A Christmas invitation to you

Church Christmas EventThe members of Kinnoull Parish Church wish to invite you to our special Christmas services taking place this December. Please come and join us and bring children, family and friends to our services where we will sing well loved carols as well as listening to the wonderful story of that first Christmas, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Come along and hear the Christmas message and experience the joy and love of this wonderful season.

Below you will see a list of the special events that will be taking place in and around Kinnoull church over the next few weeks, we look forward to welcoming you to any of our services and we offer  you are best wishes to you and yours this Christmas. May this be a special Christmas full of good memories that will be there for years to come and may be a blessing on your heart and your home and all those you love.

With best wishes,

Rev Marc Bircham, Interim Moderator.

 Dates and details of events in Kinnoull Church this Christmas

The Nursery Nativity, followed by refreshments is a great highlight!

Friday 11 December at 10am

“The mid wife crisis”: Nativity presentation from Kinnoull Primary School, Primary 1 to 3

Tuesday 15 December at 2:15pm

End of term Service for Kinnoull Primary School will be notified through the school as it always a complete sell-out for parents, relatives and children

Friday 18 December at 10:30am

Family Christmas Service when ALL are very welcome

Sunday December at 10:30am

Christmas Eve Watch Night Service with refreshments and lots of carols

Thursday 24th December from 11pm

Sunday Services – always with activities and special place for children

Every Sunday at 10:30am


More church events can be viewed in our online calendar.

Easter 2015

David Souter, The Minister, Kinnoull Parish Church polaroid photoThis is my last editorial as Minister of Kinnoull Parish Church as my retirement date is now set for mid April. This is  dictated by the sale of our Flat at The Broch which had served as “The Manse” for over four years. During this time the rental from the official Manse at Mount Tabor Avenue has produced an additional revenue stream for the local Church which has been a great bonus and seemed to be a very sensible way to take advantage of our property situation.

This did produce one complication concerning when I was exactly going to retire, having given advance notice last summer that it was our intention to sell our Penthouse and move to a more country  location.  We have been asked the question so often “and when are you retiring?” The answer to which always had to be that retirement needed to occur when the flat was sold. That has now happened and as we will be living beyond the bounds of the Parish I definitely cease to be the Minister of Kinnoull.

Kinnoull now moves into Vacancy. However, during a vacancy, a locum Minister is appointed to provide worship on a Sunday and to do basic pastoral cover for deaths and those ill in hospital and to visit those in greatest need around the Parish on the basis of two further days per week. The appointment of a locum was one of the first matters for the Kirk Session to decide in its initial meeting with the Interim Moderator.

Since I was already being “lined up” to look after various other Parishes it seemed much more sensible to offer to be locum at Kinnoull as we already know each other fairly well. I would obviously take no part in Kirk Sessions, nor Vacancy matters and have agreed to step back clearly prior to any new Minister being elected.

This means that in practical terms, I will continue to do what I have been doing but with the important proviso that, I will not be working full time as your part time Locum. This has been underlined by the Session and by the Interim Moderator Rev Marc Bircham.

Since we will be living at Gowrie Farm just North of Luncarty I am really very conveniently placed to continue to serve Kinnoull. My phone number is published here in the magazine and I can be  contacted and messages left. However as a two day a week locum I will need to “time manage” more carefully. Funerals are  always a priority but there may be occasions when they need to be fitted to my diary. That, in fact, is something that has always happened behind the scenes in conversation with undertakers.

I am looking forward to doing less over the period ahead and  enjoying some time in our south facing conservatory and I have been told that I must make sure that I have the holidays which20150408_155325 become due to me, so the motorcycles which are looking good in the garage in our new home may well have more mileage put onto them this summer.

I feel greatly privileged to have been your Minister for coming up towards fourteen very happy years and now look forward to “minding the shop” in the months that lie ahead. My contributions to the Parish Magazine will no longer be “From the Manse” but “From the Locum Minister.”  A change of title and a change of pace and a time of gradual change for us all.

For Kinnoull, the task of seeking the next Minister now begins, but the vacancy here seems to present a very attractive proposition: A Parish in good heart, sound finances, very well maintained properties and with much to commend itself to the next incumbent.

As I had said on the morning when the date of my retiral was confirmed “I’m no awa tae bide awa” and following the decision of the Session asking me to serve as your Locum Minister that will now be the case.

With every blessing,

Your Minister and Friend

David Souter

Christmas 2014

David Souter, The Minister of Kinnoull Parish ChurchThe pace is picking up as another Christmas comes around and as ever, we keep hearing folk expressing surprise at how few weeks / days / hours remain before the big day arrives.

The level of preparation in Perth seems to increase year on year and an accidental visit to the High Street on the afternoon of the lights   being switched on with all the stalls and the folk in pantomime  costumes and the cacaphony made me wonder if I had somehow stumbled into a Continental Christmas Market.

It also brought to mind the stark comparison with my post war childhood where our tree lights were ingeniously operated from an old car battery since we were in a house without electricity and Christmas day was not even a public holiday. The tradesmen all worked and my father would be on his normal bus driving shifts with everyone looking forward to the one day off that came on Ne’erday.

