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.

Cathedral Council

The convenors of various aspects of Cathedral life are brought together in a Cathedral Council, chaired by our Lay Representative.  Cathedral Council is responsible for the implementation of our Vision and Mission, and for ensuring the various aspects of Cathedral life work strategically together.

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 Vision of the Faith & Growth committee is to open windows and doors for people to come through on their journey of faith to listen, to pray, to learn, to be together, to get to know each other and to join in.

The mission of the Faith and Growth committee is to pool the resources and experiences of the Congregation to identify, think about and coordinate ways to explore our faith together and to facilitate that happening, under the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Through a wide variety of activities such as housegroups, discussion groups, retreats and speaker meetings, together with a Book Group, a Poetry Group and a Men’s Group, we offer opportunities within and beyond the Congregation, to grow in faith, to become more active and interactive members of the Cathedral, to whet people’s spiritual appetites, to stimulate curiosity on as many different levels as possible, to be aware of and respond to people’s concerns and interests and to encourage us all to ask more, think more, risk more spiritually.

We exist to provide opportunities for growing, learning and praying and to support, encourage and nurture those offering these opportunities.

We aim to be educational, welcoming, inspirational, facilitative, cohesive, inclusive, encouraging and transforming. For more information please email

Social Responsibility

The Cathedral’s Social Responsibility Group seeks to find ways for the congregation to respond to social needs, whether local, national or international.  Current activities include:

  • support for Fair Trade through the One World stall
  • raising funds for and promoting the work of Christian Aid
  • supporting a Cathedral team of volunteers providing meals for the homeless
  • organising collections and donations for different charities, usually three times per year, but also in response to urgent need
  • raising awareness of social issues through Cathedral notices and displays


St Mary’s Cathedral was registered as an Eco-Congregation in February 2019. Our commitment is to care for creation, make the link between environmental issues and the Christian faith, and respond with practical action in our Cathedral and the wider community. More details of the impact this is having on the Cathedral can be found here: A Regenerative Cathedral

Anne Backhouse is the convener of the Cathedral’s Eco-Congregation Group, email:

For more information on Eco-Congregation Scotland visit

Ecumenical links

The Cathedral believes in the importance of Christians working together as witnesses to God’s love for the world.  We have a good and deepening relationship with our neighbouring congregation at Palmerston Place Church of Scotland, with whom we share joint worship, Bible study groups and other events at various points in the year.  A small group of clergy and lay people from both congregations meets regularly to help develop our work together.  This local ecumenical witness is, we hope, a contribution to the national conversation between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland, Our Common Calling.  On the World Day of Prayer, the two congregations are joined by our Roman Catholic neighbours at St Andrew’s Ravelston and we take it in turns to host this annual service.

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.  The Diocese of Edinburgh has a partnership link with the Espoo Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and we have been delighted to welcome visitors from Finland, including recently an intern with research interests in ecumenical relations.


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 (