Oxnam Parish Page.
Dare I write a Christmas article in October?By the time it reaches you it will be November and The Woollen Mills will have had their Christmas displays up for weeks.
I dare. I love Christmas. I am excited already.
I love the lights, the carols, the nativity plays, the hope and the promise of God's unending love for us, his children.
I love the thought of angels bending near the earth portrayed in that magnificent hymn:
'It came upon the midnight clear'
"...Still through the cloven skies they came, with peaceful wings unfurled; and still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world. Above its sad and lowly plain, they bend on hovering wing, and ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
But with the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long; beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
And man at war with man hears not, the love songs that they bring; o hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing."
And that is my prayer for you this Christmas, that through the harsh ringing of cash registers and the pressure to buy the most perfect gift, despite the fear of spending this Christmas alone or the dread or excitement of large family gatherings, despite the knowledge that for many there will be no feasting and for others there will be war raging...we may hush our noise for a moment and hear the angels sing. That we may hear the promise of peace on earth, goodwill to all and play our part in that being a reality.
Rev. Anna Rodwell
From the Session Clerk …
what a wonderful summer we have had and indeed, as I pen this epistle at the end of October, a mild Autumn and still no morning frosts. Long may this continue!! Since the last Parish Page there has been a lot going on in the valley and to my mind the highlight was the Oxnam Kirk Flower Festival. The theme ‘Celebrations of 2013’ was inspirational and our thanks go to Diana Cairns and the ladies of Oxnam Kirk and friends from Jedburgh Old and Trinity Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. Each of the Kirk’s seven windows were beautifully decorated celebrating Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win, The Ashes, Tour de France, the Lions tour, the Grand National (local jockey on the winner), the Coronation/Diamond Jubilee, 200 years of the Border Union Show and the Paralympics, pew flowers organised by the children of the Kirk and a wonderful arrangement by Diana Cairns entitled The Sun celebrating the summer sun. The font was beautifully decorated by Moira Land celebrating the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge. On the second day of the Flower Festival the Reverend Colin Johnston, our Presbytery Mission Partner from Israel, joined us in morning worship and preached a memorable sermon. He certainly picked the right weekend to be with us. If you missed our Flower Festival or just want reminding how creative it was you can see all the arrangements on the Oxnam Kirk website courtesy of Bob Young’s excellent photographs.
Reading again the article ‘Old and Tattered’ in the July Parish Page I was wrong in suggesting that the flag was the wrong way up! The diagonal elements of the Union Jack do not have reflective symmetry. When hung correctly, if the flagpole is on the left, the diagonal’s thicker white stripes are clockwise, or equivalent, the diagonal reds are anti-clockwise. Where there is no flagpole, for example, if pinned to a wall, then the flagpole is always deemed to be on the left. The Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. Originally, Union Jack was the name given to a flag flown on a ship of the Royal Navy. The terms Union Jack, Union Flag, British Flag are all historically correct for describing the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom. The current design dates from the Royal Proclamation following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags; the red cross of St. George for England and Wales, the white saltire of St. Andrew for Scotland and the red saltire of St. Patrick to represent Ireland. Wales has no explicit recognition in the Union Jack as it had been a part of the United Kingdom since being annexed by Edward I of England in 1282 and its full integration by the Laws of Wales Acts 1535-1542 and was therefore represented by the flag of England. Enough of the vexillology lesson and my apologies to Moira Land. A huge thank you for your Union Jack which did stand proudly at the Kirk gate when we celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the Coronation. I also much enjoyed your article “Old and Tattered”.
Many thanks go to Margaret and Frank Clayton who opened their beautiful garden at Shibden View in July and raised £345 for Kirk funds. It was a lovely warm sunny summers day and the garden was looking perfect. Delicious tea was also much enjoyed. I think that afternoon was sadly the last time that many of us saw Ella Douglas. She will be sadly missed by us all.
Lesley Donaldson suggested to the Kirk Session that those children being baptised should receive children’s books with delightful Bible stories. Session thought this was a very good idea in addition to the presentation of the traditional Bible which hopefully they will grow up to use.
I wonder how many of you with computers look up the Oxnam Kirk website which we must thank Jan Scott for keeping up to date. I looked it up to find out about the Roaring Reptiles having seen the photos and article entitled ‘Snakes Alive’ in the recent Jed Eye. This is what I found on our website. “A very successful afternoon in the Church with about seventy children admiring, touching, handling various reptiles! Quite an unusual activity, but bringing many families into the Church. Thank you Moira for organising it.” The site also brought me up to date with the Oxnam Valley Voices (next public performance, Seasons of Love, on 15th November at 7pm in the Kirk. Entry by donation and refreshments served after the concert), Oxnam Walking Group, Oxnam Film Nights and much much more.
