From Peter Wood, Mission Officer

Dear Friends

Which is your natural posture -to be active or reflective? Are you a Martha or a Mary? I think we may have more Martha’s than Mary’s in the church at present.

Holding the two together is however vital for mission.

I’ve been learning about St.Ignatius recently who when growing up was inspired by tales of valour & knighthood and was eager to play his part as a Spanish soldier. In 1521 he found himself and his small group of fellow warriors defending the fortress of Pamplona against the French. They were seriously outnumbered, and a more prudent—and less zealous—leader might have negotiated a surrender, but Ignatius was not the type to do anything halfway. They were however roundly defeated by the French, and during the battle a cannonball ripped through Ignatius’s legs.

Multiple operations without anesthetics was bad enough but so too for Ignatius was the inability to do anything. All he could do was read the books on the life of Jesus and the saints that his sister brought him. Over time he realised that his original desires for heroism was vain and his contemplation of Christ brought deeper consolation and transformation.

By the time he was able to walk again, Ignatius carried a new vision for his life, and he was headed in a direction quite different from before. He went on to found the Jesuits and is nowadays recognised now as the father of spiritual direction.

I have just come to the end of a six month prayer course on contemplative prayer. It has been excellent and has at times provided a deep place of stillness in me. At times this can be likened to letting the pond water of life sit for long enough until it becomes less cloudy and things become clearer. I wonder how you pray and listen to God.

A flyer for the next Growing in Prayer & Reflective Living Course flyer is attached. Other prayer resources

Any prayer resources that you would recommend?

Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Initiative

The Moderator is encouraging members to consider joining the Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative which runs from Ascension Day to Pentecost Sunday (Thursday 9 May – Sunday 19 May).

Thy Kingdom Come is an invitation for individuals, churches and families to pray for friends, neighbours and the nation. There are plenty of resources on the dedicated website for churches. Here are suggestions and then the link below

Ideas for Prayer stations

Lord’s Prayer stations

Family Prayer stations at church

How to run a 24-7 Prayer Room

Praying for five friends

60 Minutes of Prayer – For the Nation

60 Minutes of Prayer – The Lord’s Prayer

An outline for home group or church Prayer meeting

Prayer Walking

Inspiring ideas for Prayer meetings


Praying for young people

Prayer ideas for families and households

Prayer games

Prayer safari

Prayer kite festival

Pentecost paper prayeroplane party

Prayer bear picnic

Prayer ‘posada’: Round the World in nine days

A reflective story on the kingdom of God

A children’s group session

Youth Group Resource Primary School Assembly for

Thy Kingdom Come Messy Church

‘Slow walking’ sessions

I would be happy to offer to lead a couple of short ‘Slow Walking’ sessions to any church during Thy Kingdom Come. This is about walking outside: praying and noticing and wondering & hoping. Please get in touch for more information and to arrange dates.

Congratulations to…

Pamela Kennedy, Pioneer Minister at Cardrona and working at ITW who has accepted the call after preaching as sole nominee for The Barn in Culloden; and to Tim Linford who was ordained minister of word & sacrament at Gorebridge Parish Church on Thursday evening.

Presbytery Zoominar Tuesday April 30th at 7-8pm: Faith Sharing

‘Start to Stir’ is offering a session about sharing faith by offering a new perspective on evangelism that works with the people you already know and will see again tomorrow... and the day after that!  Christians across the country are discovering several new starting points and practical tools that build confidence and help to overcome people's increasing indifference towards the gospel. 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 815 2198 0476  Passcode: 135519

Mission Groups

Do you have new housing in your town or village? Join the conversation

Presbytery New Housing Group meets on zoom 4-5pm on Tuesday May 14th

There are now several embryonic Presbytery Forest church groups.

Join the next conversation on zoom 4-5pm on Weds. May 15th

If I can help you with mission do please get in touch.

Love & best wishes


A View from the pew  

From time to time we will invite a few guest contributors from time to time and here's one...

Dr Alan Naylor, Penicuik North Kirk

It’s May - and the Assembly is soon upon us.  For up to 600 Commissioners and visitors the annual meeting in Edinburgh gives an opportunity for the Kirk to ponder, reflect, enact and at times plead. The subjects are many and varied and this year is no different.  This year instead of the Blue Book a computer file of papers has been dispatched to the Commissioners. Progress from the Kirk?

I have a particular hobby horse. In our kirk in deepest Midlothian we have a cohort of young people  - the Young Kirk - who are intelligent, articulate and represent the finest traditions of young Christianity.  If they are of age they could be a Commissioner.  However, and it is a massive however, for some the Highers take precedence - and for others term exams at University come at the same time as the Assembly. Now I served 9 years in Ministries Council and I pleaded to have the Assembly moved to the first week in June.  "Ah...came the reply - we have had the Assembly at this time since 1560 and John Knox.  It's aye been."

If we really really care about our young people and want them to have a voice in the Kirk - perhaps we should debate this at a Presbytery meeting and send an overture to 2025 Assembly.

However let's keep the main thing, the main thing.  Let us pray for our Commissioners as they face what could be a stern week - ask that they receive guidance and discernment. A special welcome to our newest missionary partner, the Rev Tara Carlewis from CoS in Rome. Hence if your minister and or elder has been chosen this year - tell them face to face of your love and support. They will appreciate your efforts.


