Parish Magazine

THE MANSE

 
Dear Friends,
 
This is my final pastoral letter at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church.   I remember the thrill and excitement of being called and inducted as your minister nineteen years ago in October 2000.   While a student at the University of Edinburgh, Shelagh attended Mayfield Church in the 1980s under the exceptional ministry of Bill McDonald and was very pleased to return!   Our son, Murdo, was born one month later on the night of my first meeting of Kirk Session.   I missed the first meeting:  a good start!
 
There have been many formative, creative and stimulating events at Mayfield Salisbury over the years; too many to mention here.   Each and every event has been possible only because of the many committed, gifted and generous people in this church.  The people, the congregation, are the church.   Ministers come and go.   I am particularly indebted to those who helped shape and deliver the many festivals we organised:  meditation and prayer, ageing and faith, science and religion, pilgrimage, sacred music, and religion as poetry.   And the congregation is truly blessed with such a dignified, inspiring and beautiful worship space.   Sensitively refurbished with the addition of gold stars set in the night sky and situated high above the Communion Table, the Sacrament at the centre of the cosmos, many times visitors have told me that the sanctuary is a place of welcome, beauty and peace.
 
For myself, my ministry has been most marked by discussions about biblical interpretation, science, personal spirituality, and interfaith dialogue.   Above all, it has been the outstanding privilege of my professional life to preach each week to such an engaging congregation.   The encouragement and thoughtful response have helped deepen my own thinking and nourished my inner journey.   Mayfield Salisbury’s support through my continuing academic study enriched my ministry immensely:  MTh and MPhil at the University of Edinburgh and PhD at the University of St Andrews.   It is a treasured prerogative of parish ministry to share special and tender moments with individuals and families at life-changing moments:  baptism, marriage, personal joys and sorrows, dying and bereavement.  At this point of departure, many people come to mind, not least many of the tremendous people who have died:  these are memories of love and friendship.
 
I am grateful for the support, grace and dedication of the Elders and office-bearers over these years.   Mayfield Salisbury is blessed with an incredibly gifted ministry staff team, both paid and volunteer:  Kay and Hillary, Walter and Kate.   Public worship is enriched at the early service with volunteer musicians and at the later service with the magnificent Chamber Group and choir.   Special mention needs to be made of our Church Manager, William.   Our longest serving employee, William does so much to ensure the smooth running of Mayfield Salisbury.   Mayfield Salisbury is blessed to have him and I have been blessed to work alongside him.
 
Edinburgh and the manse at Seton Place will always be remembered as our home when Murdo was growing up; it has been a gift to him to live here.   Week by week and day by day I have been supported through thick and thin by Shelagh.   My life and ministry would not have been anything like as enjoyable or successful without her:  her advice, confidence and unsolicited grammatical corrections!
 
After nineteen years, it is the right time for me to move on.   Mayfield Salisbury has moulded my life and means so much to me but I do not want to stay too long.   As I reflected recently on my departure to a friend and colleague, he kindly said, ‘Scott, I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but Mayfield Salisbury will be fine without you!’   And so you will.   Be assured of my continuing love, prayers and affection.   It has been great!
 
And, if you are ever in Ayr…….
 
Every blessing,
 
Scott
 
The whole magazine can be downloaded Here
 
  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • 'God is not the answer, God is the question.'
    Herbert McCabe

  
‘LOOK WELL ON THESE SKIES’
 

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