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4 5 MESP 6 Tony Bryer Christmas Trees 7 8 New Forms of Church Together Online 9 Christmas from the 10 outside 16 Nativity Play 17 Ecumenical Friends Pilgrimage Routes 18 Get busy living 20 22

togetherness contents

The Wider World

What Together means to James McNeill

Togetherness: magazine of Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together Copyright Š 2011 Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together Authors.

Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together is a Registered Charity. Charity Number SC040773 St Andrew's and St George's West Church 13 George Street Edinburgh EH2 2PA 0131 225 3847 editor/coordinator Joe Evans twitter@eccctogether

Together News

TOGETHER has been heavily involved in the new venture of a city Nativity Play, to be staged in Festival Square with the use of the large screen outside the Sheraton. This is an immensely exciting project. Read all about it on page 16, and – be there!

On 8 October we held another session on New Forms of Church. Many ideas surfaced, and over coming months we shall be exploring in particular an engagement with the artistic community. At this time of year, as we enjoy the festivities but remember that Jesus’ family was turned away from the inn, it is a good time to think especially of the outsiders in our city community. In this issue we have the perspectives of several of those who are not in ‘the mainstream’, and for whom celebrations like ours may not be easy (age 10) As you read, give them a thought, and empathise. We are also trying to encourage more involvement in the plethora of excellent interest groups already meeting within our congregations. Throughout this issue we have highlighted some of them. They are open to all. Many church groups will also be taking the opportunity to be involved in this year's Edinburgh Christmas Tree Festival (page 7).

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As we look forward to Christmas, it is an exciting time for our three churches. Our mission to the businesses and shops of the city centre moves into top gear as Tony Bryer takes over as our Workplace Chaplain, and in this issue he explains how he sees his role developing (page 4). Tony has worked with our churches before and, after a spell in England, we are thrilled to be welcoming him back. He has wasted no time at all in making contact with other Workplace Chaplains around Scotland and with many city centre businesses. Tony will be helping particularly with worship at St Andrew’s and St George’s West, but intends to take part regularly in services in all of our churches.

The Wider World

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God and Class Warfare With the Occupy The God of the movement sparking Bible has a special off protests from concern for the Wall Street and St poor and the Paul's to St corrosive effect of Andrews Square, wealth. If that is where is God in all not clear in the of this? Is God into Bible, nothing is! class warfare? An insightful article God really does taking this further love us all, rich and足 poor. class Rowan Williams in Zimbabwe The Archbishop of Canterbury met with Robert Mugabe, handing him a dossier of alleged abuses against Anglicans in the country.

Positive Money This group is providing a real common sense solution for reducing our collective debt, and making a fairer banking system for all. Their idea is simple, only lend money that actually exists. uk/

youtube bible As part of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the King James Bible Trust wants you to help put it all on video, chapter by chapter. youtubebible

From 1st to 11th March 2012 the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace will bring together people from a wide range of spiritual and cultural backgrounds. MESP provides an opportunity to take part in a variety of spiritual, educational artistic and cultural events celebrating peace and encouraging mutual understanding. There will also be pre足events in the weeks before, including a Middle Eastern Film Festival (9th to 20th February), and exhibitions and displays.

For more information on these event visit or Contact: Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469.

To an open house in the evening Home shall men come, To an older place than Eden, And a taller town than Rome. To the end of the way of the

wandering star, To the things that cannot be, and that are, To the place where God was homeless And all men are at home.

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G.K. Chesterton: The House of Christmas

Introducing… Tony Bryer, City Centre Workplace Chaplain.

