Monday 30th. January, 2014 (later) An Eventful Afternoon 

There is always a camera when the Moderator is around. Kimberley from the local press catches Andy (on the left) receiving a Bethlehem dove from the Moderator

I drove back to Eyemouth after a late morning at Mount Pleasant (during which I prepared some of the documentation for sending out for next week’s meeting of presbytery) and arrived just as the Moderator and his two partners were completing their round of golf. I was greeted with the words, “Well, the course won” from which I assumed that the high winds had taken their toll. However as conversations developed it appeared that the golfers had done rather better than they had at first admitted. To me it was just staggering that John had gone round without losing a ball – but that probably says more about my golf than it does about his.

We assembled in the bar for a drink before lunch (well, we had to because the ladies hadn’t completed their round). We were joined by Gordon who had organised the event and his wife Heather, and by the local ministers Adam with his wife Catriona, Andy and Carry, and Norman, and, of course, the golfers.

The ladies completed their round (they had missed out three holes) and were glad to get in out of the wind. We dined in the clubhouse. It was an excellent lunch, just right for after a round of golf – just right for me, too, even if I hadn’t played golf: fish and chips and peas followed by profiteroles and cream.

Liz holes out on the eighteenth green

An excellent setting for an excellent meal

Ready to embark

After coffee we left to deliver the Moderator into the hands of the life-boat crew and to wave him and Liz off from the quayside.

However when we arrived, the crew were keen to take a full complement of visitors to sea and so Norman and I joined Andy and the Moderator and his wife for an afternoon cruise. It was good to be on a boat again and it was lovely and blowy and quite bouncy at times as well. I was interested to look at all of the instrumentation and equipment they had on board – I will certainly have faith if I ever need to rely on the lifeboat. The crew were nice folk and genuinely pleased to have us all on board. Our trip lasted fully an hour and took us to St. Abb’s Head – there was a great deal to see.

This is really quite fun!

The Moderator takes control

Scotland’s coast-line is spectacular

Yes, we are particularly glad that we came to Duns Presbytery

Sometimes as Moderator you have to put your head above the parapet

Exhilaration or Benediction?

That was really, really good

Don’t mention the Titanic

Jamie receives a dove on behalf of the Lifeboat Crew

Having disembarked we disrobed from our survival suits and lifejackets while the Moderator presented a glass dove to the crew as a memento of his visit, and then it was quickly on to Coldingham Priory where some of the congregation were waiting to greet the Moderator and to share in afternoon tea. A party of pilgrims en route for Holy Island were there as well and this was more than a little appropriate. Again the Moderator presented the congregation with a dove and also he presented a long service certificate to Margaret who had served as an elder in Coldingham Priory for more than thirty years.

A view of the interior of Coldingham Priory

John shows the dove, the symbol of his moderatorial year, to the congregation at Coldingham Priory. It was made by people in Bethlehem out of the remains of buildings destroyed by shelling – something beautiful from the ruins

Liz and John are shown around the grounds of Coldingham Priory by Heather who is pointing out one of the many points of interest to her guests. The grounds have been exceedingly well developed to tell the story of the Abbey in an appropriate and unobtrusive manner

I was most impressed by Coldingham Priory. It is not what I had expected from seeing it on several occasions from the outside. It is beautiful, airy, worshipful, appropriate and modern while retaining a feel of all that has gone before. The Moderator reminded the congregation that now they had a beautiful worship space it was there to be used and to be used adventurously. I was glad that I was there.

About six I drove the Moderator and his wife back to Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and then made my way home. Mum and Rachel were out, having gone to a Holy Week Service in Berwick, Olive was getting things ready for our guests tomorrow. I came across to the Bothy to deal with the photos I had taken today and then I grabbed something to eat before walking Mix, watching the News and retiring to bed. It has been another good day!

And yes, I had a good day too!


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