Tag Archives: Doune

Christmas Eve 1974 (re-blogged)

Christmas Eve 1974

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!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

The Show Must Go On

One of the Preacher’s nightmares is to have a dodgy stomach on a Sunday morning, prior to conducting Morning Worship (tip: never have a takeaway curry the night before)

One is sitting enthroned with less than an hour to go and wondering what to do.  It has happened a couple of times – but, mercifully, I’ve had Session Clerks who could take bits of the service, while I dashed off to the church loo.

Worse – an occasion when I had to drive some distance on a particular Sunday morning to preach for a vacant Charge in the Interim-Moderator’s Church.  We set off in good time, but the snow got heavier and heavier until the road was eventually blocked.  This was in the days before mobile (cell) phones – so I had to walk through the snow-drift to a public phone box to let the Minister know that I couldn’t make it.  Poor guy – this was  his first church and so he didn’t have any “oldies” from elsewhere to fall back upon.  I hope the Holy Spirit came to his rescue!  (I later revisited – and got the post)

While a hospital chaplain, I was paged some years ago by the company which now owns the Crichton Memorial Church in Dumfries.  It would be about three in the afternoon and the Minister who was supposed to conduct the marriage ceremony (scheduled to start then) at the Church hadn’t turned up.

Could I help out?

As I wore an open-neck shirt (for hygiene reasons) and chinos at work – I said that I would have to return home to get changed into something more appropriate for a wedding – and that it would take me half an hour.  The poor bride was in tears (her mum was in tears and – later – the wedding cake was in tiers!) but after what I hoped was a reassuring chat, we got started.

It transpired that the missing Minister (who didn’t believe in rehearsals) had assumed that the Wedding was on the Saturday.  The groom and the family were not best pleased – and it even made the local rag.

On auto-pilot:  my beloved father had osophegal  cancer and died in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow in the early evening of Saturday, 21st February 1976.  After spending some time at the Hospital, I took my mother back to the family home and spent some time with her and my Father’s brother and sister who were staying with her.

About ten o’clock, I drove the thirty-odd miles to where my Church was; had a quick bite to eat, and spent the next three hours writing my sermon.

I took the Sunday service at 11 o’clock that morning, before driving back to Bearsden immediately afterwards.  And I haven’t a clue what I preached about that day.

and here’s a repost on the same subject:

Christmas Eve 1974
The Meenister’s Log

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Where I’ve ministered

Where I've ministered

Kilmadock Parish Church, Doune

greyfriars

Greyfriars Church of Scotland, Port of Spain, Trinidad

st_anns_church_of_scotland_compressed

St.Ann’s Church of Scotland, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Caputh copyright Mike Pennington

Caputh Parish Church, Perthshire (photo copyright Mike Pennington)

ClunieChurch

Clunie Parish Church, Perthshire (Caputh and Clunie)

240px-Inveresk_Parish_Kirk_-_geograph_org_uk_-_2358040

Inveresk Parish Church (St. Michael’s)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

St Andrew’s in the Grange, St.Peter Port, Guernsey

dgri

Healthcare Chaplaincy – Dumfries Hospitals

crichton

The Crichton Memorial Church, Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries

http://youtu.be/MDIBMaCTwFw

Leave a comment

August 6, 2013 · 09:34

Cheerio! Today’s the Day

1973 – 2012

  • hippy

1974

grenada

minister st michaels

photo 2012

cigar

doors

3 Comments

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

The Old Man Doune The Road

The Meenister’s Log


Doune Castle PerthshireThe village of Doune lies by the River Teith in southern Perthshire.

The main attraction is Doune Castle, an impressive fortress overlooking the River Teith, dates from the 14thC.

The bridge over the Teith at Doune was built by Robert Spittal. He arrived at the ferry with no money and was refused passage. In order to put the ferryman out of a job he had the bridge built in 1535. In 1715 the bridge was partly destroyed by the Earl of Mar to delay goverment troops moving north from Stirling.

In 1611 the town became a burgh of barony.

Doune was once famous for the manufacture of Scottish pistols, the trade having been introduced in by Robert Caddell in 1645. In the 19thC the Buchanan brothers opened the Deanston cotton mill which employed 1000 spinners and weavers. Both industries have now gone.

In 1793 the first post office was opened. In 1858 the railway arrived en route from Dunblane to Callander.

I was the Parish Minister here from the age of 26 until I was 31 (just a callow youth)

A few miles from Doune is the small village of Thornhill.

My Uncle and Aunt used to spend a couple of weeks there each summer in a house belonging to cousins.

They had been doing this for years and my Uncle Alex, being the friendly and kindly man that he was, was well known by the villagers; he’d been there so often, that he was virtually accepted as one of the locals.

a particular funeral I conducted in Doune springs to mind -or rather the aftermath.

On the day of this funeral, my Uncle was working in the garden of the cottage, when along the road passes this old worthy, all dressed up in his Sunday best.  he was returning from said funeral.

“My, you’re looking very smart today, Wullie.  Where have you been?”

“Up tae Doune” – that somehow doesn’t seem right – “tae Johnny Clarke’s funeral” came the reply, and then he added….

…”My yon auld meenister they’ve got there made a grand job of it!”

I was 29 or 30 at the time; Wullie, I guess, was in his seventies.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic