All services are currenty cancelled in line with Government advice.
Our April message starts with Easter Greetings. Christ is Risen. Hallelujah.
We are given the wonderful news that God has conquered life and death through Jesus – through his Crucifixion, death and rising again on Easter Sunday. God has fulfilled his promises and covenants made in the Old Testament and we have inherited a new status as God’s beloved children, his sons and daughters – blessed and sustained by his love. Easter is our annual celebration of this wonderful status that we enjoy with God.
Spring and Easter are times when we experience the joy and wonder of new life. All through the winter bulbs and plants have been preparing to grow to populate and beautify our gardens and fields. There is new life in our hedgerows and in our fields. Thankfully nature has not been subjected to the same lock-down we have been. With lower infections and higher vaccinations, there are signs that life is starting to ease for us. Places of worship have been allowed to reopen with reduced numbers. Unfortunately, in our situation at Ruthwell Church we are not able to meet all the conditions which would allow us to reopen safely as yet. The Kirk Session has decided to consider reopening when we hear the new restrictions likely to be in place after May 17 – hoping that they will be less onerous.
There are pictures on the Ruthwell Cross relating to Easter. The first of these is of Jesus on the Cross – a crucifix. While unusual to our post-Reformation minds, this was a regular way for pre-Reformation people to portray Jesus at Easter. They were reminding themselves of the great cost of God’s love for us – which was Jesus’ death. They were reminding themselves that, although they were centuries removed from Jesus’ death and were believers – what they did in their lives was still a contributing factor to human behaviour that had led to Jesus’ death. They wanted to remind themselves of the horror, shame and pain of Jesus’ death – and the part they played in it.
At the Reformation, the new Church wanted to do away with all images that spoke of idolatry. Many were destroyed immediately after the Reformation. The Ruthwell Cross was eventually taken down as well – but in a protected way until it could be restored.
The positive idea behind the removal of images and crucifixes was the fact that the Easter message tells us that the Cross of Good Friday is now empty. Christ is Risen. He is no longer nailed to the Cross or buried in the Tomb. He has joined his Father in Glory and is now available to all of us in our individual situations – surrounding us with God’s love and strength and equipping us to lead full and fulfilled lives.
However, the pre-Reformation Church didn’t just have Christ on the Cross to look at. There is another picture on the Ruthwell Cross of Christ Glorified – Jesus in all his risen majesty.
So, in our three pictures, the two on the Ruthwell Cross and our own one of the empty Cross, we have reminders of God’s great love – working over many centuries – in many people’s lives – until it came to its great climax at Easter. We are truly blessed to know of this and to be able to use it in our lives together.
As a Church, Kirk Session and Congregation, we are still maintaining contacts within the parish. The elders are there to help in their districts and our Locum, Rev Gerald Moule is continuing his pastoral work by telephone. If you wish to contact him, his number is 01683 220667 and his email is: [email protected].
The website has contact details for Fiona Sloan and myself if you cannot contact anyone else.
Even as we look forward to coming out of the restrictions, we have to be sure that we keep and cultivate the connections we have made with and for each other during Covid-19. They are good in themselves and will enhance our Church and Community in years to come.
The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair prepared a couple of services recently which are still relevand and worth viewing.
We are invited to copy and share the following links with our congregation.
• Moderator’s Service of Worship for 17th January 2021 - CLICK HERE
• CAPTIONED Moderator’s Service of Worship for 10th January 2021 - CLICK HERE
• Please note that the service will not be visible on YouTube until 0300 on Sunday 3rd January. This means that should you send an email out to your members in advance they will not be able to view it before Sunday morning, however, they will be able to receive the link from you before then.
To view the interview with Prof Daniel O'Donnel on the Visionary Cross Project CLICK HERE
Ruthwell Church is the oldest building in South West Scotland still in regular public use. It is a painted rubble kirk, which began as a long narrow medieval church. The Murray Aisle was added in the 17th Century and the apse, which houses the cross, was added in 1886. It is in a remarkable state of repair both outside and in.
The graveyard,which surrounds the church, is still in use and is bounded on two sides by a tall gated wall.
Our traditional Session House is located out with the church yard in the large car park adjacent to the church. The Session House has been extended to provide a good-sized meeting room and a large galley style modern kitchen and toilet.
Welcome to Ruthwell Kirk web site. Our aim is to give you an understanding of our Church of Scotland congregation, our rural community and our ancient Christian heritage.
Our united congregation was formed in 2011 from the linked parishes of Cummertrees, Mouswald and Ruthwell. Our place of worship is Ruthwell Church and the two church buildings at Cummertrees and Mouswald have now been closed.
The united parish lies along the beautiful Solway Coast between the towns of Annan and Dumfries. The congregations live in and around the rural villages and hamlets of Collin, Mouswald, Ruthwell Station, Clarencefield, Ruthwell, Cummertrees and Powfoot as well as in the larger towns of Dumfries, Annan and Lochmaben.
The parish has one primary school at Cummertrees, which is well renowned in the area and there are local secondary schools in Dumfries and Annan.