As I write, our own preparations for Christmas within the Church begin with THE BIG FAMILY Service on 30th November. The first of these special Sundays came at a time when it could not be reported due to magazine deadlines. That service turned out to be well received.  Despite being quite different to a conventional Sunday morning, all seemed to agree that the mix of music, activity, prayer and thoughtfulness made for a genuine Worship experience.

Kinnoull Parish Church, Christmas ServiceThe “Smiley Faces” are returning and we are also using the morning to launch and the major TRY PRAYING initiative with two special versions of the booklet for Children and for Teenagers. We are  suggesting that you consider giving them out as stocking fillers to those within your family circle who are of those ages – ( Just tell them that they are a gift from Kinnoull Church! )

The Magazine also brings to each household an adult version of this worthwhile booklet from the Kirk Session and there is another article on the topic within this edition.

Maybe this Christmas when we celebrate the gift of Christ coming into our world to show us the way to God we can think about speaking to him and actually asking him for the things we need the most in our lives – His guidance, His presence and His love.

This year Christmas Greetings and invitations to attend Kinnoull are being distributed to every door in the Parish. The idea was proposed and organised by Liz Barrett.  Our thanks go to all who have willingly volunteered to be the post(wo)men for this venture. Now we need to watch out for the visitors who come in response to this and make sure that we give them a warm welcome when they visit.

We trust that this Christmas will be a special one in the Church and in your household and among all those you love.

Every Blessing

Your Minister and Friend

                           David Souter

Autumn 2014

David Souter, The Minister of Kinnoull Parish ChurchMy “Book of Common Order” for the Church of Scotland, which is the basis for forms of worship within the Kirk, and is that red book which regularly turns up in my hands at Services at the  crematorium was presented to me when I became a licensed  Minister. Some may have noticed that the book had begun to see better days and has now been reinforced with duct tape to extend its usefulness for a bit longer. The inscription inside the book tells that it was presented to me on 28th September 1994 so I have a significant personal anniversary arriving shortly. The years have been going around.

The ongoing matter of when this minister might retire from full time work in Kinnnoull has been a topic that has been there as a background question in his mind since before he arrived at the age of sixty five.  Now heading towards sixty nine he has been able to discover that the years do not arrive without additional pain and strain physically. Dealing repeatedly with final journeys and finding words of farewell for those to whom we became close friends as their Minister brings increased emotional stress. The fact is that retirement has to happen at some point and it would be best that it be  approached in an ordered way rather than for it to happen in response to decline in abilities or health issues.

We had been attracted by the thought of moving back to the country and have been looking around for some few months for a more rural setting. Perth is a goldfish bowl especially if you are ‘well kent’ and drive a  conspicuous car. Our looking for a property has been noticed by some and been kept as a confidential matter but our frequent  conversations with  various vendors have made us realise that sooner or later the news of our searching would get out.

A couple of weeks ago we made an offer on a property that has been  accepted in principle and there is no reason to expect that  it will not  proceed. Whilst we are fortunate not to be under immediate pressure to move from our flat where we have been based for the past four  years, once we do, we hit the problem again of the Manse  Adjudication Committee and their rules and requirements. Since we have been through this process once before we do not imagine that there would be any possibility of their further approval for our next accommodation which lies beyond the city boundaries.

Kinnoull Parish ChurchAt whatever point we fully move to the new house, my demission from Kinnoull will be required. Whilst we are in no rush, it would be likely that in 6 or 9 months time we would probably be expecting to make that transition, so our feet are on the road in a manner of speaking.

There will be much to be done over the next months as the church    prepares for what lies ahead. Once we have a more precise timescale there will be formal announcements and due processes to go through. The first action of Presbytery once we get to that point is one which always makes me smile – since the Chaplain must visit any Minister who announces his wish to demit, to confirm that he is “of Sound Mind.”  (That could be quite a hurdle in my case.)

There will be many things that we will want to say one to another both formally and informally over the months ahead –  the Kinnoull years have been good for us and I believe they have been good for the Parish. Our being here for the past thirteen years has been providential and more than that – they have been years of blessing for us all.

In the meantime there is a full winter ahead of us in Kinnoull.  We have The BIG Family Service – “Church with a Smiley Face” which happens next Sunday, so I cannot report on how it goes.  This is Kinnoull’s own Version of a “Not So Messy Church” which we wrote about in the Easter edition of the Magazine and is being run on an experimental basis. It is hoped that occasional BIG Family services will provide a bridge to the youth work that goes on in organisations and in schools. NB – It is not just for young people – We are all part of “The BIG Church family”

The “Try Praying” project which was approved in principle at a previous Session, and was written about in the Summer  Magazine is also due to go ahead at a greater level of involvement than we had initially  proposed.

Change is never easy and it is seldom welcomed but it is inevitable. So  let us use this winter to make sure that Kinnoull is in the best possible position and condition to move forward. The future  remains, as it always has, in God’s hands and we can trust the one who has brought us safe this far to lead us on, as well as to lead us home.

