Rev. John Collard (our Interim Minister)

Dear Friends,

Appreciating what we have.

The memorial service for Sir Alex Fergusson, which took place in Kirkcudbright Parish Church on 17th August, was attended by some 800 people from all over Scotland, according to the BBC news website. Sir Alex was an MSP and former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. He was well known and widely respected throughout his constituency.

In the report of this service on the BBC news website, there is a very striking image of the church building – full of those attending the service. Quite a number of people, both those at the service, and those who have seen the photo, remarked on what a lovely building it is. And it is!  Prior to that service a good deal of time and energy was spent by a large number of people to make sure that the building looked it’s best. The balconies were cleaned, the doors repainted and a lot of clutter went to the dump! Help with this came from those who are members of the congregation and those who are not.

When we are concerned with the day to day running of the building and thinking anxiously about its refurbishment it’s easy to lose sight of what a wonderful asset it represents. An asset appreciated by the congregation, by the community and by visitors to Kirkcudbright. In the time that we have opened the building to the public over the summer months there have been an average of some 120 visitors each week – more than 1000 in total; the Prayer Tree has been used for some 90 individual prayers; and to date £600 has been donated for the upkeep of the building.

For sure, the small picture on the BBC website doesn’t show the chipped paint, nor did it mention the fact we only have one toilet for the 800 people attending the memorial service! The need for substantial work on the interior is obvious. At the end of August the Buildings Group is undertaking a tour of some church buildings in Dumfries, Glasgow and Fife, in order to gather ideas about what has been done in other places and what might be possible here.

However we shouldn’t let our worries and concerns over the future of the building overwhelm our appreciation of what we have. Certainly the road ahead will require a lot of co-operation, hard work and sacrifice in order to make the building fit for the 21st century, and that will be a demanding process. But we undertake it, rejoicing in the asset that we have been bequeathed by our forebears, and determined to pay the price of passing it on in good order to our children and grandchildren.

John Collard

Interim Minister