Archive for the ‘Banchory’ Category

On Monday at Messy Church our focus was heroes – specifically the heroes of the Bible and how we can all be superheroes for God as we respond to the command: Love God, love others.  We encouraged our young people to dress up in a hero costume and so we had – Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, we had Superman, Batman, various princesses, Captain Jack Sparrow, Mulan, SuperSmurff, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, to name but a few.  We had fun games, made crafts based on various stories of Bible heroes, heard the story of the greatest Superhero ever – God’s son Jesus, and shared a meal together at which over 90 were served … a great time was had by all.


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Photos taken at River Dee, Banchory, and Banchory East Church

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Banchory Joint Youth Programme

Here in Banchory the decision was made about 18 years ago that rather than the two Church of Scotland congregations in the village running their own Youth Programmes, they would come together and fund a joint Youth Ministry; after all, the kids all went to the same school, why should it be the churches that split them up.  During that time we’ve had two youth co-ordinators for The Rock and The Edge, their aim – to make contact, make friends and make disciples.  

Each year there are gap year “Rookies” taken on to work alongside the Co-ordinator and the team of adult volunteers, to experience Youth Ministry for themselves, to learn, and to contribute.  This past year we’ve had 3 – Cheri Torrence from Washington State, USA, Tom Spencer from Stoke, England, and Will Rowett from Banchory.  And suddenly their year with us is over.   They have given so much, not only to the youth work, but also to both churches as week by week they have worshipped alongside us, contributed to our services, and become part of our lives.  For the next two weeks they will be in Seattle with The Edge working alongside the Edge from University Presbyterian Church in Seattle on local projects, then they will take their next steps on their faith journey and we will be looking for the New Rookies for this coming year.  

Here’s what Cheri said about her move to Banchory … “Banchory is such an easy place to move to. I think every place I move to after this will pale in comparison to the hospitality and warmth I’ve experienced here.  I’ve been truly blessed by the wonderful people and community here and motivated to show the same love and openness in the future. Hospitality sometimes seems like a lost art, but it is a trademark of Banchory.”

Here’s Tom’s response to a question about suggestions for improvement … “The only suggestions I would make would be to have the Rookie position for 2 years instead of 1 as it is amazing. But on a serious note I really don’t know anything I would change. The whole year has been fantastic and I really can’t say there would be anything I think could improve the year. Maybe getting to play football more regularly on a Friday with the teachers.”

Here’s what Tom said about highlights … “The retreats have almost certainly been one of the best parts of the year. Getting time to do things like; playing games, raft building, dressing up and making silly videos with the kids, but more importantly for me to further build relationships with the kids here in Banchory has been amazing. It has been a real surprise to see the after effect of retreats as well. Having spent a weekend together to see the kids relaxed enough to talk to me when walking past on the street or in the school corridors is a real delight which I had never thought of. “

Our new Rookie for this year is Helena Counsell, and we are delighted to have her as part of the Programme, but we are still looking for others to come and work alongside Helena and Tony.   So if you know anyone who would like to be part of our Youth Programme and spend a year with us as a Rookie, then please get in touch, either with me or with our Youth Co-ordinator Tony – tonys@edgerock.org


Recently, in preparation for looking forward, we looked back at what those who have been connected with the Youth Programme in Banchory have done and are doing now, and so many of us were more than stunned and humbled at the contributions of our young folk … And remember this roll call of young people comes from a whole community of just over 7,500.  

Previous Rookies and Further Service

Caitlin Marno – Pais Project in Calgary, Canada ;  Fizz Wann – Youth worker, Greenbank Church, Edinburgh;  Gavin Marshall – Youth Coordinator UPC Church, Seattle;  Robbie Morrison – Internship – Colorado;  Brioni Bradbeer – Youth worker, Killermont Church, Glasgow;  Hannah Wilson (nee Simpson) – Youth and Children’s Worker, Bushmill’s Church, County Antrim; Craig Jefferson – UCCF (University and College Christian Fellowship) in Scotland; Amy Pierce (nee McGraw) – Mission Trip to Kenya and served on CU Executive at St John’s College, Durham University, Completed divinity degree & now a Church of Scotland Probationer Minister; Craig Watt – Full time staff with The Foyer and soon moving on to take up full time post at Holy Trinity Brompton Church, London; Cameron Abernethy – Studying theology with a view to the ministry; Kate Mechie – Church Youth Worker – Edinburgh; David Young – Youth worker for Drumoak-Durris Church and soon moving to take up full time post in Mercer Island, Washington; Robbie Morrison – Youth work intern for 1st Presbyterian Church, Bellevue, Seattle.