Your Minister and Friend

David Souter

Summer 2014

davidsouter_polaroid2This has been an interesting Spring Season within Kinnoull. A season of new and surprising growth, as the Friends of Kinnoull Talents initiative has taken root. What was conceived as a way of giving an opportunity to members of the congregation to consider how they might think of using their particular abilities to raise some funds for the church has become a productive and involving season as a whole raft of ideas have emerged. We have already been more creative than we might have imagined and the initiative still has the rest of the summer to run.

The Bird boxes were a great success and rapidly sold out. The soup and tablet, although best not to be eaten together, raised some smiles and a few pounds one way and another. The Pop Up Market has proved to be a substantial fundraiser. We still have a range of other events ahead as well as the major Craft Day and Barbecue following the final morning of Sunday Club on 29th June.

As has often been said before, the funds raised are welcome but the fun that we have along the way is no less important. If you feel that your    creative abilities have not been as significant as they might have been, then be assured that your input as a supporter and a purchaser is also much appreciated.

At the end of May the Kirk came through its annual General Assembly. There was the most unfortunate need for the Moderator Designate, Rev Dr Angus Morrison from Perth Presbytery, to step down for health reasons at short notice. This required the Committee to Nominate the Moderator to  reconvene and gave me as a member of that committee more excuses to ride my motorcycle up and back to central Edinburgh for meetings. The Principle Clerk, Rev John Chalmers accepted the new nomination and stepped in to Moderate the Assembly most competently. We wish him well in his busy year ahead. The Assembly also agreed to approach Angus  Morrison with a view to him being able to be Moderator in 2015 which seemed a gracious decision.

With the potential for a major split in the Church hanging over recent       Assemblies, it was a relief that difficult discussions this year went ahead without the projected division. In his closing address the Moderator said that he looked forward to a time not too far ahead when we may leave aside the matter of human sexuality and get back on with the mission of the church in spreading the Good News of Jesus to the people of Scotland.

In mid January Rev Dr Eric McKimmon had health problems so I have again been drafted to serve as Interim Moderator at Cargill Burrelton linked with Collace but there is hope that during the summer Eric may well be able to return to his duties.

My year as Honorary Chaplain to the Royal Highand and Agricultural Society of Scotland reaches its climax as I attend the show at Ingliston from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd June. The duties during that time turn out to involve not only conducting worship on the Sunday Morning but also saying the Grace at no less than four formal dinners. There is apparently no such thing as a free lunch for me that week.

One of the Collace members created a very special carved horn     shepherd’s crook for me with the finely worked letters RHASS on one side and CHAPLAIN on the other side. It looks rather grand and should conspicuously identify me – Who knows – I may even win “Best In Breed” on this occasion!

With Every Blessing

Your Minister

David Souter

Easter Thoughts 2014

davidsouter_polaroid2Over my time in Kinnoull we have celebrated the Easter event in various ways. There have been Lent Studies in the run-up to Easter some years; there have been various Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services in other years and there has been good support from Kinnoull for the PACT events with the Walk of Witness through the town on the Friday Morning and the Easter Dawn Service at Quarrymill Park. There is always a great sense of joy in the Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services here in the Church when we often have the added blessing of receiving new members by profession of faith on this greatest day in the Christian year.

One of the great joys of the Church of Scotland is that it is a broad church. We do things very differently in different parishes. That fact came home to me during my training when I was privileged to work for six months in St John’s Kirk with Rev David Ogston. Easter for David was a time of high liturgy, ceremony and Holy mystery. Holy Week meant lots of extra services and I learned much from that experience which enriched my understanding of worship.

Arriving one Easter for a service which was to be jointly led with David and myself and T. Graeme Longmuir – who was at that time Chaplain to Strathallan, I was asked if I had a white robe appropriate for that day and I had to admit that I did not. To which came the mischievous reply “Well you have one this morning!” I still have the photograph of the three of us resplendent in our white robes on this high and holy occasion.

The Publication of “Scots Worship – Lent, Holy Week and Easter” by  David Ogston which has been edited by Johnston Mackay includes those three most moving broadcasts which David made following his breakdown and I also treasure the book for that reason. His breakdown was in some ways a Lent journey for him, going out into the deserts, the wilderness before he was able to return, having “Met with himself”.

In his conduct of worship David was a true wordsmith and had a natural poetic turn of phrase. He is probably best known for the books that he has written in the Doric. When he came and preached me in to Echt and Midmar, he did so memorably in “the Mither tongue”. Although I learned to say Fit and Fu and pick up the rhythm of the local speech I am sure that they would have readily traded me, their newly chosen minister for this prime craftsman of north east “spik”.

Easter brings back to me memories of my times in worship with DO. The publication of his work has been a reminder of the richexperience I was fortunate to share during my months at St Johns. It also brings us to the heart of the faith as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Here is  an Easter Communion prayer which is included in this rich collection. For me I read it and David’s voice is there – but whether his voice rings for you or not, the message and the words are for all of us at Easter.

With Every Blessing

Your Minister

David Souter