Welcome to the online service of worship for The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity 2020   

The YouTube playlist may be found here     Or view below.....




Sunday Services of Public Worship: 10.00am
Worship Online from 8.00am Every Sunday

Sunday 27 September 2020



Sixteenth after Trinity


From The Great Work: Our Way to the Future
By Thomas Berry (1914 – 2009)

'A different future can exist only when we understand
the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with,
not as objects to be exploited.'Use' as our primary
relationship with the planet must be abandoned. While
there are critical issues in providing food, shelter,
and livelihood to vast numbers of peoples, these issues
themselves ultimately depend on our capacity to sustain
the natural world so that the natural world can sustain
us. All our sciences and technologies and all our social
institutions become dysfunctional if the natural life
systems cease to function.'

Reprinted with kind permission from Touch The Earth Lightly by Peter Millar Groverprint and Design Newtonmore





 Welcome Boyd McAdam and The Revd Helen Alexander 


At a meeting held at Edinburgh on 8 September 2020, the Nominating Committee chose the person who they wish to propose to this congregation of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church to be our new minister. The name of the person proposed is The Reverend Dr Alexander (Sandy) Forsyth.

Arrangements have been made for Sandy Forsyth to conduct public worship in Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church on Sunday the fourth day of October 2020 at 10:00 hours.

The Presbytery of Edinburgh have approved that:

As current Covid-19 restrictions place a strict limit on the number of people who may attend, a recording of Sandy Forsyth conducting public worship will be available on Sunday the fourth day of October 2020 from 15:00 online at www.mayfieldsalisbury.org and by dialling 0131 546 4337 for an audio only stream.

Should any member or adherent of the congregation of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church not have access to the internet and wishes an audio cassette of the service to allow them to listen they should contact the Session Clerk, not later than 18:00 hours on Tuesday the sixth day of October.  Charles Garland may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0131 241 2754 or 07762 908343.

Immediately after that service, a vote on whether or not Sandy Forsyth should be appointed as the new minister of this congregation of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church will be opened. Anyone whose name appears on the Electoral Register of this congregation of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church shall be entitled to vote. No-one else shall be entitled to vote. Those who are entitled to a vote shall receive before 4 October a letter with a voting paper and details of how to cast their vote. Every vote returned must have a unique number written on it. Each person eligible to vote will receive their unique number in the letter. Votes returned without a unique number will not be counted. The unique numbers will not be linked to how votes are cast. All votes must be cast or returned not later than noon on Tuesday the thirteenth day of October.

Anyone who wishes can update their contact address by emailing the Session Clerk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. not later than the first day of October 2020 - 18:00 hours.

Neil Gardner Interim Moderator  18 September 2020


Helen: As this month’s Season of Creation draws to a close, today we celebrate the gift of life, the earth that is our home and our place in it. We remind ourselves of humanity’s complicity in much that works against the health and welfare of the earth and her creatures; and mindful of our great responsibilities,  we seek the grace to ‘touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently [and] nourish the life of the world in our care.’

I invite you to join me now in a short period of silence in preparation for worship.


Scripture Sentences

Seek the Lord and his strength;
Seek his presence continually.

Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

Let us pray

Let it be our prayer, almighty God that in confessing our sin as individuals, we forget not the sins of our society in which we are complicit through our ignorance, our denial, our lack of attention.  Help us to bring the sin against the earth in which we play our part for your mercy, your healing, and your hope.

Hear us as we join the cry of the earth and her creatures for liberation, and by your Holy Spirit, help us to hear the voice of sanity that makes us turn again, and to resolve to play our part in the healing of all things. And now hear us as each of us brings our difficulties and fears, our follies and regrets for your abundant grace, your forgiveness and the assurance of your loving kindness.

Hear us too for our delights and joys, and tune our spirits to the atmosphere of heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Collect - Said by all

Most merciful God, grant that your church being gathered into one by your Holy Spirit may show forth your power among all peoples to the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  


Children’s Address  Elizabeth Bomberg


HYMN 243  Touch the earth lightly  Tenderness

Touch the earth lightly,
use the earth gently,
nourish the life of the world in our care:
gift of great wonder,
ours to surrender,
trust for the children tomorrow will bear.

We who endanger,
who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures that live,
we who would foster
clouds of disaster,
God of our planet, forestall and forgive!

Let there be greening,
birth from the burning,
water that blesses and air that is sweet,
health in God's garden,
hope in God's children,
regeneration that peace will complete.

