What We Believe

What We Believe

God is the One in whom 'we live and move and have our being'.   God is the 'incomprehensible certainty' at the centre of all life.   God is a Being who is not a being at all, a Mystery to be discovered through worship, meditation, the study of Scripture, fellowship and the pursuit of justice and peace in the world.   At best, theology, liturgy and personal belief are clues and intuitions and together represent our best rational measure and expression of the nature of the One we call God.   God is the One in whom we find wholeness and our sense of purpose and fulfilment.

It has been said, ‘For every doctrinal headache, take paradox.’   Jesus Christ is the human image of God:  God who, paradoxically, dwells in the darkness of incomprehensibility.   Schopenhauer states, ‘Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.’   Based on critical intellectual reflection as well as spiritual and emotional openness, the Church has arrived at the view that the Eternal can be encountered, significantly and uniquely, in the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth.   His Resurrection and Ascension are theological reflections and insights into the nature of God.   H.G Wells said:   'Jesus is easily the dominant figure in history.... A historian without any theological bias whatever should find that he simply cannot portray the progress of humanity without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth'.

We grow into belief as we mature and continue on our personal spiritual journey.   That belief and journey are enriched by engagement with others who are themselves wrestling with questions of the nature of the universe and life, suffering and personal destiny as well as human brokenness.   Intellectual honesty and ethical integrity are dominant characteristics of the lifestyle of the community at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church.


Examples of introductory paragraphs from our Orders of Service

This congregation is part of the Church of Scotland:  Reformed in doctrine, Presbyterian in government and a member of the worldwide family of the Christian Church.   Whether you are in regular attendance at worship or this is your first visit, welcome to this community and service of worship.   God bless you today

Jesus is present with us now.   We need to be present to Him.   We may arrive at church in a distracted state.   However early or late you arrive, take time to prepare.   A good starting point is to take heed of the wording at the West Door:  ‘Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground’; ‘Be still and know that I am God’;  ‘Jesus said, 'I am the bread if life: he who comes to me shall never hunger.’’   You may have your own prayers which you use to prepare yourself.   If not, you can pray verses from the Psalms, such as Psalm 139: 1 – 18; Ps 23, 42, 43, 90, 121, 130 or 144 – 150.    You can also meditatively read the hymns for today as a means of preparation.   The purpose of all that is done in worship and the preparation of worship is to draw you closer to God. 


Scripture is the blending of myth, theology, spirituality, liturgy and fragments of history.   It needs to be read sensitively, knowledgably, and with an open heart.   Being Christian involves being shaped by the language of the Christian tradition, including the Bible as the foundation of the tradition.  Some in this community understand the Christian language quite literally and factually.  Others understand it symbolically and metaphorically.  What we share is a common passion for the more-than-literal meaning of the stories and teachings that shape us.




Mayfield Salisbury has just undr 500 members, but there are also many people who worship with us regularly who are not members. Entering into full Church membership is an important step for many on their journey of faith. If it is something you have been thinking about why not discuss it with the minster (at present the interim moderator).


Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scottish Charity Number: SC000785


  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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