The Presbytery Plan had its annual review at the Presbytery meeting held on 4th September. At first the Plan showed Oxnam as being a Continuing Vacancy. After some dialogue between the Presbytery Clerk, 121 George Street and ourselves it was agreed that the Plan should continue to show Oxnam to be in Guardianship. There are, however, certain formalities to be completed before this status will be properly recognised by the Ministries Council, Presbytery and the Oxnam congregation. The Presbytery meeting on 4th September was well attended by Oxnam parishioners and particular mention must be made to Alan Strickland who addressed Presbytery so eloquently in support of Oxnam Kirk and the part it plays within the local community.
Our Fabric Convenor, Bob Young, keeps well on top of the maintenance of Oxnam Kirk. Recently the roof vents were replaced at a cost of £1,908. Bills such as this are met without too much worry as our fundraising, year upon year, ensures that we can meet these bills. You will have noticed that the doors into the Church and toilet door have been recently painted by Steve Delebeque and look tremendous. The Watch Tower within the old graveyard is receiving attention and hopefully it won’t be long until the roof is repaired. In September, Roger Dodd, Chartered Surveyor from Kelso, carried out intermediary quinquennial review and reported that there were some slipped slates and two or three other small observations. To rectify these I am glad to say are affordable. The report concludes that the impression is of a building which has been well maintained, particularly in relation to the interior. Well done Bob Young.
I was sorry to have missed this year’s Harvest Supper in the Village Hall but certainly got the flavour of the evening with the report posted on our website. A big thank you to the organisers, Francis, Morag and Anne Davies. The next day was our Harvest Thanksgiving Service with the Church beautifully decorated with flowers and produce and not forgetting the barley! Thanks go to Beryl Barbour and her team. The Service also included three Baptisms so it was a very busy Service, but also a very meaningful one.
Col. Colin Hogg
We have had two lively meetings since the Summer break, with lots of visiting children boosting our small number of regular members.
Our gardens were very productive this year. Garden peas, sweet peas, potatoes and cabbages all flourished – with help from Adam – and, from time to time, were given to members of the congregation. The young apple tree produced ten lovely red apples. This variety known as ‘Scrumptious’ definitely lived up to its name , being juicy and sweet and ready to eat in October. At the Harvest Festival some of the apples, along with other fruits, were arranged by the children in little baskets and given away at the end of the service.
We’re planning a short Nativity scene for the Christmas Eve Service and hope for more support from local children at a rehearsal during the Family Service on 15th December.
Children in the Church
What was that slithering on the new carpet in Oxnam Kirk? Well there is a first for everything and there it was – a huge 6’ long boa constrictor. There were small snakes, colourful snakes, long snakes to slither round your shoulders. Squeaky guinea pigs, a chirpy hen to stand on your head, a wonderful ginormous hairy tarantula and iguana from far away continents. Then a lovely furry rabbit, lizards and more – oh! And a beautiful large amber coloured cockroach – which some people thought was scary!!!
That was on Sunday 22nd September in Oxnam Kirk – the second of our children’s shows. There were loads of children and they all loved it. What will Oxnam Kirk do next???
p.s Not included the photo of our Minister holding the cockroach!!!!
Many thanks to all who attended the Presbytery meeting in Hawick Trinity Church on Wednesday 4th September. Oxnam Church has now been left in guardianship rather than locum status. Thanks also to Alan Strickland for speaking so eloquently on behalf of Oxnam Church. It is not easy to do this in the formal setting of Presbytery and it was much appreciated. Hopefully others found the meeting interesting.
There is to be a new appointment in Kelso . An associate Minister with 50% for Kelso Old and Sprouston & Kelso Country Churches, 30% for Kelso North and Ednam and 20% for Presbytery duties .
Eckford Kirk is to be up for sale soon if anyone is interested .
On 21st September a children’s youth event was held in Kelso Tait Hall. This was organised by Mrs Linda Fleming and the theme was Fishey Music. Children learned songs and actions and then performed a concert at the end of the afternoon. It is good to see input to the younger generation and really we could do with a lot more . Suggestions are very welcome.
Oxnam Valley Voices
In the last few months, since the last concert, we have been working increasingly hard towards the concert, that’s just around the corner now…’Seasons of Love’, on Friday, 15th November in Oxnam Kirk at 7pm. We also welcome Mrs Alison Fraser, a local musician and Music Teacher from Jedburgh, as our accompanist.
