You are my hope, O Lord God



Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.


God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.


God our Father,
we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


God, who is both power and love,
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue Turner


O God, through our human frailty,
we cannot stand firm:
give us strength and protection,
that, with your help,
we may overcome all difficulties;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen


FIRST READING: Jeremiah 1:4-10 read by Ann Toner

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God!

Truly I do not know how to speak,

for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”


1 Corinthians 13:1-13
read by Mark Toner

The Gift of Love

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


Luke 4:21-30
read by Rev Janice Aiton

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Luke chapter 14 beginning at verse 21

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 

But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 

They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord.


Today’s passage is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13 has been read at countless weddings over the years – perhaps even your own! The apostle Paul’s famous words about love have been described as a beautiful poetic masterpiece – as a great work of literature that can moisten the eye, stir the heart and tremble even the stiffest upper lip! But it is also a deeper, more challenging passage than it may first appear.

More challenging than may first appear was my climb of Helvellyn, with it striding edge. I froze briefly half way along the striding edge… utter drop of thousands of feet on either side. At a distance Helvellyn is a beautiful and majestic mountain but up close it is enormously challenging and demanding.

The same is true of 1 Corinthians 13. For all its beauty and popularity, it is actually a very challenging chapter of the Bible. A chapter that is superficially sentimental, but close-up is a call to radical Christian discipleship. It is a chapter designed to challenge us and call us to repentance, rather than simply warm our hearts and moisten our eyes.

What do you think a church needs most? What does any Christian congregation need above all else? Does it most need to be more prayerful? Or does it most need better worship, better children’s work or better house groups? Does it most need a better understanding of the Bible or a stronger faith that could move mountains? Those are all very good things.- things we should certainly be ambitious for at St. John’s. But they are not the most important thing a Christian congregation needs. The thing a Church needs most must be love. We may be spiritually gifted, theologically knowledgeable, financially affluent and remarkably talented – but without love they count for little. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love must be the first priority for every Christian fellowship.

Paul wrote those words because some Christians in Corinth were very proud of themselves. They had some spectacular spiritual gifts, had witnessed some remarkable miracles and claimed to have heavenly knowledge that set them apart from others. But they lacked love. They looked down on their Christian brothers and sisters. They were more interested in making a name for themselves than in serving others. Their attitudes and actions were selfish, not sacrificial. So, Paul reminds them that without love all our other spiritual gifts, talents and qualities are worthless.

If nothing we do matters apart from love, we had better understand what Paul means by the word. We use the word “love” in so many different ways in our culture. I love golf; I love my wife; I love my music. I love this church. I love my dogs. I love my family. I love going out to eat. I particularly love Mexican food, seafood and Italian. I love good humour and laughter. Now obviously the word “love” did not mean exactly the same thing in all those sentences. What is love? Is it something you feel or something you do? Well, it depends. The Greeks understood that love has different meanings in different contexts. They even used different words to capture some of those meanings. They used the word “philos” to speak about friendship love and mutual affection. They used the word “eros” to describe romantic love with all of its passion and desire. And they had another word for love which they hardly used at all – that was the word “agape.” This was the word that the Greek translation of the Old Testament most often used to speak of God’s love.

Now if “philos” is the love of friendshp, and “eros” is the love of romance, “agape” is the love of choice and commitment – choosing to love another person. The New Testament writers picked up on this word and used it extensively to describe God’s self-sacrificing love for humankind displayed in the sending of his Son, Jesus Christ. And so, the word came to represent unconditional love, choosing to love another person regardless of your feelings. You could not have friendship love or romantic love for your enemy, but you could have “agape” love. You could choose to love your enemy unconditionally regardless of how he treated you back. The word Paul uses for love here in 1 Corinthians 13 is “agape.” And so, when Paul describes the character of love in these verses, he is talking about “agape” love.

As we study Paul’s description, it becomes clear that he is not talking about a warm feeling but rather a conscious decision to love other people no matter what. Paul describes “agape” love in verses 4-7 using a series of 15 verbs. Our English translations change some of the verbs to adjectives, but in the Greek they are all verbs. I believe that’s significant. The love Paul is talking about is not primarily something you feel but something you do. We may not always be able to control our feelings, but we can control our actions, and even to some extent our motivations. “Agape” love is something that you choose to do or not to do. And God measures your entire life by it.

Paul begins with two verbs which describe positively what love is. Secondly, he gives a series of seven verbs which describe negatively what love is not. Thirdly, he gives a contrasting statement to describe love: love does not do this but rather that. And then fourthly and finally, he describes four things that love always does.

