Yetholm church was packed on the afternoon of 22nd September for the celebration of Margaret Smailes' 90th birthday - shown above, with the Rev Colin Johnston. Margaret has been a loyal and cheerful member of out community for many years and the kirk was filled with well-wishers. Margaret has found it difficult to get to church in recent years and it was great to see her with us again on Sunday.
Morebattlebattle church was packed on the evening of Friday when the Rev Colin Johnston was ordained as minister of Cheviot Churches. Having spent most of his life working abroad Colin is looking forward to getting reacquainted with his native country - hopefully he won't find us too weird!
There was a good turnout at Hownam on the evening of 18th August for a Songs of Praise service, which was led by Anne Brown. It was a lovely summer's evening - a reminder of what a privilege we have in living in this beautiful corner of Scotland, which Anne touched on in her message. After the service Anne presented Winnie Robson (our interim moderator, above left) and Liz Findlay (or locum minister, centre) with flowers as a token of thanks for all they have done for us during the minsterial interregnum. This will be the last occassion in which they will be with us at Hownam in an official capacity, though we hope we'll see them again frequently anyway. Thanks, too, to the folks from Hownam who provided tea and cakes in the old school-house after the service.
On Sunday 11th August we were delighted to welcome Struan Andrew McIntyre into our community here in Yetholm - and into the wider catholic church - through the sacrament of baptism. The service was led by the Rev Ian Clark and included a good deal of roaring (the OT lesson told the story of Daniel). The photo above shows Struan enjoying a post-baptism chocolate cake. It was also lovely to see so many cousins who had come to join in the celebration, some from as far away as Wales.
All of Cheviot Churches are open during daylight hours and a look at out visitors books shows a steady stream of folks calling in, many of whom are walking the St Cuthbert's Way. In July Yetholm, for example, had visitors from Denmark, Sweden, Paris, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand and Australia - as well as many from all over the UK. On August 3rd/4th we were visited by our friends from Sula Frikirke in Norway, who have been visiting us for the past few years. On Saturday evening the group of sixteen pilgrims joined us for a meal in Yetholm kirk, then on Sunday Yetholm hosted a joint service, with the sermon being given by Rev Jan Løkkeborg. The service was also attended by a lone pilgrim from Pennysylvannia USA, who found herself an honourary Norwegian for the day! We live in a relatively remote parish and these personal relationships with the wider church are much appreciated.
At a church meeting after the service on July 7th the congregation of Cheviot Churches voted to accept the Rev Colin Johnston as our new minister. Subject to ratification by Jedburgh Presbytery Colin will be inducted to the charge on Friday 30th August at a service at Morebattle church at 7pm - everyone is invited to come along and join the celebration. Colin has spent most of his ministerial life working in Africa, latterly in Egypt - as can be seen in the above photo. A flavour of his life in Egypt can be experienced by looking at the blog he wrote while in Egypt - HERE. Life in the Cheviots will be somewhat cooler, but we hope Colin will find us a warm-hearted community when he settles in to the new manse and begins leading us in worship.
On the last Saturday of June 11 members and friends of Cheviot Churches set off for Holy Island. Having the St. Cuthbert’s centre for the day as the tide fenced us in we were able to fully enjoy the amenities and joy of being there as the sun shone, but a breeze kept the temperature at a reasonable level. After a short act of worship folk were free to enjoy the island, most of us meeting back for lunch and later for tea and our closing worship.
We have had two baptisms in Yetholm recently. On the 19th of May there was a huge turnout for the christening of Maisie Ivy Merida Freedland-Cook (above) while a couple of weeks later, on the 2nd June, Elspeth Celia Morven Smith was baptised (aka 'Elsie' - below). Babies seem to be given multiple names these days! We are delighted to welcome these two new members of the church family.
Sunday 26th of May saw Hownam kirk packed for our Harvest of the Lambs service. Led by Liz Findlay - shown above, welcoming people before worship - the service saw of good number of hill-farmers from the Bowmont and Kale Water valleys joining with us to celebrate God's bountifulness. This year there were no live sheep in the church - we had to make do with a couple of plastic ones! - but all the window spaces were decorated with knitted woolen items. For those who came along and are wondering which two words Liz avoided mentioning the answer is ...' mint sauce'.
Easter greetings to distant friends, who weren't able to be with us at Easter. The weather was glorious and we had some heart-felt worship together. On Maundy Thursday there was a communion service at Linton, lead by Liz Findlay & the Rev Hamish Christie-Johnston, most of whose ministry was spent in Australia and who officiated wearing a stole presented by aboriginal Christians - we felt a very real link here in rural Roxburghshire with the Christian community on the far side of the world. On Good Friday the quiet lane outside Hoselaw Chapel was lined with unaccustomed cars as people came and went to the three-hour service on meditation (below). On Sunday there was a lively Easter communion service at Yetholm, led by the Rev Ian Clark. Hallelujah - Christ is Risen!