Consultation Paper

The following paper has been published to the congregation. Comments welcome from outside the community as well as within.

Dear Friends

I spent some time this week reading a sermon that was preached by a former Provost of this church some years ago. It contained the following quote:

I remember in my third week at the cathedral someone came to me and asked if I realised that I had made 42 changes to the liturgy. That worried me, as I thought I hadn’t made any changes. I still used the same service, wore the same vestments and did things in the same order. It also worried me as I was just beginning to wonder about one or two changes.My hunch is that each Provost has a similar experience on arriving at St Mary’s.This paper is an invitation to make responses to a number of proposals that I want members of the congregation to think about. They are changes that I think it might be appropriate to introduce. I enjoy hearing feedback about any aspects of our life together in St Mary’s at any time, but right now there are various matters which are detailed in this paper which are under consideration. One thing that I learned from my experience in the political sphere is that whenever you ask people what they think about something it is common for their reply to indicate that no-one ever asks them what they think. I would ask all members of the congregation to read through this paper and think about what is being proposed. I really am asking you what you think and will be interested to read and mull over responses received.One thing is certain – we won’t all agree about everything all the time. We would be an odd group of people if we did. However, it is important for me to try to listen to the various divergent voices and ensure that everyone has the chance to be heard.With love and prayers


The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth

Provost and Rector

Midweek Services

Thursday Morning 11 am There is currently a weekly communion service at 11 am each Thursday morning. The Very Rev Griff Dines carried out a certain amount of consultation shortly before he resigned in 2005 with regard to the pattern of worship at St Mary’s. One of the questions raised during this consultation was whether the Thursday morning service should change to a modern language liturgy. At the time, the congregation was asked to choose between the Scottish Liturgy in the 1929 prayer book and the 1982 Blue Book. It is the view of the current Provost that the Thursday congregation might happily use the 1970 liturgy – it is a liturgy which uses the traditional forms of language which are important to some whilst following the order which modern liturgical scholars encourage the churches to use. It is proposed that the 11am Thursday service be retained and that the congregation begin to use the 1970 Liturgy and a modern lectionary from All Saints 2006.

Daily Prayer – The congregation will have noted that daily Morning Prayer was reintroduced at the start of June. This was done with no consultation with anyone, it being the Provost’s prerogative to reintroduce a service that is required by the Cathedral’s statutes.

Sunday Services

Sunday Morning 10 am/1030 am. There is currently the practise of having the main service on a Sunday morning at either 10 am or 1030 am. The later time is used when there is a joint service with Lansdowne Church. This has been the custom on any fifth Sunday in the month, except when it is April and Easter has not fallen on the fifth Sunday in the month and except when it is summer time. This pattern has led to some confusion. On one occasion, office staff were e-mailing members of the congregation during the week to let them know the time of the following Sunday service. On another occasion, our visiting preacher confused the times of the services and turned up for a 10 am service at 1020. It is the view of the Provost that the oscillation between two starting times is unhelpful. It is also the case that several members have pointed out that the later of the two starting times would make it much easier for those who rely on or desire to use public transport, particularly during the winter months. It is proposed that the time of the main Sunday morning service be 1030 and be the same each week of the year beginning at All Saints 2006.

Sunday Morning Services at 0830 and 1200. A part of the consultation that was carried out before the end of Griff Dines’s ministry in the cathedral was over the two traditional language services that currently take place on a Sunday. The cathedral clergy team is now smaller than it has ever been. There are consequences that arise from this fact, one of which is that the clergy cannot undertake the same number of services that they have done in the past. Proposals have been made in the past to move to one traditional language service on a Sunday morning. The 0830 service numbers have remained largely unchanged for the last 15 years or so. The 1200 service has declined from an average of over 25 people to perhaps 6 or 7 a week now. Of these 6 or 7, it is common that one is the priest, one a server and one a steward, each of whom have already been to one or perhaps two services already that morning. It is proposed that the Cathedral retain one traditional language service on a Sunday morning, using the 1970 Liturgy and the Revised Common Lectionary and that this takes place at 0830 from All Saints 2006.

Evensong. No change is proposed to Evensong except to note that the practice of offering a Sung rather than a Said Evensong during the summer has been a great success, with congregations approximately four times larger than there have been in previous years. Thanks are due to the various musicians and lay leaders who have made these services so enjoyable. As the proposed changes above are about the conduct of worship, the final decisions lie with the Provost in consultation with the Bishop, each having had the opportunity to hear the views of the congregation. Members of the Cathedral Chapter will be invited to comment. Members of the congregation are asked to make responses in writing to the Provost, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth by the end of September 2006. See below for the address.

