QUARTERLY NEWS LETTER
WE’RE ADVERTISING FOR A NEW PRIEST/PASTOR
With the Bishop’s approval we are now advertising in the Church Times for someone to fill our vacancy.
Click these links to see the on-line advert and final versions of the Congregational Profile and Priest/Pastor Profile.
FAREWELL TO JASON HOBBS – NOTE CHANGE IN SERVICE SCHEDULE
Sadly the Bishop has redeployed Rev. Jason Hobbs to needier churches in Aberdeen which is a great loss as we have much appreciated Jason’s participation since last Christmas.
Rev. Canon Ken Gordon has very kindly stepped up to the mark and has offered his participation on two Sundays per month but please note that, to fit his diary, they are the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month and thus while the timing of services will remain the same as before the rota changes so that from October 2019 for the foreseeable future they will be as follows.
NEW SERVICE SCHEDULE: A reminder that the service rota is generally as follows – subject to the variations of the church calendar and holidays etc.
1st Sunday 1100hrs Matins followed by short Reserved Communion – Lay team
2nd Sunday 1100hrs Holy Communion with Rev. Canon Ken Gordon
3rd Sunday 1100hrs Matins followed by short Reserved Communion – Lay team
4th Sunday 1100hrs Holy Communion with Rev. Canon Ken Gordon
5th Sunday 1800hrs Choral Evensong – Lay team
The details of the services are given in the schedule for the next three months at the back of this newsletter and separately on the church website.
The Harvest Festival will take place on 13th October. Please come and support it.
KINCARDINE GARDEN OPENING – UPDATE
FULL MARKS FOR HONESTY
Having reported on the Kincardine Garden Opening in the July issue Andrew Bradford reports “We have deceived you. When, looking at the number of cars filling the car park – some driving across it making spectacular bow-waves in the standing water – we were surprised that the reported numbers were so small but presumed they’d parked further apart or something. After all 320 people paying to see our gardens on a particularly soggy Sunday afternoon wasn’t at all bad.
Some three or four weeks later one of the people collecting the gate money put on their coat and was surprised to find a large wodge of cash in it. This turned out to be the ticket money from 120 extra people. Full marks for honesty.
Now we can report that the Garden Opening attracted over 440 paying people. On top of this were numerous children who came free of charge, helpers, ukulele players and so on. No wonder the car park was full.”
As a result of this Garden Open Day the Christ Church Hall appeal received a total £541.50 for everyone’s efforts. Other beneficiaries of the day were Children 1st and Scotland’s Garden Scheme.
FUNDRAISING CONCERT RAISES £2,827 FOR THE HALL
A report on the concert held at Kincardine in June was included in the last newsletter. The treasurer confirms that the total sum raised for the new church hall was £2827.89. Our grateful thanks go to Mary Page, Lucy Bailey, the choir, Nicky Bradford and all those who assisted with the catering to make this such a successful occasion.
Mid-Deeside Kirk has new Minister
She is Rev Holly Smith and her induction service was held on Thursday 8 August. Holly, who hails from Texas, is married to Matt and they have four children. They have been living in Aberdeen this last year - Matt is a teacher at an Aberdeen school and Holly has been Associate Minister at Mannofield where she has been undertaking "familiarisation" with the working of the Church of Scotland.
Going by our experience of USA clergy – with Lisa Eunson and David Greenwood – we are hopeful that Holly will be an equally great success for the Mid-Deeside Kirk and we send our best wishes to them all.
The Secretary was more than a little astonished to receive an enquiry recently asking if Christ Church could be used as a venue for a Civil Wedding Ceremony. It says something about today’s society that a couple have even considered that option.
YOU SHOULD TRY THIS AT HOME
Those who’ve attended church recently will have noticed these cards (left) in the brass holders at the end of each pew.
In an increasingly cashless world this gives you an opportunity to make your offertory in an alternative way using a smart ‘phone.
The process is very simple – point your mobile’s camera at the code box and it should come up with a link to the web address shown at the bottom which enables you to pay by credit/debit card.
