Oxnam Parish Page.
From the Minister …
“The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts…. We cling to the present out of wariness of the past, and why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need-not all the time, surely, but from time to time-to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember-the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”
― Frederick Buechner <http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19982.Frederick_Buechner>, A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces <http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/35311>
At our Remembrance Service we were looking at the act of remembrance - how it is not simply a thought, but an action. If we remember those who gave their lives so that we may be free, does it not affect the way we value our freedom? When we think of their sacrifice does it not affect the way we live, or try to live our lives?
“There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them,” my mother explained shortly before she left me. “If you can remember me, I will be with you always.”
― Isabel Allende <http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2238.Isabel_Allende>, Eva Luna <http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/874452>
Those whom we have loved and lost are still beside us, still influencing us as long as we remember them. Our remembering is thought and action because it affects the way we act and think and choose to live our lives today.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
We have remembered, remembered the 5th of November. We have remembered Armistice Day. Now, we are being asked to remember another momentous, life changing event.
Down a dusty road, in a far off land, a little baby was born in a cattle shed or stable.
In remembering who this child was and why he came, affects how we live today. We can of course chose to ignore this child, but my plea for you this Christmas, is to head the words of the carol writer, Edmund Hamilton Sears, when he says : “ O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.”
Rev. Anna Rodwell
From the Session Clerk …
Since our July Parish Page there is much to report with lots of activity within both the Kirk and the community.
On Sunday 5th August the Reverend Bill Thompson Memorial Plaque Dedication Service took place. This was the Sunday of the severe flooding in Jedburgh and surrounding area and this sadly prevented a number of people making the service which was taken by the Reverend Lindsay Thomson, who for forty years, was minister to Cavers and Kirkton with Hawick Trinity, so knew Bill well. Lindsay himself only just made the service as his first approach to Jedburgh over the Dunion had to be aborted! All’s well that ends well and a most memorable service followed in the presence of many of Bill’s family, including his wife, Vida, and son, David, who had come from Budapest. The plaque inscription most appropriately reads:- In Memory of The Reverend William Thompson, Minister of Oxnam from 1950 - 1997. He loved the Parish, this Kirk and its people.
After the service there was hospitality and a chance for many of Bill’s past parishioners to meet up with his family.
Hospitality Sundays are now well established with people meeting and talking in the main part of the Kirk and not in the vestry, which in the past proved too cramped.
The following Sunday the Church Walk took place and, although our numbers were down on last year, the weather was not bad for this particular summer. The walk raised £140 for The Margaret Kerr Unit at the Borders General Hospital.
During August our Kirk Christmas Cards and blank note cards arrived and have been on sale since then at £4 for a pack of five. Some of the cards have been designed by Sunday School members and are very good. I encourage you to support this worthwhile venture. Don’t hold back as they are selling fast!
On 16th September morning worship centred around Baptism. Moira Land had designed and produced beautiful invitation cards inviting families who had children baptised at Oxnam over the last few years. The service was well attended and made even more meaningful as Maximus McKnight Scott, the Son of Peter and Annabelle Scott of Dolphinson, was baptised. The Scotts very kindly provided “fizz” afterwards for that morning’s hospitality and we all had a piece of Moira’s lovely cake. What a memorable service.
Pete, Annabelle and Max Scott The lovely cake made by Moira Land
The service on Sunday 30th September was yet another milestone in Oxnam Kirk’s history when Robert Anderson, Francis Armstrong, Andrew Dodds and Morag McKeand were ordained Elders. We welcome them as Elders and thank them for agreeing to make themselves more available in the life and work of Oxnam Kirk.
The last service I want to mention was our Harvest Thanksgiving on 21st October. Although Anna rightly made mention of this years dreadful weather which had played havoc with the harvest, the Church looked splendid with flowers, fruit, jam and a bowl of wheat, another of oats and a small sack of barley. Accompanying these cereals were items made from them such as scones, beer/whisky and Scots Porridge Oats. Thanks to Andrew Dodds for this idea! Sunday School also were with us for their first Autumn Session and they took a full part in the service including reading prayers which they did so well.
The Community Questionnaire earlier this year has resulted in Film Nights and a Singing Group gathering in the Village Hall. The Wednesday night Singing is great fun so do join in even if, like me, your voice is not top quality! The next film night will be on 16thNovember and will show “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” which has had rave reviews. Do please come and support both these activities and bring your friends. You will be made most welcome.
Our Summer Auction on 31st May made over £6,900 which was a magnificent total. You will now be rightly wondering how we are spending this money. So far perhaps the most visible spend has been the new carpet in the Church. Not so visible perhaps has been the funding of Anna’s second days ministry in the Parish. This will soon be funded by the Ministries Council in Edinburgh. Your Kirk Session applied, through Presbytery, to the Pastorship Development Committee and this was approved in early October, which is wonderful news.
