General News


Following a now well established pattern, Mayfield Salisbury and our neighbours St Columba’s Roman Catholic Church have again combined in 2014 for a series of luncheon lectures, but this year we are also being joined by our Episcopalian neighbours from St Peter’s, Lutton Place. The first lecture was on Saturday 15th February when over 50 people gathered in St Columba’s Church hall to hear Dr Sara Parvis, a senior lecturer in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Divinity, give a most absorbing and stimulating talk entitled, Pope Francis, An Ecumenical View.

Dr Parvis introduced her subject saying how since becoming Pope in March 2013, Francis has energised and excited all the churches, and how he has many interesting things to offer ecumenism. This is a Pope who believes in de-centering the Church and speaks of himself as coming from ‘the ends of the earth’ with the Biblical resonance that phrase has of being Christ’s witnesses to the ‘ends of the earth’ (Acts 1.8)

We were taken through a fascinating resumé of his life prior to becoming Pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 1936, one of five children of Italian immigrants. He joined the Jesuits in 1958, but did not becoming a priest without a struggle and was thus older than many when he was ordained in 1969. His mother, in particular, had been very against the idea, feeling that she would lose him, though his paternal grandmother was very supportive. He is thus the first Pope to be ordained after the seismic changes set in motion by Vatican II. He became Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. Much of what we are now seeing in his papacy was already happening while he was a Bishop. For example, he insisted on having a phone line on which priests could call him directly at any time. He lived in a flat and not in the Bishop’s traditional residence. He visited poor areas regularly and stressed that priests should not be self-seeking or appear un-forgiving. Although he stuck closely to traditional Catholic teaching, as he still does, he became close friends with the Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires and was always willing to pray with those of a different outlook such as Evangelical Christians. He fought corruption in all its forms, in the banking sector for example where money laundering was rife.

This is a man of hope, a peace-maker who encourages people who disagree to walk together and in so doing concentrate on what they have in common. His grace and humanity are there for all to see. For example, Pope Benedict had resigned, something seen as exceptionally courageous and perhaps dangerous, but Pope Francis has gone out of his way to show him respect, tenderness and friendship. And he is full of surprises, not the least of which is an insistence that we should not take ourselves too seriously!

Dr Parvis was warmly thanked for her most interesting talk by Rev’d Scott McKenna who also led the closing prayers. Dick Scott announced that the next meeting would be at Mayfield Salisbury on Saturday, 22nd March, when Father Raphael Pavouris of the Orthodox Community of St Andrew in Edinburgh would be the speaker. All were then invited by St Columba's for a time of fellowship over delicious bowls of soup.   




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Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

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Scottish Charity Number: SC000785


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