Corby St Ninian's celebrates 50 years of worship

A Church of Scotland service led by a Brazilian-born minister and held jointly with a neighbouring Church of England attracted 200 people to St Ninian's, Corby last Sunday.

The one-of-a-kind service marked the culmination of celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of St Ninian's and close neighbour St Peter's and St Andrew's Church of England.

The minister of Corby St Ninians stood with a previous minister and  the vicar of the neighbouring church
From l-r: Rev Mel Griffiths, previously minister of St Ninian's Corby; Rev Kleber Machado, minister of St Ninian's Corby; Fr. Anthony Searle, of St Peter and St. Andrew's Church of England in Corby

Working together

Minister Rev Kleber Machado explained that the churches, which are about 100 yards from each other, have worked together since they both began in 1960s.

"St Ninian's Church of Scotland started in the Church of England's hall in 1964. Unfortunately, after a few months the hall was burned down. Both churches built their own buildings and dedicated them in 1967. Since then there is cooperation between both churches including running a food bank together," he said.

"Corby is the only place in England where Church of England is the third church. The majority identify themselves with the Church of Scotland, the second church in numbers is the Roman Catholic Church and then comes Church of England.

"St Ninian's church aims to serve the wide community and to do that it is important to work ecumenically. This joint celebration points out we are not a Scottish club, but rather a living church serving everyone that lives in the community", he added.

A young boy from the congregation of Corby St Ninians
One of the younger members of the congregation

The weekend-long event included a concert on Friday, and ceilidh on Saturday. The packed service on Sunday started at St Peter's and St Andrew's Church of England and finished at St Ninian's Church of Scotland, with around 200 people staying for lunch.

After the service on Sunday the congregation was piped out of the church by a local bagpiper.

Amazing turnout

Mr Kleber was delighted with the turnout, saying they were unable to fit any more people in the hall.

"In the service there were people of all ages, among the people who attended the service the youngest was a three weeks child and the oldest was a very active member of St. Ninian's who is 101 years old," he said.

A procession
On the way to St Ninian's, Corby

Little Scotland

Known locally as 'Little Scotland' because of the large number of Scottish-born inhabitants, Corby is the only town outside of Scotland with two Church of Scotland congregations - the other being St Andrew's at the other end of the town.

Mr Machado, originally from São Paulo in Brazil, began his ministry as part of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, before working for the Dutch Reformed Church in an area of his home country known as 'Little Holland'.

Rev Alison MacDonald, Convener of the Ecumenical Relations Committee praised the partnership:

"Congratulations to St Ninian's and to St Peter and St Andrew's on their joint 50th anniversary celebration. It is wonderful to see the commitment made by the Church of Scotland and the Church of England in the Columba Declaration being lived out locally in this way.

"May God bless them as they continue 'to grow together in communion and to strengthen their partnership in mission."

Large group of people sat in the church
The celebrations were well attended