Summer Southscene articles

Rosslyn`s Ordination and Induction was on the 15th November 20007 at Dunnottar Parish Church which was in a Deferred Linkage with Stonehaven South. Many of you were present that day to welcome Rosslyn to her charge and it also gave the South Elders and congregation present the opportunity to see what we would be getting at a future date.

Over the years leading to the eventual Linkage, we did get many glimpses of Rosslyn when helping the Rev David Stewart at joint services and various other occasions. However, until the day she took the charge of Stonehaven South we had no idea what would happen when Rosslyn arrived as our minister. What changes would there be? Would we gel and how will she cope with 2 different churches under her wing?


This a minister who had to juggle with two different types of worship, two Kirk Session of differing ideas and congregations who pulled her from all angles. What a baptism of fire. At our first Kirk Session meeting on 6th September 2012, Rosslyn laid out her plans for the future. We had to ditch the Model Constitution (the seeds had been sown under David Stewart) as it was near nigh impossible for her time to be taken up by meetings of a Congregational Board and a Kirk Session which at times duplicated each other. On a Sunday there was 2 morning services which meant that Rosslyn had to (figurately) run up or down the road between two churches. That meant a very limited time to welcome all at worship. There had to be changes.

Therefore from henceforth we would worship on the 1st and 3rd Sundays at the South and the 2nd and 4th Sundays at Dunnottar. What about months with a 5th Sunday? Initially the South then changed to St. Bridget`s as an All-Age Service. That was the start of the changes, some subtle some more drastic. I would be here all night to mention everything that happened under her guiding hand so you will just get a wee taster.

Do you know that Rosslyn can sing? We never managed to get a solo on a Sunday. She has a good knowledge of tunes even if sometimes her choices have given headaches to the choir. On occasion we did manage to get her to choose an alternative. However, again Rosslyn was instrumental in introducing new hymns to broaden Sunday worship whilst still keeping the favourites. This encouraged all to enjoy, hopefully, something different.


One Minister and two churches – both needing to be united in joint ventures.

Rosslyn nurtured the Joint Worship Group so that all could make inroads in working together. We now have a team of people who can be involved in Sunday worship and who are capable of leading worship. The JWG is very supportive of each other and able to bounce ideas off Rosslyn who is a guiding spirit. This group with other like-minded people now help with the Care Home Services as a gain Rosslyn can’t be in two places at the same time. How do you manage three Communion Services on the same day? Rosslyn can.

You all may have within your churches similar Groups. Craft Group. Eco Congregation. Prayer Group. Bible Appreciation Group and many other church related organisations. Again Rosslyn had to juggle her presence at all during a working week. What is a working week for a minister you may ask and I don’t need to tell you.

Rosslyn over the years has been inspirational and uses her travels and family as a base for many a sermon or reflection. Conflicts at home and abroad have given her ideas.  The Sunday sermon has been well thought out and no doubt given her pain in finding the right words especially when witnessing the sufferings of others. From the heart at all times.

Do ministers have eyes at the back of their heads? I am sure Rosslyn has especially when doing the talk to the children of Kids Praise. I am not saying that the choir can be noisy, however, at times you do wonder who are the children in the congregation, are as many of her topics bring back memories to us all and we all want to put our hands up to the question. Rosslyn has the knack of involving the children and even getting the quiet ones to speak. Even if the children are not in Kids Praise they are made most welcome and allowed to explore – long gone are the days of children to be seen but not heard.

Every Sunday, as with you all, there is an Order of Service. Don’t take it as gospel. Many a time we have skipped an item, then gone back and occasionally lose the place. Sometimes a hymn is printed on the order of service and then you realise the organist is still playing when you have 4 verses and they have 5. Rosslyn takes this in her stride and continues regardless thus adding a human touch to the worship.


What of Rosslyn the Person>

These comments are not in any particular order.

Conscientious and meticulous in preparation of work.

Hard working.

Supportive of groups within and without the church.

Carried a heavy load with a great number of funerals often feeling she was in the depths but still giving a caring and sensitive approach at all times to all in grief.