Through a generous anonymous donation we have been able to purchase forty-three Church Hymnaries Version 4 (CH4) to use along with CH3 (the little red book!). We will require more CH4’s so will be spending more auction money on this project. The vestry carpeting is well passed its sell by date and will have to be replaced, hopefully before December. Those of you who have studied last year’s Accounts will remember that it cost £12,368 from our own funds to enable Oxnam Kirk to function so every penny from the auction will be well used.
On page 3 of the July Parish Page there was a photograph of the Reverend Anna Rodwell and Mr. Jimmy Turnbull at the planting of the Diamond Jubilee Oak Tree. A plaque is now in place by the tree which says:
Planted to Commemorate
HM Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
2nd June 2012
by James Turnbull
On behalf of Oxnam Community
On going through the Kirk gate look right and you will see a small stone building. I always thought that this was the gravediggers building but not so. The Watch House, as it is known, dates from the earliest nineteenth century when Edinburgh medical schools made body snatching a profitable local enterprise so graves were watched for seven nights after a burial. The Watch House even has a fireplace. Beside the Watch House is a door leading to our “car park”. This door has been recently replaced and our grateful thanks go to Michael Lowrie for making this door.
At the end of October it was announced that the Reverend Lorna Hood would become the Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 2013. Mrs. Hood was ordained in 1978 and since 1979 has been with Renfrew North Parish Church. She is also a Queens Chaplain.
Col. Colin Hogg
From the Minister …
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
“In normal life we hardly realise how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters Papers from Prison
Some months ago we attempted to circulate questionnaires to every house in the parish. We wanted to know if you felt there was anything missing in the community that you would like to see organised locally. We also asked if there were any skills you could offer to the community. We were made welcome all over the parish and responses came from almost every corner of the Oxnam Valley. All the information gathered has been collated and this is what you said: Far and away the clear leader of the field was the request to have 'Film Nights' in the village hall. This, I am delighted to report, is well on the way to being achieved and is due to start in the Autumn of this year. The next most popular request was for a Walking Club/Group. Organisation of this group is well on the way too and we aim to start with some local walks very soon. The Library Cafe continues to prove popular and is open whenever the Library Van is outside the village hall. Open at 11am and offering tea/coffee and delicious home baking all in glorious romantic bone china - "it's like tea at your Grandma's!" Next, with a similar number of requests, were a group of activities where there is considerable interest, and what we propose to do here is run a few taster sessions to see which are most popular. There will be a couple running this Autumn and a couple next Spring, then another two in Autumn 2013. These are: Singing Club; knitting; flower arranging; gardening; fitness; cycling and cooking. We have managed to secure funding to run these groups and testers for the next two years and there is the possibility of further funding if required. We are obviously delighted by the responses and excited by the prospect of the beneficial effects on the community. The opportunity now exists to bring together gifts and talents and to enjoy each other's company. We did have quite a number of requests for a Stick Dressing Club. On investigation and discussion, we discovered that two such clubs exist nearby, one at Crailing and one at Morebattle. Due to the equipment required and the desire not to compete with these clubs we would rather draw attention to their existence and direct any interested to them. These groups are open to all. Rev. Anna Rodwell
From the Session Clerk …
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Douglas Cairns on 18th May. His Funeral Service in Oxnam Kirk was full to overflowing, but those attending and standing outside were able to follow the Service as loud speakers had been placed in the Churchyard. Douglas will be sadly missed within the Parish where his family have farmed for centuries. He had been an Elder of Oxnam Kirk since 2005 and his wise counsel will be a great loss. To Diana, Jamie, Andrew and Natalie we send our deepest sympathy.
Last year we had hoped to produce 2011 Christmas Cards but we ran out of time, however, this project is now very much ‘work in progress’ and by the end of August Oxnam Kirk Christmas Cards should be ready for sale. Christmas cards seem to appear earlier and earlier each year so this is the reason you are getting advance warning for 2012!
For many months the ‘Auction Committee’ have been planning the Crailinghall Auction, which took place at the start of the Jubilee weekend on a wet and cold evening. A tremendous effort by many, too many to mention, ensured that it was a success despite the bad weather which obviously put a number of people off from coming. For those that did, many thanks for your tremendous support and for the items donated for the auction and various stalls. Although the final total made is not yet available it looks as if it will be over the £6,000 mark. A big thank you to Robert and Beryl Barbour, their family and staff at Crailinghall for all their hard work in preparing the buildings and surrounding area for the auction and BBQ. It was all looking a picture on the night. We are also most grateful to Logan Brown, our Auctioneer for the evening, who did an excellent job considering there was almost 200 lots to sell and to his clerk, Brian Ruthven.
