Holy Week 2016

Holy Week 2016 is upon us. From all at St John’s, Dumfries,

St John's Church, Dumfries

St John’s Church, Dumfries

wherever you may be, we wish you blessings for this special time of year when we remember the sacrifice our Lord made for us and celebrate his resurrection. Happy Easter everyone.

Below is the services at St John’s and other churches, organised by Dumfries Christian Network, that you may like to attend.

Services for Holy Week 2016

Palm Sunday 20 March: 11am – Sunday Eucharist with the distribution of Palms and reading of the Passion.

Monday 21 March: 7.30pm – Dumfries Christian Network Holy Week service at St Andrew’s RC, Brooke Street.

Tuesday 22 March: 7.30pm – DCN Holy Week service at St Michael’s & South, St Michael’s Street.

Wednesday 23 March: 7.30pm – DCN Holy Week service at Glen Aros Church, Steele Avenue.

Maundy Thursday 24 March: 7.30pm – Holy Communion and Stripping of the Altar; 9pm – Watch of the Passion (until midnight).

Good Friday: 10.30am – Walk of Witness starting from Troqueer Parish Church & finishing at the Fountain on Dumfries High Street at noon for a short service.

Good Friday: Noon: Traditional Devotions at St John’s led by Bishop Gregor

Good Friday: 4pm: Veneration of the Cross and The Communion, St John’s

Good Friday: 7.30pm – DCN Holy Week service at Troqueer Parish Church, Troqueer Road

Holy Saturday: 7.30pm – Ceremonies of the Easter vigil with Affirmation of Holy Baptism for Confirmation & Renewal, St John’s

Easter Sunday: 8am: DCN Sunrise service, Mill Green, next to the River Nith.

Easter Sunday: 11am – Family Sung Eucharist, St John’s


Jim Booth named as Interim Priest

Outline of comments, from Jim Booth, with regards to the Interim Priest role, made to St John’s congregations on Sunday morning, 28th February and Wednesday morning, 2nd March.

1 ‘I feel honoured and humbled to have been invited to take on the role of Interim                         Priest on the retirement of our Rector, Robin, later this year.

  1. The role is that of ‘Interim Priest’ – i.e. it is not that of replacement Rector. The role therefore will require me to: Make sure that things happen; that what needs to be done is done – it will not be to do it all myself; – Exercise a ministry of oversight, with the authority of our Bishop – and, therefore to be a first port of call; – To work with many others through this interim period of interregnum, building a team to work collaboratively.
  2. This period of interregnum will require of us all that we work together, but recognising that we are not alone. God, in His love, is with us in it and, therefore, we approach these coming months both hopefully and expectantly, knowing that we will be faced not only with challenges but also with new opportunities.
  3. In this season of Lent we journey with Christ to the cross and to the tomb of resurrection, the events which lie at the heart of our faith, events without which we have no faith to celebrate. Those events have at their heart the challenge to change, to be transformed, to be made new. In fact the Gospel, the journey of life itself, is all about change, about moving on into what lies ahead – journeying with God into His future for us. And for us that will be through this period of transition.
  4. We must recognise though that, for some, change is very difficult. We will need to listen to one another, to support one another through it, always recognising that God is with us in it and that the Holy Spirit is at work through the processes that will be followed.
  5. We must trust God and pray for His guidance, that His will be done for us as the community of His people here at St John’s.
  6. And we must also pray for Robin and Helen as they, too, journey into God’s future for them; as they move into a new stage in their life and ministry.
  7. May God bless us all as we move forward into His future for us.’


Jim Booth – March 2nd, 2016

Press told of Robin’s departure

Below is the press release that has been circulated to local media

Canon Robin Paisley

Canon Robin Paisley

concerning the departure in the summer of Robin, our Rector. The release has been sent to, among others, The Dumfries and Galloway Standard and The Dumfries Courier newspapers.

Mike Tyas

THE Rector of St John’s Church on Newall Terrace, Dumfries is to retire in the summer.

Canon Robin Paisley will officiate his last service at the end of June after ten years leading the congregation.