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At last I have arrived! I write this in the midst of two induction weeks organised by Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland (WPCS), which is the new agency working on behalf of all the Scottish churches in the provision of chaplaincy to people in their working lives. This new post has been established by the TOGETHER churches in partnership with WPCS. This type of chaplaincy work is growing across many parts of Scotland; I have been visiting colleagues in Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow seeing the wide variety of organisations with which they are involved. It’s a great privilege to be back in Edinburgh (Between 1996 and 2004 I worked at St Andrew's and St George's as Minister of Outreach) and involved with this ministry that I believe is an essential part of the churches’ mission in the city centre. Building on

work that each of the churches has done in the past, and that is continuing to this day, I want to get to know the issues that businesses and their employees are now facing, and to offer pastoral support in the name of the churches. The hope is that there may be a team of volunteer chaplains involved in this ministry, drawn from within and beyond our congregations. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm at my Service of Introduction and also a really BIG thank you for such a generous welcome gift of the Tutu book and vouchers. It is a wonderful welcome! I look forward to sharing in worship with all three churches, and getting to know you all. It will be important to reflect with the congregations on the experience of the Workplace Chaplaincy, thinking and praying with you about how the churches can respond to the challenges that it will raise.

Contact tony on

& into the forest

Step out of the hustle

Alison Campbell on the second Edinburgh Christmas Tree Festival

What is the Festival for? To reach out to people in City Centre, to make a space for reflection on the Christmas message, to give a flavour of the Church and community, and to support local charities. There will be a programme of different kinds of music including an opening event

and a concert for local businesses on 16th December. There is a huge amount more to do – sponsorship, encouraging new businesses to take part, publicising the Festival, staffing the buildings, inviting local nurseries and organisations to come.Please come and help. It was a most heart­warming and genuinely spiritual experience last year, and brought people into the church who would never otherwise have come. Last year it was one of the Big Issue's Weekly Ten Top Things to Do in Scotland!

Shandwick Place Building,10th to 24th Dec, Mon to Sat 10am – 4pm (midday on 23rd) George St Building 10th to 30th Dec, Mon to Sat 11am – 6pm (before 25th) 11am – 3pm (27th to 30th) open Sundays until 5pm or for more info

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Two church buildings filled with light and beauty – small children running around excitedly – Christmas shoppers coming in with eyes alight – admiring comments – people grateful for a chance to remember at Christmas – what more could we want from an event?

Finding New Forms of Church

Joe Evans on this continuing labyrinthine effort.

Saturday 8th October saw the second major conversation on what is likely to become a major area of interest for Together. By exploring ideas of New Forms of Church, we are actively trying to find ways to connect and reconnect with those for whom traditional church just does not cut it.

How this turns into a real expression of faith is yet to be seen. We're still a while away! However what is starting to emerge from this discussion, from informal conversations and from the event earlier in the year is that there are more areas that we could, can and should be working in.

Church is not a way to get more bums on seats but to introduce more people into the Kingdom. We also need to be aware that the resultant church may take time, effort and resources, and could end up looking uncomfortable and unfamiliar. In these discussions a few key ideas began to emerge, and we hope they will continue to develop.

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We can and should find links into the artistic and cultural communities, and some investigative work is being done by Suzie Stark (Probationer at St Cuthbert's). Ideas have been mooted ranging from setting up a travelling tent/labyrinth or The report from the event in pop足up shop, to a form of April has been adopted by the church for the Fringe, or Together Trustees as a working setting up of some sort of paper which throws up several coffee shop or pub church. At key ideas for how to move the the moment these are just discussion forward. We need to ideas, we now need to look at start thinking in terms of Go the practical implications of and not Come. New Forms of our ideas. For a full copy of the report, or to get involved in the conversation further email

Together Online is now up and running. Check up on what we're doing in our projects, stay up to date with events and more.

We are also on twitter. Catch up with us at Twitter is a great, cheap, easy way to keep up with and contact organisations and people you're interested in around the world.

Find out more about IT

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TOGETHER's online profile is growing.

ACE IT computer training project encourages new and non confident users, specifically in the 50+ age group, to learn basic computer skills, internet access and email. 2nd Floor, 115 George St, Edinburgh, EH2 4JN. 0131 477 3883

Christmas from the outside What does Chistmas mean to those outside of the Church? Over the next 6 pages, we have asked a variety of people for their experiences. For some it's participating in whatever way they can, and for some it's an alienating experience.

