Rector’s Letter – June 2021

Dear friends,

By the time you read this, we will be in Ordinary Time, the longest season in the Church Year, stretching from Pentecost to the beginning of Advent. After the extraordinary year we’ve experienced with its great uncertainties and challenges, its many losses and unexpected joys, I for one am looking forward to settling into the rhythm of the tempus ordinarium which literally means ‘measured time’. With the great festivals of the church behind us and the easing of restrictions to our worshiping and our meeting together, my hope is that the summer and autumn months will be a time for us to enjoy some of the ordinary things of church life, things we took for granted before March 2020.

In his poem ‘The Bright Field’, R. S. Thomas recalls his experience of seeing sunlight breaking through onto a small patch of land. It is only later that he realises with regret that the field contained the treasure for which he yearned. I hope that you will join me, if you can, in making the most of any opportunities to worship and meet together in the weeks ahead. It won’t be as it was before the pandemic or as it will be when the danger of the virus has passed, but, in the words of the poet,

Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past.

It’s so easy to miss the pearls of great price that lie along our way because we are too busy looking over our shoulders or scanning the horizon.

It was only when they sat down together with the risen Christ that the two on the road to Emmaus recognised him in their midst. Sometimes it takes a turning aside, an inner shift, to enable us to catch glimpses of the glory of God in the ordinary present of our lives and to become aware of the Spirit of Love at work within us and among us. My prayer for the weeks of Ordinary Time is that despite the limitations imposed on us, we as a congregation would take pleasure from our time together in God’s presence, be that in our Sunday services or when groups gather once more in the hall.

I hope that we will continue to listen deeply to each other as we discern together the way ahead, embracing new initiatives, encouraging and supporting those who ready to work for the future of St Mary’s. Members of the Vestry and others are making great progress on different fronts to ensure that there will be opportunities for growth in the years ahead, Leaders of Young Church are experimenting with new patterns to make our worship more accessible to families with children, and members of the Pastoral Care Team are figuring out ways to better respond to the needs of those in our midst who are lonely or bereaved. Please pray for them and please get involved if you are able.

I hope that we will also listen out for the voices of those in need in our local community and across the world and find ways to respond with compassion. It was a privilege last month to host the service to launch Christian Aid Week in Dunblane and to learn more about the way the charity is helping those living in Climate Chaos and raising a voice on their behalf. Over £6,000 was collected by means of the envelopes and the Just Giving Page. Thank you to everyone involved.

This month we will return to the ‘Faith into Action’ conversation series of previous years, focussing on the way God is calling ordinary people to serve others in extraordinary ways. We will start by marking Carers Week in the company of Kate Sainsbury who has founded the Appletree Community near Auchterarder to provide a home for her son Louis and other young people with profound and complex needs. Look out for an opportunity to add prayers for carers and those who are cared for to a noticeboard in the church porch. These will be read in the services on Sunday 6th June. For more information on Carers Week and to add your voice to the call to Make Carers Visible and Valued, visit

Later in the month you will be invited to make ‘people chains’ to help show our readiness as churches to walk alongside all refugees and asylum seekers and their families. On World Refugee Day, 20th June, Hugh Grant will introduce us to Forth Valley Welcome which helps New Scots to integrate into their local community. I hope that this will be the starting point for a conversation about ways in which we at St Mary’s might wish to be involved in supporting displaced people both locally or globally. For more information, visit

The livestreaming of the 10.30 a.m. eucharist and the distribution of the Materials for Worship at Home will continue for the time being with a review at the end of the month. Please get in touch if you are benefiting from these resources and wish for them to continue.

With my love and prayers,