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Goodbyee (comments made by members after the church service)

In my first Charge, I had former Moderator of the GA, Dr Archie Craig, as a member. One Sunday, he seemed particularly interested in my sermon, looking at me intently. Thought I: “It must have been a cracker, what I preached this morning” When he left after the service, as we shook hands at the door, he peered at my face, and said – “Ah, I thought so… you ARE growing a moustache.”


My late wife was VERY English and loved the “bells and smells” of the C of E. We married when I was a Probationer Assistant. After attending her first service at the kirk where I was learning my trade, the congregation’s busy-body came up to her, and – in a condescending voice – asked, “And what did you think of our Church of Scotland style of worship?” Helen replied, “It’s a bit dull, isn’t it!”


“Yon service was far tae long – ah cannae stop; the broth will be biled tae nothing”


We once finished a particular service with a hymn in Common Metre (can’t remember which); I changed the tune to St James; the singing was awful & the comments at the door ranged from “that was terrible” to “where did you find that dreadful hymn” etc. Almost all negative (in fact, none positive).

Out of sheer bloody mindedness, I chose – as our opening hymn, the next Sunday: Thou art the Way…. They sang it with unrestrained gusto (oh, the tune is, of course, St James)


During my stint as a full time Healthcare Chaplain, part of my remit was to give talks to the likes of (Woman’s) Guilds; the talk was all ad libbed, including a few humorous anecdotes and serious stuff about spiritual care in an NHS environment.

After one evening talk (somewhere in the depths of Dumfries and Galloway), escorted to the door by Madam President, she said, “I wish I had your gift”

Embarrassed shrug of the shoulders….

“Aye, the gift of the gab!”


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imageMy late wife, Helen, was master of the pithy one-liner.

when she was going through her first sessions of chemotherapy, following radical surgery, on our way out of the Infirmary, a lovely and sincere Church of Scotland ministerial colleague bumped into us and said “We’re all praying for you”. (which was a marvellous thing to do).  My dear wife, who hadn’t met this guy and hadn’t a clue who he was, simply replied, “How nice”

asking a friend how her son had done in his “Higher” exams, the lady replied, “He failed them all”. But added “He has passed his driving test though!”

herself:  “How clever.  Much more important”

after attending the first service, after we were married, at the church where I was a probationer assistant, the usual”know-it-all” member – in this case a Mrs Swanston – came up to her with that smug look of those who are beholden of the truth – and said “Well, what do you think of our Church of Scotland services?”

Helen who was VERY English and had a staunch Church of England mother replied, “a bit dull”

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