Elie Kirk  




THE LINK - Spring 2005



When I was a child in Edinburgh , not far away from us was a ‘bluebell wood’- so called, of course, because in the spring it was carpeted in blue and I remember there being a special fresh smell associated with the flowers at that time. Inevitably, my friends and I often gathered the bluebells to take home and put in a vase, to decorate the house or a bedroom. Just as inevitable, of course, the bluebells drooped after an hour or two in the heat of the house. It’s a salutary lesson in leaving things to grow where they are. In his Letter to the Ephesians chapter 6, St. Paul speaks about being ‘rooted and grounded’; it is the case that if the bluebells are not rooted and grounded they will certainly die quite quickly. Probably like me, you have bought tulips also at this time of year and placed them carefully in a vase in the house for all to admire.   It’s not long until they are also bending over in despair, because they have been uprooted from their true habitat. At least with tulips, if they get a fresh drink of water, it revives them for a short time. It doesn’t take them long to revive; it almost happens in front of your eyes. 

What happens to bluebells and tulips is pretty much the same as what can happen to us. If we want to grow and develop spiritually, then we need to be rooted and grounded in God’s word.   When Christ does indeed come and dwell in our hearts, then His presence and His power can literally rise up in us and strengthen our inner being, in much the same way as the fresh water gives new life to the flowers. All that is needed for us is to acknowledge the deep need which we have of God’s life-giving water. Once we have understood that we stand in need, God will do the rest. It has been said of our personal lives that they need to be watered, spiritually, a little every day, and then receive a flood on a Sunday. A short prayer time regularly kept each day and then worship on the Lord’s Day.   

In Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh, the recent Christian Commitment programme asked everyone in the congregation to re-commit themselves in terms of their worship, and it is gratifying to know that a large proportion of the members did so, and this has been seen in increased attendance at services. In terms of service to the church, many offers have been received and the Stewardship Promoter, Irene Wallace, has reported on this in this magazine. I’d like to take this opportunity, however, whilst on this theme, to record my thanks to many people in both congregations who undertake regular service which is largely un-noticed, but certainly would be if it was not done.

I’d like to highlight those who provide, arrange and deliver church flowers, for this is a ministry which is hugely appreciated. I’d like to thank all who sing in our church choirs. A few years ago, we had no choirs at all in either congregation, but now that has been changed. Their leadership of worship, under George Lyon and Robert Lindsay, has greatly improved our singing. We thank Callum MacLeod, also, for his contribution, now mainly in connection with weddings. The Elie congregation has hugely benefited by the weekly prayer points on the pew leaflet, imaginatively presented by Mary Sneddon. This is going to be expanded to Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh through Julia Ogilvy who will work alongside Mary. Crèche and Sunday Club helpers deserve our thanks for enabling us to minister to the whole people of God, and being prepared to expect the unexpected. Session and Board clerks, treasurers, coffee makers and servers, child protection co-coordinators, leaders of organizations, property conveners, helpers with outreach and Christian Aid, and Worship Committee members together with typists and helpers with photocopying, all fulfill a role which is vital to maintain the momentum of congregations moving forward in the service of the Lord.

And finally – if we are to continue to move forward as congregations, then we need to move forward spiritually in our personal lives also. There is a Bible Study Group meeting monthly on Monday evenings, another meeting weekly on Tuesday mornings, a Lent Course stating in mid-February, a ‘Basic Christianity Course’ after Easter, and the possibility of an Alpha Course to follow. Anyone is welcome at any of these and if the last two interest you, please register an interest with me now as it will be helpful towards gauging the likely take-up.   

Thank you for the part you play in the congregational life of Elie, Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh churches. There is a lot going on. If you don’t currently recognize yourself in anything listed above, then consider yourself invited to come and get involved.

May the Lord bless and keep you,

Iain F. Paton



As noted above, representatives of The Presbytery of St.Andrews wish to consult with the congregations of the East Neuk churches about the future pattern of ministry in the area, given that the number of ministers available for charges will reduce in the course of the next few years. The evening meeting in Kilconquhar Church on 20th February is one of a series which will be held throughout the Presbytery area.



George Forgie has submitted his resignation as Congregational Treasurer at Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh, after holding the post for 11 years.    We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude and his service will be recognized by the congregation shortly.   His place is being taken by Sandy Wallace who will assume sole responsibility at the beginning of March.   His willingness to undertake this work is appreciated by the whole congregation.



As recorded below, we were all saddened by the death of The Rev. Bill Monteith on 10th November, thus bringing to an end a connection between Elie Parish Church and the Monteith family which had lasted for a hundred years.  Bill’s father had been minister at Elie in the early years of last century, leading up the outbreak of the First World War.  He was killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, and Bill was born in December of that year.  Not having therefore known his father, he was given exactly the same name. He was educated at Cargilfield, Winchester and Oxford . He flew Hawker Harts in the Second World War, was brought down and captured, but it transpired that he knew the German Officer responsible, as he had been at Oxford with him! He spoke Italian and Sicilian, having learned both languages while in the POW camp.