Took on tasks, which not required of or expected of a minister but did her best to keep the church on tract.

Expected to carry a heavy work load covering other churches beside her own and kept self-going through sheer determination.

It was always a pleasure to see the manse children growing up over the years and now the grand children who give a gleam to Rosslyn`s eyes.

So much has happened but much more still to do –what a task.

A minister of True Grit.

In my short time as Session Clerk I extend a thank you to Rosslyn was giving the South Church the opportunity to grow in fellowship with Dunnottar Church – you have been the link pin. You have guided me during our Session meetings and at those meetings you have managed to get constructive discussion even if the periods of silence were painful. There has been laughter and a few tears but we made it thanks to you.

We are a small church with a big heart and you believed in us.

On behalf of South Church please accept our best wishes for the future and hope you will have good memories of Stonehaven.




Gordon Edgar.

Session Clerk.







A (long) letter from your Interim Moderator

Change is rarely welcomed and even more rarely is it easy, but it happens to us all, in all aspects of our lives, and our church life are no exception. It comes as a shock when your minster moves on, even when we have been expecting it, and it can lead us to worry about what we have done wrong that our minister has decided to leave.

When a congregation first goes into a vacancy, it is, however, an opportunity to take a step forward, to think about God’s kingdom here on earth, and particularly in our small corner of North East Scotland, It is also an opportunity to listen to what God is trying to tell us about how we are all numbered amongst his disciples – and therefore have our part to play in developing His Kingdom.

When a parish, or linked parishes, become vacant, presbytery appoints an Interim Moderator to ensure the parish runs smoothly during the vacancy and to help in the search for a new minister. In most cases the interim moderator is a minister of another parish within presbytery but suitably trained elders can also act as an Interim Moderator. As we have quite a few vacancies at this end of the Presbytery, I was asked to fulfil the role for you.

So, let me introduce myself, I am the Presbytery Elder for West Mearns Parish, and I live slightly to the south of you, just outside Auchenblae. As such I have recent experience of being in a vacancy. I was part of our Nominating Committee as we searched for, and found, our new minister. As I am not a minister of a parish, I do not have the usual Sunday morning duties, and so I hope, and intend, to be with you on a Sunday morning relatively frequently. In particular, I am looking forward to experiencing one of your St Bridget’s services that Rosslyn has told me about.

I do have other responsibilities with the Church, as I convene Presbytery’s Ministries, Appraisals and Vacancies (MAV) committee. However, as I now have responsibilities to Stonehaven Dunnottar linked with South, the MAV committee Vice Convenor will take charge for any discussions relating to this parish.

We have a few things to do together as we prepare to start our search for a new minister, most importantly looking for a locum and in being clear about the vision of both Dunnottar and South for the future. I will be asking the Kirk Sessions to consider our strengths and weaknesses, to prepare a 5-year plan and to create a parish profile which will give the potential ministers an idea of what we want them to do.

You may have heard or read about some worrying statistics about the numbers of ministers that are retiring and the number of vacancies across the Church of Scotland. We will all be anxious to fill the vacancy as soon as possible, but we need to trust in God and His plan for us. The minister that joins us, whether soon or after a while, will come because he or she has heard God’s call. In the meantime we need to pay attention to Jesus’ invitation to us to be his disciples and to remember his words as Matthew records them in Chapter 28. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.

As I worship with you, you will also discover another of my favourite scripture passages is in Chapter 25 of Matthew, “in that it tells us how to do things for God: When we see someone who is hungry and we feed them, When we see someone who is thirsty and we give them a drink; When we see a stranger and we take them in and welcome them, When we someone who need clothes and we dress them; When we know someone who is sick and take care of them, When we know of someone who is in prison and we visit them”.

Well, maybe we don’t have those problems literally, in Stonehaven, but we do have ample opportunity to share God’s love and Jesus’ teachings to those around us. At this time of celebrating Pentecost, when God sent the Holy Spirit to work within us, we should recognise that we all minister to, and serve, each other.

I look forward to joining you in worship and as we work together to fill our vacancy.

May God’s blessings be with you all.

David Galbraith



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