‘The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart you will not despise.’

Lord, have mercy


Brothers and sisters in Christ: since early days Christians have observed with great devotion the time of our Lord’s passion and resurrection. It became the custom of the Church to prepare for this by a season of penitence and fasting.

At first this season of Lent was observed by those who were preparing for baptism at Easter and by those who were to be restored to the Church’s fellowship from which they had been separated through sin. In course of time the Church came to recognise that, by careful keeping of these days, all Christians might take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Lord to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and mediating on God’s holy word.

Let us pray for grace to keep Lent faithfully


Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.
Hear these commandments, which God has given to his people and take them to heart:

I am the Lord your God: you shall have no other Gods but me.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.

You shall not make for yourself any idol.
God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth

You shall not dishonour the name of the Lord your God
You shall worship him with reverence and awe.

Remember the Lord’s day and keep it holy.
Christ is risen from the dead: set your mind on things that are above, not on things on earth.

Honour your Father and Mother
Live as servants, honour all people, love your brothers and sisters in Christ.

You shall not commit murder.
Be reconciled to your brother and sister and overcome evil with good.

You shall not commit adultery
Know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit

You shall not steal
Be honest in all that you do and care for those in need.

You shall not be a false witness
Let everyone speak the truth

You shall not covert anything that belongs to your neighbour.
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Love your neighbour as yourself, for love is the fulfilling of the law.

Lord have mercy on us and write these your laws in our hearts.

God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth
have mercy on us

God the Son, Redeemer of the world
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, Giver of life
have mercy on us.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy on us.

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
We have sinned against you and our neighbour,
in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and lead us out of darkness to walk as children of light. Amen.

Almighty God
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness
and keep you in life eternal
through Jesus Christ our Lord . Amen.


This year we cannot meet in the church for the imposition of ashes. So may this image or symbol remind us that from dust we are made and to dust we shall return.


sung by Billy Dewar Riddick


Lord, as we begin this Holy Season of Lent, grant us a change of heart that we might turn away from sin and follow your Son’s Gospel. By your grace, may our lives become more deeply rooted in prayer, self-sacrifice and a willingness to share. Let us walk with you this Lent as we face our own limitations and seek to be your presence in the world. Create in us clean hearts that we might know, love, and serve you better through our service of others. Amen.


JOEL 2 verses 12 & 13

Yet even now says the Lord
Return to me with all your heart
with fasting, weeping and mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.


PSALM 51 A.Beagrie

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.



MATTHEW 6: 1-6, 16-21 read by Reverend Janice Aiton

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 6 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Prayer

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.]
When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel
Praise to Christ our Lord


An Italian newspaper recently carried a story about a young couple in Milan who seemed particularly devoted in their worship. The priest at a cathedral there reported that the pair spent an hour or more on a regular basis sitting before a statue of the Virgin Mary. Naturally, he assumed they were praying.

Turns out, this young couple was recharging their cell phone. They had noticed a stray electric cable sticking out of the wall behind the statue of the Virgin Mary. Whenever their phone’s power supply dwindled, the young couple came to the church and re-charged it from the cable behind the Virgin Mary.

We talk about coming to church to “re-charge our batteries,” but this is ridiculous. What looked to the unobservant eye like an act of piety was actually a self-serving ploy to save money. This young couple was using the church for their own needs. And we’re shocked, shocked, I tell you–until we realize that we may be guilty of the same mistake.

In our Bible passage for today, Jesus asks us to examine our own motives for our seemingly pious acts. What’s our real reason for doing the things we do? The reason for doing the things we do is often self-interest motivated. What’s in it for me? How do I benefit from this? Human beings are naturally self-centred. This trait manifests itself early in life. Infants and toddlers expect, even demand, to be the centre of attention. In fact, someone has written an amusing list that they have titled the “Toddler Rules of Ownership”:

  1. If I like it, it’s mine.
  2. If it’s in my hands, it’s mine.
  3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
  4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
  5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
  6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
  7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
  8. If I think it’s mine, it’s mine.