Oxnam Valley Voices, will also be singing in The RNLI Concert this year in Kelso Old Parish Church, on Sunday 1st December. For more details, please contact Cilla Wills on 01890 840203. Also, we will be carol singing in Sainsbury in Kelso on Saturday, 14th December - more details to follow. Next year’s diary is also looking quite full already, so here’s hoping that you’ll be watching out for notices etc.
When the Choir started back in October 2012, we had roughly about 14 members. In a year, we have increased to roughly 26 singers who, on a Wednesday evening, turn up in all weathers to sing. Over the last few weeks we’ve welcomed some new members into the Choir and the ever-popular group is becoming quite a hit around the Scottish Borders and beyond.
Oxnam Valley Voices is a community choir, which is run by local musician Jamie McKenzie, from Kelso, who is moving into the area very shortly. About our repertoire…our choice of Music isn’t always the traditional, Bach or Handel, we like to keep things fresh and as lively as possible.
We look forward to welcoming you along to ‘Seasons of Love’ and hope that you’ll enjoy this concert as much as you did the last one.
This continues every third Wednesday to coincide with the arrival of the library van and is usually well attended, tho’ during the holiday period a few familiar faces have been missing. We continue our meetings until the end of the year and then re-start in March 2014. You don’t have to be a library member to join us for the “3 C’s” – coffee, cake and chat!!
Oxnam Film Nights
These continue to be a great success and the films for the remainder of the years are:-
22nd November – “The Way” starring Martin Sheen, Emilio Estavez, James Nesbit – based on a tale about a father and his dead son and a walk along the Camino to Santiago de Compestela in his memory. Kenny Taylor walked it last year and again this year!
20th December – “High Society” starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby – A classic so no need to say more.
7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall
Oxnam Garden Open
On 21st July Frank and Margaret Clayton opened their garden at Shibden on a beautiful sunny day in aid of Oxnam Kirk. This event was publicized only locally and the sum of £345 was raised. The garden was looking at its best with a great show of roses and clematis in particular.
Frank and Margaret would like to thank all who helped either by supplying tables, umbrellas (it was very sunny) extra seating and even a gazebo which was a great success.
The team of tea ladies did magnificent work and provided all the cakes etc and did all the washing up and clearing away afterwards. It was great to see so many folk sitting round the garden enjoying the ambience. Amongst the visitors was Ella Douglas who thoroughly enjoyed her afternoon and was as cheery as ever we had seen her; sadly she died a week later.
Oxnam Kirk held a Flower Festival in the Church on Saturday 31 Aug and Sunday 1 September titled "Celebrations in 2013". The arrangements featured Andy Murray/Wimbledon, The Ashes, Tour de France, The Lions, Grand National, Coronation/Jubilee, 200 years of Border Union Show and the birth of H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge. We also had a display to celebrate the sun!!; and another to remember the Paralympics of 2012. We must thank Diana Cairns and her team of flower arrangers for such a marvellous display.
Thanks also to all the Stewards, The Tea Team and of course the children who filled jam jars with garden flowers to decorate the pews. Finally grateful thanks to all who came and supported our Flower Festival in aid of Church Funds.
Oxnam Walking Group
Oxnam Walking Group have had some lovely walks over the summer with as many as 25 walkers on some occasions. Keep an eye on the local press for details of future walks.
Around 70 people attended the Kirk’s Harvest Supper in the Village Hall last month when approximately £750 was raised for Kirk funds. After a lovely supper of Shepherd’s Pie and Fruit Crumble, served by the ladies of the church (not to mention the delicious tablet and shortbread served with coffee), the excellent entertainment was provided by Oxnam Valley Voices, with their Choir Master Jamie McKenzie, together with Henry Douglas accompanied by Tommy Herdman on the accordion. Everyone agreed that the night was a resounding success and massive thank you must go to the organisers Francis Armstrong, Morag McKeand and Anne Davies, not forgetting their team of helpers on and before the night.
From the Minister …
A young girl was dancing for a king. She was beautiful, and his head was turned. He was entertaining guests and full of bravado he called out:
" Ask me anything you want and I will give it to you!"
Then he promised her with an oath,
"whatever you ask, I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
The girl was shrewd and ran to ask her mother before replying.
Her mother told her to ask for the head of her enemy on a plate.
When the girl gave her request, the king was devastated, he was quietly fond of the head concerned.
Because of his oath and because of not wanting to lose face in front of his guests, the king ordered the head to be brought to them on a platter.
What else could he do?
What would you have done?
