Message from Interim Moderator
As your Interim Moderator I want to assure you of the ongoing support of the Church in these difficult times, even though we cannot gather together for services and meetings. Contact with each other is important for our general welfare and is normally taken for granted in our rural area. While our physical contact is now severely curtailed because many people are confined to the house because of health considerations and those who are allowed out have to self-distance, there are other ways in which we can support each other.
In a rural area the concept of “neighbour” is not confined to just people who live next door. Our idea of neighbourly belonging extends to great distances where we keep a neighbourly eye on each other. That is something we can continue to do – even though our actions may be limited.
Visiting has to be carefully carried out and many of us are restricted in how we can go out from our homes. Phones, computer and the internet are available and can be used positively.
Through the Church, the elders will be looking after those who are in their district.
There is also an offer on the Church website. If any of our members or friends, need any kind of support to pick up supplies or medicines, please contact Fiona on 07803 171007 in the first instance and we will do what we can.
The one thing we’ll miss is coming together for worship. The Church of Scotland website can point you to services. There are services on the BBC TV & Radio.
I was due to conduct the service in Ruthwell next Sunday before the AGM. I’m continuing my preparation of the service and it will be put onto this website as a PDF for those who want to share it.
Rev Gerald Moule is our Locum. He normally conducts services and does pastoral work and visiting. While these are curtailed, he can still contact you and speak to you by phone. Don’t hesitate to contact him. His number is 01683 220667 and his email is: [email protected]
Understandably, our thoughts become fearful at this time. We wonder what might happen to us or our loved ones. We wonder how we will cope with the restrictions and isolation. We should pray for ourselves, for those we love and those around us.
The best thing we can do is remember the strength we have from our Faith. We have the Good News that God cares for us and loves us. This was made known to us by Jesus in his Life and Death on the Cross. At this moment we are commemorating the last few weeks of Jesus’ life as he was approaching the Cross – which killed him – but gave us new life.
One of the readings most used in recent weeks has been Psalm 23 – where we read:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
We have the certainty of knowing that God is with us wherever we are and whatever is happening to us.
God bless us all,
Ruthwell Church: http://www.ruthwellkirk.org.uk/
Church of Scotland: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/
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.
A message from our Inerim Moderator rev Bill Holland.
SERVICES ARE CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO COVID -19
Anyone who is struggling to pick up supplies or medicines should contact Fiona on 07803 171007 and we will try and arrange to help you. Please don't be stuck at home with no one to talk to. Your elders are here to help and support you so please get in touch.
The church building is still accessible (using the key held in the box at the manse) for individuals who are not self isolating, and who want to come and pray.
Please note that individuals visiting the church will need to bring and use their own hand sanitiser as we are unable to provide washing facilities for individuals choosing to visit.