Those of you that have followed my blog will know that I became a church elder in December 2018 at Garthdee Church and in June 2019 I became a Balancing Elder in the Aberdeen Presbytery. But sadly, between 2018 and 2019 it became clear that the future of Garthdee Church was going to be no more. There were lots of meetings, lots of talk and all that, and even an appeal to the Commission of Assembly at the Church of Scotland, but sadly none of it was successful. On the 3rd of December 2019, at the meeting of the Presbytery of Aberdeen, it was decided that Garthdee Church was to be dissolved. This was after the Kirk session and all parties involved had voted for this to happen. The date was set as the 31st of December 2019: Garthdee wouldn’t enter the new decade as a church.
That left me thinking “Where am I going to go to church of a Sunday?” “Where am I going to get my spiritual needs met?” I was an elder and was involved in many things – I wondered where I was going to go! For a while I thought about going from church to church to see that I was happy; basically going to several different churches, “shopping” until I found a new church. Little did I know that God was calling me back to a church that I’d already been in; that Garthdee had even been linked with! The church was Ruthrieston West Church. As Garthdee had been linked with this church I thought I would go there first to see if I might like it.
So on Sunday morning of the 5th of January 2020 I got up feeling a little bit nervous because there had been some things happened when two churches were linked and after the link came to end, I was also slightly nervous because what if some people from Garthdee thought that I had been planning to move church all along? And I did think about just putting my church things away in my fire-proof box along with my passport. But, I have been going to church for all my life on a Sunday morning so I could not do that.
Back to 5th January 2020, I got on the bus and was feeling worried about going to church; then the bus got to the stop and it was time for me to get off the bus. I walked along the road and then walked in the front door and the people on the door said “Good Morning,” and “How are doing William – nice to see you!” and that it must be hard for me with Garthdee Church closed (it was!). And when the Reverend and his wife came over she gave me a big hug and he welcomed me. I don’t know what I was feeling that day! I was not happy; I was not sad; I just felt as one, and so much in peace. The talk was all about being together and how we look on this year as being a new start.
The organ was playing but I did not know who was playing it. At the end of the service I went for a cup of tea and a nice biscuit and as I went through for my tea I got a surprise: who was playing it was only the best organ player in the world and my secondary school music teacher Mr Meldrum! It was nice to see him, and as well as someone that worked with my mum I went for tea. It was nice just to sit around and get a cup of tea, even while it was still hot, as that I was not use to that !
I felt so at home that I thought: “I’m not going to look for a new church as I have found one and my church shopping is over.” I asked if they knew who was roll keeping; they showed me who he was and he accepted my name, and they all knew that I had been an elder at Garthdee.
So at the last Kirk session metting they asked me on to their sessions and I am now back as a Balance Elder of Aberdeen Presbytery. And on 16th of February Mr Meldrum is going to show me the ropes of being a Beadle of the church – so even at the age of 32 I will be his pupil again just like the good old days! Okay, so he retired in December 2002 (if you want know to the date and all that, ask him, he will tell you!)
I thought I would not find a new church but I was so wrong.
So if you are looking for a new church or looking to come back to church after some time away, or even if you have just found God for the first time, you would be made welcome at Ruthrieston West Church. We meet at 10am on Sunday morning.
I am looking forward to my time with the Presbytery of Aberdeen – look them up on Facebook and you’ll see all good things they are doing as well. I am looking forward to working with everyone at Ruthrieston West Church
Thank you for reading this.
By William Rae(C)