Organisation of Aberdeen Kirks

new oakAt the end of December 2019 the decision was taken to close the OAK Café completely for the reasons noted below (falling sales, poor customer numbers etc) but that the café should still continue for ‘Special’ Lunches, Macmillan Teas and the Christmas ‘Cracker’.

The proposals for 2020 are as follows:

Date In support of Cost
5 March The Friends Group £7
7 May The King of Kings School Ghana £7
20 August The Archie Foundation £7
25 September Macmillan Afternoon Tea £5
10 December The OAK Christmas Cracker £12

Tickets for these events will be on sale 4 – 6 weeks before the event and will be available at the after Service Teas on Sundays and from members of the OAK Management Committee.

During 2019 there were further changes to the OAK Structure with the café no longer opening on a Monday after 1 April.

David Yacamini retired from OAK duties at the end of June and he was replaced as Chair of the OAK Management Committee by Mrs Marjorie Lord.

Effective from Thursday 1 August 2019 it was decided, due to falling customer numbers that the café would open only on Thursdays and Fridays, although our special and Christmas Lunches would be unaffected.

With effect from 31 December 2016, Malcolm and Betty Steel resigned as long-term organisers of the OAK Café after 21 years of dedicated service. Daphne Cowking also stood down, after a long period of service to OAK. The café will however continue, pretty much as it has done in the past under a new Management Group made up of volunteers, mainly from St Mark’s:
David Yacamini – Chair (and Front of House rep)
Ian Lord – Secretary
Kay Montgomery – Monday
Anne Donaldson – Wednesday
Marjorie Lord – Thursday
Rena Macnaughton – Friday
Front of House
Elsa Black
Michael Dyer – Crown Terrace.

Now that we are using to provide a full colour version of the St Mark’s Messenger articles about OAK can be read in the Messenger Pages or in the Archive .

Sometimes of course we are between magazines so here you will find a photograph of the toothbrushes that OAK customers and staff donated to the Dentaid Project.  Staff from NHS Grampian join others from the UK to travel abroad to help developing nations with ‘teething’ problems.  You can read more about Dentaid on their own website.

You can contact OAK by email here.

In January 2018 we printed a Newsletter, primarily designed to update our volunteer staff, to show our achievements in 2017 but you can all read it here.

Our Afternoon Tea on Friday 29 September 2017 raised at total of £417.00 which is destined for Macmillan Cancer Care.  Here are the OAK supporters who donated all that money.

From the Summer 2011 “Messenger”

We enjoyed wonderful fellowship with the Circle of Care members and some of The Crown Terrace Methodist congregation on Palm Sunday afternoon.      Our sincere thanks go to Margaret Donald for organising the invitations and transport, to all the drivers, to Rev Diane for an uplifting service and to all the ladies for all the home bakes and catering.

We look forward to our next Special Lunch on 9th June in aid of the local branch of the Spina Bifida Association and one on 22nd September.  We look forward to seeing all our friends again.

When everyone else is thinking of the summer holidays you can be sure O.A.K. has other thoughts!  What about the Christmas Shoebox Appeal?  We have had such support in the past and I know some folk are knitting and gathering gifts together already.  Our closing date for gifts will be 30th October, 2011.   This gives us time for packing and The New Hope Trust time for transportation.  Gifts may be brought to the Café, Monday to Friday or to the Church on Sunday.

Our Evening Services continue throughout the summer at Crown Terrace Methodist Church at 6.30pm on the second Sunday of each month.  All are very welcome.

We hope you all have a very restful holiday and look forward to seeing you on your return.
Betty & Malcolm Steel

What has O.A.K. done with the Profits in 2010?
DEC Haiti Fund £   500
Crossroads Caring Scotland £1,000
Stewart Christie Costa Rica Expedition £   100
Diabetes UK Grampian Voluntary Group £1,250
Jennifer Trust £1,000
DEC Pakistani Fund £   400
DEC Pakistani Food Appeal £   250
DEC Pakistani (Smartie Fund) £   800
Cairns Counselling £1,000
World’s Biggest Coffee Morning £   150
Cogwheel Trust £   900
Ekwendeni Fund £1,000
New Hope Trust (Transportation) £   300
Earl Haig Fund £   250
Prom Praise Orchestra & Choir (in hospitality) £   350
Presbytery of Aberdeen Malawi visitors (in hospitality) £   250
Total £9,500

A big thank you to all who have helped us in this work
Malcolm Steel, Treasurer.

