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Unfortunately, All Worship Services, all Church Organisations and Non-Church Organisations, all Church meetings including Kirk Session and Core Groups are still cancelled/postponed until further notice.
We will keep you informed as and when updates are available.
Update from Interim Moderator
Here we are at the beginning of September with a little bit of “normality” returning to our lives with children going back to school. The lockdown due to COVID-19 has affected so many people in so many different ways. There are some of us who have been in the fortunate position of being able to work from home and stay safe whilst others have been out in the front line, for example doing their bit to ensure the wellbeing of patients in hospitals and care homes, facing this dreadful virus on a daily basis. I am sure we are all grateful that most people have been sensible and played the game as per the guidelines from the Scottish Government as this has kept many of us safe. It has not been at all easy but one thing I have seen that is making a difference is many people have become more neighbourly, looking out for others and not just being self-centred. I do hope and pray that this approach to life continues and that people are more engaged with their community and looking out for those who are more vulnerable and who need help in these difficult times.
Church Re-Opening Many of you will be wondering what is happening. Members of the Kirk Session, supported by a small team of volunteers, have been working away in the background over the last few weeks to prepare the Church for re-opening for worship. There is a significant amount of work being undertaken and we are in the throes of finalising the risk assessment which we need to complete and submit to Angus Presbytery for their approval to re-open. We are confident that this will be done very shortly and that we will be in a position to re-open the Church for worship on Sunday 20th September. Further details will be made available shortly.
Finance As with many other Church of Scotland congregations, the loss of income since lockdown began continues to be a challenge for the West Kirk. Many of you have continued to support through Direct Debit/Standing Order and we are very grateful for your contributions towards the ongoing work of the Church. You can also make a donation to the West Kirk through the Church of Scotland website. Go to the Church of Scotland website (www.churchofscotland.org.uk) and on the front page, click on the red button ‘Donate’ at the top of the page. That takes you to another page. Half way down that page under step 1 click on ‘donate to a congregation’, type ‘Arbroath West Kirk’ into the box and follow the instructions from there to make your donation.
Nomination Committee Members of the Nomination Committee have been working hard during the lockdown to progress informal enquiries and engage with potential applicants. Everything has been done through Zoom Calls, telephone conversations and one visit to the parish in person, adhering strictly to all guidelines. I am pleased to advise that the Committee has invited one applicant to be Sole Nominee – see article from Audrey Shepherd, Clerk to the Nomination Committee for further details. This is excellent news for Arbroath West Kirk and I am delighted that the Committee has worked so diligently and tirelessly despite the restrictions placed upon them to find a new minister in these unprecedented times.
Your continued prayer and support is very much appreciated and I ask you to keep going with this – God hears your prayers and he does answer them. I know we are all praying for a return to normality and being able to meet and greet our friends without social distancing – perhaps still a long way off but it’s important to keep safe and follow the Government guidelines.
May God bless each one of you
Update from the Clerk
I am delighted to report that at the last Kirk Session meeting, Audrey Shepherd accepted the role of Assistant Session Clerk as approved by Session and duly took the oath of faithfulness to the office (Oath de fideli). I know that everyone will give Audrey every support as she takes on this important role for West Kirk. My personal thanks go to Audrey.
It is encouraging that the Nominating Committee have brought forward a Sole Nominee and I ask for the prayers of all as we seek a way forward in our mission to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to our parish and further afield.
I am delighted to advise you that we have a Sole Nominee for Arbroath West Kirk.
The Nominating Committee has invited Mrs Christine Hay (Chris) who is Probationer Minister at Wellesley Parish Church in Methil.
Chris and Elaine McLean (Interim Moderator) had an informal telephone chat in June and Chris then contacted myself, as Clerk to the Nominating Committee, to arrange a visit to Manse and Church in July. This was organised in full compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines and Chris visited Arbroath, spending time with myself and seeing around the Parish and the Church buildings.
At Chris’ request, I arranged for a few members of the Nominating Committee to have a Zoom call with Chris for an informal information gathering discussion. Both parties felt that it was a positive discussion.
