christian :

Morning Prayer 8.00 and schools Morning Prayer at 8.15 daily and repeated every 30 minutes until 11.45 a.m. 8.25: Noel Donnelly reflects on Psalm 115. (The whole 30 minute group is repeated every half hour until noon.) At 12.00 there is a little service for those who mourn.

Schools Morning Prayer comes from Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School with Abigail and Antoinette of St Mungo’s Academy on Psalm 115, and children of Our Lady of the Missions singing ‘Blessed are the Poor.’

Evening: 8pm – 9 pm and -10.00 pm— Magazine; Stations; Compline.
At other times we are happy to provide archive material.

A little Magazine program, (Remembering Fr Gerry Hughs SJ; a little Lent Reflection from Ian Fraser; Gero McLaughlin reviews John Miller’s book ‘A simple life: Roland Walls and the Community of the Transfiguration; Tim Rhead and ‘a walk at Dunblane cathedral.)
followed at 8.20 by the Stations of the Cross from Sciaf,
and then by Night Prayer at 8.50. repeated 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm.


Script of the Magazine program Radio Alba week two Lent 2015

Related by Florence Boyle

Welcome to a selection of articles from recent editions of Open House, a magazine of comment and debate on faith issues in Scotland. Today we remember a great Scottish Jesuit who died in November and a remarkable Christian community from outside Edinburgh. We have a reflection for Lent and take a walk to the ancient cathedral at Dunblane. But first,

Remembering Fr Gerry Hughes

The Jesuit priest, author and spiritual guide, Fr Gerry W Hughes, died at the age of 90 on 4th November.

He will be remembered by many for his inspiring talks and books. From 1967 to 1975, he served as Chaplain at GlasgowUniversity. Jim Gallacher, Emeritus Professor of Lifelong Learning at GlasgowCaledonianUniversity, recalls his time there.

‘Gerry came to GlasgowUniversity in 1967 to spend eight years as Catholic chaplain. These were years which were to leave a legacy, not just for the many students and staff who encountered him, but also for many in the wider community of the West of Scotland, of any religion or none, whose lives he touched.

Gerry had a gift to inspire the young inquiring students of the late 60s with a sense that this was a wise, thoughtful and open-minded man, with a capacity to say something thought-provoking in a succinct and often humorous way that was all his own; who gave us permission to doubt, and whose God was a God of compassion, ‘closer to us than we are to ourselves’. But here was also a man who rejoiced in the beauty of our world, and opportunities for friendship, fun and laughter, which he saw as essential in bringing people closer to God. The tradition of Saturday hill climbs he established help exemplify this approach. They provided the chance to enjoy the wonderful mountains, but were also the times when friendships were formed, problems discussed, anxieties aired and sometimes resolved ; they invariably concluded with curry-shop gatherings, occasions which Gerry enjoyed so much.

The same spirit of openness, informed by spiritual depth, enriched the liturgical life of the Catholic chaplaincy at Turnbull Hall, where Gerry’s understanding of the centrality of liturgical expression ensured ‘standing room only’ congregations in the sceptical 60s and 70s. It also provided the space for the rich musical tradition which blossomed among a group of talented students.

We who were privileged to share those days saw Gerry as our inspiration, as of course he continues to be. It is perhaps only with hindsight that we understand how formative the ‘Glasgow experience’ was for a relatively young priest. Gerry himself often said he gained from it in quite profound ways. In the preface to his first book, In Search of a Way, while acknowledging gifts of equipment for his walk to Rome from friends and relatives in Glasgow, he adds this comment:

But they also gave me something which will remain when the boots and camping equipment have fallen apart. For eight years they presented me with questions and challenges, problems and crises. They also gave me friendship and laughter, the confidence to face the questions and the strength to survive the crises. They sent me off in search of a way…’

A Lent reflection from theologian and Church of Scotland minister Dr Ian Fraser.

Lent is not a season originally observed in relation to the life of Jesus Christ, as is Christmas and Easter. The name comes from the Old English word ‘lengten,’ the word for Spring, and is derived from the seasonal ‘lengthening’ of days. As Spring is a herald of summer, so Lent is preparation for Easter. It has traditionally been marked by self-discipline, of which fasting is a sign.

Lent has been observed from early times as a preparation for Easter. From earliest days fasting has been commended in certain churches as an appropriate part of that preparation. But does faith require fasting?

The Oxford dictionary mentions ‘having a Lenten face’, meaning dismal. Jesus used the word when he says ‘whenever you fast do not look dismal, as do the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting’. Fasting is a legitimate choice as long as it finds expression in daily commitment and is not for show. We have to work out what comes into effective preparation for Easter.

Lent is meant to be a time when we develop our own thinking and conduct, reflecting on the 40 days and nights which Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for his mission. His fasting had a purpose to it – to sort out his priorities for mission.

So, today, whether or not we fast, how may we prepare for Easter? I see a significant sign in Strictly Come Dancing. The merest amateurs, some who had not danced before in their lives, engage with professionals over a period. They can make amazing progress. In preparation for Easter, we, unskilled adequately in Christ-like living and acting, can emerge with this or that person in the Communion of Saints to learn better furnished footwork of faith. In such company we may be able better to take to the floor with the resurrected Christ at Easter and find unbelievable fulfilment.

