The following letter from Bishop Ian was read at our Eucharist this morning:
Dear members of Holy Trinity and of St Margaret’s,
Thank you for all the patient understanding and care you have given to Kenny and Ruth in the months since Kenny had to step back from active ministry because of a serious health issue. Kenny and Ruth have had to wait until now to set the date of Kenny’s retirement, and this decision has now been taken, with my agreement. Kenny’s last day as your Rector and Priest will be 31st August, and he will retire from 1st September.
It is very good indeed that Kenny and Ruth will be with both congregations on Sunday 12th September, so that farewells and thanks can be expressed, and prayers for the future can be offered.
Please continue to hold Kenny and Ruth in your prayers as they prepare to move away from Dunfermline and into a new chapter of life for them. Please also continue to pray for your Vestry members as they work on the Profile for each Church, and as Holy Trinity begins to seek a new Rector and St Margaret’s begins to seek its own new Priest-in- Charge. Pray too for Hunter Farquaharson as he serves you as Interim Pastor, and for me as I work to support you and your Vestries over the coming months.
Thank you, everyone at Holy Trinity and at St Margaret’s, for all your faithfulness and hope for the future, as well as all your compassion and care in the present.
With warmest good wishes,
After a one year hiatus due to Covid, this September artists in Central Fife are once again opening their studios to the public. Central Fife Open Studios is an art trail which this year will take place on the weekends 4/5 and 11/12 September. Studios will be open 10.30am–5.00pm each day.
The event is designed to give professional artists, makers and designers in Central Fife the opportunity to show their work to the public and celebrate the wealth of talent in the area. It also provides the public with an opportunity to buy or commission a piece of original art from a range of disciplines including textiles, jewellery, painting, printmaking and photography.
This year Adrian Masson, a member of our St Margaret’s congregation, is again taking part and he would be delighted to welcome any church members to his studio (Studio 29) at 28 Lumsdaine Drive, Dalgety Bay, KY11 9YU. Adrian is a traditional landscape painter who enjoys incorporating lakes, beaches and figures into his work. This year he is also exhibiting some floral paintings and ‘bubble art’!
For further information on all the artists taking part, examples of their work and where their studios are located, go to www.centralfifeopenstudios.org, or click the image above.
Although Monday 9 August saw the lifting of further restriction in Scotland, it has been suggested that SEC and Methodist congregations may wish for the time being to continue their existing practices (for example in relation to physical distancing) if they consider that it would be advisable to do so for local pastoral reasons. The Methodist Circuit which includes Rosyth, continues to encourage congregations to stick with 1 metre distancing for the next few weeks, as it has so recently been implemented and may be reassuring for those attending. The wearing of face masks remains for worship and also for congregational singing. Churches continue to be encouraged to maintain a record of contact details for those attending services, so we ask everyone to be patient, please, until at least the end of August.
The July 2021 edition of Inspires Online contains a lot of relevant and interesting material, but the item that caught my eye was an article by Rev Dr Michael Hull, Director of Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute, that talks about the words that surround the ‘pub sign’ that announces the presence of Episcopal churches such as ours. Dr Hull writes:
The Scottish Episcopal Church uses the strapline ‘evangelical truth, apostolic order’ writes. Though each of the words is found in the New Testament, the phrase as such was coined by the American Episcopal priest John Henry Hobart in 1807. He called it his ‘banner’. (He was later consecrated the third Bishop of New York in 1816.) Hobart was keen to accent both evangelical truth and apostolic order in the Christian life.
Evangelical truth summarises a key belief of the early Church that was emphasised anew at the sixteenth-century Reformation in the British Isles, namely that Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation. It is in the Bible and the Bible alone that God reveals truths we could never know by our own power, insight or industry. It is the Bible and the Bible alone that is the ultimate authority for our Christian life both in doctrine and ethics. ‘Evangelical’ as Hobart understands it follows from its Greek root: ‘good news’, ‘gospel’, that is the truth revealed in Jesus that sets us free (John 8.32). The only way to know Jesus, to know of the most profound realities, is to look to Holy Scripture.
