Bill Holland's mothly message for June.
Bill's other messages are still availalbe on our NEWS PAGE
This month’s message is later because so many things were in process of happening.
Happily, we are now back worshipping in the Church in front of the Cross. We are limited in numbers because there is still 2m distancing. The maximum capacity this allows us for a service in 38. The other good news is that we are allowed to sing, albeit behind masks. I had the good fortune of attending the re-opening service on Sunday 13 June. It was a pleasure to see and worship with people I hadn’t met for such a long time. I’m sure we all benefitted from it.
I expressed our thanks to all those who had taken care of the Church during its closure by their regular inspections. I also thanked Fiona Sloan and her team of willing helpers for their cleaning of the Church in preparation for re-opening. I thanked John Ronnie, Presbytery Property Convener, for all his help in all the paperwork necessary for gaining permission to re-open. Fiona has also volunteered to be the Track & Trace Coordinator – which is a necessary position to keep us within the regulations for using the building.
While the Church has been re-opened for worship, the regulations involved in using the building safely do not allow us to make it possible for visitors to visit the Cross as they did before by picking up a key and going in. Their only possibility of viewing the Cross at the moment is if they are able to attend a Sunday service of worship.
Weddings & Funerals: Under Level 1 where we are at the moment, the Scottish Government has stipulated a larger capacity can attend weddings & funerals than before. This is 100 people or the maximum capacity of the building. For Ruthwell Church that means 38 people, including participating officials.
Meetings: The Kirk Session and Board will now be able to have meetings “in person” with social distancing and other mitigations.
Savings Bank Museum: You will be aware of the publicity that surrounded the proposal of the TSB to close it and take all the contents to Edinburgh and how that has been averted. A meeting of stakeholders was held at which the Kirk Session was represented. Ahead of the meeting the TSB announced that it was not going to take the contents away. At the meeting a Working Group was set up to make the necessary arrangements to set up a body to be responsible for the Museum after a Community Asset Transfer. Local representatives on this are Les Jardine, Community Council and Fiona Sloan, Ruthwell Church.
Mouswald Church: The General Trustees have informed us that Mouswald Church has now been sold. We look forward to welcoming its new owners, Mr & Mrs McKee, into our community.
Dr Heather Currie: We are happy to congratulate Dr Heather Currie on the award of an MBE for her services to women’s health care. Well done.
Altogether this message has been more pleasant and hopeful to write – even with the pause in going on to the next stage of lowering the Covid-19 regulations that has been announced.
Although we have made steps forward out of our restrictions, our other arrangements for pastoral support will remain in place. 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.
We look forward in faith that our renewed ability to worship in the Church with singing will continue to bless us as other restrictions are lifted.
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.
Our interim moderators, May message.
Here is the May message from our Interim Moderator, Bill Holland who has been an inspiring light through his messages throughout lock down. With the imminent reopening of our Church on 13th June, I sincerely hope that we will be able to continue with Bills words and they are all recorded here for you to look over at any time. Thank you so much BIll for all of your support to us as always. x
April and Easter message from our Interim Moderator Bill Holland.