God of all living,
God of all loving,
God of the seedling, the snow, and the sun,
teach us, deflect us,
Christ re-connect us,
using us gently and making us one.

Shirley Erena Murray (b.1931)
Played by Kate Pearson
Sung by Milda Zinkus






Reading  Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34   NRSVA    Alastair MacGilchrist


Reading  Revelation 21: 1 – 7, 22: 1 –2   NRSVA    Alastair MacGilchrist

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

The River of Life

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.


Reflection   Revd Helen Alexander

In these difficult days of the coronavirus, we’re hearing from various public figures. In the light of this, I wondered what the earth might say if she had words to express something of her particular predicament, which is ours too, of course. So I’ve come up with what I imagine a statement from Mother Earth to humanity might sound like. Here it is:

'First, my beloved sons and daughters let me say that it’s my great desire to support you. I realise it doesn’t always seem like this. I can be stormy and eruptive with terrible consequences. My bats and other wild creatures breed viruses that are fatal to human beings.  All this is as much my nature as the tranquillity of a meadow in summer and the beauty of a rose. Nonetheless for all my unpredictability, I know that basically you delight in the earth that is your mother.  Your poets and story tellers have written lyrically of the pleasures of my gifts, and many of your scientists have expressed wonder at my mysteries. It has given me great delight to yield up many of my secrets to you, and to be the source of many blessings, not least the nourishment of your bodies and spirits. 

I love you and all my creatures, so different and so uniquely irreplaceable.  I love the might of my tigers, the soaring freedom of my birds, the industry of ants, my shoals of slippery fish and great gigantic whales. I love my forests and my mountains; my jungles and vast savannahs; the crispness of a morning in autumn; the quiet of a pool at twilight. And I know that when you stop, look and listen to your heart, you love these too.

And, my children of humanity, I love the way you have evolved from my primal seas to the wonder that you are now with hearts that spill open in gratitude as well as in grief and pain.  I love your sensitivity, your ingenuity, your creativity, your intelligence, your skill. Indeed I sometimes ask your father how we’ve produced such amazing beings. Of course, many of you think I’m a single parent, or as good as! But then, children don’t necessarily know everything about their parents, even though they may think they do.

Children often take their parents for granted too, especially mothers. You who have offspring of your own will know this well. So perhaps you will understand when I say that recently – that is in the vast time-scale of creation - I do feel taken for granted, indeed severely imposed upon. My body has been ploughed incessantly, drained of natural nutrients and filled with artificial fertilizer. I go along with some of this in my poorer places of course, but when it’s to increase the scale of my production for profit and produce a perfect crop, I despair because with this you lose taste, scent, and the understanding that external looks aren’t all. Take a misshapen earth-encrusted carrot, clean and eat it, or take a bite of an apple from a farm shop, and then tell me fruit and vegetables all wrapped up in plastic in a supermarket are better.  

And then there are my trees: ecosystems of shelter, sustenance, community. I’m overjoyed that naturalists are writing about the wide-spreading communication between trees in the tangle of their roots, hidden deep within me. I do not take pleasure at the disappearance of my vast forests, upsetting the eons-long balance of their life with the rest of existence. And then there’s the burning! ‘Trees have always burned’ you say. Of course: your indigenous brothers and sisters have long known the natural wisdom of burning and have developed skills in managing it. Out of death comes life: one of the principles of the natural word, of which incidentally you are all part, my beloved. But such fires we’ve seen recently – and in Siberia too! With these fires come billions of tons of greenhouse gas. No one knows better than I do the importance of carbon dioxide for life, but too much in the wrong place turns toxic, as you’re finding out, my children.

And don’t get me started on methane! Frankly, you’ve had about enough of my fossil fuels; and much as I love my cows, we could have less of them and more of the endangered baboons and pangolins and the like.

Actually, I’m rather proud of your clever windmills on my hills and in my seas, and the power of my waves is entirely at your disposal. But please know that nothing gets me hotter under the collar than green-house gas, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Which brings me to my polar ice caps and glaciers: I admit I’ve a soft spot for these, though ‘soft-spot’ isn’t simply an appreciative metaphor in this instance, but an unhappy reality as

the glaciers melt and the permafrost thaws. I can’t stop my tears running into the seas, adding to the threat that rising sea levels pose to low-lying lands and their people.

