About The Mothers' Union

About The Mothers’ Union

St John’s has a lively branch of the Mothers’ Union, a world-wide Anglican organisation that provides practical help and advice as well as promoting spiritual development and fellowship. Despite the title, you don’t have to be a woman or a mother to be part of it!

Some of the activities of St John’s members include support for Dumfries Women’s Aid, provision of toiletries and help to people in hospital, participation in a network of prayer and work with the Mothers’ Union in our twin Diocese of Byumba. There is a lively programme of meetings and worship.

This Week at St John’s

Sun 8 Sept: Trinity 12 (2nd)

8.00am Holy Communion (Scottish Liturgy 1970) (Chancel)

9.15am Morning Service (Crichton Memorial Church)

9.30am Matins (Church)

11.00am Sung Eucharist (Crèche facilities during the service; refreshments and presentation about lighting afterwards)

6.00pm Taizé-style worship (Church)


General Meetings may seem like buses; you wait and wait, and then several come at once. As well as today’s Special General Meeting, (see below) specifically about lighting, The Annual General Meeting of the Congregation will take place following the 10.30am United Service for Harvest and a Congregational Bring & Share lunch on Sunday, 29/09/2019. All ‘Any Other Business’ items for the AGM to be in Margaret Morton’s hands by noon on Friday, 27/09/2019 at the latest, please.

As to the AGM itself, it will, as previously, be in the context of the service. The meeting will be convened at the end of the service and will adjourn for lunch at 12noon, with the formal business commencing at 1.15pm. Elections this year are for 4 members of the Vestry (to replace 3 retirals and 1 resignation), Lay Representative, Alternate Lay Representative, and Regional Council Representative. Nomination forms are at the back of the church, with an Apologies sheet to sign if you know you will be unable to attend and wish your apologies to be noted. The papers will be available from Friday, 20/09/2019, either in paper or electronic form, on request, from David Kerr. (pastadmin AT stjohnsdumfries DOT org / 07754 596140).

As to the Bring & Share Lunch: contributions are welcome, but please don’t feel you have to provide for us all and, if you need a special diet, just bring enough for yourself.

If you have any questions about any of these arrangements or the AGM, please ask me.
Margaret Morton ( secretary AT stjohnsdumfries DOT org )

Church Lighting: The Tower Group has asked lighting engineers to suggest improvements for St John’s which will be discussed at a Special General Meeting TODAY 15th September after the 11am service and soup lunch (proceeds to the Scottish Bible Society). This follows last week’s presentation when David Kerr outlined the background to the current situation with St J’s lighting and showed pictures of various churches visited. Margaret Morton, Acting Vestry Secretary

As we did last year, we plan to decorate the church’s window spaces for Harvest, on the theme of ‘Talents’. If you’d like to be involved with this, please speak to Carolynne Sorrell.Sorry we had to cancel the trip to Britannia on Thursday, owing to the indisposition of some of the folk who were planning to go. The next trip is to Port Logan, on Monday, 30/09/2019. At the time of writing, there are still a couple of spaces available. See lit noticeboard.

The trip to the Franciscan Friary at Alnmouth in March is now full. Thank you for your interest.

Keep the date: Christian Aid Coffee Morning on Saturday, 21/09/2019, 10-12noon at The Usual Place. St John’s is responsible for co-ordinating the cake stall. All offers of home baking, – cakes, biscuits, as well as jams, chutneys etc are all most welcome. They can be brought to The Usual Place between 4 and 6pm on Friday, 20/09/2019, on the day from 8.30am; or collected, by contacting Margaret Morton on 01387 262734. See lit noticeboard for further news of Christian Aid.

Although there is no Fairtrade stall today, there is plenty of stock kept at the church, and I am happy to supply any items required. Just ask! Judith Mylne

The next MU Meeting will be on Thursday, 19/09/2019 at 12.30pm. The speaker will be our Rector, the Revd Janice Aiton. Soup will be provided; please bring own sandwiches. There will be a sales table (baking, produce, plants). Please use outside door for entry to the Hall. We would welcome any member of the Congregation who would like to come along and join us for the afternoon.
Margaret Bone

As people will be aware, the repairs to the Tower are being funded to a large extent by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. It is a condition of the grants that we display NLHF and HES logos on a couple of banners on the scaffolding and these will be going up shortly. Neither is disproportionately large. We often temporarily display similar banners for Christian Aid, Alpha and the like, and there are no plans to accept commercial advertising, although some churches have been known to do so. When the works are finished, we will need to display a plaque, acknowledging the sponsorship of the repairs. Anyone who has visited St John’s, Forres, for example, will have seen something of the sort.