From the Spring 2011 “Messenger”

OAK has been busy since we started in January.  The cafe has been busy in spite of the inclement weather, or perhaps because of the weather.

We had a very successful Special Lunch at the end of February in aid of The Scottish Bible Society. The speaker came from Edinburgh and explained some of the work of The Bible Society.  Our March evening service, in Crown Terrace Methodist Church, took the form of a Songs of Praise and was led by The Acclamations and Mr Alan Campbell. This was a very happy time and was well attended.

Our thanks to everyone who helped to make all these events possible and run so smoothly.

We look forward to Easter and our Communion Service and Afternoon Tea with the Circle of Care and some friends from the Methodist Church.   We have another Special Lunch in aid of Erskine Hospital on 28th April and we look forward to seeing you all at some of our events.

We wish all our customers and staff the Blessings of Easter.

Betty and Malcolm Steel

From the Winter 2010 “Mesenger”

We had another very successful Special Lunch which was in aid of Ekwendeni Care in Malawi;  after the lunch Michael Dyer gave a very informative talk about the work in Ekwendeni.

At the September Special Lunch we launched The Smartie Fund, the proceeds of which will go to the D.E.C Pakistan Flood Appeal.  So far we have collected over £250 which will help with the future needs of the flood stricken region.

The Shoebox Appeal has brought in many sacks full of presents which will go to Eastern Europe in time for Christmas. The Christian giving and caring does extend round the world and we can give hope for those in need, even in a shoebox.  We are very grateful for all the support from staff and customers.

We are now preparing for the Christmas Lunches on 15th and 16th December and look forward to seeing all our old friends, and some new ones.

The Café will be closed from 20th December 2010 reopening on 10th January 2011.

There will be a joint O.A.K Service for the Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity in St Mark’s Church at 11am on Sunday 23rd January 2011.  We look forward to seeing you all.

The Evening Services continue at Crown Terrace Methodist Church on the second Sunday of each month at 6.30pm.  At the March Service the Songs Of Praise will be led by The Acclamations.

We wish you all the Blessings of Christmas and a Happy New Year
Betty and Malcolm Steel

From the Autumn 2010 “St Mark’s Messenger”

O.A.K. has been very fortunate in keeping the Cafe open during the summer holidays.  Our grateful thanks go to all who helped in doing extra shifts.  We also welcomed a few new faces and we hope you all enjoyed the experience.

Now that the summer holidays are over we have to start thinking about our Christmas Shoebox Appeal.  The closing date for donations is 31st October 2010 and any goods may be handed in to the O.A.K. Cafe or St Mark’s.

Our next Special Lunch is on 4th November and is in aid of an Educational Programme for young ladies in Malawi.  We look forward to your support for this worthwhile project.

Tickets for our Christmas lunches will be available soon.  The lunches are on 15th & 16th December 2010.

The Evening Services at Crown Terrace Methodist Church continue on the second Sunday evening of every month at 6.30pm where you will find a warm welcome.

We look forward to seeing you all soon.
Betty and Malcolm Steel

From the Summer 2010 “Messenger”

O.A.K. had a very successful Special Lunch in April in aid of the Aberdeen Branch of The Diabetic Association.  We had a very happy time and it was the first time our tickets have been completely sold out.  Our after lunch speaker was Dr K McHardy who made a very witty talk and gave us lots of information on how to keep the side effects of diabetes at bay. Our grateful thanks go to all the staff that coped with the full house and made serving 100 people look very easy.

We hope to keep the cafe open during the summer holiday months so any extra help of a few hours per week or month would be appreciated, just speak to Daphne or Betty or come and see us one morning.