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In the middle of the joy of this season, we think of some of those in our society who see Christmas a bit differently.

The non­Christian

People of other faiths and cultures may not tune in to all the rich symbolism of the Nativity, but they can enjoy the secular trappings.

I grew up the remote town of Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Christmas there meant no more than a week’s holiday from school. When I moved to Calcutta, however, Christmas affected me in a big way.

There was so much Christmas festivity there with Cathleen’s, the famous bakery in Minto Road, displaying gingerbread men and the streets decorated with lights. On Christmas Eve people wore festive clothes and after attending midnight services roamed around Park Street enjoying the cool winter breeze. A few years later I spent Christmas in Kerala at the invitation of a friend. I accompanied the whole family to midnight mass. Afterwards, we spent the whole night and Christmas Day receiving and visiting friends. I have spent most of my married life in Hong Kong. Here Christmas meant meeting up with family and friends at picnics and barbecues, sharing jokes and discussing problems with children’s homework and uncooperative maids. It also meant delicious Christmas cakes and other goodies, local and imported.

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Gopa Nayak was born in India and now teaches on an MSc course in Moray House. She is not a Christian so we asked her what her experience of Christmas had been. This is what she said:

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I have spent recent Christmases in Oxford where most meeting places close down for two weeks. In fact during my first year we mature students were advised to leave Oxford and spend Christmas with family and friends. Mine were too far away, but gradually I made new friends

and spent the cold nights at friends’ homes, most happily when lots of people tried to squeeze all kinds of merriment into small rooms. This year I will spend Christmas in Edinburgh. I am looking forward once again to the street decorations, the festive fare and, most important, fun with friends.

For many outsiders, though, the fun and revelry of Christmas time simply throw into sharper relief their sense of alienation:

The Big Issue Seller

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What’s it like being out on the street selling The Big Issue? Not a whole load of fun, says Martin Kinloch, often to be seen selling outside St John’s on a Sunday.

Some people (not generally churchgoers!) treat you as an inferior sub­species, shout and swear and tell you to “get a ******* job”. Unless you resort to being ‘in your face’ with people, you can stand for hours with few takers. Other hazards include cut throat competition for pitches.

Martin should know as he’s been doing it for some time: “Vendors pay £1 for each copy, which then sells for £2, but if by Sunday (the last day of our week) we haven’t sold all the ones we bought, that money is down the drain.” It is a delicate calculation. Recently Martin became a supervisor, distributing copies to vendors when the office was closed. “On my second day out I had £120 of their money in my bag, then discovered it had gone.”

I would love to get a proper job (my dream job is gardening), not having a home and fits of depression since I left home after my mother’s death and stepfather problems have made it hard.

The Hostel

Christina Bowen attends St Andrew’s and St George’s West and also works at Cunningham House, a short­ stay, supported hostel for homeless people (18­65) located in the heart of Edinburgh. She writes: ‘One of the joys of Christmas is celebrating love and belonging with family and friends. However, at Cunningham House, a Crossreach hostel for homeless people, some service users say they dread Christmas because they feel like outsiders: they belong nowhere and they matter to

Things seem to be starting to look up for me now, as ha’ve been given a flat in Moredun, and I hope I can keep it and see more of my small son Lewis.” Give Martin and his fellow Big Issue sellers a sympathetic thought as they keep their vigil on our pavements. Their lot is never an easy one, especially at Christmas

nobody.At Christmas at Cunningham House we offer the Carol Service, Christmas dinner, and gifts from the churches, in an atmosphere of sobriety, welcome and care. Some service users don’t participate, some enjoy it, and some say it is the best Christmas they’ve ever had.

The Schizophrenic

Adam, a young man with schizophrenia, said he just goes somewhere far from his family in December. His memories were of Christmas family parties turned violent with too much alcohol, of gifts broken and efforts rejected.

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An accident or theft? “I don’t know. Instead of supervising any longer, or selling, I had to spend a month desperately trying to pay back £120.

