I was a Probationer Assistant Minister (a bit like a curate) learning my “trade” in a housing estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh (1973-74)
Some of the kids in the primary school in the Parish could be a bit boisterous. Near the beginning of my placement, I made the mistake of betraying the fact that I was (and still am) a Hearts supporter; the address to the School Assembly involved my unbuttoning my clerical shirt – to reveal a Heart of Midlothian t-shirt (I haven’t a clue what the point of this was – it was a long time ago); however, I do recall getting a “friendly word of advice” from the Minister in whose charge I was, following a complaint from the head- teacher. Apparently – at break time – there had been “exchanges” between wee Hearts supporters, and their bitter adversaries: those who supported the other Capital team, Hibernian (Hibs)
OK, my “card was marked” thereafter – I was a “Jambo”
My first Christmas – and I was invited by the Head-teacher, who had forgiven me for being a disruptive influence, to play Santa Claus at the kids’ end of term party. I was to sneak into the school and go to the staff room to get changed into the Santa costume.
This was done, and my “appearance” at the party seemed to go down well. After it, the children were let out into the playground, while I returned discretely to the Staff Room to change.
Five minutes or so, I left. A couple of the young kids spotted me. “Hey, Minister, wur you Santy Claus?”
Another one joined them. “Aye, ye wuz – see he’s wearin’ a pair o’ welly boots!”
Then a much younger laddie, “I dinnae ken if it’s yon man fae the church; am jist glad that Santy is a Jambo!”
Tynecastle Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Meenister’s Log
Once, when at Tynecastle watching the Hearts, I was sitting two or three seats along from this late middle-aged guy. He had his replica top on, Jambo woolly hat, and maroon and white scarf. I was in mufti – jeans and leather jacket and probably a baseball cap.
Well this guy went bananas from kick off to final whistle. He shouted at the referee in heavy duty language, he berated our own players for missing chances and did so in no uncertain terms, virtually every opposition player received a colourful comment, he was f’ing and blinding so much that someone in the row behind had to tell him to tone down his language as there were kids nearby (who had most likely heard all this stuff before!)
He was quiet until half time when he went off to get a pie and a paper cup of Bovril.
Second half: same again – industrial stength language including a suggestion that one of the players do something that’s physically impossible.
The Jam Tarts lost. They were booed off the pitch with my neighbour calling them a bunch of four letter fellows (or something like that).
The next day being Sunday – it was church time in the morning.
“Wasn’t a very good game yesterday” I said to this guy.
“Were you there?”
“Aye, sitting two seats along from you – you were better entertainment than what was happening on the pitch”
His face turned a shade not unlike the Maroon colour of Hearts jerseys.
He was one of my Kirk Elders!
The Meenister’s Log
it used to be the custom (and perhaps it still is with some older ministers) to construct a sermon thus: Text (a Bible verse or verses), an introduction, and then three points dealing with the theme, and finally, a conclusion.
Once, a visiting Minister was preaching in one of the churches I served.
At the children’s story time, she asked the youngsters in the congregation “Does your Minister have three points?”
Then a wee voice pipes up, “The Hearts got three points against Hibs yesterday!”
Out of the mouths………