Murder in the Cathedral – well, getting duffed up on the steps of the kirk……..
I went to my first charge in June 1974 – a pleasantly quiet village where most of the excitement at Christmastide was going to look at the lights (green, amber, red, amber, green – hell , this was confusing – but exhilarating)
Anyhow, it was Christmas Eve and my first watch night service as a newly fledged meenister.
I got to the church just as the pub across the road was scaling out (whiff of the barmaid’s apron £1; sook of the spittoon £1.25; half-pint of dregs only £1.30. – I made that up)
Mind you, a few weeks before draped from the window of one of the flats above was a bed sheet with the message: “Happy 27th birthday, Granny”
OK – to our tale of woe: some of the punters from that pub decided that it would be a good idea to rough up our church officer who had asthma.
I managed to get those youths out of the building, but they started to smash up some of the diamond-shaped stained-glass windows.
So this daft wee meenister followed them outside to remonstrate; they then got stuck into me and hit on the head with an object (at that point, unknown)
The Polis arrived very quickly, and, even though they knew who the miscreants were, were annoyed when I wouldn’t make a statement.
Our Session Clerk, the saintly Dr Tom Burnett (RIP) arrived at the same time as my heavily pregnant wife. Gossip started about a Christmas baby – Matthew was actually born at the beginning of February – but he was actually putting stitches in my head (without anesthetic!)
Then right on time, I stood in the pulpit and preached about peace and goodwill toward all men.
The next day – Christmas morning – I had a 10.30 service – and, before we stated, Davie the Beadle, went to the church safe, and dialed in the code (6-6-6) opened the door and produced a dented can of Tennant’s lager (for my older friends, these were the heavier metal tins with the ‘Lovelies’ depicted thereon) – the one that had caused me to have three stitches put in my head.
I later enjoyed that can of beer – because it was ………….. Thirst after righteousness – boom boom!