Print out the Bulletin in PDF format


Copy for inclusion to be handed in to the Manse as soon as possible

Page Index

- Diary Dates
- Stamps
- Minister
- Gleanings
- Gastons
- Thanks
- Christmas
- Life&Work
- Watch & Talk
- Register
- Ekwendeni
- Flowers
- Previous Issues


The Bulletin

December 2007


Christmas Joy comes

with Christmas Celebration


Diary Dates

Wednesdays 7.30 pm Choir Practice in the Old Church HallSundays 10.00 am Children's Sunday Club in the Old Church & Stables

Sunday 2nd : MORNING SERVICE 10.00 am Old Church
EVENING SERVICE 6.00 pm West Church
followed by Bible Study No 3

Sunday 9th :
MORNING SERVICE 10.00am Old Church
EVENING SERVICE 6.00 pm West Church

Monday 10th :
The Guild Christmas Meal 7.00 pm

Sunday 16th :
followed by Christmas Brunch in the Old Hall
EVENING SERVICE 6.00 pm West Church

Sunday 23rd :
MORNING SERVICE 10.00 am Old Church
CAROL SERVICE 6.00 pm West Church

Monday 24th :
WATCHNIGHT SERVICE 11.10 pm Old Church

Tuesday 25th :

Sunday 30th :
MORNING SERVICE 10.00 am Old Church



The hymnbook used in the Old Church will be CH4. On those same Sundays, Combined Mission Praise will be used for our evening services in the West Church.


Please do not throw away the stamps from your cards this Christmas. Those attending church on Sundays are invited to bring used postage stamps cut carefully from envelopes and postcards. Please place them in the receptacle by the Church notice board. If you cannot bring them yourself, please ask a friend to do.



21 November 2007

Dear Friends

When I received a phone message telling me that water was dripping into the Old Church, I was certainly not prepared for the discovery the following morning that most of the lead had been stolen from the flat roofs above the gallery. Even as I write this and after different people have been on the roof three times to try and prevent any water ingress, I have heard this morning that water is still getting in.

This urgent situation requires us to fill up all sorts of forms particularly if we want grant aid to help pay the bills including putting right some damage to gallery pews. Everyone says it would be folly to put lead back on for it would be a matter of time before the thieves were back. However, to use an alternative, while being half as expensive, requires us to overcome obstacles that exist because the Old Church is a listed building.

Nevertheless the Kirk Session has agreed to proceed as soon as it can by using sarnafill instead of lead and we are hoping that the roof will be repaired before Christmas. Our initial fears had been that this would cost us over £20,000, and it would if lead was used. Many people thought that this would be covered by insurance but we have a written statement from the Insurance Company saying that churches are not covered for this eventuality. After the story was prominently featured in the Press & Journal I thought it only right that I brought you up to date on where we are at this time.

Also by Christmas the repairs to the Old Church organ should be completed. It has taken a little longer because of the extensive mouse damage in the very heart of the organ that could not have been anticipated. This has resulted in more parts being replaced to the extent that we almost have half a new organ.

It would be good to get to Christmas with all the above work complete leaving us to focus on a joyful celebration of Jesus' birth and also on the fact that the Sunday afterwards will see our final service in the West Church.

The Session also decided this week that come January there will be no evening services but this decision will be reviewed at a later time.

Your friend and minister

Rodger Neilson



Andy, Fliss, Katy & Daniel Gaston
PO Box 718
Central Africa

November 2007

Dear Friends,

I would like to introduce you to a new friend of ours, her name is Dorothy (Doro) and we got to know her about 2 months ago when a Scottish visitor went down to see our work in Usisya, a remote lake shore community. During the monitoring trip Carole and our staff were taken to the house of Ella, a widowed lady who was looking after three of her grandchildren, Doro and her younger brother Julius (6) and sister Chikhonde (10). Doro was in a dreadful state, miserable, skinny and her skin was covered in scabby sores. It wasn't clear what the problem was but it looked very likely that she was suffering the effects of AIDS.