Even if you can’t make it to church you can still make your offertory this way!
A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
In her Lenten Appeal this year the Bishop asked us to support dementia research.
To this end, if slightly after Lent, Lady Diana Holman has organised:
AN EXHIBITION OF NEEDLEWORK
IN AID OF
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19TH 2019
2 - 4pm and 6 – 8pm
ABOYNE, AB34 5JD
Donations to Alzheimer’s Research
Diana writes “if I ever have another daft idea, please tell me not to do it, as I am now scared to death that no-one will come!”
PLEASE THEREFORE TURN UP AND SUPPORT HER to encourage here to keep coming up with daft ideas.
On Sunday 22nd September the sermon was given by Henna Cundill whom we are supporting to carry out a Schools Programme at Kincardine O’Neil Primary School. She also does similar work at Finzean and in Banchory amongst other places.
She pointed out that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the church and that there are many times when you see the Kingdom happening far outside church. Churches who employ her hope her efforts will cause the Sunday school to grow but she pointed out that she has never knowingly ‘grown a Sunday school’ and furthermore she spends very little time inviting children into church and no time at all inviting them into the Kingdom. Why then should we use our church funds on her?
The reason is that she has to handle her participation in schools very carefully. There is, in many places, considerable opposition to what she is doing. After all, she has to bear in mind how she might feel if an Imam, Rabbi or any other group were being paid to teach her children ‘the right way to believe in God’. School, she said, is a place to learn about religion and not to be taught which religion is correct.
The Scottish Curriculum for Excellence requires that children are taught Scotland’s Christian heritage. Thus they should learn the stories from the bible and Christian ethics which lie behind Scotland’s judiciary system for example. She doesn’t tell the children to believe in God but she does tell them that she believes in God and they’re welcome to ask about that at any time. This shrewd approach keeps the doors to schools open and children get to learn about David, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, the parables and so on. She reminded us that, in Matthew, Jesus told us that the Kingdom belongs to children and she therefore doesn’t need to invite them as it already belongs to them. She believes in children’s innate ‘sense of God’. Brought up in an un-churched family she had a sense, unarticulated in her youth, of Something Divine. It was when she went to a church in her late teens, by which time that sense of the Divine had been ‘washed out of her’, that she was able to relate to and put a language to those childhood feelings. Thus in school she tries to give the children the language they can use, which she lacked when she was young, with which to describe their own innate sense of God.
She has to perform a balancing act – between the wishes of the church that funds her, her own desire for mission and the school curriculum. Somewhere in the middle of these tensions the classroom becomes a sacred space and children start revealing the Kingdom of God inside themselves. Unless we become like little children we shall never enter the Kingdom. In that sacred space of a classroom children learn to know what God’s presence feels like.
THINGS LEFT UNDONE
The following item from the last newsletter received absolutely no response. It is not too late to help.
VISITORS AT CHRIST CHURCH – Action you can take
As part of a gradual process of improving the visitor experience at Christ Church we have added the children’s quizzes prepared by Henna Cundill to the ‘things to do’ available at the porch.
YOU can help Christ Church by writing a review on TripAdvisor and encouraging your friends and visitors to do so too. The process is very straightforward and it will encourage tourists to see the church and perhaps donate.
Gathering in Glasgow on Conflict and Faith
The Diocesan Office has forwarded this link to a 3-day conference on Conflict and Faith I n Glasgow 31st October – 2nd November 2019. If you wish to attend please make your own arrangements. http://www.placeforhope.org.uk/
CHRIST CHURCH RECEIVES £16.70 FROM AMAZON
IF YOU SHOP ON-LINE YOU CAN HELP CHRIST CHURCH
Christ Church has begun receiving money from Amazon Smile. Remember you can benefit the church with your on-line shopping.
On your first visit to smile.amazon.co.uk you need to select a charitable organisation to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Christ Church’s Charity No. is SC001675. Amazon Smile will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.co.uk will add a wee bit to the amount received by Christ Church. It would be great if you can help us.
