The Manse

Late April 2022

Farewell letter

My dear friends of St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Fields,

Six years seem to have passed quickly with many memories to treasure. Much has happened in all of our lives as I have tried to minister amongst you in the joyful times and in the sad ones; and particularly so during the Covid and post covid experiences. As I prepare to leave you during May, I look back with gratitude and, knowing that there are many new ventures on the horizon for both congregations, I want to assure you of my prayers for all that lies ahead. Hold fast to that which is good. Pray, trust, live the Faith and go with God every day.

One of the many special moments which affected lives far beyond those of the congregations here, was the very beginnings of our worship Services being transmitted across the globe: essentially this was due to the kindness, the expertise and the time of Paul Smith, Alex and Liz Stewart‘s son-in-law, who enabled the Sunday Services to be broadcast on the internet, following my attempts to record and film throughout the county – a huge privilege which I embraced, as it offered such flexibility in the kind of Services we were able to send out to places as far away as South Africa and Australia, in addition to the nearer countries and contributions of dear friends in Europe and especially in Berlin.

That early type of transmission was of course succeeded by the broadcasting team in St John’s who were able each week to live stream the Service which Alex and I took in turn, until such time of course as we were able to return to normal Services in both Churches.

Time nor space permit me to dwell further on that but it must be emphasised that the gratitude we owe within St John’s and St Leonard’s to Paul Smith cannot be overestimated. Bravo to you Paul!

Both congregations now face an uncertain future: the recent interim report from the planning and development committee of this Presbytery indicates that the linkage of St John’s and St Leonard’s in the Fields will be severed. Whether this will happen is a matter yet to be decided. Whatever the situation, I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on and to support those who will be ministering to you as they support you: in particular the Interim Moderator the Reverend Maudeen MacDougall who begins her duties on the 1st of June, the day of my Induction as Minister to Colvend Southwick and Kirkbean.

I have been privileged to be your Minister. Now a new Parish places trust in me and calls me to preach the Word and Celebrate the Sacraments there in Kirkcudbrightshire.

As April ends and a new month beckons, I offer to you the words of St Catherine of Siena whose Feast Day is 29th of April:“Be who God created you to be and you’ll set the world on fire.”

With my very best wishes and God’s richest Blessings on you and your families.

John