Lent Services

You are welcome to join us as we travel through the season of Lent.

Service of Worship and Reflections on Worship

On Sunday 19th February at 8 p.m., we look forward to an evening of Modern Worship and reflections on worship with Rebecca and Dan Curtis and singer, Sally Homoncik.


Journey to Lent

What are Street Pastors?

Come and find out about Street Pastors at Night Service this Sunday, 15th January at 8 p.m.


Living the Questions 2023

This year, we’re embarking upon a new adventure.

From January we’ll be offering Living the Questions as a safe space to explore the Christian faith without pressure or presumptions. Together, we’ll dwell in the mysteries of life and faith, and share our journeys of unknowing, assisted by video input from leading teachers and theologians to inspire our conversations.

The first meeting will be an orientation session: a taster and introduction as to what may lie ahead. This will run from 7.30-8.30pm on Tuesday 31st January in St Mary’s Hall with tea, coffee, and cake, provided. Thereafter, meetings will be held on alternate Tuesday evenings, starting with a simple supper before moving into discussion of the materials. Themes in the first few sessions include journeying, taking the bible seriously, and stories of creation. There is no charge, though contributions to supper are welcomed.

If you would like more information or to let us know your intention to come to the orientation session, please contact Nerys or Rachael.

Christmas Services

Christmas Eve Christingle

Christmas Carol Service

Advent at St Mary’s

PEACE (December 4th) 8.30am Traditional Communion 10.30am Sung Eucharist and Young Church 8pm The Forgotten Women - Celebrating the Women who made the first Christmas possible, part of #16Days; JOY (December 11th) 8.30am Traditional Communion 10.30 am Sung Eucharist and Young Church 8pm Reflections on Walking the Camino; LOVE (December 18th) 8.30am Traditional Communion 10.30am Service for All Ages 4pm Christmas Carol Service followed by mince pies and mulled wine. PLUS Monday 5th December, 3.30pm – Advent Labyrinth for Families in church hall.

Winter Quiet Afternoon

Rector’s Letter, December 2022

Dear friends,

I am writing this letter in the midst of preparing to travel to Wales to visit my mother who will be 90 in the spring. I am looking forward to a few days spent at a different pace, enjoying unhurried, lovingly-prepared meals, leisurely walks, meandering conversation, afternoon naps and early nights. If it happens, it will be a great start to the season of Advent, the season when we’re called to slow down in order to wait watchfully for the coming of Christ. As you prepare for Christmas this year, I hope that you will be able to make time for Advent and to join your church family on our journey together.

Our Season of Remembrance came to an end with the celebration of Christ the King and Rachael’s memorable image of the Church as a ‘rowboat society’, facing backwards as we move forwards. As we enter this new season, I hope that we will take up the challenge to look over our shoulders to where we are going. In order to do so, we need to slacken the pace so that we can catch glimpses of the One who is our destination.

In our services there will be plenty of opportunity for reflection, as we sing our Advent and Christmas carols and explore the writings of Isaiah and Matthew. At Night Church we’ll journey with the forgotten women of the Bible and on the pilgrimage route to Compostela. As the Posada makes its way from household to household, there will be opportunities for young and old to spend time getting to know each other better. Please pray for the families who will be introduced to the practice of labyrinth walking at our after-school Advent event and for all the pupils who will take part in the inter-church Christmas Journey initiative.

As we prepare for our Christmas celebrations, we will continue to walk alongside those who are finding life a struggle. During the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves and others of the need to eliminate violence against women and girls. We are invited to join with the United Nations campaign to ‘Orange the world!’ and to contribute to the Mothers’ Union collections for Women’s Aid and the Family Help Hub at Cornton Vale Women’s Prison. Through our Christmas Appeal, we can once more support the wonderful work Aberlour, Scotland’s Children’s Charity, is doing to keep families together and provide emergency funds for those in crisis. Our Quiet Service for those who find the Christmas festivities difficult falls this year on 21st December, the longest night. If you know of anyone who has had a hard year for whatever reason, please let them know about this service, or, even better, offer to bring them.

In January we are offering a Quiet Afternoon to reflect on ‘A journey through Winter’ using art or poetry, an indoor labyrinth or a walk outside, There is also an invitation for you to explore in a safe environment those faith questions you have always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice. The Living the Questions course is based on the premise that faith is not a destination but a journey. An ecumenical team of facilitators is preparing to accompany you.

Our young people will also have an opportunity in the New Year to go deeper in their understanding of their faith and of being part of the Church with Rachael as their guide. Bishop Ian has been invited to join us at Pentecost for a special service of celebration where candidates of any age are invited to affirm the promises made at baptism and renew their dedication to participate fully as part of the Church within the Episcopal tradition. Any adult who hasn’t been confirmed or who has come to St Mary’s from another denomination and wishes to explore the possibility of expressing their commitment in this way, is welcome to speak with me about it.

As you discern your path towards Christ this Advent, I invite you to use the simple prayer of Thomas Merton:

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


with love to you all,


Solo Harp Concert

Join us next Sunday evening for an exciting performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons arranged for harp by the performer, internationally recognised soloist, Keziah Thomas, in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church. Entry by donation.

Autumn Quiet Afternoon

This retreat is open to people of all denominations or none.

Rector’s Letter, October 2022

Dear friends,
On the first Sunday of the Season of Creation we were joined by Pam Martin, a lay minister from Levens in South Cumbria who is an ambassador for the Christian Environmental Charity, A Rocha. After her visit, Pam sent me the following reflection. She wrote it for her parish magazine last winter in the midst of the pandemic but it contains good advice and encouragement for us at St Mary’s as we enter into the colder months in equally difficult circumstances.