My beautiful oceans that make up 71% of my surface (I’m not just green or brown you know, but much more shades of blue) the oceans themselves can make me weep: beaches littered with detritus, my sea creatures caught in plastic bottles and rubber tyres, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for each human being in the world. There’s another charming island like this forming in the North Atlantic, by the way.

My one comfort is the number of you who hate all this as much as I do. You hate consumption run wild, huge international conglomerates of power that spread their tentacles like cancer all over the world. You know the dark side of intelligence, and the tendency for humanity’s impulses to spawn selfishness, greed and its staggering capacity for denial. Your holy books and other great literature speak of this destructiveness as well as the glory that makes you just a little lower than the angels.

And so to my thanks to all of you who’ve awakened to the spoiling of the earth and want to do something about it.  Your sons and daughters do indeed prophesy. Think of Greta Thunberg. And old men like David Attenborough dream dreams. Recently he has spoken movingly of hope. Many take heart from what they and others say. Even the politicians and the powerful may open their eyes and ears and their minds. You must join together, not to carp incessantly but to encourage. And above all trust your young people. I assure you I will do everything I can to co-operate with the healing of my body and the sickness of the soul of humanity. 

For you know that the soul contains the deepest sickness of all. Heal this and you will heal me, your tired longsuffering earth, and my creatures too. Create a new heart within you, as Jeremiah said. And don’t despise the Revelation of St John, for in the midst of his suffering and madness on the Isle of Patmos what a glorious vision was his of the sparkling river of life and the leaves of the trees for the healing of the nations. 

Thank you for letting me speak to you.'





Choral Anthem   Thou Visitest the Earth    by Maurice Greene (1695-1755) 
Played by Kate Pearson Sung by the Mayfield Salisbury Chamber Group


Thanksgiving and Intercession   Revd Helen Alexander

In the spirit of St Francis’ Canticle of the Sun, let us bless the Lord for creation:
for the radiance and light of the sun,
the moon and the planets and stars of the heavens;
the winds that blow,
the gift of water - humble and infinitely precious.
Let us bless the Lord for fire, masterful and bright,
and for the earth that sustains us with beauty and good.

And let us pray for creation in these days of unprecedented threat, seeking a turning from misuse and abuse to the harnessing of land, sea, air and the sun for our good and for the welfare of all.

Let us give thanks for environmentalists, educationalists, organisations and individuals alert to the ecological danger that stalks the earth, and for their courage, imagination and skill in warning us all.  

Let us pray for the peoples of the world in places of barrenness and hunger, of too much heat or too much water; people without proper shelter, resources and help; people on the move and those who must stay where they are without comfort or security or hope.

And let us pray for the horrific sickness that has spread throughout the world, thinking of the millions who are in special danger with inadequate facilities or staff to treat them, and of those of us in the affluent West called to yield prized freedoms for the good of all. Let us call to mind individuals we know who may have succumbed to the virus over recent months, those who are struggling with difficult recovery; those have died, and all who are tragically bereaved.

Let us pray for them all, and give thanks for all who are working tirelessly to bring relief and an end to this affliction: scientists in laboratories all over the world; medical experts upon

whom so much depends; doctors, nurses and carers who are unstinting in their work and service.

Let us remember all who are worried about their livelihoods, those who have lost jobs, those whose relationships have broken down with strain and whose future is uncertain, praying for the leaders of the world, their governments, their think-tanks and advisers, and for the sharing of knowledge, wisdom and skill. 

Let us pray for the church, her witness and her life; for this congregation and all others that may be represented in our worship today.

And let us pray for those we love: children, parents, extended family who are ever in our hearts if not able to meet us in person; friends old and new, and all share their lives with us, however they do.

And let us give thanks for the Communion of Saints in heaven and on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.     


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


 HYMN 246  Great God of every shining constellation  Highwood

Great God of every shining constellation
that wheels in splendour through the midnight sky;
grant us your Spirit's true illumination
to read the secrets of your work on high.

You, Lord, have made the atom's hidden forces;
your laws its mighty energies fulfil:
teach us, to whom you give such rich resources,
in all we use, to serve your holy will.

True Life, awaking life in cell and tissue,
from flower to bird, from beast to humankind;
help us to trace, from birth to final issue,
the sure unfolding purpose of your mind.

You, Lord, have stamped your image on your creatures,
and, though we mar that image, love us still;
lift up our eyes to Christ, that in his features
we may discern the beauty of your will.