The Alcoholic

Charles lost his home and professional career because of alcohol addiction. Recently sober, he got angry at images everywhere equating alcohol with happiness. Charles said he expected no Christmas invitations.

The Drug Addict

Kevin, recovering from drug addiction, wanted to give his son a Playstation, so that he would be able, at last, to have his friends over. Kevin could not afford it. He would probably just stay away because he couldn’t bear his son’s disappointment.

The River

One of the secular trappings of Christmas which is so visible within our own city centre is the frenzy of shopping and, inevitably, the Christmas music played endlessly in shops. Colin MacDonald, a writer who is a member of St Andrew's and St George's West, offers us this insight into the story behind a seemingly simple song which hints at the deeper meaning of Christmas.

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There’s this young woman. She’s gawky, a high­ cheekboned blonde. The last few years have been tough emotionally. She grew up in the wide open spaces of the Canadian prairies but left there to seek fame and fortune, writing and performing songs in the cities of North America. Fell pregnant to a feckless fool who abandoned her. Had

a baby girl and kept it secret from the folks back home. Gave her baby up for adoption. Now, in the wake of another broken relationship, she finds herself alone in Los Angeles at Christmas. An alien land. In the darkness, a song begins to come. She sits at the piano and follows its lure. It begins with a variation on “Jingle Bells”, melancholy, sad. And then the words:

She cannot help herself. The words tumble uncontrollably from her. She feels utterly defenceless. Later she will say “I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt I had no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong.” She is Joni Mitchell. The song is “River”. It’s from the album “Blue” (1971).

Christina sums it up

It has been covered more than 200 times. It’s in a fistful of films and tv shows. If you ever sing along with it, it is cathartic. Mitchell will tell a biographer:

“How many people go through Christmas happy? I ‘ve never heard anybody sing that song that it didn’t sound like it was about themselves.” “River” transforms suffering, loneliness and sorrow into something of beauty and truth that flies beyond words, beyond music, beyond this earth. It could be a Christmas story.

People who feel like outsiders at Christmas are not all homeless. They are beside us in the bus and the pew, or they may not go out much at all: people distressed by family difficulties, by loss of loved ones, by addiction, pain, rejection and low income. As Jesus showed special concern to outsiders, we too can be more aware of people who feel like strangers at Christmas: we can phone someone up, invite someone in, listen to what isn’t said, offer some support. Our circle of belonging to family, friends and church is there not to keep others out – but to invite others in.

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“It’s coming on Christmas They’re cutting down trees They’re putting up reindeer And singing songs of joy and peace. Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on…”

The Edinburgh Nativity

Festival Square Lothian Road Thursday 1st December between 6pm and 7pm.

All members of the public are welcome. (If it is wet, the play will be held in St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road, where two consecutive performances will be given). To attend you need to apply for FREE e­Tickets, by going to The Edinburgh Nativity will portray the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago with a contemporary twist (you have to come and see this for yourself!) It is directed by Suzanne Lofthus of Cutting Edge Productions (who has directed several similar plays).

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Passion and Nativity Plays are a growing phenomenon in Scotland. In Glasgow, Dundee, Perth or Fife, thousands of people are attending these plays each year. In April 2011 a number of church leaders including those

from TOGETHER sat down with Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland and two Christian business groups, Oasis and Business Matters, to plan a nativity play for Edinburgh. We are delighted that The Edinburgh Nativity has been supported by The City of Edinburgh Council who are making available Festival Square and BBC Big Screens who have given permission to use their screen. Similarly, we are grateful to trusts, churches and organisations for sponsoring this event and to various companies and individuals for technical and administrative support. A very big THANK YOU!

