its own specialised terminology, cannot be undertaken alone, and is a sociable and highly enjoyable means of giving physical and mental expression to one’s faith. Please see Cathedral Bells or contact the Tower Secretary, Barbara Bell, for more information (