Tarves and Barthol Chapel Newsletter

March 2019 

The Manse
8 Murray Avenue

Dear Friends

It is such a privilege to have been called to be parish minister here, to live and serve in such a beautiful part of the country.  

As I write this we are in the process of a regular Presbytery visit to the congregations of Barthol Chapel and Tarves. In the Church of Scotland, Presbytery is the regional church governing body.  A team from Gordon Presbytery visited Tarves last Sunday and will be with us in Barthol Chapel next Sunday. These regular visits normally take place every five years and are a bit like an MOT or a health check.  

This year our Presbytery have adopted a new way of working. They are seeking to listen more to local congregations and the joys and challenges which they are experiencing. Between the two congregations there are certainly plenty of these.  

At Tarves we were able to tell the team about many different aspects of our congregational life and what came across was the importance of hospitality. Through Worship, Coffee Morning, Messy Church, Holiday Club, Breakfasts, Soups and Sweets, we seek to play a part in serving God and our community — offering a place where people of all ages can meet and build relationships.  But we are also aware of the support we receive from the wider community, from people of all ages, both at these activities and in our appeals for the foodbank and knitted items for Malawi as well as the refurbishment of the Youth Hall – and we are grateful for all this encouragement.      Next week at Barthol Chapel we will be able to share with the team, the news of the thriving monthly café, the youth club which is part of the Formartine Youth Project as well as the potential redevelopment of the sanctuary.  Here once again we are grateful for the very positive relationships between church and community.  

Through all these activities and opportunities we seek to follow Jesus in holding out a hand of welcome and friendship and sharing in practical ways the amazing love of God for the world.  Of course like the Church everywhere we are experiencing challenges. Obviously I’ve already touched on buildings. The current congregations have inherited these thanks to the generosity of past generations. But buildings not only need to be maintained. They also require to be updated to offer a good standard of accommodation — and we are working on that. We also need to find ways of offering more opportunities for worship and Christian education for all ages, and that includes finding the ways and means to install and use modern technology appropriately for this purpose.  

The visit of the team from Presbytery will be followed by an evening at which the congregations will present their story to the whole of Presbytery.  This will be held on 2 April at 7.30pm in the Church at Tarves (refreshments will be served from 6.45pm). This meeting is open to all and if you are interested in hearing more about the joys and challenges facing the church here in your local community then you are welcome to come along and participate in that evening.


With warmest wishes

Alison I Swindells