Social commentators tell us that more and more people are judging laws, social policies, careers, and the like by this one question: What’s in it for me? As the world seems more complex and threatening, we are turning our focus inward. Fear causes us to focus on ourselves. Self-centredness also stems from a lack of love. First John 4: 18 reminds us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Whatever the reason, no one can argue that much of our society chooses to “look out for number one.” And this attitude eventually spills over into our worship of God.

We want some return on our investment here! If we are going to pray, we want others to praise our eloquent speech. If we give money, we want a mention in the newspaper or a nice plaque in the entryway. If we fast, we want folks to point to us as a good example. What’s wrong with a little pat on the back now and then? Then Jesus challenges to a better lifestyle-a richer and more fulfilling one, a life that does not give in to the shallow temptations of the world: a life that realises that man does not live by bread alone and a life that Jesus refers to later in Matthew’s gospel about earthly treasures. “Do not store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What’s he saying here? Jesus is telling us that it is possible to do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. He is telling us that if we strive for praise in this life, we will lose an infinitely greater reward in Heaven. He is challenging us to get real about our faith: are we self-centred or God-centred? Can we in this season of Lent confront Jesus’ suffering, humiliation, and death on our behalf and still remain self-centred?

Self-centredness was not something Jesus gave in to. Jesus said “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” In his darkest hour, Jesus wasn’t thinking about himself. He wasn’t asking, “What’s in it for me?” He had all the powers of heaven and earth at his disposal, and yet he laid them aside in order to fulfil his mission. Jesus knew what was in store for him- suffering, humiliation, torture and death. Yet he faced it all on our behalf. He faced it all selflessly. He wasn’t in it for himself but for God and others.

What about us and about how we face things—can we move beyond the mentality of what is it in it for me and instead look at the wider picture of God and neighbour, and seek quietly and humbly to store up treasures in heaven by our kind words, our humble acts of service, our reaching out to the lonely and the needy – serving others not for our sake but for God’s sake and in so doing storing up treasures in heaven that will last. Amen


(Adapted from Prayers from New patterns of Worship)

In the power of the Spirit let us pray to the Father through Christ the Saviour of the world.

Hear us as we pray for your holy catholic church
Make us one, that the world may believe.

Grant that every member of the church
may truly and humble serve you
that the life of Christ may be revealed in us.

Strengthen all who minister in Christ’s name
give them the courage to proclaim your Gospel.

Inspire and lead those who hold authority
in the nations of the world
guide them in the ways of justice and peace.

Make us alive to the needs of our community
help us to share each other’s joys and burdens.

Look with kindness on our homes and families
grant that your love may grow in our hearts.

Deepen our compassion for all who suffer from sickness,
grief or trouble.
in your presence may they find their strength.

We remember those who have died
Father into your hands we commend them.

We praise you for all your saints
who have entered your eternal glory.
bring us to share in your heavenly kingdom. Amen



May Christ give you grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


And, as always, if you need us, you can contact  

Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 1st October. As usual it will be held within the context of the 11am service. There will be a bring and share lunch and the formal meeting will follow. Forms for nominations to the elected vacancies are at the back of the church.  The AGM papers are at the back of the church.  If they run out, please ask the Church Office.    If you prefer to receive them by email, please sign the sheet at the back of the church.  You only need to give your name, assuming we have your up to date email address.  If you will NOT be able to attend the AGM, and would like your apologies noted, there is a sheet to sign for this as well.  If you wish to raise a matter under Any Other Business please let Margaret Morton have the details of that by 12 noon on Friday 29th September. memorton@mypostoffice.co.uk or 01387 262734


If there is sufficient demand, we hope to run a trip (destination not decided on, yet, but suggestions welcome) in mid-October (possibly 14th or 21st, date still to be decided);  we may also run something in mid-November, and there has been a suggestion we might go to the Christmas Market in Hawkshead (near Ambleside/Windermere) on or about 2 December.  Watch this space!

Other Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday, 06/10/2023:                                           Beetle Drive*
  • Friday, 19/01/2024:                                           Burns Supper
  • Thursday,  14/03/2024                                      Pamper Session
  • Saturday, 16/03/2024                                        Men’s Breakfast

* See notice below….