Those who have been part of the Youth Programme currently in Service

Colin Gillies – Leader of Navigators Student Ministry, Edinburgh; David Hughes – now in Malawi as Country Director for Goal , an NGO involved in development work; Chris Carter – Agape, Israel and Birmingham; Nicola Davidson – Youth Leader – Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, Washington; Malcolm Jefferson – Divinity student and training for the ministry; Clare Edwards serving as Chairperson of a Management Team for a youth work initiative called SCYI (Stewarty Churches Youth Initiative); Gillian Chalmers – Youth worker for Aberdeen Christian Fellowship; Joanna Jeffries – Missionary in Ethiopia; Laura Marshall (Worship Leader at Greenbank Parish Church, Edinburgh); Kirstin Harvey (Children Familiies Ministry, University Presbyterian Church, Seattle); Alex Stockdale – going to Chogoria Hospital, Kenya;  Karen Taylor – Intern working with churches, schools & Youth Groups in Tranent, near Edinburgh;  Rev Jera Blomquist – Missional Communities Director, Union Church, Seattle; Rev Laurie Wheeler – Associate Pastor, American Church in Paris.

Previous Service of those who have been part of the Youth Programme

Paula and Stuart Glegg – Built and run 4 childrens’ nurseries in Malawi; Susan Sugden (nee Bell) – Missionary in Cambodia and St.Kitts; Claire Bell – Bible translater with Wvcliffe; Claire Marshall – Head office staff with World Exchange; Ewan Walker then Robbie Brodie – Zengamina Hydro Project – Zambia; Hannah Walker – Physiotherapist – Kalene Hospital Zambia; Jamie Morrison – Working full time for Signpost International; Lynsey Robertson (nee Brown) & Claire Marshall – Gap year in India with World Exchange; Michelle Davy – Gap year in Trinidad with BMF; Robbie Brodie – Missionary in Japan with OMF; Steven Blanche – Missionary in Cairo with OMF (3 years); Paula Glegg (nee Scott) – 1 year teaching in Malawi with World Exchange; Rachel Lamb – Gap year in Lima, Peru, with Tear Fund; Clare Edwards Mission Trip to Kenya and served on CU Executive at St John’s College, Durham University; Amy McGraw, Pete Brodie, Kyle Scott – Internships at UPC Seattle; Ed Rowatt – Summer mission in China; Sean Mechie & Ian Melvin – Summer mission in USA; Rhiannon Seymour & Alison Stroud – Glenshee Christian Centre.


Bucharest (Romania) Care – building homes for street kids – 27 young people; Seattle – working with Seattle Edge and local projects – every two years; Tijuana (Mexico) (x 4) – house building for homeless; Guatemala – Village reconstruction after Hurricane Mitch; Thailand – OMF World Christian football tour; Colorado (USA) – Habitat for Humanity – house building project for homeless; Malawi and Kenya – Red Ribbons (Aids education); Belfast, Aberdeen (x 3), Glasgow – city outreach.

There are numerous other who are currently involved in the local churches they now find themselves in.  So although we have been planting the seeds, the benefit of the harvest is being felt across the world.   If I have missed anyone – please accept my apologies and do get in touch.




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 I wanted to upload something by our Worship Group who faithfully meet after choir practice on Thursday evenings to sing and pray.  The Worship Vigil that they keep is a labour of love that deserves to be recognised, (although I know they really do it for an audience of ONE), and so I looked out some photos taken mainly in the Autumn of 2009 and put the slide show together.  John writes his own songs and music, but all the recordings I have of the Worship Vigil contain other people’s work, however the song I chose has been in my mind much of late.   So thank you John, Ann and Una.  

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Do you remember this joke? Question: “How do you make time fly?” Answer: “Throw a clock out the window.” Today I had that feeling again – Time flies!

It’s eight years this month since I became minister of Banchory Ternan East, two days after the events of September 11th. For many of the people who lived in the aftermath of that particular day I’m sure that their perspective on time will be different, just as their perspective on life might now be different.

In the movie “Love Actually” Hugh Grant’s character says in the introduction, “When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge. They were all messages of love.”

There’s something about tragedy that gives us insight to what really matters and what we value most, as individuals. But we seldom ever share those thoughts and feelings before a tragedy draws us up short.

There are some things in life that you cannot influence or change. Like accidents and terrorist attacks. There are some things in life you cannot influence or change by yourself, like governments and their policies. But there are some really big, important things you can do single-handedly: You can make sure the special people in your life know who they are and what they mean to you.

Take some time today to send a message of love. If you don’t know how to say it, maybe you can begin with Paul’s words to his friends in Philippi, “I thank God every time I think of you.” (Philippians 1:3)

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I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.


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Our God is a Great Big God ……

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