Historic church welcomes Moderator for anniversary celebrations

An historic church in East Ayrshire will celebrate its 375th anniversary with a service attended by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Fenwick Parish Church from the outside
Fenwick Parish Church

Fenwick Parish Church, which is well-known for its association with the Covenanters, will welcome Rt Rev Susan Brown on Sunday 12 August.

She will preach a sermon as part of the service.

Founded in 1643, the congregation survived the turbulence of the 17th century as well as a fire in 1929 which left only the walls intact.

Located near Kilmarnock, the notable building has many artefacts which relate to specific historic events or people.

One of the items saved from the flames was an hour-glass which is original to the building and has been used for hundreds of years to makes sure the minister preaches for at least 40 minutes.

The historic hour-glass is original to the building
The historic hour-glass is original to the building

Session Clerk Kevin Wadsworth spoke of the significance of Fenwick and the plans for the rest of the year.

"Within the church we have the Phinigk Flag, which was flown by the Covenanters at the battle of Drumclog and is one of the best surviving from that time," he said.

"We also have the Bible of Captain John Paton, who was an elder at Fenwick and a Covenanter, which was handed from the gallows to his wife just before he was executed.

"His descendant, Rev Marion Paton will visit this year.

"Previous ministers of Fenwick are planning to visit throughout the year, from across Scotland, including Orkney, Ayr and Fife."

Mr Wadsworth said the congregation has developed a teaching pack with local schools.

"On 8th and 9th of September, Fenwick Parish Church will take part in Doors Open Day, which will give people a chance to find out more about the unique history," he added.

"A 'Conventicle' will be held on the Sunday of Doors Open Day, which will recreate the outdoor services which the Covenanters held when they were banned from churches."

Mr Jim Miller, who makes matchstick models of churches, will unveil a miniature version of the building also during Sunday's service.

A matchstick model of the church
A matchstick model of the church will be unveiled this Sunday

Rev Colin Strong, minister of Fenwick Parish Church, said the congregation was delighted to welcome the Moderator to share in the 357th Anniversary celebrations.

"Although there have many godly people associated with our church throughout the centuries, the name of Fenwick is inextricably linked with the Covenanters," he added.

"Their faith and their willingness to stand firm for the lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of scripture, whatever the personal cost, serves as an example and inspiration to all of us today."

Mrs Brown said she was looking forward to visiting Fenwick Parish Church and discovering what plans this congregation, with a history of going beyond the church walls to worship God, has for the future.

"The same God who inspired so many in the past is at work in the congregation today," she added.

"Different challenges face us all, but this congregation is borne of the courage of her predecessors and carries their passion for sharing a Gospel that speaks of Good News for everyone. "

Right Rev Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Right Rev Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

The anniversary service will take place on Sunday 12 August at 10am at Fenwick Parish Church.

Tours of the building are available on request.

Fenwick Parish Church will take part in Doors Open Day on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.