On your doorstep

Ann Hepburn of The Ecumenical Friends

“God’s plan is to bring all creation together… with Christ as head.” Ecumenical Friends are members of various denominations – Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, Scottish Episcopal Church and Baptist, so we “offer to the world a visibly united witness” in accordance with TOGETHER’s covenant. During the past year we have been greatly saddened by the

closure of Scottish Churches House in Dunblane. It will be more important than ever for local groups at grass roots level, to play a part in strengthening ecumenical relations, and join in addressing the major issues facing Church and Society today. Ecumenism is about the whole inhabited earth, not just about churches cosying up to each other. Our annual programme reflects this, as speakers deal with issues that include Global Warming, Calvin’s Theology, Fair Trade, Mission and Empire, Inter­Faith Dialogue and the Middle East as well as established and new Charities and Edinburgh community concerns. Special anniversaries are noted such as the tercentenary of David Hume’s birth, and the publication of the King James Bible. And we are always led in Meditations during Advent and Lent. Do come and join us!

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For many years before TOGETHER was inaugurated, a group of women and men, enthusiastic ecumenists, met regularly for lunch with speakers on a wide variety of topics. We still do, on Thursdays from September to March each year. We are now known as Ecumenical Friends, Edinburgh and we meet in St Cuthbert’s Hall or St John’s. TOGETHER recognises us as an expression of and response to the great ecumenical vision of Ephesians:

Things to See and Do Pilgrims on a journey

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David Hill discusses current plans for Scottish Pilgrims I had the good fortune to spend ten days in Leon in North­Western Spain in May. Three things compelled attention: the huge medieval cathedral brilliant with stained glass, a museum dedicated to Senþr Sierra­Pambley who devoted his fortune to providing school buildings with teachers and equipment for the poor, much to the annoyance of the church and the local aristocracy, and,

perhaps most remarkable, the Pilgrim Way. The Way was marked by scallop shells set in the road and worn by the many pilgrims on their way to Santiago Compostela some 200 miles further west. In the middle ages 300,000 people a year from all over Europe made the pilgrimage. The idea is having something of a revival in these overtly secular times, and recently four

It is the hope of Pilgrimage Routes of Scotland, a group sponsored by the ecumenical Scottish Churches Rural Group, that two pilgrimage routes will be established in Scotland. One will be from Iona through central Scotland to St Andrews, and the

second from Whithorn to Lindisfarne, joining the Southern Upland Way. All four places and the saints associated with them, Columba, Andrew, Ninian and Cuthbert, are special to Scotland’s history, “thin” places where the veil between heaven and earth seems almost transparent. Perhaps it will not be long before we see pilgrim groups formed from TOGETHER churches.

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members of St Andrew’s and St George’s West spent two weeks of their holiday walking along the route.

Get busy joining… Scottish Country Dancing An enthusiastic group of dancers meets on Sunday evenings at 7.15pm in the St John's Church hall.


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The TOGETHER Christian Aid sewing and knitting group is more than a fundraising initiative. It's a great way of getting to know others from our congregations and a great excuse for a chat over a cuppa or bowl of soup! We meet on the third Wednesday of the month anytime between 10 and 4. On Saturday 22nd October we held Winter Warmers at which we sold our craft handiwork and home baking, raising £1500 for Christian Aid.

If you would like to be part of our fun come along to my house on Wednesday 16th November. Parking is available. If you don't know how to find me, ring 225 2774. Maggie Morley

Come along for fun, frolics and pas de bas. Further details from Sheelagh Brand on 339 4406. Soul Space Once a month St Cuthbert's is transformed into a 'sacred space' in the heart of the city. A space to explore, reflect, and pray; a space to find peace, stillness and refreshment. 1st Wed of the month (not Jan) 1pm­1.30 5.30­8.30pm

Together at Christmas Join the annual St Cuthbert's Community Carol Service on Tuesday 20 December at 12.45pm. Coffee/tea, mince pies and shortbread will be served afterwards.

Sing carols with orchestra, brass and choir while enjoying the Christmas Trees at St Andrew’s and George’s West Church, George Street Building Friday 16 December at 6pm

Look out for the TOGETHER Christmas leaflet for news on everything else that's happening in our buildings throughout Advent.