Your Elders have not heard from many of you with regards the pews behind the organ being removed to create an area that could be used for hospitality. For the last few months ‘Sunday hospitality’ has been held in the area in front of the Communion Table and this is proving acceptable so perhaps this should continue. After many years of ‘hospitality service’ both Liz Darling and Betty Turnbull have retired. We can’t thank them enough for ensuring ‘Sunday hospitality’ was always worth staying for.
Our annual Saturday Coffee Morning was held as usual in the Jedburgh Royal British Legion and was once again a resounding success raising over £900. A huge thank you to Fiona Geddes and her team for all their hard work. If you already have your 2013 diary to hand next year’s Coffee Morning is planned for Saturday 23rd February.
You will no doubt have noticed that we now have a number of very smart and comfortable cushions in Church. We are very grateful to Moira Land and Veronica Wood for these cushions. Perhaps more parishioners may be moved to make our pews that little bit more comfortable!?
Oxnam Kirk was asked if we could think of a way to help Chris Strickland raise money for the charity ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ as he was going to run the 2012 London Marathon to raise money for them. The upshot was that on 24th March The Cheviot Ensemble, a group of extremely talented and well known musicians, gave a superb concert in our Kirk. Many thanks to Anna who did much to ensure that we had a wonderful evening. The musical evening raised over £800 and Chris raised over £2,800 for his charity.
At the end of May I was one of six members of the Presbytery of Jedburgh to attend this years General Assembly in Edinburgh. This was an uplifting experience shared with some nine hundred others made up of Commissioners and Delegates from other Churches who had come from the United Kingdom and Ireland, Africa (including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa & Zambia), North and South America, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Middle East and Australia. On the Wednesday the General Assembly gave a warm welcome to the Archbishop of Canterbury who addressed the Assembly. I learnt a lot about how the Church of Scotland operates and found the reports by some twenty Committees et al most informative. The Moderator, Rt. Rev. Albert Bogle, presided over the Assembly with great skill, humour and friendliness. He made a newcomer like me feel extremely welcome and encouraged one to participate in debate. Each morning session started with a Service. The Moderator has a fine singing voice and I will always remember him leading us each morning with the Zimbabwean hymn:-
Listen for the Gospel! Alleluia
It is God’s way of healing us! Alleluia
Pay attention to the Gospel! Alleluia
It is God’s word for saving us! Alleluia
Sadly, the Moderator will not be visiting Jedburgh Presbytery during his year in office as I know that he would have enjoyed leading Oxnam Kirk in songs of praise. As things stand the 2014-2015 Moderator is scheduled to visit the Presbyteries of Jedburgh, Duns, Melrose and Peebles.
And lastly, I have mentioned the Auction but can’t end without mentioning Jubilee Sunday. As usual, Anna led us in wonderful worship ending with BOTH VERSES of God Save the Queen. Then outside where Jimmy Turnbull, one of the oldest residents of Oxnam, planted an Oak Tree (which was kindly donated by Philip and Jayne Mason, Oxnam Manse and fenced off by Kerr Renwick who donated the fencing) to commemorate the Jubilee. Oxnam Kirk Ladies (and a few men!) plus the OWLS (Oxnam Water Ladies) had decorated the Village Hall and prepared a delicious lunch for over a hundred. Betty Turnbull cut the Jubilee cake, which had been beautifully made by Francis Armstrong. At about 2.00 p.m. we made our way to Carry Scott’s field where Oxnam Community Council and Village Hall Committee had organised a fun afternoon of activities with Gillian McFadyen keeping everybody, especially the young ones, extremely active. A huge thanks to all who made the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Oxnam and Crailinghall events to remember.
Col. Colin Hogg
The Jedburgh Presbytery forward plan has now been agreed by the Presbyteries Planning Task Group of 121 George Street, Edinburgh. This means that Oxnam will remain in a Guardianship for the foreseeable future. In Hawick, the plan is to have a Hawick North Parish Grouping and a Hawick South Parish Grouping. The ministerial support in Hawick will be reduced from five to four and this will mean that more ministerial support will be available in Kelso.
It is disappointing that the extra half full time equivalent of a minister available in the Jedburgh allocation was returned to Edinburgh to be used elsewhere, but Presbytery thought this was the correct decision and so Oxnam has been left in a Guardianship. Presbytery plans are always changing and next year after voting in the General Assembly 2013 we may see big changes.
In September 2012 there is an elders conference in Hawick – anyone interested please contact me.
The Kelso Show will soon be here and the Rev. Anna Rodwell is Chaplain of the Show. She will have lots of duties there including judging the “pet show”.