First of all, Paul begins with two verbs which describe positively what love is. “Love is patient, love is kind They are not describing so much what love is but how love acts. Love acts patiently; love acts kindly. Isn’t it interesting that the very first word Paul chooses to describe love is patience? The word here means “to bear patiently with other people’s faults and offenses, to be longsuffering.” This is the first characteristic of agape love because it is totally unconditional. It is choosing to love another not because of who they are, but in spite of who they are, in spite of what they do to you or have done to you. It is a love which understands the frailties of human nature and refuses to take offense. It is a love which sees the potential in people and does not demand instant maturity or growth. It is a love which continues to desire the best for others even when it is slandered or abused. It is a love remarkably like God’s.

Love is kind. It is not difficult to be kind. It doesn’t take much effort, but it does take intention. And that is what Paul is talking about here – caring enough to be kind. Love practices simple acts of kindness to others. I heard of a church whose entire evangelism program is structured around random acts of kindness. It is an idea that was spearheaded by Steve Sjogren in his book The Conspiracy of Kindness. On a typical Saturday, members from the church go out into the community in groups to practice kindness. They offer to mow somebody’s lawn. They give somebody a ride. They wash the windows of a local office building. Then they simply leave them a card with their church name and address and go their way. Not everyone who receives a card visits their church afterwards, but some do, and many have come to faith in Christ through this simple ministry of kindness. Kindness is a powerful medicine for a hurting world. Many people will remember an act of kindness forever.

Love described negatively – what love is not.  Love does not envy.” The word here is a strong word which literally means to burn with zeal, but when applied negatively it means to burn or boil with envy. We can envy many things – a person’s position in life, their possessions, or their appearance. We can even envy another person’s spiritual gifts or service for God! Love does not envy, because love is glad for what the other person has. There is no rivalry or competition in love. You cannot love someone and envy them at the same time. Envy causes us to treat others in wrongful ways.

Love does not boast. Some people feel the need always to be on centre stage. They want others to notice them, to admire them. They look for what they can get from others rather than what they can give to others. You cannot boast and love at the same time, because boasting is concerned with you, while love is concerned with others.

Love is not rude. Paul is speaking here about common courtesy. This is love in relationship to society. We are social beings who live in community. As such we have certain social customs and expectations. Therefore, love does not dress, speak or act in a way that defies general standards and offends other people.

Love is not “self-seeking.” Love does not use people to gain its own advantage. It looks outward rather than inward. Love is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs.” “Not easily angered” has to do with the short-term, while “keeping no record of wrongs” has more to do with the long-term.

To be easily angered means to be easily provoked or stirred up, to be irritated or touchy, to yield to provocation. Now understand this, we all have certain buttons which when pushed will trigger an unloving reaction. Some people are covered with buttons. They seem to take special pride in polishing and grooming their buttons, and then they wear them all over the front of their life where people can’t help but bump into them. Paul says that is not love.

That’s the short-term, blowing up when someone presses your buttons. Others struggle more with the long-term side of this: “love keeps no record of wrongs.” Being easily angered is a quick reaction which results in hurtful words and harmful actions. Keeping a record of wrongs is the long-term decision to hold on to bitterness and resentment, to choose not to forgive. It is the difference between the quick flare and the slow burn.

As we think of love, like this, it is not long before we all realise, if we are honest that we all fall short of God’s loving standards. The four things Paul concludes with about God’s love is that God’s love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. This is the love that we are to strive after, this is the love that Christ mirrored for us. It is impossible to have this love without God’s spirit. The more we rest in God’s presence, the more the Holy Spirit sheds that love abroad in her hearts. This is the love that every church and person needs. Amen


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Jesus, your love is an excellent love.
Your love is so amazing, so divine,
it demands our life, our soul, our all.
Fill us Lord with your generous and patient love
so that we may sacrificially reach out
and bless others with the richness of your presence and unfailing love.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God
your teaching astounded those in the synagogue
build up your church through godly preachers
and teachers of your word.
Excite our hearts to declare your power and glory.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God,
your authority awakened the people.
Raise up leaders of vision and justice,
and sustain all who carry the burden of government.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God
your fame spread throughout the region,
and yet you remained humble and gracious.
Draw our hearts to value integrity above image
and to know our worth lies in your unfailing love.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God,
your healing sparked amazement,
give peace to all who are disturbed
by ailments of mind, body and spirit.
Pour upon them your compassion and healing love.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy one of God,
your time and energy was spent
in different homes and households.
May all homes represented in our churches
make plenty of room for the weaker member
and show them much kindness and consideration.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God,
you called all the little children to come to you.
We thank you for the gift of children
for all they bring in vitality, love and joy
to the home family and to the church family.
Bless all children in their home schooling
and grant their parents patience, wisdom and perseverance,
as they try to teach and help them as best as they can.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God
you appeared to your disciples from the dead.
fill us with this hope in grief and at our hour of death
bring us to rejoice in your salvation.

Holy God
may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God
as we step into each new day
fill us with your heart of love
and your vision and purpose for the world.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those+
who sin against us.
Do not bring us
to the time of trial+
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.


Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. 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. 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. [].  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 15 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