Dear Friends,

I share with you, for your meditation on Good Friday, some words from the heart of the old Episcopalian tradition from a beautifully handwritten Book of Prayers by Bishop Arthur Petrie of Moray, who resided at Folla Rule near Rothienorman and who died there on the 19th April 1787. He is buried at Dunbennan Graveyard between Huntly and Dufftown.His house there was the precursor of our Theological College. He was one of the consecrators of Samuel Seabury in the Longacre in Aberdeen in 1784…

It was at 12 o’ Clock, or the 6th Hour of Prayer, that our first Parents, for their Sin, were driven out of Paradise. It was at this Hour, that our Bl: Saviour was lifted upon the Cross (as the brazen Serpent in the Wilderness) and expanded, where, wounded, naked and bleeding, He continued three long Hours; -It was at this Hour that He offered his last Prayers upon the Altar of the Cross; and at this hour that He ascended visibly into Heaven.

Peter went up into his House to pray about the 6th Hour; and David said, at noon will I pray, and that instantly, and thou shall hear my Voice.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Son of God, who hast suffered Death for me upon the Cross, that I might thereby be brought unto eternal Life; have Mercy on me, I beseech Thee, both now, and at the Hour of Death; and grant to me thy humble Servant, with all other good People, who have this thy blessed Passion in devout Remembrance, a prosperous and godly Life in this present World, and thro’ thy Grace eternal Glory in the World to come, where, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, thou livest ever one God, World without End.

 O Thou, who at the sixth Hour of the sixth Day of the Week didst nail the Sins of the World with thy Body to the Cross; blot out the Handwriting of my Sins, which is against me, and take it out of the way: and save me.

O Thou, who at the same Hour of the Day didst let down a great Sheet from Heaven, filled with all Sorts of living Creatures, figuring thereby to Peter thy universal Church; Grant that I a Sinner of the Gentiles who have been received into that mystical Sheet, may with It, at length be taken up into Heaven; and save me.

You will also see on p11 some poetry by George Mackay Brown on the subject of Holy Saturday…’The harrowing of Hell’. George Mackay Brown is buried in St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall in Orkney. Before he joined the Roman Communion he for a while attended St Mary’s, our church at Stromness. I thought that this was a very profound piece of writing.

You will see, on the back cover, the list of services for Holy Week and Easter. There will be joint Stations with Fr Gabor and our friends at St Peter’s in the Castlegate. Please make an effort to come to the Liturgy especially on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. We are having a baptism on Easter Day and for that I am just delighted.

We are slowly relaxing the Covid 19 restrictions that we have been adhering too. A socially distanced choir has returned to the Choir Stalls and as agreed, at the most recent Vestry Meeting after Mass on Lent III, we will be removing all taping/roping from pews and directional signs for movement on Palm Sunday. It is assumed that then folks will socially distance for the immediate future but face masks will no longer be required. However, if people still wish to wear them then please feel free to follow your own preference. Communion will continue to be dispensed at the head of the aisle as has obtained over the past while. I shall be explaining the procedure for that for Maundy Thursday onwards on Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday. I cannot thank you all enough for your forbearance and resilience over the past two years. Let’s look forward in anticipation and in hope as we seek to rebuild and strengthen community in this place.

I am pleased to say that John Horton will be returning to play the organ in Holy Week and also every third Sunday of the month thereafter. As we all realised it was good to have John Byrom playing on Lent II. There is nothing like ‘live’ music in the Mass. However in saying that I am very grateful to Chris for pre-recording mass music over the past two years and to Carole, and occasionally Keith, for operating the CD system.

I am intending to have a Jumble Sale after Easter as we need to clear all the jumble that has stockpiled in the upstairs hall over the last two years. Helpers will be required for this. Also looking further ahead I am intending that we should try and have a meeting to discuss holding a Gallowgate Festival again in August after a hiatus of two years.

Kindest Regards,As Aye,

Fr Emsley.