Hello here’s this months magazine, the online edition, hope you enjoy reading it.

Issue 275 October 2020
Scottish Charity SC006842

Church Calendar

October                                              November

11th  11am Sunday Service                  1st    11am Sunday Service

18th  11am Sunday Service                  8th    11am Sunday Service

25th  11am Sunday Service                  15th  11am Sunday Service

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


Dear Friends

It’s hard to believe that another month has gone by and we are still not yet back to “normal”.  I’m absolutely delighted that the Church has been able to re-open for worship, albeit we are very restricted on numbers and we are not permitted to sing.  I find this very difficult as, for me and for many of you, singing is a huge part of our worship and I’m really missing it.  I often have hymns pop into my head and I find myself going around the house humming away or even singing out loud. It’s all right – I haven’t lost the plot!.

I would like to thank the group of volunteers who made the Church re-opening possible in preparing the sanctuary and arranging for all the additional activities and cleaning that needs to take place for us to be compliant with the rules and regulations placed upon us.  I’d also like to thank the Duty Teams for keeping everyone safe when they attend the services and a big thank you to Myra in the Church Office for administering the booking system to ensure we don’t breach guidelines.  Yes, it is very hard for us to understand that we have to book a place to come to Church – who would have thought it?  However, until further notice this is what we need to do to ensure everyone stays safe.  Please be understanding of this situation and hopefully we can increase our numbers attending in the coming months but, if I’m being honest, I feel we may need to go backwards for a short period before we can go forward – watch this space!.

It was fabulous that we had Chris Hay preach as Sole Nominee on 27th September and that we were able to plan for the service to be relayed in both halls to maximise the number of people hearing Chris preach.  Uploading the service to the Church website and broadcasting on Radio North Angus facilitated many more people being able to hear Chris.  Grateful thanks go to everyone who was involved in this mammoth undertaking to ensure that as many people as possible were able to hear what was happening.  I’m delighted to announce that Chris has been elected to be your new Minister and I know she will be a fabulous asset to Arbroath West Kirk and the local community.  As I’ve said in each of my letters over the past few months, God hears our prayers and he does answer them.  This is absolutely the case here where our prayers have been answered and we look forward to Chris being ordained and inducted into this Church later this month (subject to Government and Church of Scotland guidelines).  Audrey and I have written a short update on this later in the Magazine.

It will be a while before we can hope to host all the usual Church activities but we pray for those groups who cannot meet and who need our prayerful support. We have been using technology to host virtual meetings and it is great if you can do this with your friends and family but not everyone has that opportunity.  Please continue to look out for one another, especially those you know are living alone. We are not out of the COVID-19 woods yet but with everyone being sensible and trying to adhere to the rules, albeit they change on a regular basis, we are hopefully suppressing this virus and staying safe.

Again I ask for your continued prayers and support – you may think what difference can I make? – it’s just me.  God hears each and every one of us.  He knows our needs and he will provide.  He is always with us – we should never forget that and let’s make sure we speak with him every day.

May God bless each one of you.

Elaine McLean.


Sole Nominee Service, Sunday 27th September 2020.

An Action Group was formed to oversee all the administration relating to our Sole Nominee’s Service of Worship. Each member of the congregation received notification from Mrs Elaine McLean, Interim Moderator, announcing the Nominating Committee’s recommendation of Mrs Christine (Chris) Hay to preach on Sunday 27th September 2020 as Sole Nominee for Arbroath West Kirk along with a Voting Paper and Returning Vote envelope. All Voting Papers had to be returned no later than 12 noon on Friday 2nd October.

The Returning Officers met and the votes were counted in the presence of the Interim Moderator and the Clerk to the Nominating Committee. The result is as follows

279 votes for with 1 vote against.  Mrs Christine Hay is declared to have been duly elected.  We have pencilled in the date of Ordination and Induction for Chris on Thursday 29th October 2020 in Arbroath West Kirk.  This is subject to The Call being sustained and Presbytery’s Vacancy Procedure Committee giving the go-ahead.  We are awaiting further guidance on how this service will be conducted, given the restrictions currently in place from the Scottish Government and the Church of Scotland.  Not everyone who wishes to attend this service will be able to do so but we are investigating ways to livestream the service for those with internet access and uploading the service to the Church website at the close.  Please continue to check the Church website (www.arbroathwestkirk.org) and the Church Noticeboard for any updates.

We wish to extend our grateful thanks to all those involved in preparing the Church for re-opening, organising the additional sound system for the halls, collating and distributing the Voting Papers, recording the service and uploading to the website and those who participated in the service. Thank you too to the Returning Officers who painstakingly counted and checked all the votes.  Everyone’s hard work and commitment is very much appreciated and we feel that everything has gone to plan and we thank God for his guidance and support to us.

If you have any questions or need further information please let us know.

Elaine and Audrey.

Update from the Assistant Session Clerk

Opening of the Church for worship

We must thank you all for your patience in these unusual times. The Kirk Session met last month to discuss the re-opening of the Church. We had to be mindful of the Scottish and Church of Scotland Covid guidelines and to undertake a risk assessment which had to be approved by Angus Presbytery before we could open our doors. A Task Force was formed to oversee all the safety measures required and I would like to thank them for their hard work that has gone into making our return to Church a safe one.

We are restricted to 50 people in the Sanctuary which includes the Minister, Organist and Duty Teams which reduces our capacity to around 40 attending worship. No one could have predicted our positive response on opening and we reached our maximum number attending quite quickly. We apologise to all those who were unfortunately turned away or arrived to a closed door.

So to try and avoid further disappointment, we have decided to undertake a booking system going forward.

