Church members honoured in Queen's New Years list

Margaret Anderson Green with three of her nine grandchildren
Margaret Anderson Green with three of her nine grandchildren: Mackenzie, 10; Annabelle, 7; and Emily, 4.

Several members of the Church of Scotland recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours List have given their reaction to the awards. All five were recognised for outstanding service to their community, both here in Scotland and beyond.

A Chaplain to The Rifles

Rev James Francis (50) is Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class. His MBE recognises the contribution he made to the wellbeing of 2nd Battalion The Rifles during its deployment to Afghanistan between August 2014 and February 2015.

The married father of three said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. This is a recognition for chaplaincy as a whole and to the incredible support my family has given which has allowed me to serve."

Mr Francis was formerly associate minister in Linlithgow St Michael's and Parish Minister in Biggar.

A pioneer in Malawi and Scotland

Rev Professor Kenneth Ross was awarded an OBE for services to the community in Malawi and to Scottish-Malawi Relations. He chairs the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

He spent 10 years teaching in Malawi before serving as the Secretary of World Mission Council for another decade. Mr Ross said the award recognises many people in Malawi and Scotland who are working together to end poverty.

"This award is a tribute to thousands of Malawians and Scots who together have forged the partnership between our two nations and pioneered a fresh approach to international development. It has been a constantly inspiring experience for me to be part of the social movement in Scotland which has driven the partnership with Malawi to the stage it has now reached.

"The UN's Global Goals have highlighted the importance of partnership in the battle to defeat poverty. Scotland and Malawi are well-placed to demonstrate a working model. At the same time, I am very far from complacent since I know how much remains to be done before both nations attain their potential. In particular, the urgency of overcoming extreme poverty in Malawi concentrates my mind as I look to the future."

An elder who nourishes her community

Church of Scotland elder Mrs Margaret Anderson Green was awarded the British Empire Medal "For services to the community in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire particularly through Bourtie Rural Women's Institute."

Mrs Green has been a member of the Rural Women's Institute since 1970, a church elder since 1987, and secretary to the Churrch board for the past eight years, but that hardly begins to describe her enormous contribution to the Bourtie community.

The Honours listing says:

"For many years she has run the Bourtie WRI from her kitchen; made sure Bourtie Kirk has been warm and open for worship week by week, upheld the Church of Scotland Guild with her considerable strength of character, served on the Kirk Session with a no nonsense attitude and been a constant presence at any church or village function where she could help. She has often gone above and beyond all that could be expected and her generosity and kindness are legendary from catering for the Sports Committee to making soup for the Christian Aid week Thrift Shop."

Rev Alison Jaffrey says Mrs Green is known for feeding large groups of people with everything from delicious turkey dinners to cakes and mince pies.

"Everyone will be delighted," Mrs Jaffrey said. "She's been working away quietly in the background for many years. She's just an unbelievable woman with a heart of gold."

A Beadle who has served for more than half a century

Also awarded a British Empire Medal is Richard Hadden who has been the Beadle at St Michael's Church Inveresk, Musselburgh for 49 years, after spending several years previously as Beadle in Wallyford.

Mr Hadden said he learned about the award in a letter from the prime minister but had to keep it secret for a month.

"It came out of the blue," Mr Hadden said. "I was surprised – very much surprised – and very pleased with what they have done for me."

Mr Hadden first got involved in the Church when he was five years old and has never looked back.

"I like keeping myself busy and I love doing work for the Church," he said. "We have a very big church and a big church hall and I just get on with it. I keep myself occupied."

Alex Shaw, the session clerk, said Mr Hadden is a fixture at St Michael's, preparing for services and helping out at virtually every event.

"We don't know what we would do without him," Mr Shaw said. "We have often said that he was due a medal and now he has got one. It's a very well deserved honour and we are all very pleased."

Do you know of anyone else connected with the Church who was recognised in the Honours list? If so, please let us know.