A friend of mine once said, he could have told her "that is in the other half!"
Rev. Anna Rodwell
From the Session Clerk …
In 2011 our Locum Minister, Reverend Anna Rodwell, had the vision of promoting projects within the Oxnam Community which led to a community questionnaire being circulated to every household to see what people wanted. This involved a lot of hard work by a few from Oxnam Kirk and was funded by a grant from 121 George Street. As reported in November’s Parish Page, Film Nights and a Singing Group got underway and both have gone from strength to strength. The Singing Group, known as Oxnam Valley Voices, meet on Wednesdays in the village hall and on 10th May held a most successful concert in Oxnam Kirk. Indeed their fame is spreading and in May they sang at a wedding at Cornhill. They are always looking for new recruits and you would be made most welcome. The third project, The Oxnam Walking Group, are now holding a series of monthly walks on the second Sunday of the month. Walks vary from easy to moderate to strenuous so something for everybody! We have come a long way in a short time so please do support these initiatives if you can.
More Church Hymnaries Version 4 (CH4) have been purchased and as the suggestion of our Elder, Moira Land, individuals have purchased copies in memory of a loved one or even a pet. Inside a label has been placed saying that this CH4 is dedicated to the memory of …………………… This is a lovely idea and if you wish to purchase a CH4 and have an “In Memory” insert please speak to your Elder or Moira and this can be arranged.
It hardly seems right to mention our Christmas Eve Service as I write this on a beautiful hot day in June (hopefully followed by many more this Summer) but not only was it a wonderful Service but it was also the first time that our new electric lights had been used and what a difference they made from the usual lighting provided by individual torches and candles that we have relied upon in the past. These electric lights were purchased thanks to the money raised last year at the Crailinghall auction. The Vestry has now also been re-carpeted and we have purchased a new hoover. Soon you will see a smart new Kirk Notice Board!
Val Hunter and her team are to be congratulated on the extremely successful Christmas Fayre they organised in the Village Hall which raised £757 for Church funds. Thanks must also go to all of you who went along and supported this event.
Now that I have got my mind going back six months I should mention that both the Oxnam Kirk Christmas Cards and Notelets have sold well. There are some left so it has been decided not to produce Oxnam Christmas Cards this year but to use up what is left. Hurry or they will soon be gone!
On 25th February, Fiona Geddes, our Treasurer, once again organised another most successful Coffee Morning in the Jedburgh Branch of The Royal British Legion Scotland and raised £760. Many thanks to Fiona and all her helpers. Next year’s Coffee Morning will be held at the same venue on 22nd February 2014!
You may not have heard of our Kids in the Kirk? This is another Oxnam Kirk initiative to try and encourage the young with their parents/carers to take a more active part in Church life. It is aimed to have three events a year but two in 2013. The first event was for the very young in May entitled ‘Sticky Kids’. The next is for slightly older children on 22nd September called ‘Roaring Reptiles’. If you have children that might be interested do contact Reverend Anna Rodwell or your Elder. These fun afternoons are open to all children and not only from the Oxnam Valley. There is a small charge of £3.
Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme (GASDS) - From 5th April GASDS now allows Gift Aid on collections at Church Services with no requirement for a Gift Aid Form to be signed. We can claim on up to £5,000 takings a year. In 2011 the Open Plate Offerings came to £2,995 and in 2012 £3,944 so all our Open Plate Offerings should fall within GASDS. This is good news for our Kirk finances.
Our Oxnam Kirk Services continue to be well supported and it is so nice to welcome new worshippers to the congregation. As always we welcomed the Jed Instrumental Band who joined us for our Easter Day Service. Sadly this year there was no daffodil cross as there were none out at the end of March in these parts.
At our Service on 2nd June we celebrated our Queen’s coronation 60 years ago. Moira Land not only produced a Union Jack which flew near the Stell and Loupin Stane but also a superb cake with red, white and blue icing which we devoured at “hospitality” after the Service. Our last hymn of the Service was 703 – “God Save Our Gracious Queen”, and we sang all three verses. Most of us knew verses one and two from the 1745 version but not verse three by W.E. Hickson (1863-1870) which is not printed in CH2 or CH3.
“Not on this land alone,
but be God’s mercies known
from shore to shore
Lord, make the nations see
that all should kindred be
and form one family
the wide world o’er”
Slightly different from the verse you will find in the Scottish Book of Common Prayer, Hymns Ancient and Modern.
“O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies
and make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On these our hopes we fix
God save us all.
I know which verse I prefer!!
Col. Colin Hogg
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/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”.