It need not be one – it could be several saints over the weeks. They will need to be real biblical saints, not spiritual high achievers, but run-of-the-mill people, women and men. If I think of examples, I think of the woman who looks after abandoned children and the bin man who keeps the streets clean and recycles useful throw-outs. This is illustrated in the bible, in the Book of Ecclesiasticus 38. Doctors and intellectuals having been given due appreciation, the question is raised, ‘who sustains the fabric of the world, keeps it going from day to day’? The answer: basic workers! ‘All these put their trust in their hands …a town could not be built without them, there would be no settling or travelling …They give solidity to the created world …and their work-offering is in itself a form of prayer’.

Have a cheerful Lent. An Irish tradition pictures the Trinity not as static but as dancing in a circle, the dance of life, inviting all to join in. Have a good dancing Lent!

Now we have an extract from Gero McLaughlin’s review of John Miller’s book, A simple life: Roland Walls and the Community of the Transfiguration, published by St Andrew Press in 2014.

In A Simple Life John Miller traces with remarkable skill the history and influence of the Community of the Transfiguration. It existed in the countryside outside Edinburgh, never having more than five members, for nearly 50 years, mostly the second half of the 20th century.

The formation of the community was rooted in the vision and energy of an extraordinary and charismatic Anglican priest, Roland Walls. As this book amply illustrates, few who met Roland Walls remained unaffected by his personality and his gifts as a theologian, a teacher and a priest. As an elderly man, Roland Walls was charm itself. However the story John Miller’s book unfolds provides enough evidence to raise the question as to the extent to which Roland Wall’s strong influence on the community may, perhaps, have been one of the reasons that explain the Transfiguration Community’s relatively short life.

From its very beginning the community was clear about some key elements of its life. One of these was that it should be an ecumenical community, Roland Walls having been much impressed by communities such as Taizé. Such a community, however, did not fit easily into British Christianity in the latter half of the 20th century. On the one hand, even traditional religious communities had never found a comfortable home in the world of Anglicanism, let alone in the more Reformed traditions; on the other hand, it was not clearly Roman Catholic. The Community held onto that element of its vision with determination; the element finally coming alive in the unexpected development of Roland Walls feeling that his Christian faith would be best sustained in the community of the Roman Catholic Church.

Even more important as an element of the Community’s religious life was their dedication to a life of poverty that freed them to engage with everyone. In the late 1990s, having been in existence for more than 30 years, the Community, now numbering only three, came to the conclusion that their identity was Franciscan and they began to call themselves, with approval, the Franciscan Hermits of the Transfiguration. By this time, however, the end of the Community was in sight. The greatest poverty asked of them and which they lived with exceptional graciousness was that the Community should die.

Doubtless not everything in the Community’s history and life was worthwhile. Yet in their life and death, in the poverty they lived, they gave and have left an outstanding example of self-sacrifice, generosity and service to all, without exception, who came to them for help.

Anyone with a serious interest in Christian life in Scotland in the last 50 years should read this book.

Tim Rhead, a pastoral assistant in the Episcopal Church, takes us on a walk to the ancient cathedral at Dunblane. 423 words/4 mins

It is winter but the weather is mild and the sun is showing signs of breaking through the grey clouds. We leave the village of Bridge of Allan with its smart shops and restaurants. This was formerly a spa and Robert Louis Stevenson was brought here many times in his childhood to try to improve his delicate health. A notice at the entrance to the Darn Walk informs us that this route has been used since Roman times, when there were several camps further north in Perthshire. The footpath takes us near the Allan Water, which flows into the Forth near Stirling. After recent rain, the turbulent river makes a fine sight, now clearly visible through the bare trees. A heron flies slowly down-stream, flapping its huge wings and uttering a harsh cry.

The narrow path winds through the woods which border the river, with the railway line concealed by trees on the other bank. We stop to watch a party of long-tailed tits in the tree-tops; they are constantly on the move and soon disappear from sight. The path crosses a bridge, then we have to negotiate some stones over a burn which rushes down the hillside. Now we look for a log to sit on for our mid-morning snack. Although we are not far from busy roads and populated areas, this feels like a place apart, surrounded by stately beech trees with the sound of the nearby river; this has probably not changed much since Robert Louis Stevenson played here in the nineteenth century.

We proceed northwards along the narrow glen until we see a cave in the hillside just off the path. This is known as Ben Gunn’s cave as it is believed to be the inspiration for the cave in Treasure Island. We enter the cave, which is in remarkably good condition with no signs of litter or graffiti. The path continues across an attractive area of parkland with sheep grazing on one side and a golf course on the other. Some venerable trees with massive trunks, mostly horse chestnut and lime, are scattered across the grassland. A flock of fieldfares fly out of tall trees; they are colourful members of the thrush family, here for the winter from Scandinavia.

The path finishes on the edge of the small town of Dunblane. After pausing to look over the old buildings, lit up by the late winter sunshine, we take the riverside way and, like the pilgrims of old, visit the ancient cathedral before seeking refreshment in the nearby inn.


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