Autumn 2009 Messenger Archive

Welcome to the Messenger Archive for Autumn 2009

Letter from the Editor
Autumn 2009

Since the manse is vacant, there is no Manse letter but…..

The latest grouping service was held at the Kirk of St Nicholas on Sunday 6th September where, as you will read in the Grouping Supplement, Tormod Woxen, one of the Norwegian Offshore Chaplains delivered the sermon.  His address was most lucid and inspiring.  The children from the Sunday Schools presented Rev Woxen with a book mark they had made during their time together, a gift which he greatly appreciated.

October will see our 4th month without a minister and as with the summer magazine, I do not have any details to print about the forthcoming services.  I hope that members are reading the pew leaflet to find out where services are being held.  If anyone is in doubt just phone the office as Elspeth will have the details.

When we have our own minister it means on a Sunday morning there is the comfort of knowing his or her style of worship; in a vacancy it is often when we receive the pew leaflet that we discover who is preaching that morning.  We no doubt have our own ways of coping with a different preacher every Sunday.  Do you have your favourite, do you like one style better than another?  Are you out of your comfort zone?  We ought to remember that who ever is preaching it is God’s word they are passing on to us and it keeps us on our toes not knowing how that message is going to be told.

Variety for us at the moment ‘is the spice of life’, we should enjoy this variety as we are united by God’s word.

As the winter months approach let us also enjoy the fellowship as members of the many ‘groups’ active within St Mark’s, details of which are in the magazine.

Tribute to John by Rev Andrew Christie  (Ed.  As promised, this is the full tribute that I was unable to print in the Summer Magazine.)

Whilst I was minister at Ferryhill North Church on a five year terminable appointment, I was asked to be Interim Moderator at St Mark’s Church. I readily agreed to take it on as we had fifteen years as members of the South Church and then St. Mark’s before I became a minister.  During my three years in Divinity I was privileged to be with Rev. Peter Davidson for one year and two years with Rev. Walter Gordon one at East and Belmont and the second when Walter became the first minister of St Mark’s, a union of  East and Belmont with the South. When the vacancy arose with the departure of Rev. Hamish Fleming to Banchory Ternan East Church the Presbytery of Aberdeen was determined that St Marks was not a necessary congregation. After much discussion and deliberation St. Marks was given permission to call a minister.

After two years and nine months of a vacancy, during which time the late Rev. Sam Ballantyne did a sterling job as Locum, we at long last were able to welcome the Watson family into our midst.  John was ordained and inducted into his first and only charge where he has served St Mark’s faithfully and well for twenty years .

Though we had to leave when Presbytery closed Ferryhill North we were only six miles out of town at Maryculter and in the Presbytery of Kincardine and Deeside.  We were well aware of how John’s ministry at St Mark’s was going  and of the many things he was instrumental in bringing to the life of the congregation.  St Mark’s has been richly blessed under the ministry of John and his family and we have a lot to be thankful to God for in providing us with the minister we have had.

It was always my intention, along with the family, to return to our family Church when we came to retirement.  As some of you will know heart problems in my early sixties made up my mind that I was going at sixty-five and not struggling to make seventy.  I never thought I would see seventy but during one of John’s healing services I thought something was going on but said nothing in case it was in my head and not my heart.

A couple of years later at my annual check-up they said, “You have not been in hospital for a while, we would like to do an echocardiograph just to see what is happening.”

Praise the Lord and John’s healing ministry I was told my heart problem had virtually returned to normal.  I now enjoy better health in my mid seventies than I did in my early sixties and I am most grateful. I also know many other people who have had the blessing of healing and would like to say thanks to God for their healing through John’s services.

We remember one of our earliest services back at St Mark’s when our late son Andrew and his wife and family were present. Andrew turned to  me and said, “Dad, I should niver hiv been a member of your Kirks”. Naturally I asked why? His reply epitomises what our family think of St Mark’s Church.  “This is hame” he said.  Though in a wheelchair, like daughter Norma, he had fond memories of childhood running around at Sunday School and in their uniformed organisations.  Though it is two years past February since Andrew passed on to higher service we could never forget all John did for him and the service he conducted with over five hundred people packing St Mark’s. The service and the singing was so uplifting on such a dreich and dismal day when I don’t think the rain ever stopped.