Upcoming Events:

3 Dads Walking

Three Dads walking for suicide prevention stopped at Channelkirk Church yesterday on their way south and partook of some hospitality. We put the kettle on in the Church and they and their co-walkers enjoyed a coffee in the sunshine.

Raising Suicide Awareness Across the Country One Step at a Time

you can offer your support for this great cause at

Rev. Peter J. Wood

Mission Officer for Lothian & Borders Presbytery

Link to Presbytery Facebook Page

Link to Presbytery Youtube channel

From Peter Wood, Mission Officer

Prebytery Update April 8

Hello everyone,
One of the great things about being a Christian is we belong to a vast family most of whom we do not know but when two Christians meet together there is always a moment of joy. Two people who share a foundation for life and eternity! Recently Alan and Jan Naylor from Penicuik North were on holiday in Rome and decided to drop in on Tara Curlewis our missionary partner. Alan gives an account of the day below and there is a picture of Jan (left) and Tara (right).

A day in the life of two elders!

Jan and I have been elders in Penicuik North Kirk for over 70 years between us. We started a Mediterranean cruise in early March in Barcelona where we had visited our granddaughter who is studying there. On through the Med including Ephesus (go if you get the chance as St Paul and others did!) and we ended up in Rome. There we met two clerics.

Firstly Rev Tara Curlewis, the CoS minister in Rome, but also the representative of the ecumenical movement in Rome. Typical of the Kirk - one minister and two jobs. Tara showed us around after a  “McDonalds”coffee and a wide ranging discussion.

My question is how can we help our missionary partner?

She is looking to utilise in terms of Worship Leading, the excellent facility developed by the Presbytery but was particularly excited about Interim Moderator training.

She has an active congregation with many ‘one Sunday’ visitors but is facing the same problem as most of us - an ageing flock.  She asked for our prayers for her church for her congregation and for her work. She was a courteous hostess showing us much of her new home city which was busy and hot!

Later  we met up with Rev Rob Warren, now the Episcopal rector in Rome who had spent many happy years in St James the Less in Penicuik, where he met his wife Caireen. An enjoyable interlude which included a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar which is performed annually in Rome, the week before Holy Week.

Jan and I have been blessed to visit CofS congregations in Hong Kong, Lausanne, Colombo and now Rome. In their various circumstances they all asked for our prayers as they faced their futures.  Let’s do it!

Alan and Jan have come back from their holiday with great memories and a rekindled impetus to support people like Tara.

Church of Scotland Learning

Across our denomination there is a renewed emphasis on equipping people to respond to all the challenges faith presents in todays world. We all know how hard it is and we all know we need to support each other.

Staff in the Faith Action Program Leadership Team have drawn from people across the denomination who have experience worth sharing and have put together a website dedicated to equipping people. You can find it here: Springing into Growth and Renewal with Church of Scotland Learning | Church of Scotland Learning (

There are modules on everything from Discipleship to Eldership to Leadership, they range from the intensely practical to the more theologically reflective but all are designed to help you in your faith. More modules are added every month. This is a superb resource we should all be making better use of.

Fundraising Workshop

Looking for free Money? Who isn’t!

The Priority Areas (PA) team, along with Seeds for Growth, have arranged fundraising training with our partners Faith in Community Scotland (FiCS).

This is ideal for congregations looking to access grant funding for their project ideas. The training will cover all the basics from project conception and approaching potential funders through to reporting on how funding has been spent. There will be input from The Church of Scotland’s Seeds for Growth staff.

When: Wednesday 24th April

Time: 9am for coffee and pastries to 4pm

Where: Milton Room, Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JP.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

We have a limited number of spaces, which will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please sign-up now to avoid disappointment. We recommend that interested congregations send two or three people as a project team to get the most from the day.

Sign-up now, use the form here:

Remember to pray for each other, that is one of the principle ways we as Christians support each other. This week’s prayer diary is for Dirleton linked with North Berwick Abbey

April 14th      Dirleton linked with North Berwick Abbey

We remember in prayer this week the leadership and all involved in the life of this community.

In addition give thanks for the six new elders recently ordained in Abbey and bless all who will visit our two churches in the coming months.

Please pray for Peter this week as he walks St Cuthberts way accompanied by local folks from across the Borders. Pray especially for decent walking weather.

Lastly a few in-house updates for you.

Presbytery Accounts are still being prepared. Bringing all the funds of the 4 Presbyteries together was complicated, so is reporting it in a clear way in an annual report. Next year will be, we hope, much easier. When we get them we will call the meeting.

The current Presbytery website is being taken down and replaced with a bespoke one. It is being worked on as we speak and should be live in the next couple of months. We had property forms on the old site, if you want them, just email myself or Roger Dodd.

The Yearbook has now been released and as expected there are quite a few changes needed. We will release an updated version with these changes before the June Presbytery.

We are looking for elders who want to be part of Presbytery, we can appoint up to 30 balancing elders and there are lots of spaces. We want people who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of folks in the Lothians and Borders. Do you have skills and passion to help others? Get in touch with myself. [Your KS have to agree for you to be one]

Be thou a bright flame before me,
be thou a guiding star above me,
be thou a smooth path below me,
be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
today, tonight and forever.

—Attributed to St. Columba (521-597 AD)

God Bless
Norman Smith

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