Spring 2009 Messenger Archive

Welcome to the Messenger Archive for Spring 2009

Letter from the Manse

Easter 2009

Once again we are fast approaching the season of the year with newness of life, and the emergence of flowers in the gardens and the parks.  I never fail to be amazed at the scene of Aberdeen in full bloom as the  vivid yellows of the daffodils replace the purple and white of the crocuses. It means a busy time for the gardener getting things ready for the summer display of colour.

It’s the same in the church.  Although we start the year in January, Easter is really the beginning of the church year, when all things are refreshed and folks look forward to the ongoing worship in their church.

I believe that God has great plans for St Mark’s when I leave in June.  I believe that because so many things have taken place in the last few years.  The church has been decorated and no one can deny that it looks stunning inside and outside.  You, as the congregation, will now be able to call  new minister on an unrestricted basis.  This means, unlike the situation when I came in 1989, you will be able to call a new minister to St Mark’s without any threat of closure.

That does not mean that you can sit back and take it easy.  On the contrary, it means you will have to work hard, probably harder than you have done for some time.  More volunteers will be needed for projects and so forth, and above all you will need to support St Mark’s financially throughout the vacancy and beyond.  Too many churches have faced great problems during a vacancy because members have stayed away and in staying away have withheld their offerings which are the lifeblood of the congregation.

Don’t let all my hard work for you go to waste.  Be there each Sunday, and that includes the Sunday School children and the YF.

During the 1st World War a great poster was issued featuring Lord Kitchener and it said “Your Country Needs You”.  It rallied people by the thousands to the call.  Your church needs you in the same way, God is calling you to rally to His call.

This Easter  WILL  see new life not just in the parks, woodlands and gardens, but also in the Parish of St Mark’s.

May God bless you all.

The Manse Family  –  Jennifer John and David

A Personal Note From John

That was my penultimate letter to you as your Minister now that I will be retiring on 30th June.  It has not been any easy decision to make but I know that the time is right for a change.  You need new direction and new impetus which can only come from someone new and younger me.

It has been a wonderful 20years among you.  I have spent time with you in your moments of sorrow and sadness, and your moments of happiness and celebration and that has meant so much to me.  From the moment Jennifer, Garry, David and I arrived in Aberdeen many of you have made us more than the Manse Family.  You have made us your friends, something that will not change even though we will no longer be a part of St Mark’s.  When I retire we will be living in Newtonhill, and if you need our address Elspeth will supply it to you from the Office.

Let me make this plea to all of you, please make every effort to come to church on Sunday 28th June.  It is my last service with you and I hope that it will give me the opportunity to say personally thank you to as many of you as possible.

Your friend and minister


What Will Happen When John Leaves Us?

Someone asked that question and I am sure that many of you will be asking the same one.

I am due to take my last service on Sunday 28th June 2009.  The following Sunday one of the ministers from Aberdeen, who will have been appointed as your Interim Moderator, will come to St Marks’ and preach the charge vacant.  After that the Nomination Committee can make inroads  to looking for a replacement.  It is something that can happen quickly or something that can take time.  The important factor is that the right person is your Minister.  Once you have reached the stage of electing a Minister the Nomination Committee will tell you that you have a Sole Nominee and you will all hear him or her preach to you.  Then you will be asked to vote as to whether or not you want that person as your Minister.  What follows then is a glorious time for all of you.  I will be watching closely from the sidelines, as St Mark’s will always be a part of me.


Circle of Care

Sadly, Margaret Innes who would have been 100 in March died in January and she is much missed by residents in Ruthrieston House where she had stayed for several years.  She had been very much looking forward to her special birthday and we are so disappointed she did not live to experience it.  We remember her with affection for she was such a gracious lady.

May Easter be a time of great blessing to you all.


CrossReach realises that there are times when we all need someone to listen and give support, consequently it  hears from a wide range of people who are experiencing problems causing them real emotional pain or distress.  The aim of CrossReach is to provide counselling so that those in difficulty can work through their problems.
Margaret Donald

A Note from the Treasurer

During 2008 I reported our financial position in each edition of the Messenger (which was also uploaded to the website).  Regrettably none of my items made good reading as I reported a running deficit on each occasion although in the Christmas magazine I was able to say that at the year end I was hopeful of a better outcome because of the outstanding claim for tax on gift aided offerings and donations.

I am now pleased to be able to say that at the Annual General Meeting on 15 March I reported a positive end to the year although to some extent this is owing to “accountancy speak” and the fact that our accounts are prepared on an accruals basis.  This means that all of the income we should have received (whether we did or not) and all of the expenditure we should have made is recorded in the accounts.  It also means that expenditure recorded as due at the end of the previous year has already “been through the books” and although the money was spent in 2008 it is not shown in the accounts for the year.

In simple terms we ended up with a surplus on the General Account of almost £5,000 and over all our Funds and Accounts about £6,500.  This however is no cause for celebration because these figures hide the reality that during 2008 giving from members was down by £3,000 compared to the previous year.  Christmas Gifts to the Church were less than £1,000 compared to around £1,500 in 2007 and income from Hall lets was down by almost 50% at only £8,800.  Thankfully we did manage to reduce expenditure in almost every area and spent more than £11,000 less than we did in 2007.

