Bowden and Melrose Parish Church

Church Office, Weirhill, St Mary's Road, Melrose. TD6 9LJ
Telephone : 01896 823339 E-mail :
Scottish Charity No: SC006480

News from the Parish

Nativity display in Melrose Parish Church
On Saturday 8th December the church was open for visitor and members to view the many Nativity scenes that were on display. Later that afternoon there was a short act of worship reflection on the coming of Christmas and the birth of Jesus.
The display was also in place for the Sunday Service and the concert later in the day.
Although the many nativity scenes are now removed they can all be seen on the parish Facebook site.

The Bowden and Melrose Congregation is a member of the Scotland's Churches Trust (SCT).

As a member we receive copies of the SCT annual report and copies of this report are available to view and read at both churches.
The Bowden copy will be alongside other material on the shelf just inside the main door and at Melrose it will be next to the notice board at the Gattonside door.

SCT hold various members' meetings and there is to be "The Marion Fraser Memorial Lecture" held on 25th October 18 at 6.30 pm at Glasgow University Chapel when Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, will talk on the subject of “What’s the use of Churches”.
If any member of the congregation would like to attend please contact John Henderson by e-mail.

SCT Annual Report 2017/18

Melrose and Peebles Presbytery are holding an Autumn Conference on 24th October 2018 at Innerleithen Church. The topic for the afternoon and early evening event is "THE MIDDLE EAST". This event is open to all and congregations throughout the Presbytery and congregations are encouraged to send along delegates.
There are three guest speakers and the full programme can be downloaded by clicking on this link.
It is important that names of those wanting to attend are known by Monday 15th October at the very latest and names should be given to John Henderson (Presbytery Elder) by calling 01896 822079 or e-mailing.

Website revisions have been subject to an initial meeting and it is hope that we will shortly see some new section and more downloadable information on the work and services of the congregation.

Melrose and Peebles Presbytery, of which our congregaton is a members, has recently established a Presbytery website and this can be linked to via the following link
This website will provide information about all the churches and congregations within this presbytery area and shed some light on the workings of this court of the Church of Scotland.

Social Media in the form of a Facebook page is now up and running and it is hoped that this will become a new and exciting way of engaging with the congregation and the community.
We would encourage as many as possible to like this Facebook page as we hope that is will appeal and reach out to many, especially those of the younger generation.
To access click on the Facebook image.

Easter Sunday Celebrations 2017 started with a 7.30 am service on the "Saddle of the Eildon Hills".
Even with an earlier start to that of previous years a good number of people made the ascent and appreciated the short service.
Following the service many then walked back down the hill to the Melrose Church Hall were bacon rolls, fruit juice, tea and coffee awaited.

Easter day service 15 on the Eildons

The congregation gather for a group photo following the Easter service.

Easter day service 15 on the Eildons
Easter day service 15 on the Eildons

Rev Rosie Frew leads the worship both in word and music.

Singing Easter praise with guitar accompaniment.

The Induction service and social to mark the arrival of Rev Rosemary Frew as the new minister of the Bowden & Melrose Congregation took place on Thursday 30th March 2017. The induction service was at 7.00 pm and this was followed by a social event when the parish hosted visitors from the Presbytery and from Kirkcaldy. It was also a time to meet with Rosemary Frew and her husband David. There were various votes of thanks and presentations along with one to Ewan Rintoul the recently retired Session Clerk, this marking his 37 years of service as Session Clerk to this congregation.
Below are some pictures taken that evening.

Left to right:
Very Rev David Arnott, Interim Moderator; Rev Margaret Steele , Moderator of Presbytery; Rev Rosie Frew; Rev Dr Leon Keller; Rev Victoria Linford, Clerk to the Presbytery

induction photos 1 May 16
induction photos 2 May 16
induction photos 1 May 16
induction photos 2 May 16

On Saturday 19th November 16 the Bowden & Melrose Pastoral Care Team hosted a conference for the congregations from Old Parish Church of Peebles and Eddleston Parish Church.

This arose out of the fact that all three congregations are a part of the same presbytery. As a result there was knowledge of the work of the Bowden and Melrose Pastoral Care Teams by all of the Ministers and Presbytery Elders from Peebles and Eddleston.

It was thought that for the visiting group it would be beneficial to meet outwith their usual surroundings and to come to Melrose where they would hear in greater detail and learn about the work of the Bowden & Melrose parish group.

The conference programme for the day is shown on the right and the first part of the conference was dedicated to reviewing and rethinking how the Peebles and Eddleston congregations might handle their pastoral care needs. The second part, following a buffet lunch, was a focus on the experiences and working of the Bowden and Melrose Pastoral Care Group. A presentation was given on behalf of the Team by Ian Forsyth supported by Shelagh Westwood. This was followed by a very interesting and lively discussion before the conference ended with a short act of worship in the Chapel lead by Rev Calum MacDougall.