There will be a Retiring Collection this week (as there was last) in aid of the Scottish Bible Society. If you wish to Gift Aid your donation, please place it in an envelope, marked SBC.

No space for the Diary extract this week either, but the new Diary, dating from last Sunday, is out. It is blue in colour. Please pick one up, if you didn’t get one last week. The Diary is also downloadable here, which also publishes a weekly extract , and which takes account of more last-minute changes.

Please keep your GDPR consent forms coming, as we need these to be able to keep an accurate record of members and adherents and to take account of your preferences as to how you are contacted.. There should be spare forms at the back of the church. If they run out, contact David Kerr (07754 596140 / pastadmin AT stjohnsdumfries DOT org), who can supply more.


I’m conscious that there has been some time since the last Vestry update. Many of the items that have been discussed have been shared with everyone—the discussion on same sex marriage in the church building, the progress with the project to repair the tower and to improve the lighting in church—but there are other matters to bring you up to date with.

As a church we are fortunate to have a number of documents and other items which are part of our heritage. A small number are on display at the front of the side aisle. With the ownership of them comes the responsibility to ensure that they are cared for properly and you may remember that Graham Roberts, who has recently retired as Regional Archivist, came last year to talk to us about how that should be done. At our request he has inspected the documents and other objects we have and has advised which ones would be suitable for transferring to the Archive Centre. The Vestry has accepted this recommendation

  •     the documents will be properly cared for in the appropriate environment
  •     they will be available for public access with any necessary supervision (probably more easily than if we kept them)
  •     what was happening in the church could be part of a wider picture of what was happening in the town and the relevant records will be all together

We have gifted them to the Archive Centre which means that the responsibility for their safekeeping is theirs without limiting our opportunities to access them if we need to.

Graham has told us that other paperwork and objects are likely to be of interest to the Local History section of the Ewart Library but at present we are keeping these to have a closer look ourselves and hopefully to put at least some out on display. We have some scrapbooks from the past which should make interesting viewing!

The work is not finished. There are more documents which need to be listed so that we can if necessary take advice and decide how best to preserve them for the future.

This has all taken a lot of work and the Vestry would like to express our thanks to Heather Barrington, Kim Jackson and Gill Swales for all that they have done.

You’ll recall that a good deal of work was undertaken in the Rectory during the Interregnum and we agreed with Janice that in future there would be a planned programme of regular work or maintenance. This year the outside of the windows will be painted. We are also taking advice on how a building like the Rectory can be insulated effectively and we have to recognise that sooner rather than later we will have to budget to replace the boiler.

As you know because of the unsteadiness of the central altar kneeler when people need to tread on it we have been trying out different ways to make such movement safer. There is no perfect solution and at the 8am service it still needs refining. At 11am moving the kneeler seems to work but we have to acknowledge that this is not done without effort and the Vestry would like to thank the servers who carry out this task.

Over the past months you may have been receiving requests from organisations of which you are a member in connection with the General Data Protection Regulation asking you to check the information they have, to let them know how you would wish to be contacted in the future and to give permission if they use social media to include you. The Vestry hopes to finalise the paperwork for St John’s at its next meeting and then to distribute it. Many of us will have given contact details in the past but wex

 may have moved house, use a mobile phone rather than a landline or prefer to be contacted by e mail. Please do complete the form when you receive it. That will help us ensure that our details are up to date and that we contact you in the way you wish

The most important item that we have started discussing is what should be our vision for growth—not for the next 150 years, but certainly over the coming decades. If we want succeeding generations to worship here we have to think not only about the “bricks and mortar” but also about what sort of a church God is calling us to be so that we are effective witnesses.

That doesn’t mean throwing out everything we do/we are and starting again with a blank sheet. It does mean thinking about what we do that builds us up in our individual Christian lives and is a good witness to others, what we might need to rethink and what is God calling us to do that we are not doing.

This has to involve all of us. It’s not the prerogative or the sole responsibility of the Vestry but we did think it was our responsibility to start the process off. We’re not planning to do this immediately when we’re all hoping for a good summer when people want to be out and about. The plan is to start the discussions at the beginning of September and hopefully to complete them in October. The Vestry will have its usual weekend away in November when we want to spend the time concentrating on the thoughts and views we all have and on how God is guiding us.

If you have questions about any of these items please ask myself or a member of Vestry.

Margaret Morton

Acting Vestry Secretary