Firstly, I draw your attention to the AGM of the Congregation which will be held in Church immediately after a shortened 1030 Parish Mass on Advent II. It will be good to have an ‘in person’ meeting although I will say that the Zoom Meetings during the Lock-down period of the Pandemic have been invaluable. There will be elections to the Vestry at the AGM. As you know our Constitution at St Margaret’s is probably the most democratic in the Diocese as members to the Vestry have to be elected every year. In fact your Rector’s appointment is also subject to a Congregational vote when the Incumbency has to be filled… there are not many other places where this happens in Scotland… in fact I cannot think of any. As far as I am aware this is a peculiar in the Diocese and something which is very much in the Congregation’s favour.

On St Andrew’s Day at 3pm there will be a Mass of Celebration for the launch of the new book… Scottish Liturgical Traditions and Religious Politics From Reformers to Jacobites, 1540-1764.This is a landmark publication which breaks new ground in the exploration of the religious cultures, beliefs and imperatives that shaped the Jacobite movement in Scotland. I am just delighted that this is taking place in St Margaret’s. Please do come along and support this historic event in the life of this place.

During Advent there will be opportunity for scriptural reflection on the Old Testament readings set for the Sundays of Advent. This will be after the Mass on Tuesday mornings. Please do come and support this. We will meet in the St Nicholas Chapel. I also intend to record material for meditation on the same readings and this will be on the church website. As we slowly try to get back to something approaching normality in the wake of this pandemic a sense of belonging to community is vitally important. I can only but thank you for your continued support as we seek to keep the worship of the church going at this particular time. I should stress that coming to Church is probably safer than going shopping! I am particularly pleased in the way that we have as a community observed the Covid regulations to make attendance at the Liturgy as safe as it can be.

There will be the usual taping-off of car parking spaces in the Greyfriars’ Car Park for the four Sundays of Advent. As you know parking is at a premium on Sundays in December because of Christmas shopping. Allan Macinnes has again kindly offered to be on duty to guard spaces for the congregation but please give yourself plenty of time to arrive for parking.

Please make this particular season of Advent a time for spiritual renewal. It is a fabulous season especially with the readings in church and the music too! We are doing quite well singing behind masks! Advent is the time when we ponder the four last things… Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

I leave you with a prayer from the Non-Jurors (Jacobites)…

O Thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to Judgement in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore. Amen.

With every blessing to you all for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a Healthy New Year,


As Aye,

Fr Emsley