At the conclusion of hostility he entered the Diplomatic Service and was appointed a District Commissioner in the Sudan . On his return to the UK he brought a baby crocodile with him in the boot of the car, which he later presented London Zoo. He then studied divinity at St.Andrews and was appointed Chaplain to Strathallan School .  A fairly strict disciplinarian, he clearly enjoyed the challenge not just of teaching, but of getting the Christian message over to his pupils in a way that they could understand. Some of his sermons will shortly be placed in the Elie Church Library.

During his retirement he enjoyed golf and was a member of the R&A; he wrote and read poetry, read widely, preached occasionally and, as all visitors to his house know, enjoyed convivial company.

After a long and intensely interesting life, he has now gone forward into the next stage of life.   He will have fulfilled his wish to meet his father, been reunited with those of his family who have gone before him, and entered into the joy of the Lord.  Thanks be to God for the life and times of The Rev. William Monteith.


CHRISTIAN AID  by Andrew Millar

Asia Disaster Appeal  -  We have all seen on our television screens and read in our newspapers of the human suffering caused by the Indian Ocean Tsunami on 26th December 2004.  Few could not be touched by the number of lives lost, the physical and mental scars of the survivors and the devastation to property and infrastructure.  It soon became apparent that the immediate aid effort needed was going to have to be huge to be meaningful, as was any long-term assistance.

To show our support for the emergency relief operation the minister initiated the placing of donation boxes around the villages and retiring collections were taken at both churches, St Michael’s and All Angels contributed also. The response was truly magnificent - £2953.15 - was collected and forwarded to Christian Aid – the church’s official relief agency.

Thank you to the whole community who gave so generously.

‘Give-a-Can’ Campaign Each autumn/winter the Christian Aid committee taps the resources of both congregations to provide relief for those less fortunate either at home or abroad.       This year, during Lent, the committee is asking that members look around their kitchen cupboard and donate tinned and packet foodstuffs (with a healthy shelf life!) All you need to do is bring a can/packet to church and place it in one of the boxes.  Collecting boxes are also located in Elie and Colinsburgh Post Offices. The closing date is Palm Sunday (20th March). The goods collected will be given to the Salvation Army who will distribute them appropriately.

Christian Aid Week – 15- 20 May.  Planning for the week is now underway but, please take note of the events listed:  

Palm Sunday - the quiz goes on sale, “General Knowledge” by Ian Sinclair.

Coffee Morning – Saturday 14th May – remember the book stall.

Christian Aid Sunday – 22nd May - it is hoped to have a guest speaker.

 Please remember the current issue of Christian Aid News is available in the churches.



 Commitment Challenge:  There has been a good response to our “Building for Tomorrow” Stewardship programme.  This has made us aware of the variety of abilities within our congregation and their willingness to help. The Stewardship Committee wish to thank everyone for warmly receiving our visitors and this reaffirms what a kind and caring community we live in. Offers of help were received from people who already take part in activities and new offers were received with really useful suggestions. We believe that the number of responses received and the many offers and suggestions contained shows that our congregation has the strength and will to “Build for Tomorrow”. We have reaffirmed our Christian Commitment both in our congregation and the wider community.

Carol Singing:  Community singing was arranged around Kilconquhar and Barnyards with traditional refreshments afterwards in Kilconquhar Church Hall. Thank you to all who participated (both groups!) and to those who welcomed the singers.

Family Lunch:  To take place on Sunday 27 March 2005 in Colinsburgh Town Hall after church service. Further details later.

Suggestions: There is a notice board in Colinsburgh/Kilconquhar church for relevant Stewardship information. Please feel free to offer any suggestions or contact any of the Committee, Elizabeth Bracher, Moira and Lindsay Wardrop, Doreen Hogarth , Judith  Fryer and Irene Wallace



The new Hymnary is now due for publication around the time of the General Assembly this year, probably in May. Both of our Kirk Sessions have taken a decision in principle to purchase copies of the new book for the congregations. There will be an opportunity for people who would like to own their own copy to purchase one. There will be a ‘words and melody’ edition for general use and a full music edition for the choirs and others who might want it.

The book contains about 800 items and is arranged in five sections.  These are:

 The Psalms; Life in God; Life in Christ; Life in the Spirit; Shorter songs, choruses and liturgical items. About a third of the items in the present book (Third Edition) are still there. A number of ‘old favourites’ from earlier editions have been brought back (e.g. How Great Thou art; Brother James’ Air; What a Friend we have in Jesus). Tunes like Orlington, St.Bees and Ruth have been brought back. Likewise, some items currently in the supplements such as Common Ground and Songs of God’s People, and which have proved popular, will be included. There are about 100 hymns with completely new texts and a section of short songs and choruses. The section on the life of Jesus is about three times larger than our present book, which tends to concentrate mainly on His life and death. Some seasons of the year, like Advent, have better provision. The stages in the journey of life are marked with additional material for marriage, illness, family life and bereavement.

