Carol service will close North East Kirk
Published on 9 December 2023 2 minutes read
An Aberdeenshire kirk will be celebrating Christmas and 800 years of Christian service with a final service this weekend.
Bourtie Kirk, which lies to the south of Oldmeldrum, is hosting a Lessons and Carols service this Sunday, 10th December, at 2.30pm, as its final regular service before the historic church is released for sale.
As well as marking the start of Advent, the service will also allow past and present members of the congregation, along with former ministers, a final opportunity to come together in worship and share memories of the kirk.
The service will be followed by a "Banquet for Bourtie", held in the Barn at Barra Castle, with the castle owners donating the use of the function suite for the occasion.
Bourtie has been a place of Christian worship since at least 1199 and in 1995 representatives from the Church of Scotland and other denominations came together for a service of dedication marking its 800-year legacy.
The long history of the site is reflected in the presence of a Pictish symbol stone, which was built into the south wall when the church was rebuilt in the early 19th century, and an early Christian cross-stone, which was incorporated into the churchyard wall.
Meldrum and Bourtie minister Rev Ailsa McDonald sees the service as an opportunity to show gratitude for Bourtie's legacy, but also to acknowledge the closing of a significant chapter in a collective journey of faith.
"There is a sorrow in leaving behind a place so rich in history and memories," she states.
"But even in this time of transition and change, we are reminded of God's love and eternal hope that the Christian message brings. As we bid farewell to Bourtie, we carry with us the lessons learned and the faith nurtured within these walls."
She expects the small church to be almost full for Sunday's service, with around 70 people likely to attend.
They will include Rev Elspeth McKay, moderator of the Presbytery of the North East and Northern Isles, and former Bourtie ministers Rev Bob Johnstone, Rev Hugh O'Brien and Rev Alison Jaffrey.
The church is expected to be offered for sale within the next few weeks, but there could be an opportunity to use the building for special services until the sale is complete.
The congregation will continue to hold weekly services at Meldrum Parish Church.