East Linton Minister takes the helm at Lothian Presbytery 28 September 2017 The Minister of the Parish of Traprain has been chosen to serve as Moderator of Lothian Presbytery.
The Reverend David Scott, who was previously the convener of the Presbytery’s Business Committee, takes over from the Reverend Neil Dougall, the minister of St Andrew Blackadder in North Berwick, at a meeting in North Berwick this evening (East Lothian Courier, Thursday 28 September).
The Presbytery brings together ministers and representatives of the Church of Scotland’s parishes across East and Midlothian.
'It is an honour to be elected moderator of Presbytery. It doesn't happen to everyone,' said David. 'But this is tempered by the understanding that in the Kirk leadership is corporate and subsidiary to Christ's. He is the King and Head of our Church.'
Neil told the Courier: “I have enjoyed my year as moderator very much. Our Presbytery gathers people from a diverse mix of congregations, from Penicuik to Dunbar and debate can be quite lively.’ And, when asked for the highlight of his year, replied, ‘The two evenings in succession when I presided over the induction of new ministers at St Michael’s Inveresk, and St Mungo’s in Penicuik’.
This evening’s meeting of Lothian Presbytery at St Andrew Blackadder Church begins with a Communion service at 7pm to which all are welcome.
Minister creates digital pulpit East Lothian Courier 11 September 2017
An East Lothian minister has managed to find a solution to having to be in two places at the same time.
Reverend David Scott, Minister of the Church of Scotland Parish of Traprain, with churches at Prestonkirk, Stenton and Whittingehame, has spent the summer covering for the minister of neighbouring congregations at Whitekirk, Athelstainford and Tyninghame who is on study leave. This meant he had to find a way of preaching at four services every Sunday morning for six weeks.
“When planning for this summer’s services, we found elders and others in our congregations were happy to volunteer to lead most parts of the services but felt writing and delivering the sermon, a talk of perhaps 10 to 20 minutes, was too daunting,” said David.
“The answer came in conversation with my son who is a professional photographer and videographer, who offered to film my sermons so they could be played back to the congregations in the churches that I couldn’t be in.
“We decided to adopt a documentary style, filming in different churches with footage from a mixture of different places. The response so far has been very good, with some people teasing me that they maybe prefer listening to the digital me to the real one!”
David said the scheme was supported by Lothian Presbytery which will now undertake a full evaluation of the programme.
“Although this was immensely enjoyable to do, there is also a serious side to the project as we prepare for a Scotland with fewer ministers likely to be asked to serve more communities. We have run this as a pilot to see if it offers one possible way of approaching the challenge we face.”
David preaches his last digital sermon this Sunday in Prestonkirk and Athelstaneford.
Moderator to Celebrate 21 years of Counselling East Lothian Courier 31 August 2017
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, will tomorrow (Friday 1 September) participate in the 21st birthday celebrations for a Dunbar counselling service that now operates across East Lothian.
Based on the town’s Bayswell Road, CrossReach Counselling offers clinics in Haddington, Musselburgh, Tranent and North Berwick, as well as sessions for young people in four High Schools.
Jacqui Lindsay was manager in East Lothian for 15 years and now heads up counselling nationally for CrossReach, the social care arm of the Church of Scotland.
“We are celebrating 21 years of changing lives, not just of those people who we have supported directly, but also the people around them. If you affect one person, you affect that person's family, friends, workmates and community. We have some clients who say that they wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for their counselling. We have clients who are enjoying being part of a family for the first time, who are free from forty years of historical stuff that was dragging them down, that was stopping them living. There are people who were fearful and anxious who are now freed to live their lives.”
From a single counsellor in 1996, seven staff and 22 volunteer counsellors now support hundreds of people of all ages, including families. The service expects to offer 4000 sessions this year.
Chris McLeary from Dunbar spent many years battling depression. Now doing well, he has raised hundreds of pounds for the service by doing a long distance walk around Scotland.
“I don’t know how many times I walked past that centre. I didn’t know it was there. Yet if it hadn’t been for my counsellor, I don’t know where I would be now. I’d had all kinds of help from the doctor but he also handed me a leaflet and suggested I might like to go and talk to someone. It was a CrossReach leaflet and I couldn’t believe that it was only five minutes from my house. I met a counsellor there called Janis who has helped me more than anyone else.” Many people are pointed to the service by their family doctor. The person who will answer when someone calls the CrossReach team is administrator Anne Low, who joined soon after the service began. She says just picking up the phone and attending a first counselling appointment, are huge achievements for anybody.
“I can only speak from personal experience. I had counselling ten years ago. At that stage, I had been working here for eleven years so I knew exactly what was involved and why it was such a good thing. But it was still a really daunting process to actually ask for help. You are scared to put yourself in that vulnerable position. It is not easy to get to that point where you decide ‘yes I do need to talk to somebody about this in order to move on’.”
Anne says she also sees the impact on counsellors, who often describe their work as a privilege. Although counsellors often apply to work with CrossReach so they can complete their counselling qualifications, many of those who get through the rigorous selection process then stay on. Some of the volunteer counsellors have been working in the team for over a decade.
CrossReach is now looking for a new home as the lease on their building is due to run out. Jacqui Lindsay says she looks forward to finding the right place to launch the next 21 years of counselling.
“Generally, services like ours do not receive statutory funding so my hope is that things can change and funding can be less of an issue, allowing us to concentrate on serving our communities, on meeting the increasing demand particularly for family support, and giving yet more people a place where they feel safe and accepted, and able to get their lives back.”
The service of celebration and thanksgiving is taking place at 12 noon on 1st September at Belhaven Parish Church. All are welcome.
New Ministers Welcomed 10 August 2017 Members of the Presbytery Lothian are looking forward to a busy week ahead as new ministers are welcomed to churches in Musselburgh and Penicuik.
The Church of Scotland body that oversees congregations across East Lothian and Midlothian will meet in Musselburgh: St Michael's Inveresk Parish Church on Wednesday (9 August) for a service of induction of Rev Malcolm Lyon as the new minister there.
The following evening (Thursday 10), Rev John Urquhart will be inducted as minister of Penicuik: St Mungo's Parish Church at a service in the church.
Clerk to Lothian Presbytery, John McCulloch says it is unusual to have two induction services in the same week:
“This is really something to celebrate. A congregation goes through a long, careful process before inviting a new minister. Traditionally we’ve not put two induction services in the same week but both congregations found dates that suited them well and Presbytery had no desire to delay either minister from taking up his Call.”