We await publication with interest.


CHOIR OUTING by Marjorie Lyon

Twenty-three members from the choirs of Elie, Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh churches enjoyed an excellent concert given by Cappella Nova on Saturday 18th December in the Queens Hall, Edinburgh .  Cappella Nova, founded in 1982 by john and Rebecca Tavener, has an unrivalled reputation as champions of Scotland ’s unique treasury of early vocal music.  Every year at Christmas they give a concert “Carols by Candlelight” in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The programme commenced with the gorgeous tones of one of the sopranos singing the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City”.  We enjoyed Christmas Motets performed unaccompanied, the voices of the choir blending beautifully. The audience too is expected to sing and we all enjoyed the carols in the candlelit setting. I believe we all were able to forget the “so many things still to do” and to really listen to the words of the carols telling us of God’s great gift to us in His Son.  It was an inspiring evening.



The Guild supports six projects, which change every three years. One of the current projects is Tearfund working with mothers and children in Guatemala . The Guild recently had a talk on this project and the picture is the letter of thanks received from the recipients of a donation. Tearfund works closely with Christian groups in developing countries, and can often act immediately when disaster strikes. It has a good network in the UK with emphases on communication, education and prayer.

All meetings are open to anyone who would like to come. There are posters around the villages and an entry in the pew leaflet - so no excuses for not knowing when we meet!



The Bible Study group has restarted and everyone is welcome to attend. This year we are looking at the Fruit of the Spirit and the titles and dates are as follows:

    17th Jan – Love                         16th May - Kindness

21st Feb – Joy                            20th June - Faithfulness 

21st Mar – Peace                      18th Jul - Faithfulness

18th Apr – Patience                  15th Aug – Gentleness

                                                    19th Sep – Self control

The Group meets at 7.30pm in the Committee Room at the Church Hall. We hope you can join us and explore the Bible together.

Contact:  Elizabeth Meacher  330 525



The Lent Course this year begins on Saturday 12th February and is held over six Saturdays from 9am until 10am in the Toll Green Hall Elie. Anyone is welcome and you may come and attend as many or as few sessions as you like. The subject this year is ‘Christianity Explored’ and highlights a number of the principal aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry based on the Gospel of St.Mark.



Anne McCall, leader of the Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh Sunday Club, is going on maternity leave.  We all wish her well and hope that she will be back soon.  Meantime, Judith Fryer is co-ordinating the work and so we are in good hands.   



Please take note of the following dates and pass them on to anyone who may be interested:

 Saturday 5th March – ‘Fun Day’ for local children and visitors.

Monday 4th April – ‘Holiday Club’ for one week.

(This will be the final one to be led by Alastair Colquhoun, who is ‘retiring’.)

Monday 18th July - for two weeks, led by Bruce Lockhart.



Scope might exist now or shortly to re-start the Youth Group at Elie. This has operated off and on for many years, depending on the numbers of young people in the village at any one time.    If you might be interested in helping lead such a group, please let the minister know.

 Do you recognise the above paragraph?  It was in The Link last time.  Nobody responded.  Better luck this time?



The Presbytery of St.Andrews is due to visit us this year to commence the latest Quinquennial Visitation. These visits now set out to monitor and assist congregations in their development over a five-year period and are much more ‘user-friendly’ than previously. More details later.  The minister in charge of our ‘quinquennial’ is The Rev. Gordon Craig.



Thank you to all who supported the Ceilidh on 26th November; it was a great success and a very enjoyable evening.


Ø      There will be a bookstall with Easter cards for sale on the 6th February at the coffee after church and also at the lunch for the Conference later that day.


Ø      On Sunday 27th March there will be a breakfast served by the Outreach Committee at 9.00am following the special early morning Easter Service at the harbour.


Ø      The Outreach Committee is planning to hold a Craft Fair at the beginning of July. Crafts for display, crafts to sell and crafts to make will all be welcome at this event. Please let Elizabeth Meacher (330 525) or Jim Bell know if you would like to have a craft stall or contribute in any way.



The Link is your newsletter and should be written by you. Please help with some interesting contributions for the May issue.  Twelve words equal one line; 5 or 6 lines can make good reading.  We can use pictures/photographs but remember they have to be photocopied in black and white so need to be very clear. It really would make a welcome change to have too much material! 

It does not need to be directly related to our congregations, but could be a comment on a special service, world affairs, an interesting walk, place to visit (no direct advertising or party politics). Would someone like to do a book review?

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