It is for that reason that our divine worship, the liturgical life of Episcopalians, is overwhelmingly scriptural. The Scottish Book of Common Prayer, if one looks closely, is about eighty-five percent quotes, references and close paraphrases from the Bible. Likewise, a close look at any of the SEC’s contemporary liturgies shows that when we are at corporate prayer, we immerse ourselves in biblical language, imagery and symbolism. For most of us, though, corporate worship is available only on Sunday (the current pandemic notwithstanding). Yet, on the other six days of the week we have just as much need to be nourished by Holy Scripture. The seventeenth-century priest and poet George Herbert reminds us that worshipping God is not solely for Sundays: ‘Sev’n whole dayes, not one in seven, I will praise thee’. The same, surely, is true of spending time with Holy Scripture.
Because we Episcopalians, like all Reformed Christians, see Holy Scripture as fundamental to our faith and everyday lives, it is important for us to keep our biblical literacy alive. It behoves us to read Holy Scripture daily and to ensure that we study it seriously as lifelong students of God’s Word. The early Christians were wont to read the Bible in the vernacular, as we see in the example of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, the lingua franca of his day, and to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit in their interpretation. The Reformers, although they read the texts in the original languages and expected ministers to do the same, were lively translators. They wanted the Word of God to nourish each and every one of us spiritually. We have a great legacy of translations of the Bible into English from John Wycliffe’s work in the fourteenth century through the King James Version in the seventeenth century up to twenty-first century translations like the English Standard Version (2001) and the Modern English Version (2014).
We need the Bible’s daily nourishment. It is Jesus himself who reminds us of this in his earthly life. Each of the Synoptic Gospels recounts the Temptation, but Matthew gives us a particular insight. Jesus is preparing to begin his public ministry. He goes into the wilderness to fast and to pray for forty days. The forty days recall the forty years that the Hebrew people were in the desert as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. The Tempter seizes the opportunity to sorely tempt Jesus, who of course in his human body and nature is tired, worn and hungry. ‘If you are the Son of God’, says the Tempter, ‘command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ Jesus, fully aware of the insinuation that he should commit an act of hubris by making his own manna, replies: ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”’ (Matthew 4.1–4).
The temptation before us today is to forget the wisdom of our strapline taken from Hobart’s banner, ‘evangelical truth’, which provides the nourishment we need in the contemporary worldly wilderness where a cacophony of voices similar to the Tempter’s tell us that the surest guides for our thought and behaviour are found other than in the words that come to us from Holy Scripture as interpreted in the Holy Spirit. It is also Jesus himself who tells us why he came: that we ‘may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10.10). The life that Jesus brings, here and hereafter, is the Good News that our deepest desires and our spiritual hunger are assuredly met, and that all things necessary to salvation are given us in Holy Scripture.
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The Right Revd Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, writes:
Dear people of Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s,
Thank you for all the support and prayer you have offered for your Rector, Kenny Rathband’s recovery from the serious health problem which he faced just before Easter. Kenny and Ruth have appreciated hugely the love and support you gave and continue to give.
Kenny has also been receiving excellent care and advice from his doctors, and it is as a result of consulting them that he has decided he must now step back from his roles as Rector and Dean. Kenny himself writes:
“For health reasons, and after much thought and prayer, I have decided I must retire from full time stipendiary ministry. This has not been an easy decision to make and follows on from my recent heart attack. The date of my retirement will depend on the medical advice I receive in the next few weeks, and will be agreed with Bishop Ian and the Vestries.
I have greatly enjoyed working with you in each congregation, and have also greatly enjoyed the privilege of being Dean of the Diocese for a number of years. Whenever we are able to gather for it, I would greatly value being able to say farewell and offer my thanks to you all in person at a service as soon as we can arrange it. I will continue to hold everyone in my prayers.”
This sad news must come as a shock to many of you, even if not a surprise when we understand Kenny’s health situation. I will continue to give Kenny and Ruth all the love and support that I can, and also to give you my help and encouragement as we move towards the next chapter for Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s. I will also be appointing an experienced Interim Pastor who will serve and support you through the next few months.
Please keep Kenny and Ruth, and your Vestries and congregations, in your prayers, as all of you are in mine.
With my warmest regards and prayer,