Dear Cathedral member,
We hope that this email finds you well, and adjusting to life spent largely indoors, with different rhythms and possibilities. The Cathedral itself shut completely last Tuesday in line with a request from our College of Bishops. A member of clergy is going in to the building on a daily basis, to lead prayers, but also to check the office answer-phone. We are grateful for the messages of support and encouragement many of you have sent as we attempt to continue to offer worship and prayer from within the Cathedral and online. We are all the more grateful for the many efforts so many are making to look out for one another, to support neighbours in these extraordinary days, and to uphold one another in prayer. Thank you.
Attached to this email you will find a copy of a short liturgy that we have recorded for this Sunday (Passion Sunday). It is a Service of the Word, centred around the lectionary readings and psalm for this Sunday. We are grateful to the members who have recorded the readings and written prayers for this service; to Andy, our Chaplain, for preaching; to Adam, our organist, for recording the music and hymns; and to James for pulling the whole thing together into a video that will be posted on the website by Saturday morning. We offer this service as the Cathedral’s contribution to worship for Passion Sunday. By making it available from Saturday morning, we hope you can watch it whenever is convenient for you, and please do follow along in the liturgy attached. Once again, if you know members of the Cathedral who won’t be able to access this online resource, please do post (or, if you can, deliver) a copy of the liturgy, so that they can at least pray that along with the rest of us. The text of Andy’s sermon will also be posted on the Sermons page of the website shortly.
Liturgy for Lent 5 (Passion Sunday): https://mcusercontent.com/b585b3f7f9b7af09d84fa437f/files/aa1fa851-da6e-4366-aa8b-87809048e3b6/Lent_V.pdf
Other acts of worship will be available to complement our own. Once again, the Scottish Episcopal Church is organising a broadcast of worship. I know many of you, like me, found that the link we provided to the Primus’ act of worship last week failed, but they have addressed those technical issues, and SEC worship will be available from 11am on Sunday here: https://www.youtube.com/user/scottishepiscopal
This week the service will be hosted by Bishop John.
The BBC are also offering Sunday worship – I know many people appreciated that last week.
(1045 BBC 1)
On Sunday afternoon, the Vice Provost will be live-streaming on Facebook a simple Communion service from inside the Cathedral. Please do join her on Facebook for that at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon. Our FaceBook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/stmaryscathedin/
The Cathedral’s vocation of prayer remains central and vital in these difficult days, as we wait to see how things unfold. We have continued our pattern of Morning and Evening Prayer, on weekdays at 8am and 5.30pm. We are joining together via the Zoom digital platform. If you would like to join us then you can do so by clicking on this link: https://zoom.us/j/603190028 That will prompt you to download the Zoom application onto your PC or device, and then enable you to join us. There is no need to turn on your audio or your camera, unless you want to be seen and/or heard. It is perfectly possible just to listen in and join in as appropriate.
The text for Daily Prayer each day can be found here: http://www.scotland.anglican.org/spirituality/prayer/daily-offices/
Before Prayer starts we ask that everyone mutes their microphone, apart from the leader and the responder. Please join in with the responder but with your microphone on mute. The responder will say the words in bold, the even verses in psalmody, and the second half of each Gloria (i.e. ‘as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.’) When we reach the time of open prayer you may be invited to offer your own short prayers or petitions – there is no necessity to do so, but if you would like to, please unmute yourself at that point and speak into the silence. Please mute again when you have finished. At 7.55am & 5.25pm, we spend a few minutes checking in with everybody, before going into Morning or Evening Prayer.
We are beginning to look ahead and plan the Cathedral’s services for Holy Week and Easter. It is a fairly major challenge to re-write the services for these very different times, without a choir, and with people largely confined to their own homes. It is also hard to say how events may unfold over the coming fortnight. Our commitment to prayer through it all, and to walking with Christ the way of the cross and resurrection, remains undimmed however. We will give more details next week about our plans.
A word about offerings: like many in wider society, these are challenging days for the Cathedral on the financial front. Some of our usual sources of income have dried up, or are threatened. The Cathedral Board are taking steps to ensure the wellbeing of all the staff, and to utilise all the help on offer from the Government that we can. If you normally give in the offering plate on a Sunday, please could you consider using the donation button located on the Cathedral’s website home page (www.cathedral.net). Alternatively, this may be a time you might consider giving by standing order, as many already do. Please contact the office (email@example.com) for details of how to give in this way. For those who already give by standing order, we understand if your own finances are under review at this difficult time – we appreciate all those who are continuing to give in this way. Thank you.
We have received this helpful advice on how to be a good neighbour from Volunteer Edinburgh: Many people around the city are wanting to help within their communities and our message is very much think local, act local. Just be a good neighbour. This is especially important given the current restrictions on movement. We have a lot of advice for people who want to be good neighbours on our website here and we also have information for individual citizens on how to so this safely.
Finally, please be assured of our continuing prayers, particularly for the anxious, the isolated and the suffering. These are difficult days, and likely to get harder in the coming weeks. If there are any particular people or needs that we should be praying for, or practical help that the Cathedral can offer or organise, don’t hesitate to be in touch.
May God grant to each of us peace, and hope, and faith,
John Conway, Provost firstname.lastname@example.org 07791508103