Lord of creation, shaping and renewing,
at work in nature and humanity;
help us to tread, with grace our souls enduing,
the road to life and immortality.

Albert Frederick Bayly (1901-1984)
Played by Kate Pearson
Sung by Louise Thomson
Words: (c) 1988, Oxford University Press 


BENEDICTION   Revd Helen Alexander

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son of peace to you
And the blessing of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you all.


AMEN  Children




NEW FUND FOR SUPPORTING INITIATIVES IN THE LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC    Mayfield Salisbury has recently received an anonymous gift which is to be held by the Kirk Session as a Covid Actions Fund.  The gift is of £20,000 and, in terms of the donation, is to be applied, as the Kirk Session see fit, to new projects and initiatives arising directly or indirectly from Covid-19.  This generosity will provide great opportunity for new work in the times ahead.         Charles Garland, Session Clerk


VOTING PAPERS  Last week’s appeal produced a terrific response and every letter is now scheduled to be delivered before Sunday 4 October.  Many are to be taken round this coming week so, if you have not yet received your voting papers, do not worry.  They should be on their way. 

If by Monday the 5th October you have not received your voting paper please let Charles Garland, the Session Clerk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 0776 290 8343) or William Mearns(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 0780 801 1234), the Church Manager know as soon as possible. 

Separately, please remember to notify Charles of any change of address.   With thanks to everyone who has helped out.  Boyd McAdam



Virtual Youth Programming:The *virtual* youth schedule for the months of September and October can be accessed on the church website under the 'Young People' tab. All youth programming will be held over Zoom. New virtual youth consent forms must be sent to Hillary before attending a session. For log-in access to the Zoom sessions, or to get a copy of the consent forms, please contact Hillary!
Youth Group 20 September: Sunday 27 September we will meet on Zoom for a Youth Worship service at 7pm. Please bring some colouring and writing supplies as we gather together with music, prayer and time for reflection. For Zoom log-in information, please contact Hillary.
Activity Packs (Sunday School 9-11s and 12-16+): From Monday 28 September, Hillary will be delivering activity packs for our two oldest Sunday School groups (9-11 and 12-16+), as well as supplies for Youth Group (P6-S6). To ensure you get a pack for your young people, please be in touch with Hillary if you haven't submitted a consent form in the past year and would like to be on the distribution list!


On 11 October, as part of our Harvest/Creation Covenant Sunday, we will be thinking about the work of Christian Aid and its Autumn Appeal.

In Nicaragua, the farming community of Santa Rosa has grown coffee for generations. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America, and many grow coffee as their main source of income. Now, their future looks more and more uncertain. Angela Zelaya is a farmer in Santa Rosa. She explains: ‘With climate change, the coffee suffers and we’re losing more every year.’ At the same time, coffee prices have fallen globally. Angela is worried. ‘It will be a total disaster for us because as farmers, growing crops is how we survive.’ But there is hope. Facing this crisis has brought the community together to work as a local cooperative to share resources and knowledge. The cooperative is supported by Christian Aid’s local partner, Soppexcca. One of the main ways they are helping farmers protect their livelihoods is by shifting from coffee production to climate-resistant cocoa, helping people like Angela to secure a better future. Angela says: ‘With the cocoa project, we received loans and cocoa plants. The technicians visited us and told us what to do. We also received tree saplings to help shade our crops. The income from the cocoa crop means we can buy clothes, medicines and food.’

When ordinary neighbourhoods come together, they can create lasting change. Around the world, many of our global neighbours living in poverty continue to face crisis in its various forms. Love knows no distance. This autumn, Christian Aid is asking supporters to reach out to our global neighbours and help more communities overcome crisis. We are encouraged to:

  • Give to help communities around the world come together to overcome the crisis of poverty.
  • Act by calling for the cancellation of debt repayments for low-income countries during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Pray for our global neighbours facing crisis in all its forms.

To find out how you can be involved, or to make a donation to the Autumn Appeal, please visit the website at www.christianaid.org.uk   Donations can also be made by telephone on 020 7523 2269.

The Chrisitian Aid Committee would like to thank members of the Mayfield Salisbury congregation for their consistent support and generosity.



Thank you for our presence at the service today.

The church will be open at 9.45 on Sunday mornings for those who have booked to come to the service.

Please note that there may be member(s) of the congregation who are exempt on health grounds from wearing a mask. If this applies to you, it would be helpful if you   wear a lanyard or badge.