Chris provided links to some services she had taken and the small group who met virtually reviewed these.
Following prayerful consideration, Chris formally submitted an application and met with the full Nominating Committee for interview via Zoom. All members of the Nominating Committee had been provided with the links to Chris’ services and listened to these prior to the Zoom interview. The Nominating Committee was very impressed with Chris as she ticked a significant number of boxes in what we are looking for in a Minister.
We held a Zoom call to prepare for the interview with Chris and were well organised and structured in our interview questions. Following that Zoom Call, each member of the Nominating Committee provided feedback to myself and it was unanimous that Chris should be invited to be Sole Nominee. Chris has responded positively to the invitation so we are now in a position to take the next steps.
COVID-19 has disrupted the normal process for Nominating Committees and we are working with Angus Presbytery to follow a temporary Protocol to allow Chris to preach as Sole Nominee at 11am on Sunday 27 September 2020.
We are still restricted to 50 attendees in the Church so we are looking at how we can relay the service in the Church Hall(s) to allow more people to hear Chris. We are also looking at having the service recorded and shared with those unable to attend the Church.
Voting will need to be done differently and we are working on how Voting Papers can be issued to all members and then returned for counting.
Our aim is to have as many people as possible hear Chris on Sunday 27th September or as soon as possible thereafter with voting closing on Friday 2nd October. Further details will follow on this process very shortly.
I wish to thank all members of the Nominating Committee for their endurance during these difficult times and for embracing the Zoom technology to allow us to move things forward. We are unanimous in our selection that Chris is the right person for Arbroath West Kirk and we look forward to hearing her preach in person later this month.
Clerk to the Nominating Committee
September is our Stewardship month and this time we are looking at TIME.
Though we are not meeting in the same way at present the Group would encourage you to think about the time you give to the Church.
As we move into the future things may change and we want to be able to change with them and embrace some new ideas.
Please take some time to think about the “TIME YOU GIVE TO YOUR CHURCH.”
With all good wishes.
The Stewardship Group
History of Our Congregation (8)
Change is the stuff of history. In fact without change there is no history, or, to put it another way, there is nothing to be learnt. Lately, our congregation had a major change when the old Knox’s Church and the old West Kirk united to create the new charge of West Kirk. Here is Knox’s story.
On the 20th November 1865 office-bearers from Inverbrothock Free, Ladyloan Free, High Street Free and East Free Churches decided the following:
“It was agreed that, considering the increasing population of the town of Arbroath, and that the sittings in the four Free Churches of the town are well-nigh all taken up, this meeting is of the opinion that a fifth congregation in the locality of Rossie Street would be beneficial to the interests of the Free Church and religion generally.”
This resolution was the result of considerable discussion within the Arbroath Free Church Presbytery, centring on how to establish a Free Church presence in the ever expanding part of the town around Rossie Street and Cairnie Street and the decision was made to open a ‘mission station’. This station was to be used to bring non-attenders back into church, but also to be open to church members who lived in the area. The station was set up by renting Inverbrothock Parish School in Ogilvie Place at £15 per year. This building still stands and is occupied by the Girlguiding Arbroath HQ. The first act of worship was held there on the 28th January 1866, conducted by the Rev. John Laird, Cupar, who read to the congregation the minute of Presbytery agreeing to open the station. This service marked the inauguration of Knox’s congregation (initially to be named John Knox) with a roll of 30 members. The Presbytery established an interim minister and Session consisting of the Rev. William Masterton, Inverkeilor as Moderator with four elders drawn from the four Free Churches in the town. Events moved quickly thereafter and the Lord’s Supper was dispensed to 34 communicants on 4th March, and then on the 23rd August, John L. Moffat, David Duncan and Andrew Sutherland became the first members of Knox’s congregation to be ordained as Elders. An application was made to the General Assembly of 1866 to be granted a full time minister as soon as possible. This application revealed that £950 had been contributed to a fund to build a new church to serve this ‘new and rapidly increasing district’ of the town. Having gained the General Assembly’s sanction, the Rev. William Scrymgeour was inducted in Inverbrothock Free Church to the charge of Knox’s in April 1867 and on the following Sunday was introduced to the congregation by the Rev. William Arnot, from Edinburgh. Sometime before the General Assembly sanction, the site at the corner of Howard Street and Cairnie Street had been secured from the property of Sir John Ogilvie and subsequently on 2nd May 1866, plans prepared by James Maclaren, architect, Dundee, were approved by Presbytery leading to the start of the building project in late June of 1866.
