Crossmichael, Parton and Balmaghie
Church of Scotland
Presbytery of Dumfries and Kirkcudbright
Scottish Charity Number SCO14901
"Go for It"
The Inside Outside God
The Roman god, Janus, is depicted with two heads, facing in opposite directions. Perhaps our one God could be regarded in a similar way, looking both outside and inside ourselves.
The outside representation is visible and obvious. The church is a physical structure used by a body of people with the same beliefs and ways of worship. From very early times humans have been communally inclined and especially so in matters of religion. We join together on Sundays and other occasions in acts of prayer, song and teachings. These have become somewhat formalised over the years although some ministers have tried to make the church more relevant to modern times and to younger people. The fact remains that many congregations consist of older people. “We are all so old” came a cry at a recent church meeting. Yes, and think how much older we appear to younger folk.
Belonging to a group
People of the same faith like to publicise the fact to the outside world, by wearing crosses, having fish on their cars and generally drawing comfort from membership of a church. We all need a sense of belonging; to be part of the group or the family. We like to believe we matter to someone and going to church can further that belief. In all this the emphasis is on the external dimension or outward facing head. We go to church, go to church meetings, we send prayers out, we project our hymns outwards and upwards. Unfortunately, the outside face can be readily left behind when we go back to our homes. God can be conveniently left in the church porch until the next visit.
The riches inside
The inside god is with us all the time, wherever we are, with 24/7 availability. This god is approachable, walking side by side, offering an intimate one to one presence and being a loving friend. This god is our confidante, our confidence booster, internal critic and basis for our moral compass. He is not easily evaded, or placated. Having your own personal trainer is popular nowadays as are self improvement and mindfulness classes. God provides your very own personal spiritual advisor. As humans we have a yearning for a spiritual dimension to our lives and a greater emphasis on the inside god may be an answer. Maybe this would have a greater appeal to the young who spend so much of their time communing through phones, tablets and the like which could be regarded as more of an inside method of communication than outside. Face to screen being preferable to face to face with all the attendant uncertainties and fears. And of course with god there is always reception, no signal problems!
A little poem to end with..........
This little poem about the inside god came to me while driving along the other day. I hope you like it.
Last week, you took my hand,
As we travelled to the far flung seas,
Then we came back.
This week, you took my hand,
As we travelled to the distant stars,
Then we came back.
Now, I know.
You will hold my hand,
When we travel to the far unknown,
When you come back, alone.
Morag Chisholm, Crossmichael, Parton and Balmaghie Churches
“CROSSING THE RIVER”
FROM BALMAGHIE to CROSSMICHAEL (not "the JORDAN”)
When our minister Rev. Chris Wallace made the decision to move to another Call he informed us in March 2014. It was then that the Presbytery Plan for the future of Balmaghie Parish Church was put in place. Chris had told the congregation three to four years ago that the lifespan for us was, at the most, ten years, but if he decided to move on the church would close at the soonest time.
The plan was that we would go either under Guardianship or Union with Crossmichael and Parton. The process was set in motion, with Rev. Sally Russell discussing the options with her Kirk Sessions at Crossmichael and Parton, linked with Kirkpatrick Durham & Corsock.
Of course this could not happen overnight. Discussions were held with Kirk Session of Balmaghie, and those members of the congregation worshipping each Sunday being kept informed of progress being made.
In February 2015 a meeting was held at Balmaghie, and to say the least it was a very “lively meeting”. Discussions were open and everyone present was given the chance to express their opinions. A vote was finally taken and the outcome was to form a union with Crossmichael and Parton, the new Parish to become known as Crossmichael, Parton and Balmaghie.
The next step was to inform Presbytery of the result of the meeting, and ask for their approval which was duly discussed and voted on. Presbytery then passed this on to the General Trustees for their approval. The wheels were set in motion for some rather complicated, necessary and required procedures to enable the union to go ahead within the laws of the Church of Scotland. Suffice it to say that it was a complex time of negotiations with severances and re-uniting, re-linking etc which I will not bore you with.
From August 2014 we were fortunate to have continued worship each Sunday. Rev. Douglas Irving was appointed our Interim Moderator. Douglas organised the pattern of worship for the next months which was much appreciated by those worshipping each Sunday – between eight and ten attending!
Rev. Oonagh Dee was with us until December, and what a joyful time that was for us. Her wonderful basket held many surprises; we never knew what was coming out next! It was like a “Magic al Mystery Tour”. The “Nativity Play” on Christmas was “different” – most of the congregation were encouraged on arrival to play a part in the proceedings, and the way people entered into the service was heart-warming to see and be a part of .
Gwen Corson, Reader, was with us into the New Year until we prepared ourselves for the sad time of closure. On Easter Sunday Gwen baked us a lovely cake – said it was a calorie free one – NOT!!She also appreciated the “cuppa” waiting for her before the Service each Sunday.
Ron Patterson was with us for a couple of Sundays. We remembered Ron who did some of his Readership training with us quite a few years ago.
Of course we always remember the spiritual care and worship Douglas brought to us. There were two meaningful communion services... His enthusiasm and humour was much appreciated and helped at times on the inevitable path to closure. With his energy and guidance it was hard to suppress his well known enthusiasm. I can still hear him singing “Who is Sylvia” as he arrived at my home do discuss things over the months – and to keep us focussed on what was ahead.
The day of reckoning was finally agreed upon - Sunday 14th June 2015. So in a way, from the day Chris decided on his move away, his departure in August 2014, to the Service of Closure, it was much appreciated by the congregation at Balmaghie that it had not been a much longer drawn out affair.
I would personally wish to thank Rev. Sally Russell for her care and concerns for us “across the river”. At times I was in despair about things, but Sally always took time to listen, suggest a solution to worries, and calm down a manic Session Clerk. Thank you Sally for being there!
