Ministry in Aberlady & Gullane Parish Churches
Lothian Presbytery has appointed Rev Robin Allison as our new Interim Moderator. Aberlady and Gullane Kirk Sessions have both approved the appointment of Rev Fred Harrison as our locum minister. Both Robin and Fred have written their own introduction (see below) and we look forward to working with them both over the coming weeks and months.
Rev Robin Allison
I’ve been asked to write a few words to introduce myself to you now that I have taken over as Interim Moderator at Aberlady and Gullane Parish Churches following the departure of your former Interim Moderator and Locum, Rev Ruth Halley who has taken up a post at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.
So, who am I? My name is Robin Allison, and I am the Minister at Cockenzie and Port Seton: Chalmers Memorial Church where I have been Minister since February of 2018. I was ordained in 1994 and am married to Julia with whom I have three daughters.
I want to thank those members I’ve met so far from both Aberlady and Gullane who have been so warm and welcoming. I look forward to working with them, and indeed you all, in the coming months.
By now, you will be aware that the future shape of ministry for Aberlady and Gullane Churches is subject to a wider discussion with the Presbytery of Lothian. You will also no doubt be aware that this discussion has only been brought about due to the diminishing number of full time ministries available to the National Church. Currently there are nearly 300 charges without a Minister. There are still some 600+ Ministers in post but a significant number of them are likely to retire in the next 5 to 10 years meaning that there now has to be some creative thinking and planning. The recent General Assembly also set a target of around 600 ministries nationally, the first time a target like this has ever been set. In time, this will have an impact right across the Church of Scotland.
The challenges, therefore, are clear but then again God’s Kingdom is built on his people guided by the Holy Spirit and with your continued enthusiasm and support for your churches we will work together, along with the Presbytery, to find the best way forward here.
In this process I want to re-assure you that I will do everything I can to help you and your office bearers on this journey. I am glad too that Rev Fred Harrison, whom you are already getting to know, will be working alongside me and you as Locum two days a week and two services on a Sunday.
We are here for you. Please do be in touch if we can help in any way.
With every blessing and best wish to you.
Robin Allison (Rev) – Interim Moderator
Rev Fred Harrison
By way of an introduction to those members I have as yet not met, my name is Fred Harrison and I am honoured to have been accepted as your new Locum following Rev. Ruth Haley’s decision to move on to her new role at Greyfriars Kirk.
I was ordained into the ministry in 2013 having spent most of my working life in the Buildings Services industry before my wife and I taking early retirement a couple of years ago.
Whilst I was a part of the generation of children going to Sunday School until fun and games with my mates won me over, I returned to church after my dad died and about the same time became a dad myself some 37 years ago.
I am married to Joyce and we are blessed with two lovely daughters and a total of nine grandchildren or step grandchildren, we don’t see any difference. Our eldest is now 18 and our youngest is now about 15 months and we love them all dearly.
Home for us is where God needs us which was Dunbar for a couple of years but is now back in Gorebridge where we both grew up. During our time in Dunbar I had the privilege of serving with Neil Watson at Belhaven with Spott and then was able to serve as locum at Dunbar Parish church whilst Gordon Stevenson was off during the early part of the Covid pandemic. This flexibility is because I am an Ordained Local Minister. Loosely translated, I am ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament as a voluntary part time minister who is normally deployed by Presbytery to assist in parishes as they see a need. During the Pandemic when churches were closed and there was no need for my deployment I was free to fill the role at Dunbar as locum and now to serve you in that capacity too.
As my official start date, the 20th of June comes closer, I find myself becoming more exited at the opportunity to serve the communities of Aberlady and Gullane. As locum I will be providing pastoral care and funeral cover as well as covering the services in the two churches whilst the Rev. Robin Allison serves as Interim Moderator to look after the Church Business.
I hope to spend a little over a day a week between the two parishes visiting folks but clearly that isn’t enough to get round everyone. For that reason I look forward to seeing you at either the in person services in church or at the evening services on Zoom and welcome a call should you need the services of a minister. All my working life I have been used to calls to go into work at strange hours of the night and ministry is no different. Whilst I may not always be able to take your call if I am with someone, I will always call back and will always be available to you God willing.
Meantime, until we meet face to face I pray you feel the presence of God in your life and know his love for you.
Regards Fred – 07703527240