Maclaren’s design was for a late-Gothic style building with transepts to give a cross shape but the project hit a serious problem after the walls of the building had reached around six feet in height. It was discovered that one transept would encroach on the adjoining line of adjacent cottages in Cairnie Street and an owner had threatened to interdict the build. After consultations with the architect it was decided to alter the design by reducing the length of the transepts from nine feet to four feet. This solution not only prevented any legal action but was also more cost effective than demolishing the work done so far and repositioning the structure. The original plan would have seated around 800 people but the necessity of shortening the transepts meant a capacity of around 760.
Over the years Knox’s Church witnessed many changes, such as fabric improvements and additions, but more importantly, major changes of denomination and organization caused by national and local unions and linkages. Ecclesiastically, the 20th century has been characterized as the century of ecumenism and in the first part of the century, Knox’s changed denomination twice. During the ministry of the Rev. Dr Lilley, Knox’s Free Church became Knox’s United Free Church when in 1900 after long negotiations at national level the Free Church united with the United Presbyterian Church to become the United Free Church. In May 1929 during the ministry of the Rev. George Adam, after long conversations and committee meetings at national level going back as early as 1866, the Established Church and the United Free Church reunited as the Church of Scotland, and Knox’s United Free Church, renamed as Knox’s Church, became a congregation of the Church of Scotland. When the Rev. John Reid retired after 31 years of ministry in Knox’s, the charge fell vacant. Angus Presbytery took this opportunity to propose the linking of Knox’s with St Vigeans and their Basis and Plan of Linking was agreed by vote on the 25 April 1982, and officially linked on Sunday evening, 30th May, conducted by the Rev. Peter M. Gordon, moderator of Angus Presbytery and minister at Brechin Cathedral. Finally, in 2019 Knox’s Church united with nearby West Kirk and the Knox’s church buildings were sold. This latest change goes with the grain of the Church of Scotland’s Radical Plan in the interests of good stewardship and use of ministry resources and has created a viable base for mission in the west of the town, exactly what the founders of Knox’s wished.
A Word from Christian Aid
I thought I would share with you the latest communication we have received from Christian Aid.
I hope you enjoy reading this summarised version of the letter from Sophie Brightwell, CA’s Community and Events Manager.
“Love Never Fails. In times of crisis, love unites us all……..
How amazing it has been to see ordinary neighbours like ourselves coming together to do extraordinary things for the most vulnerable in society. Although we may have missed being with loved ones, the love of our community has prevailed in this time of crisis.
We are thanked for dedicating time to this year’s virtual Christian Aid week by taking part in online quizzes, services and events, coming together and once again creating a wonderful sense of community, looking out for neighbours both near and far.
The letter highlights the plight of so many communities across this fragile world and tells us about Angela and her farming community in Nicaragua, whose coffee farms are in crisis because of climate change. But, as always with Christian Aid there is hope, and with support, Angela’s community is coming together to share tools and knowledge, and are now able to urgently protect their livelihoods.”
The letter concludes by acknowledging that we are about to enter the season of Autumn and this is known as a time of sharing. As we celebrate Harvest, Christian Aid will be hosting a Global Neighbours service”
You can find details of the service, along with other resources for their Autumn Appeal at caid.org.uk/neighbours
I hope that you are all looking forward to meeting up very soon together in the West Church community.
In the meantime thank you all for your continued interest and support of Christian Aid,
Change of Address
If you have moved house recently, or are about to move, either within or out-with the town,
Please note the office is operational, however, not the set hours as before. The phone is being checked regularly for messages, if you need to get in touch where possible, please do so via the website or the email address and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Here are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)