Rector’s Letter – from February 2020 Magazine

Dear friends,

I think that I have mentioned before my delight when I notice signs that someone has been praying in our church. During the last few weeks I felt compelled to put a map of the world in front of the altar to encourage those who visit to pray for areas suffering from the effects of climate change, political instability and conflict. It has been encouraging to see new markers appearing on the map every day indicating that people have spent time praying for places like Australia, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

I don’t often meet those who pop into the church during the week but in November I happened to strike up a conversation with a visitor from Fortrose in Ross-shire. When he informed me that his grandfather had been rector of St Mary’s, I took him to the Priest’s Vestry to see if we could find his photo on the wall. It wasn’t there, probably because Rev. Kenneth Sutherland Graeme was not at St Mary’s for very long. He arrived in August 1925 and left for Stirling two years later. In the minutes of the Vestry, he is described as ‘a man of considerable spiritual influence and has a remarkable power with children and young people’. According to his grandson, his decision to leave had caused him quite a lot of soul searching because he loved it here. A week after our encounter, Mike Marshal sent me a photograph of his grandfather for the Vestry wall and also a children’s book written by his mother, Rev. Graeme’s daughter, about the history of their Cathedral in the Black Isle. Rosemary Sutherland was born during her father’s time in Dunblane and the Scottish Episcopal Church is still a central part of her life. I have left the book on a windowsill in the Prayer Room. You are welcome to borrow it.

The season of Epiphany is a time when we think of the light of Christ being revealed by the guiding of a star, by the descent of the Spirit, in the response of his followers. We start this month with the celebration of the ancient feast of Candlemas, remembering Simeon and Anna who recognise the child Jesus in the Temple, and we finish with the story of the Transfiguration of our Lord when he is shown once more to be God’s beloved Son. As we turn from our celebration of Christ’s coming into the world towards Lent and Easter there will be many opportunities for us to shine our light in our community. Read on and you will find requests for practical help and for prayer support. In the meantime, the Lord Jesus give light to our eyes, give light to our minds, give light to our hearts, give light to our whole lives, that we may witness to him.

With love,