To cut a long story short we managed to help Doro and Ella get to the local District Hospital in Nkhata Bay (a journey involving either a bus inland to Mzuzu and then back down to Nkhata Bay, about three hours travel or waiting for the weekly ferry as it makes it way up and down the lake). There she was seen by a visiting doctor and confirmed to be HIV positive and referred to the Central Hospital in Mzuzu for further treatment. One of our staff, Alice (who visited Scotland with us last summer) volunteered to have her and Ella to stay at her house in Ekwendeni for a few weeks while Doro was assessed and started on anti-retroviral drugs.

Doro & Ella

When we first met Doro she weighed 14kg (30lbs) which was less than half of the weight of an average 12 year old (32kg) and was 112cm tall (3' 4”) while her average height should have been about 150cm (5'). To put that in perspective, our son Daniel, who turned 5 two months ago, is about the same height but significantly heavier. After a month of taking her anti HIV drugs and eating a good diet Doro increased her weight to over 19kg (about right for her height) and changed from being utterly withdrawn and miserable to smiling spontaneously, taking an interest in her surroundings and being able to walk a little distance. Since she went home with her grandmother she has started attending primary school again (two miles away) and her teacher says that though she is physically weak she likes school very much. He said that she sometimes cries when her grandmother keeps her at home because she is not well.

Doro's background is tragic but not uncommon in Malawi. Her mother died of cancer (possibly HIV related) three years ago and her father has remarried and takes no interest in Doro or her siblings. Julius and Chikhonde are both physically well and much bigger than Doro and attend school regularly. On a visit to the area last week our youth worker Hippo (who was also with us in Scotland) visited her at school and found her well but there is a real concern about the availability of nutritious food in the family. She is still taking her antiretroviral drugs and in fact is expected to continue those for the rest of her life (or until a cure for HIV is discovered – if ever). Doro and Ella need to make the trip to Nkhata Bay once a month for review and to collect the next batch of drugs and as if their lot wasn't tough enough they were robbed this month when they spent the night in the bus station on their way through Mzuzu!

Hippo reported that there are at least three other children in Usisya with very similar problems and social situations. Two children in one family are both HIV positive, as is their mother who is pregnant. We would like to be able to establish some income generating programmes for the local volunteer groups so that they can use those funds on a long term basis to support the travel and accommodation expenses for the children (and adults) to attend the HIV clinic at the district hospital. While our intervention has changed the life of Doro we cannot possibly intervene in this way for every child and adult in our impact areas but please pray that we will be able to expand existing successful strategies to improve the economic situation of the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities and enable them to continue receiving their life giving treatment.

Other work issues

We are currently working on a new proposal for next year to the National AIDS Commission which we expect to be our largest source of funds for the next couple of years. Please also pray for myself and the team as we negotiate the complicated course through the application and approval procedures for these funds. We have a very good chance of being funded as we have two successful years with the Commission behind us.

LISAP Hostel

We have finished construction work on the hostel and in fact furnished one half of it and used it for the first time last weekend to offer accommodation for some of the ministers attending the GAC (mini assembly) of the church. It is great to see this stage of the project nearing completion and now that we can start using it we can generate a small amount of funds to contribute to paying off the construction work and pay for the remaining furnishings and fittings. We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the project – about half (almost £9,000) of the funds raised so far have come through donations from our supporters in the UK but we still need about £5,000 to finish off the project. We have applied for substantial funds from two funding partners for the next three phases of the overall development of the site and expect to hear whether those applications have been approved in November and December.

With love and best wishes,

Andy, Fliss, Katy & Daniel



It never ceases to amaze me how the members of Cruden Parish Church and their friends, who are not necessarily members of the Church, rise to the occasion when an appeal goes out for a charity in need. The Blythswood Appeal has topped last year's total by 13, which means that this year we will be giving 90 boxes to the appeal. Jean Beedie, Betty Forrester, Annette Garden and myself would like to express our grateful thanks to all who contributed goods, boxes and money to make this year's appeal such a success. I would like to add my own personal thanks to Betty and Annette for their added help in filling the boxes, the extra pairs of hands makes the job so much easier.