Property Matters

Blessed Sacrament It is proposed to move the Blessed Sacrament from the altar in St Anne’s Chapel to the niche in which it was formerly kept next to the Bishop’s Chair by the High Altar. The Provost considers that it would be more respectful to keep the sacrament away from the route of passage between the Sacristy and the Nave Altar. This matter needs the approval of the Vestry and the Property Committee of the Diocese. The Tabernacle is not fixed down and can be easily moved. An appropriate light would need to be fixed above the niche by means of a bracket. (NB the holes of the former bracket are still there).

Memorial Garden It is proposed that the central stone in this area be inscribed with the following words: “St Mary’s Memorial Garden 1950 – 2006”. This will provide a way of marking an area of the Cathedral Grounds that has been used for the significant purpose of interring during this period the ashes of those who have died.

Ashes Over several years prior to the arrival of the current Provost, a number of urns containing ashes were accepted by the Cathedral for internment in a Columbarium, which was subsequently never built. It is proposed that Bishop Idris be asked for permission to have one final internment in the Cathedral Grounds and that the families of these people be asked whether they wish these ashes to be interred in this way. The Cathedral is currently unable to accept any further ashes.

The proposals relating to Property need the agreement of the Vestry and the Diocesan Property Committee. Comments from members of the congregation regarding these matters should be addressed to the Vestry Secretary, Prof Andrew Colin by the end of September 2006.Responses to any of these proposals should be addressed to the appropriate person and sent to theCathedral Office atSt Mary’s Cathedral,300 Great Western Road

Glasgow G4 9JB


  1. What with you and your proposed changes, and Fr Pip of Bathgate and Linlithgow proposing changes to the liturgy during Advent, and me moving around the sanctuary trying to find the right spot to sit – it’s all go in the SEC. Nobody can say we don’t move with the times.

    It strikes me that you love that cathedral and want it to be a forward looking Mother church for the diocese and I hope and pray that your new flock go with you.

  2. Lisa & John Curtice says

    For us the main issue with the time of the 10/10.30 service on Sunday is not the consistency of the time. The later start – especially in winter – would cause us real problems. At present we can come straight to church and still have part of the morning. We both work very long hours and Sunday is our one chance for R and R, notably a trip to the allotment along with all the week’s shopping etc. Given the shortage of daylight hours in the winter the late start would put us under even greater time pressure. We also do the tea run every six weeks and this takes a good chunk of time to prepare. Of course we hear the issue about public transport but for how many people would this half hour change make a difference? Do we offer lifts between members of the congregation? I’m sorry this is such a practical view but it is the reality for us. Lisa

  3. Pamela Murphy says

    I’d be much happier with the 10am service on a Sunday to move to 1030, mainly due to transport issues. The bus service is not the most reliable in the mornings. Also, its probably a better idea to keep the times of the joint services consistent as well, ie having them at the same time as regular services. Whether we do this by keeping it permenantly at 10 or 1030. Saves all the confusion and people turning up either too early or too late.

  4. The more I think about it, the more I think that a change to 10:30 has to be for the right reason. 10:30am is (was) a compromise time between St Mary’s 10am and Lansdowne’s 11am service times when joint services took place.

    Considering the distance members of the congregation travel to Divine Service and on public transport at that, then these issues do come to the fore.

    A difficult decision to make!

  5. Elizabeth Anderson says

    Just under the wire!

    What with the beginning of term and other distractions, I’ve realised that a postal response is pretty much a non-starter at this stage. Hope this counts as ‘responses in writing’.

    I would very much welcome the move to 10.30 for Sunday morning services. As someone who travels a fair distance to St Mary’s (from the South Side) it would be very helpful to have an extra half hour in the morning. Getting to St Mary’s for 10.00 on public transportation, which I do take occasionally, means a fairly early start, especially if I’m serving. This will obviously be particularly relevant to those folk who rely on the underground and I imagine very helpful to them.

    I don’t have any comments on the other items under discussion. On a matter not in the paper, I would just drop in my two cents on the location of preaching – although the sound is reasonable, I do find preaching from the pulpit very off putting because the preacher seems so very far away from the congregation.

    Thank you for putting out the consultation paper, it’s good to know what things are under consideration, and to have the congregations’ views asked for. So thanks!

  6. Jo Woodward says

    Hi Cousin
    Had a look at your web site , have to say very impressed and proud to be related to you. So how is life in Glasgow?Dont forget on a trip to London to get intouch.
    Take care

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