If we all participated the church would receive more.
CHURCH FABRIC REPORT
The exterior of the church has been painted and is looking rather smart.
Also the electrical wiring has been comprehensively renewed following the discovery that some of the wires had melted.
A dubious complement:
“I don’t care what other people say, I like your sermons.”
TRAVELERS, HOSPITALITY AND SALVATION – THE AULD KIRK, KINCARDINE O’NEIL
By Emeritus Professor Ray McAleese, Aberdeen University
The Auld Kirk is thought by some to date from the fourteenth century. The precise foundation date is unknown. It is a welcome and ever-present reminder of the history, religion and culture of our village. When did Christianity come to this part of Deeside? Why did the Durwards build a crossing of the Dee; and what led them to build a hospital “close by” this crossing? Some of these questions were addressed by W.R. Davidson of Dess in the nineteen thirties. He was assisted by the eminent antiquarian, Douglas Simpson, sometimes Librarian for the University of Aberdeen. However, we are still not clear about many things. No credible evidence has been found for a bridge or river crossing dating from the 13th century. There are two possible locations for the “spital” or travelers’ inn. There may been have been two hospitals. One of which may have been in an unrecorded field known locally as Bladernach. Such questions allow us to reflect on our own past and the communities that have lived, worked and worshiped here for over one thousand years. I will try in this article to highlight some of the events that provide a framework which helps to make some sense of the many unknowns.
Where do we start? We are pretty certain that a large body of weary men and women went over the Dee near Kincardine O’Neil in 1296 - possibly the 2nd August. Edward 1 was returning south from his Scottish campaign which had started near Coldstream in late March. His route from Elgin, after passing the night at Kildrummy, was towards Brechin via the Cairn O’Mount. One, and only one contemporary source on his journey refers to a sojourn at “Kincardine in the Mearns”. The assumption is that this could have been Kincardine O'Neil. Probably “in the Mearns” is a transcription error by a scribe - however, the folk around Fettercairn may think differently. In Kincardine O’Neil there was a bridge or crossing point of the Dee and a hospital, poorhouse or travelers’ inn perhaps near the Auld Kirk. We know the name of the Master of the hospital. He was called Wautier when he subscribed to Edward 1's Charter of Loyalty, the Second Ragman Roll, later in August of that year. History did come to Kincardine O’Neil at this time even if we are unsure about the details some of the events. Many other "facts" surrounding the hospital are uncertain.
What led to the importance of Kincardine O'Neil? Geography and Christianity would seem to be likely suspects. The Dee cuts through the valley making a few meanders due to the geology of the bedrock. This presented both barriers and opportunities for travelers. The pass by the Cairn O’Mount naturally leads travelers from the south through here en route further north. Further, the landscape gave early opportunities for Christians and communities to locate and prosper. Around here Erchard or M’erchaid, a Pict, became a follower of Ternan from the Mearns. Almost certainly Erchard formed a Christian community somewhere around here. There is a popular myth that he died on a hand-cart that travelled with no human assistance from the Cairn O’Mount down to the valley where Kincardine O’Neil now stands! He was real, but not all of the stories we know about him are based on facts. The following period, the sixth/ seventh century to the time of the Durwards, is even less certain with many Christian travelers, some of whom may be more folk legends than real saints. This led to an early medieval period when Christianity was well-established. However, and for whatever reason, there were Christian communities along the river. A river that nourished communities and that provided opportunities for travel as well as barriers. A barrier and an opportunity led in the thirteenth century to the Auld Kirk.
Through political aspirations the de Lundin or Durward family from Fife led Thomas to provide a crossing point - probably a bridge “juxta” or close by a Christian community and church where the Auld Kirk stands. First came the bridge then the “spital” or travelers’ inn by Alan the Durward. This part of the history is well documented. For example, in a copy charter dated 1233, the scribe for Alan the Durward describes in a simple phrase a location for a hospital, “..sito juxta pontem quem pater meus fecit construi super Dee..”. Roughly translated, “ ..situated close-by a bridge built by my father (Thomas)...”. The use of the medieval Latin and the translation of “juxta” suggests that this building, the “spital” was somewhere near but not necessarily at the Auld Kirk. It is it is therefore a risky jump to say that that the ruins to the east of the Auld Kirk were that building. This is most unlikely.
