Small village - many churches present

Former Strathkinness ministers Rev Alex Strickland (left) and the Very Rev David Arnott (right) joined current minister the Rev Allan McCafferty and probationer Debbie van Welie at the church's 150th celebrations.

Former Strathkinness ministers Rev Alex Strickland (left) and the Very Rev David Arnott (right) joined current minister the Rev Allan McCafferty and probationer Debbie van Welie at the church's 150th celebrations.

0
Have your say

For a century and a half every Sunday, worshippers have made their way to attend Strathkinness Parish Church.

And earlier this month, more than 130 parishioners and ministers, past and present, turned up to celebrate the church’s sesquicentennial.

Today’s minister of Strathkinness is the Rev Allan McCafferty, who said the celebration weekend went really well with an exhibition in the church and home baking in the neighbouring hall.

“It was a lovely atmosphere, really positive and encouraging,” he said.

But it didn’t take much encouragement to get the church started in the mid-19th century.

The new parish was established in 1860 – until then Strathkinness was part of the parish that is now Holy Trinity in St Andrews – and by 1863, agreement had been reached that a new church should be built.

In February 1864, it was reported that work was going on to draw up plans and specifications.

Just seven months later, in September 1864, it is recorded that the church was completed.

Over the years, the church has changed and developed –the precentor was replaced by choir stalls and a harmonium, communion tokens were abandoned, stained glass windows were installed post-war, along with presumably much-needed heating and lighting.

The congregation has also built two church halls over the years, the current one described by Mr McCafferty as “lovely” was built in 1995 after a major fundraising effort in the village which, along with support from several charities, raised £100,000 to pay for the building.

There have been changes in the church over the years too.

Early in the 20th century, the Free Church united with the church of Scotland in 1929 – but the shrewd people of Strathkinness waited until 1935 to unite, after their long-serving parish minister died.

The church has also been linked with other churches throughout its history.

Falling membership and a shortage of ministers saw Strathkinness linked with Dairsie and Kemback in one ministry until the retirement of the minister, the Rev Alexander Strickland, in 2005.

Since then, the kirk has been linked with Hope Park Church in St Andrews, with Sunday services in both churches and shared services once a month in one or other church. And in 2010, Strathkinness played host to Hope Park parishioners while their church was being renovated.

Now Mr McCafferty looks after around 100 people who are on the roll of Strathkinness Church, but sees only around 15-20 people at weekly services.