In trying to recruit a new minister our accounts will come under scrutiny because no new incumbent will want to serve a congregation which appears to be struggling to pay its way.  We need to improve our givings to secure our future.  It is as simple and direct as that – what are YOU doing about it?

Alex McConochie

Are You are Tax Payer?

If your answer is YES please read on

Do you Gift Aid your offering, if not, why not?

Recently I forwarded a completed Gift Aid form to the Inland Revenue for a repayment of £12,500, which is a wonderful lift to our Church finances.

As a tax payer, to become part of this, all you have to do is complete a simple form with your name and address, sign and date, and we will do the rest. It is all completely confidential; you do not have to commit an amount, just give as you wish.

This can be done by Free Will Offering envelopes, Bank Standing Order, Direct Debit  or individual sums.

Please consider the Gift Aid Form available in the Deacon’s Room, you can speak to an Elder or myself for any help.

If you do this simple task your Church can reclaim 25p (current rate) for every £1 you give.

Thank You

Sheila Main

Gift Aid Treasurer

Two Hundred Years of Service

Is the total given by six of St Mark’s elders and which were recognised at a service held in St Mark’s on February 6th this year.

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend David Lunan MA BD preached the sermon at the service conducted by our own minister in his role as Moderator of Aberdeen Presbytery.  Rev Lunan also presented Long Service Certificates to our own elders and to eight others from Queen’s Cross and Holburn West churches.  In total the Moderator marked 465 years of service as elders from these 14 individuals.

The recipients from St Mark’s were, Maurice McFarlane (38yrs), Douglas Craighead (33yrs), Ron Irwin (33yrs), David Skene (33yrs). Oonagh Watt (33yrs) and Alex McConochie (30yrs).  Unfortunately owing to the severe weather at the time Ron couldn’t make it into Aberdeen for the service and David was unwell but both Moderators visited David at home to hand over his certificate.

The Strollers

Over the winter months our outings have only been slightly curtailed by bad weather, indeed, when we went to the Bay of Nigg in January the sea was beautifully blue and very calm.  This was in marked contrast to the day we went to the beach in February when there was snow around and about and the sea was grey and stormy – but an enjoyable walk nevertheless.  Needless to say like everyone else we are hoping for warmer times and would be happy to have you join us on any of the dates below.

April May June
Tuesday at 10.00am 7 28 19 9 30
Saturday at 2.00pm 18   9 30 20

Big Issue Project

On 10th January 2009, we celebrated our first six months in operation since this project began on 10th July, 2008. We celebrated with a friendly gathering of the helpers who continue to commit themselves to serving the Big Issue vendors.   Kate Fraser baked a very splendid cake which was greatly enjoyed, and helpers had an opportunity to meet with each other and voice their views on how things were progressing.  The general consensus was that all was going well, whilst any concerns aired were dealt with in the days that followed.

An article appeared in the New Year edition of the Big Issue, featuring our project and as a result of that, two new helpers have volunteered  their services, and will join us for the first time this week.

At the time of writing, we have sold 26,670 copies of Big Issue enabling us to raise £2,000 in commission.   After expenses, this money will go towards meeting the needs of the homeless in Aberdeen, through organisations which work directly with them.

We can still use more helpers.   Please consider volunteering for what is  not a particularly onerous task, but one which is very worthwhile.

Audrey Skinner

Queen Street Church

 The Guild Of Friendship

Once again we have come to the close of another session, having probably held our last day by the time your are reading this.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel two afternoons owing to very snowy conditions.  However, the meetings held were very entertaining and also well attended with four new members joining us this session.

My grateful thanks go to our guests, the committee and all others who help each Monday.

Any further information required, please telephone me:

Pat Skene

01224 642293

Can You Help?

Wearing my other hat as the Stewardship Convener, it is my duty to encourage you to look at your offerings.  I know and appreciate that we are in a Credit Crunch and everyone is affected, BUT, the church must have some priority in your life.  Please take the opportunity of giving by Gift Aid for it increases the amount the Church receives.

All that is required of you is fill out one of the forms that Sheila our Gift Aid Treasurer, or Alex, our Treasurer, always have available.  There is no set time on such a commitment, you can stop or increase it when it suits you, the choice is yours.  Having said that, if you haven’t increased your offering for some time, isn’t it about time you did?

Rev John M Watson


Change of Address

Mr James Smith Hutchison Place  to
Wimberley Way Inverness
Mrs Amy Thain Denburn Court  to
Bonnington Court Ellon
Mr Edward Sutherland Auldearn Road  to
Cranford Nursing Home
Miss Marjorie Forbes Oldcroft Court  to
Woodgrove Cornhill

New Member by Certificate
Ms Valerie Kemp Claremont Street
Mrs Georgina Milne Stewart Park Court
Mrs Hazel Nicol Ashvale Place


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

1st November Mrs Eirene Rattray Fairview Home
7th November Miss Mary Morrison Shetland Walk
13th November Mrs June Blacklaw Bonnyview Drive
November Mrs T Duncan Whitestripes Crescent
9th December Mrs Jessie Grant Cowdray Club
10th December Mrs Euphemia McKay Fergus House, formerly Ardarroch Place
12th January Miss Margaret Innes Ruthriestone House
14th January Mrs Doreen Proctor Middlefield Place
9th February Mrs Rosemary Rutherford Lang Stract