  • A gentle reminder to those who have bought tickets for Cook and Taste India – this will take place in the Hall on Saturday 30th September at 2.30 pm. Come ready to enjoy all the goodies on offer, and watch out for the raffle prizes, too.
  • Watch out for MU Prayer space which is held on the second Thursday of the month, via Zoom, at 12noon and 8pm. You’ve (probably) just missed Peace & Reconciliation this week, but forthcoming sessions include Faith in Action (12 Oct), Gender Justice (9 Nov) and God With Us (14 Dec).  Details on the poster on the lit noticeboard, and also the St J’s website.  The Church Office (pastadmin@stjohnsdumfries.,org) can provide Zoom joining details.  The invitation to join in ‘Prayer Space’ is not just for MU members…(see above)

We are hoping to have different themes in the window bays in the church at Harvest, particularly celebrating the theme of ‘Gifts’.  If you would like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers, provide some kind of gift, or would like to take on decorating a bay yourself, please speak to Carolynne or Janice.

Activities are resuming after the summer break.  Short Mat Bowling will resume, in the Hall, this Tuesday, 26/09/2023;  the Quiz Nights will resume this Friday, 29/09/2023, both at 7.30pm.

On the subject of activities, please support the Beetle Drive here at St J’s Hall on Friday, 06/10/2023.  Doors open 18.30;  eyes (however many you have) down at 19.00. There will be a refreshment break halfway through (no bush tucker involved), and a raffle.  No entry fee, but donations invited.  If you’ve never played before, don’t worry;  all will be explained, and it should be fun.

Dumfries Christian Network tells us…

African Children’s Choir on Monday 25th September at 2.00pm in St Andrew’s Church (picture of poster below…note that the time is incorrectly stated on the poster;  concert starts at 2pm, not 2.30pm)

Quartz says…

  • CLC:  This is the Quartz house group, we meet every second Monday. More info is on the website. [www.wordsmithcrafts.co.uk].  On the 05/10/2023, we are planning to meet at Tatyana’s!  Please get in touch if you need directions. 
  • Forest Church:  We will continue to meet at the Crichton on the 3rd Sunday in the Month.  
  • Magazine:  A Quartz review is being written for the Autumn/Winter St Johns Magazine. You can still read the last one in the current magazine which can be downloaded from the St John’s website or picked up in the building.
  • The Blog:  This site is maintained by Wordsmith Crafts CIC. Sometimes the content comes from people who have sent things in. There is the capacity to let other people post blogs directly too, and these will be tagged with their name. This expands the use of the site to encourage discussion, even for those who cannot physically meet in one place often. If you would like to contribute, or recommend someone, please get in touch.
  • An invitation:  Would you like to become more involved in Quartz?   We will be publishing a list of ideas for projects. If you are inspired and would like to contribute an idea have a quick search on the website for similar things to compare it with what Quartz has done in the past – then send your idea in. Once the list is published, we will be trying to find people to help make them happen! Involvement in one activity does not commit you to being involved in any others (unless you want to be). If you are willing to be more involved in the planning and selection of ideas let us know.

Dumfries Academy tell us…We would be extremely grateful if you could share details about our Fairtrade Coffee Morning with your congregation.  It is being held on Saturday, 30th of September, 10am – 12:00 pm at St George’s Church Hall.  All the money raised will help pupils to finance a life changing trip to Kenya in 2024.   Entry costs £5 for adult and children can attend for free!

There will be live musical performances by pupils throughout the morning,  a raffle and a selection of stalls selling home-baking, second-hand books and home-made jewellery.  

It promises to be a good day!

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 21st September followed by refreshments in the hall.


St John's Church

2 days 14 hours ago

Sunday 24th September is our Seventeenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is a

St John's Church

6 days 18 hours ago

You are must welcome to join us for our contemporary service this Sunday in St John’s at 6pm. Be great to see you! 👍

St John's Church

1 week 4 days ago

Choral Evensong will take place at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, on Sunday 17th September at 6pm, sung by the Choir of St John's Church, Dumfries, in memory of

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Sunday 3rd September is our Fourteenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is evensong