Tag Archives: minister

Strange days

A strange one….yesterday I conducted a wedding at a local popular venue. First of all, the couple were delightful & the guests lovingly supportive toward the bride and groom…..but, here’s a thing: after the ceremony and the signing of the legal papers, having wished the couple well, on my way out I said to the company that I hoped that they would have a great celebration at the reception & a safe journey home. Added my thanks for their being there to rejoice with the bride and groom on that particularly happy day…… and got a round of applause!

But that’s not the strange bit. Before the service, I chatted to a new member of staff. Was asked if I were a minister (the dog-collar should have been a giveaway!) Answer: ‘yes – Church of Scotland’

‘Are you allowed to get married? Or have sex?’

‘Yes, but I’m a widower’

‘Are you in a relationship?’

‘No. And who would want a 69 year old wee fat man who is retired?’

‘Unless they’ve got loads of money’


‘You’re retired – does the Church still (?) give you a car?

“No, I’ve got my own”

“What kind?” ………..

…… so, after the ceremony, he follows me into the car park to look at my Jaguar – and asked if he could reverse it.

Saved by the piper – escorting the marriage party out. He had to dash back to get on with work.

Strange. Very strange


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On yer bike!

Minister cycling home one very dreich , dismal, rainy evening greets a lady on the pavement as he passes by – “Dirty evening Mrs Smith”.

“Aye and the same to you Reverend”.




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speak now… or forever hold your peace


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April 19, 2016 · 16:51

Our beloved minister


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December 14, 2015 · 11:44

Tricked – and no Treat

I remember in my first Charge (in the mid-70s) being “informed” by the congregation’s know-all as to “what Hallowe’en is actually about”

“Now, Reverend, do you know what Hallowe’en really is?”

“Yes – it is actually ‘Samhain’, an old Celtic festival – it means “Summer’s End” is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year.”

She looked at me in pity, with a look that implied that Divinity faculties weren’t teaching their students properly these days.  A dismissive laugh. “No, no” condescendingly, “It’s a contraction of ‘All Hallows Eve” – the evening before All Saints Day; the word ‘hallow’ (as in the Lord’s Prayer – “hallowed be thy Name”) meaning ‘holy'”

She looked smugly at me, in a manner that shouted “That’s him telt”

“Away and stick your broomstick up yer arse!” I replied …… actually I didn’t; instead I thanked her politely for “putting me right” and complimented her on her knowledge.

Pity the poor young minister whose members often like to flaunt their superior understanding of God, the Universe, and all that stuff.

Happy Samhain!


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The Traffic Warden’s Funeral

As the coffin was being lowered into the grave at a traffic warden’s funeral, a voice from inside the casket could be heard – Screaming at the top of his voice, the “dead” traffic warden shouted “I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m not dead!! Let me out!  Please let me out!”

The Minister smiled, leaned forward, and expressionlessly muttered, “Too late, pal, I’ve already done the paperwork”

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“Change and Decay in All I See”

The Courier


‘Time for someone to say it’ — Minister warns lack of interest is killing the church

By RICHARD BURDGE, 27 February 2015 3.25pm. Updated: 28 February 2015 10:10am.

Rev Scott Burton decided it was time to speak out after facing more and more empty pews in his church.Shaun Ward
Churches face an “intolerable and utterly unsustainable” lack of interest from their congregations, according to a minister.

An outspoken and wide-ranging attack has been made on members who fail to attend for worship or offer financial support to their churches.

The Rev Scott Burton, minister at St Matthew’s Kirk in Perth, said: “I have no reason to believe anything other than the fact that it’s only going to get worse in the next decade.

“It’s time for someone to say it as it is I’m afraid — and I’m either brave enough or stupid enough to be the one who’s choosing to say it.

“I see the bank balance (deficits), I lead worship in the more than half-empty buildings, I feel the never-ending pressures, I counsel the office-bearers who are tearing their hair out to make ends meet. So I assure you, I’m not exaggerating.”

He hit out after studying the number of people attending churches in Perth but his comments resonated with congregation leaders across Tayside and Fife.

The Rev Michael Goss, Angus Presbytery Clerk, said: “The general perception is that attendance at services runs at about a third or a quarter of the congregational roll.

“The picture is a continuing downward trend, which has been the situation for a long time.”

The Rev James Wilson, the clerk of Dundee’s Presbytery, said:“Our membership is gradually getting fewer and older. We are slowly but surely struggling to find people to do additional tasks and take up positions of responsibility.

P“It is a problem for us in the Church of Scotland in Dundee certainly — a major problem — but it is not one that only the church is facing.”

Ministers in Fife confirmed numbers were dropping, with the Rev Jan Steyn, minister of Cupar St Johns and Dairsie United Parish Church, saying “generational change” was required to keep churches relevant.


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the dysfunctional family

“The church often bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the dysfunctional family. There is the authoritarian presence of the minister — the professional who knows all of the answers and calls most of the shots — whom few ever challenge either because they don’t dare to or because they feel it would do no good if they did. There is the outward camaraderie and inward loneliness of the congregation. There are the unspoken rules and hidden agendas, the doubts and disagreements that for propriety’s sake are kept more or less under cover. There are people with all sorts of enthusiasms and creativities which are not often enough made use of or even recognized because the tendency is not to rock the boat but to keep on doing things the way they have always been done.” – Frederick Buechner

via Brian D McLaren

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Character Reference

I was once asked to take three services, during a particular Minister’s summer holidays, when he would be absent from the Pulpit.

On my third Sunday, after parking the car, I noticed an elderly member of the Kirk struggling to negotiate the steep steps up to the building.  I caught up with her about a quarter up the “stairway to heaven”, and offered to take her arm to help her up to the church.

After a moment or so, she asked me, “And who is conducting morning worship today, young man?”

“It’s Mr Strachan”, I replied.

She then turned to me, and said, “I wonder, then, if you would be so kind as to help me back down the steps”

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June 3, 2014 · 22:28