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Letter to Congregations of Crail and St Ayle - December 2019

Dear Members and Visitors Advent is the time of waiting in the Church. A time when Christians for generations and well over 1600 years have focused attention on the expectations and the patience required before the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift to humanity. We are not used to waiting in this age.  We life in a time of ‘instantitis’ as one my American colleagues expressed it. We want super-fast broadband, complain when  emails do not go immediately, and deliveries do not arrive as and when we have scheduled them and do not like waiting for a bus or a train or plane. We are in an age of ‘instant gratification’ where we expect everything to be immediately available and then we complain when they are not! Therefore for the Church to celebrate a time of waiting is counter cultural and completely against the contemporary world’s expectations. It says that the Christian Faith is out of step with the current understanding of human life and the way human beings have learned to operate. Maybe that should give us pause for thought. In another sense we have in this linked charge experienced a period of waiting. Waiting – sometimes impatiently - sometimes with grace and charm. The Members of Nomination Committee which you elected and entrusted with the task of seeking a new minister has had huge expectations  placed upon them. You have expressed confidence and trust in electing them and they have not been idle.  Through the last 11 months letters, advertisements, and a parish profile have been created and circulated.  Regular meetings have taken place to discuss process and consider expressions of interest. As a result of their labours, the Nomination Committee has come to a decision and has unanimously agreed to recommend the Revd John Murray, currently minster at  Kilmuir and Stenscholl  to the congregations as the sole nominee to be called as minister to the vacant change.

A full profile of Mr Murray and why the Nomination Committee have agreed to recommend him for election will be available in due course.

The Church’s regulations now come into effect. Mr Murray has accepted nomination. Therefore he will preach and conduct worship on Sunday 26th January, 2020 at 9.45 am in Crail and 11.30 am in St Ayle. After the congregations have heard Mr Murray and considered carefully the perspective and recommendations of the Nomination Committee, it is expected that they will vote to call him as the minister elect of Crail linked with St Ayle.  There will be an opportunity thereafter to sign the Call, either as a member or an adherent, or those who are not members may submit a ‘Paper of Concurrence’. The members of the congregations have an active apart to play in ensuring that their names are on the electoral registers of their own congregations, and most importantly, keep all involved in prayer as we face the time ahead. An induction service will be held in St Ayle Cellardyke after the Call is sustained by the Presbytery. This will not take place immediately as the manse has been rented out to the benefit of the finances of  the congregations and will require work  and be inspected by the Presbytery  before any induction  can be proceed. Pastoral issues will also have to be considered in relation to the sole nominee and his family circumstances. Patience will be required again.  Your participation in the process is vital to the future of this linkage. Worship will be  led by some experienced ministers and the worship teams until the new minister is inducted. Your continued support of the work of the congregations will ensure that the anticipated arrival of a new minister will find the congregations ready to venture into  God’s future. I am delighted that the labours of the Nomination Committee have borne fruit and entrust the next stage of the process to the guidance of God.  I wish you all health and happiness in this season of Advent and for the exciting year ahead of 2020. Nigel J Robb (Revd) Interim Moderator of Crail linked with St Ayle.

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