Another member of our family who has much to thank St Mark’s and  John’s ministry here for is our granddaughter Christina-Anne.  Through your kindness and generosity life has been made easier and not only does she enjoy her Sunday School she also loves her  Girls Brigade. When Nigg Church closed John offered accommodation for a very small but dedicated group of  Girls Brigade to meet in St Mark’s.  I can assure you the open night each year is something I would never like to miss and I have seen much larger numbers not having such a good display .

John was instrumental in the Men’s  Club starting up  again which I enjoy attending.  John has also been a leading light in the Drama  Group along with all the other members of his family and their in-laws and friends.  He has been involved in writing, producing and taking part and as an ex Glasgow policeman knew how to play the part of the baddy, which he always excelled in.

The Drama Group has given us many tremendous shows and we certainly have enjoyed them all.  John has also been involved with OAK, the Organisation of Aberdeen Kirks, which has done wonderful work.  Many charities both home and abroad, have benefitted from the thousands of pounds  raised and distributed by OAK.

We have a city centre grouping of Churches and when this first came about John was the only Minister in situ as the other two charges were vacant at the time.

On numerous occasions John has led pilgrimages to the Holy Land and has also been heavily involved in working for the benefit of the people of Malawi both in Presbytery and over there.

He has conducted a vast amount of funerals and weddings during his twenty years and being in his one and only charge meant producing new sermons every Sunday.  I know it always took me around sixteen hours to prepare a service, two eight hour days work in itself.  Some weeks the pastoral work can be heavy and time consuming but you still had to produce the service for Sundays.  We are fortunate not to be tied to fixed readings for each Sunday and could never exhaust preaching material from Gods Word.  However finding something new to say on the recurring festivals of the Church like Christmas and Easter becomes more difficult with each succeeding year.

I count it a privilege that we have had John at St Mark’s and to have had him as a brother in the ministry of our Lord.  Like myself I’m sure John would say that his ministry among us was enhanced by having a wonderful wife.  In Jennifer we have had an excellent Manse wife and we should give thanks for all she has done in assisting John.

Knowing how hard a fight we had the last time with the Presbytery of Aberdeen to keep St Mark’s open we should be eternally grateful to John for us being restored to full status. He has safeguarded our future and we need to ensure by our support in the years ahead that his efforts were not in vain.  I know John will always regard this congregation  with a great deal of love and affection and would like to wish John and Jennifer a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Circle of Care

Mrs Susie Murray and Miss Rose Davidson have now moved from CrossReach’s Ashley Lodge to the new purpose built Rubislaw Park Care Home set in attractive gardens with landscaped flower beds and lawn.  The spacious rooms are all with en-suite shower rooms.   There is also a variety of public rooms and a conservatory.

We pray that Susie and Rosie will soon settle into their new surroundings and be happy in them.

CrossReach has many years experience in providing care and support to older people in Christ’s name.  There are 30 units throughout the country, including 2 in Aberdeen these being Rubislaw Park and Balmedie.

CrossReach realises each person is different and the individual is at the heart of its work so that it is important to provide a homely environment and make sure that a strong relationship is built with every person in its care.

In addition to residential provision there is also respite and community care, housing support and a befriending service.

Margaret Donald

01224 591942

A Note from the Treasurer

My report in the previous Messenger considered last year’s outturn and my report to the AGM.  Although we ended up with a slight surplus of income over expenditure the overall picture was not a rosy one and that continues to be the case.

Offerings for the first six months of the year are down by almost £1,000 and since John’s retrial at the end of June numbers in church each Sunday have fallen and so has our weekly income.  I am therefore all the more grateful to those members who give by Standing Order.  This guarantees a basic level of income each month even if members are unable to be in church because of illness, family circumstances or holiday.  If you don’t give by Standing Order please ensure that on the Sundays you are not in church you still put your offering aside and bring it next time you come.

I think it is important that I make it clear to all members that just because we are now in vacancy our expenditure has not reduced.  The congregation is required to make the same level of financial contribution to the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh to support the wider work of the church and we are not excused payment to the national stipend fund just because we have no minister.  Indeed with the vacancy upon us it is likely that we will increase our expenditure, what with advertising and the costs associated with looking for a new minister.  And when we do finally attract a new occupant to the pulpit and manse there will be additional costs associated with the need to provide the manse family with suitable accommodation and services.

Please remember that your church needs your support throughout the year, just as you need the support of the church.

The Guild of Friendship

We start a new session as usual on first Monday in October i.e. 5th October at 2.15pm in the Church Hall, and every Monday thereafter.

We have an interesting and varied syllabus of entertainment – (Details to be printed in the Pew Leaflet).