A very big thank you is made to all you good Christian folks at Crossmichael and Parton for extending the hand of fellowship to us, it was so good to feel wanted. We look forward to many happy years worshipping together in our new Parish.
ANTIQUE COMMUNION CUPS
These Communion Cups are two of the earliest in existence. They had been on loan to the National Museum of Scotland since 1977. When the decision was made to close Balmaghie, the Kirk Session met and decided to gift them to the museum. They are now on permanent display up in Edinburgh.
Rev. Irving, IM , Sylvia Livingston (Session Clerk) and Cath Monk (elder), travelled to Edinburgh on 23rd June for the official handover to the Museums Keeper, George Dalgleish and Curator David Forsyth. They played host, and spent quite a time with us, which was much appreciated as they are both very busy men.
Whilst handing over the silver, Douglas became aware of a very old pulpit which, would you believe, was from Parton dating from 1598. It was wonderful to see his delight as his ancestors are much included in the history of Parton. His three times great grandfather was baptised in Parton in 1760s. Douglas' son Roan was with us that afternoon and took many photos.
If you ever get the opportunity do pay a visit to this wonderful museum. It is amazing what you will encounter as you wander from room to room!
Balmaghie Session Clerk (retd.)
Cath, George Dalgleish, Douglas, David Forsyth and myself at the official handover of
` Antique Communion Cups (just visable at Douglas’ left hand).
Below - Communion; the Closing Service in Balmaghie Church
Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion & Technology [SRT] Project
For over 40 years, the SRT has sought to help the church engage with ethical issues in science. In addition to organising an annual week of prayer, the SRT also works closely with, and usually hosts, an event at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. The Festival takes place at Easter and will have as one of its themes for 2015, the legacy of James Clerk Maxwell. Following on from the Maxwell Concert at Parton Kirk we have been invited by the SRT to provide a version of the concert in Edinburgh. Exact details of any contribution from here are yet to be finalised, but could be similar to what was provided at Parton if there were enough interest. Anyone interested should contact
Message from the Moderator
Why do we give?
In practical terms
A personal message about giving
I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of Church of Scotland members and regular worshippers. Over many years you have shown your gratitude to God and the extent of your faith by your continuing generosity. You have enabled your local congregation and the national church to keep on doing its job.
I do want to thank you on behalf of our church. Your giving helps to maintain a strong church. Your own congregation helps to set the tone for the community where you live. It sets the tone by encouraging people to look beyond themselves in service to God; it helps to encourage the young and provide a role model; it cares for the vulnerable at every stage. Above all, it points people to a Lord who gave of himself so generously for the world.
Thank you for your continuing support and generosity. They, and you, are helping to make the church what it is.
Why do we give?
• We give to say 'thank you' for God's gift of life in his world.
• We give to' say 'thank you' for God's love day by day.
• We give to say 'thank you' to God for new life in Christ.
• We give to say 'thank you' to God for enriching our lives,
• We give to share all that we have received from God.
• We give to share the good news of God's love in Jesus,
• We give to share through the worship, fellowship, outreach and service of the Church.
• We give to maintain and develop church buildings as places for worship, fellowship, outreach and service,
• We give to provide ministers, deacons and other parish workers in all parts of Scotland and beyond,
• We give to provide resources for our parish church.
• We give to care for the most vulnerable in our society,
• We give to continue our partnership with Churches in some of the poorest
The Church of Scotland seeks to inspire the people of Scotland and beyond with the Good News of Jesus Christ through enthusiastic worshipping, witnessing, nurturing and serving communities.
The Church of Scotland needs every member and adherent, everyone who is part of the Church, to give to fulfil this vision, which we believe is God's purpose for us today.
How should we give? The people of ancient Israel brought the 'first fruits' of the harvest as an offering to God (Deuteronomy 26: I-I I).
• Our giving should be a priority in our spending. The people of ancient Israel and the people of Jesus' time were expected to give a tithe of their income as an offering to God (Ezra 2: 69 and Acts I I: 27-30).
• Our giving should be proportionate to our income. The poor widow put two small copper coins in the temple treasury (Luke 21: 1-4). She wasn't being mean: it was all the money she had - truly sacrificial giving.
• Our giving should be generous, even sacrificial. Jesus rebuked those who were selfish and unwilling to share their wealth
(Luke 12: 13-2 I). The first Christians displayed a willingness to share - surrendering individual possessions for the common good (Acts 2:43-47 and 4: 32 -37) and helping to support poorer congregations (2 Corinthians 8: 1-15).
• Our giving should display our willingness to share what we have to fulfil God's purposes in his world.
In practical terms ...
The Church of Scotland encourages us to give in a committed way - either by using offering envelopes or by setting up a standing order from our bank accounts to our congregation's bank account.
The Church of Scotland encourages us, if we pay tax, to sign a Gift Aid Declaration. This increases the value of our offering by 25% as the congregation can reclaim the tax we have already paid on the money we are giving.
The Church of Scotland encourages us to consider making a gift to the Church in our Wills - either to our congregation, or to the work of one of the Councils and Committees of the General Assembly, e.g. Ministries, Social Care, World Mission. Over the years, legacies have provided much needed extra money for the work of the Church - local, national, global.
The National Stewardship Programme invites ALL OF US to REVIEW our giving and, if possible, INCREASE our offering to God for the work of his Church. Every congregation is expected to participate in this programme.
Ask your elder or minister what will be happening in your congregation.
Living and loving God, you give us so much.
Living and loving God, the world needs what you have to give.
Help us to give generously to share the good news of your love through the worship, fellowship, outreach and service of your Church and make a real difference to the life of your world.