Three churches celebrate 1,000 years of combined worship
Published on 23 September 2023 3 minutes read
Three Church of Scotland congregations are celebrating a millennium of combined worship.
Members held special services this month to mark being at the heart of their communities for 1,000 years.
Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly, is the guest of honour at a special service of thanksgiving at Largo Parish Church in Fife tomorrow.
The parish has had a Christian worshipping presence for 400 years.
Very Rev Dr Russell Barr, Interim Moderator of Largo Parish Church, said members were looking forward to a programme of celebrations over the next week.
"Largo has had a worshipping Christian presence since the 9th century AD and local people are very proud of their history," he said.
"The oldest part of the present building is the chancel which bears a tablet with the inscription, ‘Fear God / PB/ 1623' in reference to Peter Black, owner of Largo Estate.
"People are very mindful the church has been a constant presence at the heart of community life throughout all these years.
"Lots of community groups and organisations, including the children of the local primary school, are contributing to the 400th anniversary celebrations, and the congregation is honoured and excited by the visit of the Moderator.
"As one of the members said to me, the Moderator's presence makes it a really special occasion."
Aberdalgie Kirk in Aberdalgie, a village south of Perth, will celebrate its 250th anniversary tomorrow.
Inside the historic building is the Aberdalgie Incised Slab, which is of national importance.
It has the effigy of a knight within an elaborate architectural framework and commemorates Sir William Oliphant of Aberdalgy, who died in 1330.
A signatory of the Declaration of Arbroath, he defended Stirling against Edward I.
Sir William was held in the Tower of London before returning to Scotland and his son, Walter Oliphant of Aberdalgy, married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert the Bruce.
Christian worship has been offered at Aberdalgie for well over a thousand years.
Session Clerk Gordon Mackay said: "Since 1773, Aberdalgie and Dupplin Church, at the heart of our rural parish, has been modernised three times, the last in 2022.
"A new community hub and garden is currently in development and local residents are excitedly awaiting the 'Green Shoots Centre' opening in July 2024."
A lot of the work in the church's walled church garden has been undertaken by volunteers who have learned skills such as green woodworking, dry stane dyking, and garden design.
They were all trained by local craftsmen and people to benefit include local school children undertaking Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The Moderator was the guest preacher at Lauder Kirk in the Scottish Borders, which marked its 350th anniversary on 17 September.
Minister Rev Lynn Brady said the celebration was "an absolute triumph" for all involved.
"Everyone stepped up and it was just wonderful and so enjoyed by the congregation," she added.
"The Moderator delivered a powerful, thought-provoking sermon on important words of 'love' and 'forgive'.
"We were really pleased that she was with us and thought that the celebration to mark 350 years was done well.
"The music, the all-age choir, the coffee, cake and the meal were all examples of how much the church and its people are held in high regard by the community we serve."
Mrs Foster-Fulton said the services mark generations of "loving, learning and serving communities".
"Our churches are part of the fabric of local life, and embody the call of Christ to love God and love each other.
"These two calls cannot ever be separated, so we celebrate the gifts that have been shared.
"We also look forward to the next steps on the journey.
"For each of these well-lived church communities, it is an important moment to reflect, give thanks and roll up their sleeves for the next adventure."
The Moderator is currently on a Fife Presbytery visit.