Bookings can be made by telephone to Myra at the Church office- 01241 434 721 on Monday’s 9-11 and Tuesday’s 9-1.00. We ask you to be patient and support Myra in this process. We have only one telephone line and Myra is only in the office on her own and she can only book a place where there is availability.

To try and make it a fairer system we ask that you attend church every second week in order to help balance out the numbers who wish to attend worship.

As Sunday 27th September was a special service, we are discounting it towards the process of booking. So the congregation that attended on the first week 20th Sept can next attend on Sunday 11th October and two weeks thereafter and so on. Likewise the people who attend on the 4th October would next attend on the 18th October etc. We ask that you only book your place in the Sanctuary on the week you are to be attending.

If you have any queries, then please do not hesitate to contact me. This will be monitored and reviewed accordingly to any changes announced by the Scottish Government over the coming weeks.

Audrey Shepherd.

Assistant Session Clerk.


Harvest Thanksgiving


We will be celebrating Harvest Thanksgiving on Sunday 11th October. Unfortunately due to the Covid restrictions, we will not be able to decorate the Church this year.  We thought to mark the day though that perhaps we could bring donations for the Arbroath Foodbank which would be greatly appreciated by those families who are struggling in these difficult times we find ourselves in.  A Box will be placed at the front door for this purpose.


Lord we are on a journey at this time and it is a hard journey.
Walk beside us as we journey.
We pray for carers , the bereaved and anxious and for those unsure of what the future holds.
Lord bless all who work to find a vaccine, the scientists and researchers and those in decision making positions, give them wisdom, compassion and understanding.
Lord in Your Mercy
Hear our prayer

The History of our Congregation (9)

Just for a change (it’s in the air), the following article is a brief portrait of the Rev. Joseph Hay, a minister associated with the family tree of West Kirk.

Photograph courtesy of Arbroath Public Library

Ordained on the 15th October 1823, Joseph Hay was the second minister of North Grimsby Street Church and he had a remarkable thirty-six year record of service to both his church and to the community. After his death in service on the 11th July 1859 he was variously remembered as a man ‘whose saintly memory was still so fragrant among [his congregation]’, and who ‘discharged the duties of his office with exemplary diligence and fidelity’, securing ‘the respect and esteem of all classes of the community’, and was ‘a man beloved, who devoted much of his time to the biblical instruction of the young’. For most of his ministry Hay took Bible classes on Wednesday afternoons and evenings and at one time it was reported he taught as many as 233 young people during the week. His classes were open to all, with three-quarters of his pupils belonging to other congregations. Interestingly, he developed ways of teaching the deaf and the mute as his special concern. Hay was assiduous in pastoral visiting and also occasionally preached in nearby villages. In the deeply sentimental language of the time it was said of him that he was ‘always welcome in the chamber of affliction and the house of mourning’.

Hay married Helen Carsewell late in his life and they had only one child, a daughter named Jemima. Shortly before his death Hay wrote detailed instructions for the education of his only child, what accomplishments she should cultivate and what habits of life would be to her advantage. Basically, he wanted her to have a broad education in science and art. For example, he recommended knowledge of the Copernican system of astronomy (see Note 1 below), and also encouraged her to play the organ, so ‘that her music may be consecrated to God’. In the strict religiosity of the time and especially of the Secession Church (see Note 2 below), Hay was against dancing ‘both in principal & feeling’ and when away from home he did not want his daughter to live any time with a family ‘where God is not worshipped morning and evening and recognised by prayer in their daily meals’. Hay has been criticised for these instructions but in the context of the times it must be remembered that women were not encouraged to study science and could not go to university. I would argue that Hay was quite progressive and certainly consistent in his desires both for his beloved daughter and for his community, wishing them to be educated and Godly.

The Copernican System of Astronomy

 Copernicus was a canon of the Catholic Church, and in the early half of the sixteenth century, he carefully observed the night sky and produced a mathematical model that had the sun at the centre of the solar system with all the planets, including the earth, orbiting around it. This system caused controversy in the Church and in natural philosophy which held to the erroneous belief that the heavens orbited the earth. It has been said that the Copernican Revolution ushered in the European Scientific Revolution with proof being based on the scientific method of experiment, measurement and observation.

The Secesion Church

The Secession from the established church occurred with the formation of the first Presbytery of the Secession Church at a meeting held at Gairney Bridge (about 3 miles from Kinross) on the 6th December 1733 by four ministers, Ebenezer Erskine, William Wilson, Alexander Moncrieff and James Fisher. The Secession Church was the result of a concern about a number of practices in the established church including patronage and the movement called Moderatism. Essentially, the Seceders wanted state and civil authorities to continue to support the church but to have no jurisdiction over, or interference in, the church’s business.

Bill Clark.

                                    DUTY OFFICE BEARERS



18         Team 01               John Logue, Team Leader

25         Team 02               Chic Coull, Team Leader


01         Team 3                 David Spink, Team Leader

08         Team 4                 Brian Cruickshanks, Team Leader

15         Team 5                 Kathleen Lawrence, Team Leader

Church Flower Rota           Arbroath West Kirk Flowers                                                  

October 2020

18th     Isobel McKay

25th     May Herron

November 2020

1st       Kirk Session

8th       Mary Ramsay

15th     Karen Dear



Tel: 01241 434721



Change of Address

If you have moved house recently, or are about to move, either within or out-with the town,

please fill in the address slip below either email your details to  arbroathwestkirk2019@gmail.com

or post through letterbox in the Church hall.  Thank you.


Name              __________________________________________



Address           __________________________________________



Address           __________________________________________