We would love to have some ‘new blood’ and I am sure there must be ladies who are free on Monday and may wish to join us; you are assured of a happy afternoon and a very warm welcome

Any further details required, please telephone me:

 Pat Skene 01224 642293

The Strollers

Hardy souls that they are – continue to meet throughout the winter months weather permitting!  As always a warm invitation is extended to any member of the congregation who wishes to join them on any of the following dates.

October November December
Tuesday 10.00am 13 3 24 15
Saturday 2.00pm 3 24 14 5

Contact Margaret Donald for details of the walks.

Margaret Donald

01224 591942

The St Mark’s Malawi Committee

A Committee has been set up comprising  Margaret Donald, Valerie Kemp, Roddy Mowat, Rosalyn Rennie Kath McBain and David Yacamini.  One of the committee’s aims is to maintain the high level of contact between St. Mark’s and Mpachika.  Please keep an eye out for future events which include a concert at the end of October, a coffee morning early in the New Year and a visit from our friends in Malawi in September 2010.  We look forward to your continued support.

Scottish Country Dancing

The first meeting of the Scottish Country Dancing group was on Wednesday 9th September and the group meets fortnightly thereafter at 7.30 in the Church Hall.

New members are always welcome to join our classes. Experience, as they say, is not necessary as we enjoy the social side of our evening as much as the dancing.

Margaret Brown


Change of Address

Mr James Campbell Castleton Court  to
Torry Nursing Home
Mr Robert Kessack Annfield Terrace  to
Riverside Nursing Home
Miss Rosa Davidson Ashley Lodge to
Rubislaw Park Care Home
Mrs Susie Murray Ashley Lodge to
Rubislaw Park Care Home
Mrs Margaret Rennie Eriskay Drive to
Grandholm Care Home
Mr James Lewis to Fairview Care Home
New Members by Certificate
Mrs Alison Mackay Aberdeen
Mrs Audrey Stratton Hosefield Avenue


Mr James Smith Inverness


‘He will surround you with love on that golden day’

12th July Miss Margaret Kemp Rosemount
21st July Mrs Margaret Halliday Riverside Home

 Latest Baptisms
 7th Dec 2008  Isabella Mairi Ann Brown, c/o Emerates National School, Abu Dhabi, Granddaughter of Alan and Ann Brown
 19th April 2009  Adam David Rose, c/o 29 Rubislaw Park Crescent, Grandson of David and Jean Yacamini

 Poets’ Corner

There are three contributions this time around.  Firstly a brief piece from the Editor to accompany the tear out version of the Standing Order Form for giving through the bank, secondly a poem from a previous contributor, Richard Anderson of Oldmeldrum and an anonymous piece submitted to the Editor.

Sunday Morning – Sorted!

Sunday Morning, whose got some cash?

Where’s the envelope, oh what a fash!

Search all the pockets, turn out the purse

Only a pond, it couldn’t be worse!

Sunday Morning, I don’t have to worry

Leisurely breakfast, don’t have to hurry,

I signed the form, did not leave it blank,

My offering is paid direct from the bank.

Granny’s Couped

Fetch a block an tackle quick

Granny’s couped ,fell owr a stick

she’s gein hir heid an affa lick

we’ll hae tae get hir mendit.

She’s growed tae be a hoose-side size

by eatin buns an co-opie pies

an noo an owrturnt lump she lies

we’ll nivir get hir liftit.

“Get me up ya useless scunners

ah’ve helpit youse past times in hunners,

it’s gauin tae rain, ah heard some thunner,

ye’ll hae tae get me shiftit.”

An amblance screams an leaves the station

three mannies gauge hir situation,

then shak thir heids in desperation,

they’re by this sight defeatit.

Twa cheils arrive wi liftin gear

an feed a cable roon hir rear,

an as they haul she howls in fear

“please God they’ll get me richtit”

Back on hir feet she swears an curses

in a directions bile disburses.

“Some bugger tell me whaur ma purse is

The chipper’s newly opent.”

Richard L Anderson

This next one I have edited but it can be read with either a male or female being remembered.

Death Leaves Us With Choices

You can shed tears that he/she has gone

Or you can smile because he/she lived

You can close your eyes and pray

He will come back

Or you can open your eyes

And see that he has left

Your heart can be empty because

You can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love

That you shared with him

You can turn your back on tomorrow

And live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow

Because of yesterday

You can remember him and

Only that he has gone

Or you can cherish his memory

And let it live on

You can cry and close your mind

Be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what he would want

Smile and open your eyes, Love and go on.