If you would like to bring a cushion to place in your pew, please feel free to do so but do take it home with you. 

At the close of the service, please remain in your place until stewards invite you to leave, and maintain social distancing as you leave the church premises. If you wish to speak to Helen Alexander or Kay McIntosh, you are asked to indicate this as you pass them. They will join you on the pavement once everyone else has left.


Booking system

Phone: On Wednesdays, from 11.00am to 1.00pm, you may reserve a space by phoning the Church Office (0131 667 1522).

Internet: We would encourage anyone with internet access to use the Eventbrite booking system, which will be open from 4pm on Wednesdays. The system can be accessed from our website via this link: www.mayfieldsalisbury.org/attend Names and contact details will be required. While it is possible for a booking to be made by one person for a family, we will need to know how many adults and how many children will be in the group. The beauty of Eventbrite is that not only will we know when our ‘ceiling attendance’ has been reached, but we will also have the necessary contact details for Test and Protect. If you book but your plans then change please let us know, either by cancelling via Eventbrite or by phoning the Church Office; that way, somebody else will be able to have your space.

We appreciate that this is all rather different from what we have been used to. However, it will no doubt soon become familiar, and we hope that restrictions will be eased over time. Any changes to these arrangements will be publicised as widely as we can, and you can always check by having a look at our website for any updates. But if you have any questions please just ask me, or Heather Cubie, our Covid-19 task group chair, or William Mearns in the Church Office.

DIAL-A-SERMON Mayfield Salisbury Sermons by phone

Simply call the dedicated phone number 0131 546 4337 and listen on Sundays from 8.00am onwards. Alternatively, the recording may be heard at any other time over the week. Note: there may be a slight pause on connection! Important intimations regarding reopening of the church buildings, the ministerial vacancy and others will be included when appropriate.

Important! Read this before calling - Call costs! This is a local call so local geographic call charges will apply and will, in most cases, form part of any inclusive minutes or call packages you have i.e. standard local call rates may apply. Please make sure you understand the costs before using this service.

Please pass this message on in full to those who do not have access to the internet.


ONLINE OFFERING / DONATION The Church is very grateful to all those who give by standing order enabling us to maintain a large portion of our income through these difficult times. We now offer the ability to contribute to our work electronically through the ‘give.net’ facility which appears on the home page of the Church’s website. This provides the possibility of adding Gift Aid to donations. There is also a direct link to the new system which is: www.give.net/20311853                  With best wishes, Hugh Somerville, Free Will Offerings Treasurer



Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church maintains several email lists to help distribute information throughout the congregation. Stay up-to-date on news, programs, and events at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church with our email listsThe lists are as follows:

0930 Service list  Information pertaining to the Sunday 0930am All-Age Worship and related events.

Youth Newsletter Hillary Leslie, our Youth Worker, sends out a Youth Newsletter to parents of P6 - S6 youth. This keeps the parents and their kids in the loop about important youthrelated events and activities

Congregational list
General information relevant to the entire congregation. This includes general news, notices of lectures & special events and, importantly, details on the forthcoming ministerial vacancy.

Grapevine list The parish magazine, Grapevine, which is sent out seven times per year in PDF format.

If you sre interested in receiving any of these emails, please email me direct at the address supplied. If, after reflection, you change your mind I can remove your address from the list quickly - just let me know. Your information is secure and will not be shared with any third party. All emails are sent out privately to you only in a bcc’d (address not visible to others) email.  William Mearns Church Manager 0780 801 1234  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



If you are looking for a book to help you on your inward journey, expand your knowledge of Christian history, doctrine or the Bible, then visit Cornerstone Bookshop, St John's Terrace, (under St John's Episcopal Church), Princes Street, Edinburgh.   EH2 4BJ www.cornerstonebooks.org.uk


Recommended Daily Meditations Fr Richard Rohr at www.cac.org      Also, see www.pray-as-you-go.org


Books for the Journey
Riders on the Storm: The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being by Alastair McIntosh, Birlinn Ltd 2020
Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald, Jonathan Cape 2020


Forthcoming Deadlines

Order of service for next week: Thursday at 6.00pm.

Next Grapevine: Friday 30 October at 6.00pm.

Please send submissions to the Church Manager, William Mearns.

Phone: 0780 801 1234 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Copyright Notices

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.

All rights reserved worldwide.

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church holds a CCLI Streaming License: #88916


Images – Some courtesy of Pixabay




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