Come along to St John's Annual Christingle Service on 24th December at 4.30pm. This event is a highpoint of the year and always a great way to get into the Christmas Spirit.

The Monday Group

Meets in St Cuthbert's Church Lindisfarne Room at 2.00 pm, second and fourth Monday of each month until April. There is normally an outside speaker (on various topics) followed by tea and a short act of worship. All very welcome.

The Undercroft Amnesty Group The St Andrew's and St George's West Amnesty Group meets monthly to write letters in support of political prisoners on the last Tuesday of each month at 12.30pm in the Undercroft in George Street for half an hour. All are welcome.

if you would like your group featured in the next issue of togetheness, please email

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It will be available in each of our buildings and throughout the city centre. Pick up and share copies to share the good news of what we have on for Christmas.

What Does Together Mean To You? James McNeill is a member of St Andrew's and St George's West. Currently taking a sabbatical, he is an Advocate and QC in practice in Scotland and sits as one of the Appeal Judges in the Courts of Jersey and of Guernsey.

To me, TOGETHER is a chance to share in the continuing endeavour of service to our city centre community.

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TOGETHER is different from the Congregations which provide its basic financial support. When those congregations and their Sessions or Vestry meet, they have to deal with myriad ancillary issues – spiritual and temporal. TOGETHER stands separate, with its own trustees: their primary duty is to forward the purposes of TOGETHER. Therefore it can pursue dreams and visions directly. How TOGETHER pursues its work will develop over the years and according to the

issues it is promoting. To my mind there can be little doubt that, in the centre of Edinburgh, there is a wealth of talent, energy and – even today – funding to be drawn on in developing strategies for a healthier city centre community. The people with those resources come to work, or to worship, from other parts of the city and further afield: but to each the city centre is likely to be an important part of their lives and to many the health of the city centre and those who inhabit or frequent it is likely to be a concern. TOGETHER has the opportunity to be a focus for those like­ minded to employ their talents,

As our lives become more electronically orientated it is possible for our work and leisure activities to be somewhat more solitary than in the past͞ but, I have the impression that as apprentices in the workshop of life we learn more effectively, happily and thoroughly by physically working alongside other people. In late July, Katie and I were (by chance) at a stimulating lecture held by the Cambridge Inter­faith Programme ( which promotes engagement between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Among other matters, a young Imam from Bedford remarked that in the Q’ran God indicated that he

had created different tribes so that each could learn from the others. Here, in Edinburgh, is a chance for those of us with similar aims to work together (more effectively, happily and thoroughly) for the health of the city centre. As my own professional life reaches the stage where more of a balance between work commitments and other interests can be achieved, I am looking forward to some of that balancing exercise being the possibility of being part of the work which TOGETHER wants to take forward. I am neither a visionary nor someone blessed with much in the way of initiative, but like many others I hope that I do have the energy and diligence to see a task through. I also hope that it will be fun.

The TOGETHER Trustees are: Kenneth MacKenzie CB (chair) David Hill (secretary) Paul Sweetnam (treasurer) Rev Ian Gilmour Frances Currie Bill Morrison

Frances Cooper Revd David Denniston Jeanette Barton Margaret Romanis Very Revd Dr John Armes Robert Philp

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energies and resources working alongside each other, making greater changes than might otherwise be possible.

The next issue of Togetherness will be released on 11th March. If you would like to contribute, please contact Joe Evans on 07951529717 or The deadline for submissions is Sunday 5th February.




3b 1 St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church

Princes Street


Edinburgh EH2 4BJ

3a George Street


0131 225 3847

0131 229 7565

Edinburgh EH2 2PA

2 St Cuthbert’s Parish Church

3b Shandwick Place

Edinburgh EH1 2EP

0131 225 7001

Lothian Road

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3 St Andrew’s & St George’s West

0131 229 1142


Edinburgh EH2 2RT

"Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu "We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately." Benjamin Franklin

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Togetherness Issue 4  

Issue 4 of Togetherness, the magazine for Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together

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