All services are currenty cancelled in line with Government advice.
On 26 April new Covid-19 regulations came into effect, which ease things considerably. We have been put into Level 3. Wider travel is permitted for a daily visit, going beyond Scotland. This gives us the possibility of meeting up (outside) with more family members and friends from a wider area. Another easing is that the limit of persons attending funerals and weddings is now increased to 50 – with 50 allowed to attend receptions afterwards as well.
It is expected that further easing will take place after 17 May – with a move into Level 2. The Kirk Session will be assessing these changes to consider whether we can now reopen the Church for worship.
The wider freedom of travel could mean that other people from further afield may wish to visit the Church to view the Ruthwell Cross. This would bring extra cleaning and stewarding to meet the regulations – including Track & Trace. The implications of this will be fully considered. For the moment Historic Environment Scotland are only allowing planned visits to parts of their facilities – for which potential visitors have to book tickets. We are in consultation with them about their guidance and timing on re-opening Keyed Sites such as ours. Unlike HES, we don’t have access to paid staff who could deliver the required cleaning and stewarding.
Looking at another of the pictures on the Ruthwell Cross, I’m drawn to the one of John the Baptist with the Agnus Dei. That is latin for The Lamb of God. John was a relative of Jesus’ who worked for God in preparing the Jews for the coming of Jesus. Most of his time was spent preaching in the wilderness – where people went out to hear him. He was the “Voice crying in the Wilderness” prophesied by Isaiah. He called on people to repent of their selfish behaviour and serve God. He baptised them in the River Jordan as a physical sign of their repentance and return to God.
The illustration of him carrying the Agnus Dei was to be prophetic of Jesus’ dying on the Cross. Jesus was a sacrifice to God for all the people in their wrongdoing. The use of lambs in sacrifice in the Temple was common and would be well known to the Jewish people. Applying it to Jesus was a continuation of John’s work for God. We don’t use lambs in this way – but we’re very conscious of them as an important part of our rural economy as they frolic in our fields at this time. We count them as cuddly and innocent – but Agnus Dei reminds us of the stark reality of the Cross and the wonderful deliverance it means for us.
As a rural Church our idea of “neighbourliness” stretches for many miles – not just to those who live next door. We have a large circle within which we have a care for those living there. Our parish area and our elders’ districts are places of support and care for those who need it. 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.
With the decline in the incidence of infections, the easing of restrictions, the longer evenings and, hopefully, some better weather, we look forward to a return to better living conditions and a chance to renew wider and longer meetings with friends and family.
The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair prepared a couple of services recently which are still relevand and worth viewing.
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.
April and Easter message from our Interim Moderator Bill Holland.
Bill's March 2021 message
Bills message for February 2021