As we start to decide how we are to pack our holiday suitcases O.A.K. comes along to remind us that they will be packing shoeboxes again this year.  Anyone who would like to donate a Christmas gift, which will be sent to Eastern Europe by The New Hope Trust, should deliver it to The O.A.K. Cafe before 31st October 2010.  This will give us a little time for packing and transportation.

Our O.A.K. Evening Services continue on the second Sunday of each month at Crown Terrace Methodist Church at 6.30pm.  A warm welcome is assured for all who come along.

We hope you all have a happy summer and an enjoyable holiday.
Betty & Malcolm Steel

From the Spring 2010 “Messenger”

O.A.K. had a very successful Special Lunch in February in aid of Crossroads Care, Scotland and look forward to our next one on 8th April in aid of Aberdeen Diabetic Association, and on 20th May in aid of The Jennifer Trust. Our thanks go to all our staff and customers for all the support we receive for these special events and day by day at the cafe.

Our thanks go also to The Acclamations for leading us in The Songs of Praise at the O.A.K. Evening Service in Crown Terrace Methodist Church which proved to be a very uplifting experience.

We were all saddened by the death of Miss Cecilia Gordon.  Cecilia was a very loyal worker in the kitchen for the lunches in Langstane Church and then at the O.A.K. Cafe.  We will miss her quiet unassuming presence.

Our Evening Services continue at Crown Terrace Methodist Church on the second Sunday of each month at 6.30pm.   Everyone is assured of a warm welcome.

We wish you all a very Blessed Easter.
Betty & Malcolm Steel

OAK’s charitable distributions for 2009 didn’t make the Spring magazine as planned but they can be seen here and will appear in the Summer “Messenger”.

We have made the following donations in 2009
DEC Congo Crisis Appeal   £400
DEC Gaza Fund   £400
DEC Sumatra Appeal   £200
The Archie Foundation   £1,000
The Archie Foundation   £600
Rugut Family Fund (c/o Queen Street Church) £250
Sue Ryder Care Scotland   £600
Mpachika Church Malawi   £65
Presbytery of Aberdeen Malawi Water Fund   £1,000
VSA Aberdeen   £500
Grampian Research in Orthopedics   £1,000
Earl Haig Fund   £350
Teal Charity Ball   £100
Scottish Bible Society   £1,000
Cogwheel Trust   £725
New Hope Trust (for Shoebox Transportation)   £300
Ghana Fund (c/o Crown Terrace Methodist Church)   £400
Big Issue Meal (for Hospitality)   £120
TOTAL   £9,010
A big thank you to all who have helped us in this work  
Malcolm Steel, Treasurer

From the Autumn 2009 “Messenger”

We hope you have all enjoyed you summer and that you had good weather if you were on “staycation”.   Our staff worked hard to keep the Cafe open during the summer months for which we are very grateful.

Any new volunteers would be most welcome. (Just a few hours per week or per month)    Speak to Daphne or Betty for more information.

Now that we have started in the new session our thoughts turn to Christmas. Yes, already!  Once more we will be having a Shoebox Appeal and would welcome any donations for the boxes.  These can be delivered to the Church on Sundays or at the O.A.K. Cafe on Monday to Friday.  Our closing date for donations is the end of October which allows time for packing and transporting.   Once more they will be going to Eastern Europe by way of The New Hope Trust, Peterhead.

A number of O.A.K. staff have attended The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland course of food hygiene and gained their certificate.  Well Done.

Our next Special meal will be on Thursday 12th November 2009 in aid of The Scottish Bible Society whose work in translation help Christians to have a bible in their local language.

Our Christmas Lunches will be on 16th & 17th December, 2009.

We continue to welcome new customers to the Cafe and would also welcome new members to the congregation at  the O.A.K. Evening Services which are held at Crown Terrace Methodist Church on the Second Sunday of each month at 6.30pm.