The Parish attracts people from around the world to visit the ancient Ruthwell Cross, a magnificent 7th century Anglo Saxon preaching cross and the oldest cross of its kind on mainland UK. The church also houses a magnificent 12th century font. The Trustee Savings Bank Museum, is in Ruthwell Village and is famously the oldest savings bank in the world, founded by the Reverend Henry Duncn, minister of the parish in the 18th century. Just outside the village, you can find The Brow Well, with its historic connection to our national bard Robert Burns, who bathed there shortly before he died.
The local area boasts two golf courses within the parish at Powfoot and Hoddom and several more in the surrounding area. There are many accessible walks along the miles of shore and forests in the parish and the National Cycle Route also runs through the parish and the vllage of Ruthwell. We have Hotels and wedding venues at Comlongon Castle in the village of Clarencefield and Hetland Hall just outside of Mouswald. The Powfoot Hotel has recently reopened in Powfoot village and Clarencefield is home to The Farmers Inn.
The RCM club was founded in 1985 on the inspiration of our minister at the time, Rev Robert Nicol and his wife Margaret. It was created to develop a friendship amongst the ladies of the three parishes and provides a welcome night out once a month during the winter with a variety of speakers, demonstrators and outings.
A friendly, welcoming, relaxed group who meet in Cummertrees Hall on the first Monday of the month from 2pm – 4pm. Meetings vary according to members’ wishes or suggestions. All are welcome.
Many visitors are interested in tracing ancestors in our area. Memorial Inscriptions (MIs) for our cemeteries have been transcribed and published by Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society. The Society has a Research Centre in Dumfries. It has a website which gives details of the archives they hold and a list of the publications which are available. http://www.dgfhs.org.uk/
The Ruthwell Cross is a magnificant 7th Century cross which is the oldest of its type on Mainland UK and twinned with another in Bewcastle in Cumbria. The cross has a checkered history and was condemned by The Church of Scotland during the The Reformation as being too papish. The cross was broken up and hidden in the graveyard, which the main part being conceled as a curch pue in the church itseld. It was the rediscovered by two of the minister in the 18th century and follwong 20 years of reconstruction it stand in the church today as a testament to our heritage. Incidentely...the Church of Scotland has never rescinded the condemnation of the cross and after 250 years.......
Our last full time minister, Jim Williamson, retired in 2009 and initially we were fortunate to have the excellent pastoral care and leadership of Rev Neil Campbell as our interim moderator, with Rev Logan Kirk as pulpit supply. Rev Kirk subsequently took over as Interim moderator and has since retired, with position currently being ably handled by Rev Bill Holland. For several years, we have been grateful for the attention of our Locum Minister, Rev Gerald Moule from Moffat, who has continued to encourage this successful union until such times as we find a suitable candidate for our vacancy here at Ruthwell Church. We have all prayed and worked together towards this successful union of our three charges.
A nomination committee has been appointed and the search continues for a new minister. Our vacancy is for a part time of 50% ministry, allowing applicants time to pursue their other interests. Indeed like our famous 18th century minister Henry Duncan who while preaching in this parish, founded The Trustee Savings Bank, the first savings bank in the world.
The manse is a four bedroomed modern bungalow, built in 1982, with oil fired central heating and double glazing throughout. The lounge has a large picture window to the front and patio doors to the side as well as a fireplace.
The kitchen with informal dining area has been newly refurbished. There is a separate dining room plus a shower room and family bathroom.
There is an integral garage and ample parking for visitors in the tarmac drive.
We have a very active Kirk Session of twenty one elders who are joined by a further five to form the Congregational Board, all of whom work hard to ensure that the parish is in good spiritual health and organise various events as well as fund raising.
We have 200 members on our congregational role and we enjoy an attendance of around 30 at our Sunday worship in Ruthwell Church, although our communion services, which are held twice a year and our Chritstmas, Easter and Harvest Thanks giving services can attract up to 80 members.
We asked our congregation to tell us what they felt about their church and their faith, their hopes for the future and the qualities they believed would be of most value to the individual answering the call to be the new minister of our parish.
This is a summary of the conversations we had.
Fellowship was the aspect of Church Life, which brought most joy to our members. There was a real sense that we have an opportunity, through our union of reaching out into the community and sharing God's love and message with young and old.
Many expressed a hope of attracting young people to join us in the church and we have several new young members, who have now completed their New Communicants Class and are now members of our congregation.
We would like to see our Young Church gaining momentum and are hoping to re-introduce it to encourage young parents to bring their children and themselves to church and enjoy the fellowship and friendship there.
The most valuable quality for our new minister, was considered to be that of providing inspirational practical Christian teaching. It is also important to the members that the successful applicant would be able to relate to children, young people and the wider community and finally, to make people feel welcome.
In return, we as a congregation and a community, would make our minister feel welcome and supported in their role as minister at Ruthwell Church.
Bill's March 2021 message
Bills message for February 2021
A message for January 2021 from our interim moderator Bill Holland