Hope in dark times
I had an elderly friend – she was 96 when she died – who used to go into a real depressive decline at the onset of Autumn. This is a season which I love for its mellow light, its vivid colours and its earthy smells, and I found it difficult to understand why she found it so hard to bear. She tried to explain that autumn gives way to winter and the prospect of months of decreasing light values, increasingly cold weather, long nights and short days served only to remind her of her own mortality and the way her life was changing as she got older. I really didn’t want her final years to be blighted by such negative thoughts, so I prepared an ‘autumn’ prayer station where I tried to show how, just as the year was drifting to its close, there were already clearly visible signs of renewal in the natural world.

In our current challenging times, when everything we have depended on has been swept away and life has been turned upside down, we too can look to the natural world around us for signs of comfort and hope. Just look at the trees – apparently bare and lifeless – yet even before their leaves fell to the ground in the autumn, the buds protecting the new growth of next spring were already visible, and by this stage of the winter they are already swelling with the energy of new life. In the fruits that hang on the branches in the form of berries, nuts and winged seeds there is also the promise of the continuity of the familiar.

During a covid lockdown in 2020 my little granddaughter’s home-schooling programme included a winter nature walk. The teacher had sent pictures of 24 things to look out for and tick off on our walk, but most of them were not visible at all in the winter, and if that had been all we had to focus on it would have been a pretty depressing walk. So we went out armed with my i-phone and its camera to photograph things of beauty and would you believe that on February 3rd we found Viburnum tinus in flower, early daffodils breaking bud in the flower beds, primroses blooming bravely in the snow, a quince plant absolutely covered with a deliciously rich array of apricot-coloured flowers, hellebores flowering their socks off in a wee flowerbed outside someone’s front door. We saw cotoneaster berries rich and red just ready to drop to the ground and put the seeds in contact with the earth to enable the birth of a new plant, and we noticed the delicate, pointy, cigar-shaped buds of a beech tree protected from the harsh winter weather by the dry dead leaves the tree chooses to hold on to instead of letting them drop to the ground. The thick buds of Azalea praecox were just on the point of opening to share the wondrous beauty of their pale lavender flowers with whoever had eyes to see – and of course the s snowdrop – so easily overlooked precisely because it is ubiquitous and so very small – was really enriching of the soul because of its modest simplicity and beauty.

So if you are finding the times in which we live stressful and unsettling – just go out and immerse yourself in God’s wonderful creation. It is no wonder that it has been referred to as the first gospel, because it tells us so much about our wonderful God. And who can remain depressed when confronted by such majesty!

We will be revisiting some of the themes of Pam’s reflection and spending time in God’s creation at our Autumn Quiet Afternoon on 22nd October. Please contact me at rector@stmarysdunblane.org if you wish to attend.

Pam also shared some exciting practical ideas while she was with us, including joining the Recycling for Good Causes scheme. This is an opportunity both to help improve the environment and to raise money for the church’s environmental projects by collecting unwanted electronic gadgets, such as cameras, games consoles, mobile phones, sat navs, MP3 players and tablets, and also watches and jewellery (anything from plastic beads to old broken gold chains), old currency both UK and foreign and used stamps. For more information, please visit www.recyclingforgoodcauses.org.

A fortnight will be set for you to bring your donations to church in late October or early November. In the meantime, please start rummaging in your drawers, garages and attics!

The Season of Creation comes to an end with a Harvest Thanksgiving Service on the morning of 9th October which will be led by our curate, Rachael Wright. Please continue to pray for Rachael who is to be ordained at our cathedral in Perth on 2nd October and for Charlotte as she supports her.

I would also ask for your prayers also for Revd Ruth Kennedy who was ordained at Dunblane Cathedral on 8th September. Ruth has been appointed as a Pioneer Minister working with people under forty in the Cathedral, St Blane’s and St Mary’s and in the local community. I hope that we will get to know Ruth and have opportunities to support her exciting ministry during the months ahead.

Ruth was ordained on the evening of the death of Queen Elizabeth. As I reflected on that day, I realised that it was a watershed, not only in the history of the United Kingdom but also in the story of the churches of Dunblane. Rachael and Ruth represent a new generation of ordained and lay leaders who have been called to serve our community, bringing with them different approaches to ministry and mission from those we are used to. I hope that we at St Mary’s will embrace any new ecumenical initiatives that they introduce.

After our Harvest Celebration we will return to Sundays in Ordinary Time for a few weeks before the Season of Remembrance begins. During this in-between time at the onset of winter, there will be opportunities to think how we can respond to the huge increase in poverty which is likely to be caused by the food and fuel crisis. Bob Gill the convenor of Start-up Stirling which runs our local Food Bank will be in conversation with Rachael at the 10.30 service on 16th October. At the Night Service on 30th October, Revd Martin Johnstone will be sharing his thoughts, based on over 30 years involvement in a range of charities and third sector agencies focused on anti-poverty and tackling social injustice, including Christian Aid, Faith in Community Scotland and the Poverty Truth Network.

Dunblane Cathedral have reopened their café in the Cockburn Lounge between 10 a.m. and noon on Mondays to Fridays and are preparing to open a Winter drop-in for those in need of a warm space. We have been invited to help with this initiative, but I wonder if we are also called to develop a project of our own to offer hospitality and support to those in our community who will be struggling this winter? If you have any thoughts on this, please get in touch.

The October issue of the St Mary’s magazine is available in the porch of the church. If you would like to contribute to the November issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the editor at magazine@stmarysdunblane.org or to speak to me.

Holding you all in my prayers,

Harvest Thanksgiving Service 2022

A service for people of all ages together.