For the second year running Jimmy Forrester has taken the boxes to Peterhead for us and this year he required his float to accommodate the number of boxes we had. We appreciate this very important help

Jenny McGarrol



We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and well wishes at our leaving Cruden. After nearly 30 years of sharing and enjoying the fellowship with you, it will be a new adventure starting up in a new home and new church at Torry St. Fitticks. We wish Cruden Parish Church all the best for the future and may God smile on your endeavours.

Our new address is 49 Glenbervie Road, Torry, Aberdeen AB11 9JH and phone: 01224 248761. We will be glad to welcome visitors at our new home.

Ted and Sheila


The tenants of Cantlay Court would like to thank the Junior Church for the gifts from the Harvest service. Myself and one of the carers (Mrs Thomson) made two large pots of soup and bread and butter pudding and on Tuesday all the tenants came through to the lounge for lunch. It was a huge success and lovely to see so many tenants together. So thank you again on behalf of the tenants it was very much appreciated.

Elsa Morrice (Warden)


A letter has been received from McCabe Educational Trust thanking Cruden Church for the donation of £236.60 raised mainly by May's Pilgrims and added to one Sunday morning by members of the congregation. The money was specifically sent for the benefit of the Al-Shurooq School for blind children in Bethlehem who are looking forward to moving in a new built school.




There will be a FAMILY SERVICE at the Old Church at 10.00 am on Sunday 16 December. After the family service CHRISTMAS BRUNCH will be served in the Hall. After last year's success, also this year there will be a CHRISTINGLE SERVICE (see below) that same afternoon.

CHRISTingle service

in cruden old CHURCH

4 pm Sunday 16 December 2007

come along & bring a friend or two


an initiative of cruden parish junior church

CRUDEN OLD CHURCH will be open at 11 pm on Christmas Eve for the WATCHNIGHT SERVICE and as soon as enough people are in the church, carol singing will begin. The service will start shortly after 11.30 pm, finishing at about 12.10 am. The CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE will be held in the Old Church at 10.00 am.

A Christmas Concert BY THE YTHAN SINGERS

Sunday 9 December in Newburgh Public Hall at 3 pm. Tickets £5 (to include festive refreshments). Proceeds to the Newburgh Public Hall.



Through grace we are led to delight in, and so choose, goods that before never attracted us.

Seeing ourselves is not always easy but remembering ourselves has become more an exercise in creative imagination than true reminiscence.

My self is not only my present state but also my past history. The nobility of my present self is created as much by virtues conquered as virtues maintained. The miracle of my present true self is that I have somehow survived my history without too much damage to my self or others.

With faith, Augustine came to realise that he had help from God not only to know the right thing to do but to choose to do it once known.

The taste for the good life must be acquired and this is precisely the effect of grace on our spirits.


Charity No SCO36638

UCAN is a North of Scotland charity, set up to help make life better for local people affected by urological cancers (kidney, prostate, testicular and bladder cancers). UCAN aims to raise £2 million by the end of 2008 to fund a North of Scotland Centre of Excellence, which will carry out vital research in order to improve the treatment, care and quality of life for people affected.


At the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services there will be an opportunity to make an offering which the Kirk Session has decided this year should go to support UCAN .



The video we watched this month was, in some respects, similar to the one we viewed in September. The first section related to the life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his crucifixion, naming all the various places mentioned in the bible where he had preached to the people and in some cases performing one of his many miracles, mostly following the story of His life as we have read it in the Bible.