Below are photos from the day.
pastoral photos 1 May 16
pastoral photos 2 May 16
Ian Forsyth speaking to delegates
Lunch provided by the Peebles & Eddleston congregations

Sunday 1st May 16 saw the final service in the long and successful ministry of Alistair Bennett to the congregation of Melrose and since 2007 to the United Congregation of Bowden and Melrose.
This was an emotional service for both Minister and Congregation but also one for wishing Alistair and Judi all the very best for their next charge in Christ Church, Bermuda.
Below are some images from the service, congregational presentation and lunch reception. We hope that in the next magazine there will be more detail on this day along with further images.
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Alistair conduction his final service as our Parish Minister
A full congregation for the farewell service
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Choir singing anthem
Minister with Elders able to attend farewell service
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Presentation to Alistair made by Session Clerk
Alistair and Judi cut Cakes / Church floral tribute
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Farewell photos 1 May 16
Congregational lunch following the service
Congregational lunch following the service

End of a successful and long ministery.

After 32 years of service to the congregation our minister is to leave to take up a new charge at Christ Church, Warwick in Bermuda. This is a Church of Scotland international charge and Alistair will be inducted to that charge on the 13th May 2016.
Over what has been a very fruitful and long ministry in the Borders, Alistair has seen the original charge of Melrose Parish Church extended to now be the charge of Bowden and Melrose. The congregation has seen the development of the chuch buildings, linking with parishes abroad and substantial support provided to international causes.
The departure of our minister was always going to be a challenging moment for members and minister alike after such a successful ministery however we wish Alistair and Judi every success in this new chapter. For the congrergation we will now look to the challenges of a vacancy followed by a new ministry with new friendships and opportunities.
The farewell service and buffet lunch is to be on Sunday 1st May. There are more details of this within the current magazine which can be downloaded from the website.

Easter morning services on the Eildons

Easter in 2016 was early and landed on 27th March and the day of the change of hour. Despite these facts there was again an 8.00 am service conducted by the Minister on the Eildons. The weather was not as good as in the previous year however a good number still ventured up to the Saddle to great Easter Morning.

Easter Sunday 2015 dawned with low cloud over the Tweed Valley but with bright skies on the top of the Eildon peaks.
This was the setting for the first of three Easter Day services for the congregation and several visitors. Like last year the 8.00 am service on the Saddle of the Eildon Hills was much appreciated by what was a bigger group from that of 2014, this time numbering between 55 to 60 along with a number of dogs. This was gathering from the young to the senior citizen.
The setting and weather were very emotional with bright sunlight on the group and a slowly clearing cloud cover below in the valley.
By the time the short service had concluded the cloud had all but lifted and many of the group then took the opportunity to climb the remaining section to reach the top of the Mid Hill. For others it was the descent back down the hill and to the Melrose Church Hall were a group of ladies had bacon rolls, fruit juice, tea and coffee awaiting.

Easter day service 15 on the Eildons
Easter day service 15 on the Eildons

Some of the gathering emerging out of the cloud on the final ascent to the "Saddle". The congregation starting to gather.

Easter day service 15 on the Eildons

The congregation joining in on the singing of "The Load of the Dance".

Easter day service 15 on the Eildons
Easter day service 15 on the Eildons

Above the cloud the clear bright skies and the Mid Hill. Some of the congregation setting off on the descent to enjoy breakfast.

The second service was held at Bowden Kirk at 9.30 am and this was a celebration of communion and at 11.00 am there was a very full congregation at Melrose Parish Church, this rounding of a full diet of Holy Week Services.

The 2014 Holy Week Services saw the introduction of a new service*, this being an open air gathering on the "Saddle" of the Eildon Hills on Sunday 20th April at 8.00 am.
Over 40 persons, from young to the more elderly set off in time to climb up to the Saddle for 8 o'clock on what was a dry but misty morning. A short but very moving service took place including some unaccompanied hymn singing.
After the service most of the group descended back down to Melrose and the Melrose Parish Church hall for a reward of bacon rolls, tea and coffee plus some Easter treats.

* For those with a much longer memory, the previous Minister of St Cuthbert's Parish Church, Rev Bob Henderson, held 2 such services on the Eildon Hills in the 1970's.

Easter day service on the Eildons
Easter day service on the Eildons

Mist beginning to lift off the North Hill as the service ends and the group starts to disperse.

Easter day service on the Eildons

The congregation also included a number of well behaved dogs and some very young children who all managed the climbed.

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