Malcolm A Steel

September 2009 Special Lunch

On Thursday 3 September we held one of our special lunches as a fund raiser for GRO (Grampian Research in Orthopaedics) which was, as usual very well attended.  We were joined by Orthopaedic Surgeon and Researcher, Mr Paddy Ashcroft and Research Nurse Winifred Culey.  Mr Ashcroft delivered an amusing and informative talk on the development of joint replacement techniques.  ARI is one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals and Grampian is at the forfront of research into orthopaedics.  OAK and its customers helped advance that research by way of a £1,000 donation which was presented to Mr Ashcroft by Jennifer Watson who earlier this year benefited personally from knee replacement surgery overseen by GRO.

Photographs from the lunch can be seen here .

From the Summer 2009 “Messenger”

Although O.A.K. does not normally raise money through Coffee Mornings a large crowd supported us when we held an “Afternoon Tea in the Morning” in aid of The Archie Foundation.   Our waiters and waitresses helped us to turn the clock back by wearing black and white ‘uniforms’ with white tops and black trousers or skirts with our waiters resplendent in their bow ties.

Our Special Lunch at the beginning of May was in aid of water pumps in Malawi and we had Rev John Watson as guest speaker.  It seems only yesterday that John started the small group which became O.A.K. and has grown to be a very successful Cafe along with our other activities.  As John looks forward to retiral from St Mark’s we wish him and Jennifer a long Happy and Healthy Retirement.

At the end of May we joined our friends at Crown Terrace Methodist Church as they celebrated 250 years of Methodism in the North East of Scotland.

Our next Special Lunch is on 25th June and is in aid of VSA. We look forward to seeing you and wish you all a happy holiday season.

Malcolm A Steel

From the Easter 2009 “Messenger”

We were very happy to welcome all our customers back after the Christmas holiday, and are pleased to see a number of new faces.   We are happy to have a few new staff joining us but as we are becoming busier we would welcome more.  If you could spare a morning per week or fortnight have a word with Betty or Daphne or come along and see what we do.

In February we had a fund raising lunch for the Archie Foundation which was well attended.  Mr Peter Hutchison from the Foundation came along and told us a little of their work trying to make Hospitals and GMED centres more child friendly.  Our next Special Lunch is on Thursday 7th May when the proceeds will go to the Presbytery of Aberdeen appeal to install water wells and piped water to villages in Malawi.  We look forward to seeing many of our friends then.

The O.A.K. Evening Services continue to be held on the second Sunday of each month at Crown Terrace Methodist Church at 6.30pm.  A large congregation turned out on St David’s Day to sing praises with a Welsh theme, and with the aid of The Acclamations, made a most uplifting evening.

We look forward to seeing you at some of the Easter Celebrations and wish you The Blessings of Easter.

Malcolm A Steel

From the Christmas 2008 “Messenger”

O.A.K. has been very busy in the last quarter of the year.  We have had a Special Fundraising Lunch for The Scottish Bible Society and preparations for the Christmas Lunches on 10th and 11th December as well as our daily lunches. The Cafe will be closed from 15th December 2008, reopening on 5th January 2009.  We wish to thank all our staff for the dedicated work which has kept the Cafe open and growing over the past year.

Our customers and Church members have been very generous again this year in giving to the Shoebox Appeal. We hope to fill about 250 boxes which will be transported to Eastern Europe by The New Hope Trust.  Thank you all for your donations.

The O.A.K. evening services continue on the second Sunday of each month in Crown Terrace Methodist Church at 6.30pm.  The service for March is being held on the first Sunday which happens to be 1st March, St David’s Day.  The Acclamations will be joining us for an evening Songs of Praise with a Welsh Theme.  All are welcome to join us in singing Praise to God.

We wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2009.
Malcolm A Steel


We have made the following donations in 2008

Crown Terrace Methodist Church Mission in Ghana
Shortbread & Biscuits for parcels for Troops
Aberdeen Action on Disability
D.E.C. Burma Appeal
Aberdeen Street Pastors
Mpachika Church, Malawi
Macmillan Cancer Support
Scottish Bible Society
Earl Haig Fund
New Hope Trust Orphanage Reconstruction
New Hope Trust Shoe Box Transportation
Cogwheel Trust donation
Cogwheel Trust sponsorship
 Total Donations  £8,370

Malcolm A Steel
OAK Treasurer