Time for Reflection – The Rev Markus Dünzkofer (30 May 2023)

May 31, 2023

The Rev Markus Dünzkofer, Rector of St John’s, Princes Street, Edinburgh, addressed the Scottish Parliament this week during Time for Reflection, highlighting the roles of church and state, as well as imposter syndrome in clerical and elected offices.

Rev Markus told MSPs of Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “vision for the role of the church in relation to the state in times, like his own, when Governments fail their citizens. He wrote: ‘We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice but we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.’

“This sounds radical, but it very much reflects the witness of biblical prophecy that, for example, made the Prophet Nathan clash with King David and that cost John the Baptist his head when he challenged King Herod. Yes, the community of faith will and must speak out when the rights of the disenfranchised, and not just ‘the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner.'”

He then went on to address another issue raised by Bonhoeffer, saying that: “often, in conversations with colleagues, I discover that many of us suffer from impostor syndrome. Maybe that is a hazard common to many occupations, including those in elected office. This might be something for us all to remember when interacting with those whose views differ from ours: they are another person with doubts, regrets, feelings and vulnerabilities, just like we are.”

He ended his address with a portion of a poem, written by Bonhoeffer whilst he was in prison:

Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell’s confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
like a squire from his country-house …
Who am I? Am I really all that which others tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself,
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage …
powerlessly trembling … weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making … ?
Who am I? This or the other? …
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

The full address can be watched here.


During the current Parliamentary Session dating back to June 2021, six Scottish Episcopal priests have been invited to address members in the chamber: the Rev Canon Dave Richards of St Paul’s & St George’s in Edinburgh, the Rev Amy Philip of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, the Rev Dr Jenny Wright of Christ Church, Morningside, the Rev Canon Sarah Shaw of Christ Church, Falkirk, the Rev Heller Gonzalez from St Augustine’s, Dumbarton, and now Rev Markus.

Invitations to address the Parliament at Time for Reflection are issued by the Presiding Officer on advice from the Parliamentary Bureau.