One should ask at this point; do we fully understand why the hospital or poorhouse was built by the Durwards?. The answer is complex and reflects medieval theology and the concept of Salvation. In the centuries after the period of the Saints, the Western Christian Church became embroiled in the cosmology of the afterlife. This led to a Church-economy based on Salvation by works and prayer. The credo was that salvation for the Soul can be facilitated by Charity. Charity is doing good works. Further, prayers for the departed in Purgatory leads to early remission from that state. The remission from cleansing is helped by the prayers of the living; and payments to the Church for making such arrangements, e.g. Masses. Thomas Durward was doing good works that is charitable deeds by building a bridge. Alan followed by providing a resting place for the weary traveler, or the poor, or both. In so doing he was fulfilling two Christian Works of Charity. First, providing for the needs of travelers’ and, second, allowing “prayerful men” or bedesmen in a hospital to pray for the soul of his father and others, and of course Alan when he passed away. Faith, belief and charity were intermingled and led to over one hundred such “spitals” across the NE of Scotland. We now need to jump forward.
By the nineteenth century antiquarians were familiar with of the east ruins to the Kirk and had speculated about its purpose for many years. No Church records answered their questions. With speculation by Andrew Jervise, there were claims about the Durward spital with a field called Bladernach, thought to be the location of the original spital. This lead on to the last century, when W. R. Davidson of Dess, a heritor of St Mary’s, asked for the advice of Douglas Simpson. Simpson was well versed in the local area having carried out archaeological work at Coull Castle. A quartet of like-minded experts came together: Davidson the heritor, Simpson the part-time Librarian and antiquarian; ably assisted by the well-known church historian F. C. Eeles and the local architect William Kelly. Kelly may be better known to some as the Kelly of “Kelly’s Cats” - the leopards seen on the bridge over the Union Bridge over Denburn, and Eeles for his work on Kings College Chapel in Aberdeen. Over five years the ivy was taken off the east end of the kirk, re-pointing was under taken and re-construction took place. There emerged the aumbries or wall presses on the outside of the east gable and the curious window stonework. Together with other features Simpson first agreed with Davidson that the ruins were that of a spital; then questioned his findings; and finally, several years later, gave his authority to the ruins being that of a medieval hospital. A resting place for elderly men who could hear Mass through windows into the altar-end of the church. The problem not properly addressed by Simpson, was this was the east end. Most medieval churches were oriented “ad orientem” towards to east, facing Jerusalem. Often the orientation was slightly altered to take into account the dedicated Saint’s Day for the Church. In our case this would be the 24th August. Work would commence, after harvest, on the day when the sun rose in the east. Thus, giving the direction of the nave. There is no certain evidence for any of this for the Auld Kirk. However, the nave is oriented almost exactly East to West. We are left with Simpson’s other problem. Christian belief from medieval times would have abhorred anyone – especially bedesmen - facing west towards the celebrating priest at the high moment of the mass, at transubstantiation. There are no known churches or Christian buildings across Europe where travelers, bedesmen or beadswomen faced West for the Mass. Of course, all of this is still open to research and debate. Simpson and others have provided no certainty.
Medieval Christian beliefs have been transformed by the various Reformations in the sixteenth century. One is left with ideas that need discussion and debate. Perhaps new archaeological techniques could tell us more about hidden bridge posts or the walls of the original Durward spital. We are now able to use twenty-first archaeological techniques to ask again, where is the bridge crossing?; were the prayerful men bedesmen?; did Edward with his Court in-train stop by our spital?. How did Ternan and Erchard, the first travelling Saints influence our countryside and its people? There is more to be done.
The rota for the next three months is elsewhere on this website.