The second section of the video was drawing our attention to the new modern Israel, pointing out places, which like Nazareth, had been at one time backwater towns and are now thriving cities. The presenter of the video remarked that Jerusalem is built on a bedrock of antiquity, which may account for the fact that flashes of ancient times come to mind when seeing Jerusalem as it is today and some ancient customs are still upheld.

Our next meeting will be held on Monday 14th January 2008 in the home of Marilyn Samways, Cruden Bay

Jenny McGarrol


Life & Work : December review



Christmas Art In an interview with John Leighton, Director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, Muriel Armstrong discovers that some of the great paintings of the nativity are housed in the Scottish collection.

The Christmas survival guide Thomas Baldwin discovers Alternativity, a resource that arose from a concern that the meaning of Christmas was being lost, and that what should be a religious and family celebration is becoming a time of stress and worry.

The magic of Wesley and Kendrick Ian Bradley celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of the man responsible for some of the best-loved songs of Advent and Christmas and Thomas Baldwin profiles the composer and hymn-writer Graham Kendrick who composed Shine, Jesus, Shine .

A warm welcome The Moderator the Rt Rev Shelagh Kesting is reminded of the importance of a welcome and explains its role in Advent.

Baptism or blessing? In ‘The Last Word' Muriel Armstrong calls on the Church to rethink the rules on Baptism.

And much more – lively letters, book reviews, prayer, news, columnists and crosswords –all for £1.60p. Anyone wishing to subscribe should contact:

Mrs Isobel Young Tel: Cruden Bay 812360

Life and Work Website




*denotes member


*Mr Gerrard, 4 Havensburgh Cottages, Longhaven.


Mrs Christine Stephen, Pathhead, Cruden Bay.
Miss Shona Stephen, The Steading, Fountainbleu, Cruden Bay.


Calendar for the Old Church will now be found on the notice board at the Church and members are invited to add their name beside any date on which they would wish to place flowers on the communion table. The gift of such flowers is always greatly appreciated. In particular, it is hoped that the early months of next year will soon be filled up .

THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN WILL COME OUT ON 30 DECEMBER . Copy for inclusion to be handed in to the Manse as soon as possible.


Two "Thank You" letters have been received for our donations towards the cost of transport of parcels to Ekwendeni.
The letter from 'The Raven Trust' says "please convey to all members of Cruden Parish Church our thanks for the donation towards container costs"
Sam and Sena Allen say that the donation we sent "will certainly go a long way to help with the outreach which we are trying to achieve" and, "on behalf of the people of Ekwendeni, we also thank you for all the boxes which we get from your church".
These letters are on the notice board in the Church Hall if you would like to read them in full.

Annette Garden


Rev Rodger Neilson
Telephone 01779 841229

Session Clerk
Sandy Beedie

Rosemary Pittendrigh

District Elders
Betty Forrester, Margaret Jamieson
Rural Robert Esson, Robert Petticrew
Peterhead Sandy Smith
Cruden Bay Jack Young, Kate Clark Betty May

Church Officer
David Singleton

Bond Treasurer
Muriel Cantlay

WFO Treasurer
Annette Garden

Roll Keeper
Mary McNaughtan

Presbytery Elder
Sandy Beedie

Child Protection Co-ordinator
Kathleen Craig

Life & Work
Isobel Young

Christian Aid
Mary Esson

Junior Church
Katherine Hyman

Adrian Smith

Muriel Cantlay

Betty Forrester

Cleaning Co-ordinator
Beatrice Fawkes

West Church Teas
Betty Morris

Old Church Teas
Mary Esson

Church Walks
Robert Petticrew

Transport Co-ordinators
(Hatton) Sandy Beedie
(Cruden Bay) Rosemary Pittendrigh

Press Officer
Beatrice Fawkes

Missionary Partner Correspondent
Betty May

Committee Conveners
Finance Rosemary Pittendrigh
Property Robert Esson
Social Muriel Cantlay
Education & Worship John Lamb
Membership Kathleen Craig
Outreach Wilma Moir
District Elders Betty May