St John’s will be celebrating 150 years since it dedication, in December 2018, and Canon Paisley said this played a part in his decision to retire.

‘This will be a very good induction project for a new Rector.’ he said.

‘I have been here for 10 years and in the recognisable cycle of developments in church life another five years, which is the maximum I could serve at St John’s, would lead me into another cycle of which the 150th anniversary is an example.

‘It has been a privilege to serve this vibrant community of St John’s.’

St John’s, which is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church in partnership with the Methodist Church in Scotland, will officially begin the process of replacing Canon Paisley, 64, after he has retired.

An interim minister will take up post after Canon Paisley leaves, aided by a widely-experienced St John’s team of currently serving and retired ministers.

In a message to the congregation David Kerr, Vestry Secretary, expected that the new Rector would be in post by the spring/summer of next year at the latest with such a transition time being normal in Scottish Episcopal tradition.

Mr Kerr wrote: ‘The first thing is to reassure you that Robin is not ill; nor is there any other negative reason for his retirement.

‘He wishes, as we all would wish for him, to be able to enjoy his retirement, Helen’s retirement, their grandchildren and all the normal things, while they are both still fit and healthy.’

Mr Kerr added that Canon Paisley will be leaving St John’s in a ‘strong position’.

He wrote: ‘We are a viable, active, diverse congregation, which has experienced competent, pastorally and spiritually sensitive leadership for the past ten years.’



Plans for replacing Robin

From David Kerr, Vestry secretary

I need to tell you about a meeting the Vestry had with the Bishop recently. You’ll mostly be aware that Robin is approaching 65, though that, as they say, is merely a number and is belied by the energy and enthusiasm he continues to bring to being Rector of St John’s. That job, though, is enormous and, in many ways, bears little resemblance to how it was ten years ago, when he . . .

David Kerr

David Kerr

arrived; still less that of twenty or thirty years ago. You will have guessed, by now, if you hadn’t already, that Robin is proposing to retire; and that that will be at the end of June this year.

The first thing is to reassure you that he is not ill; nor is there any other negative reason for his retirement. He wishes, as we all would wish for him, to be able to enjoy his retirement, Helen’s retirement, their grandchildren and all the normal things, while they are both still fit and healthy.

The second thing is that, inevitably, people retire, or move on. I wasn’t at St John’s in those days, but I know that there have been times in the past where these transitions have happened in sad, or unplanned, circumstances. But this is something that Robin has planned, after consultation with Helen, the Bishop and others; and there is evidence that God has been planning this, too. What do I mean by that? Well, consider, firstly, the strength of St John’s position: we are a viable, active, diverse congregation, which has experienced competent, pastorally and spiritually sensitive leadership for the past ten years. We have a Vestry which is an elected spiritual eldership and a supportive Bishop and Diocese. It won’t be an overnight process to find a new Rector. But there are recognised structures in place to help charges deal with the situation. More about those in a minute. In the meantime, I was talking about God’s planning. In the past year or two, our already generous allowance of retired Clergy has been added to by the arrival of Hamilton and Grace and by Jim and Carole Booth all of whom have been with us for well over a year. This means we have a wealth of experience and spiritual and pastoral depth to draw on meantime. God’s provision. And it means we don’t have to rush out and collar the first person with a collar that we see.

Let me say a bit more about the protocols and so on that are in place to keep us on track in the absence of a Rector. I’m not going to go in to the Chapter & Verse of this just now, or we’d be here all day. That detail will come later and is governed by the 2010 Constitution and the rules and procedures of the Diocese and Province.

Firstly, Robin will still be with us for the next few months. His last weekend with us is expected to be 25/26 June. There’s more detail and a rationale for this, but I’ll save that meantime.

Secondly, it falls to the Bishop to appoint an Interim Priest, after consulting the Vestry. What it says is, ‘The Bishop appoints the Interim Priest to keep a watching brief with the Vestry during a vacancy. The priest is there to offer advice to the Vestry as issues arise in the ordinary life of the charge and may need to deal with pastoral emergencies…. It is expected that the Interim Priest would be the first point of contact for funerals, marriages and other occasional offices. The priest may decide to officiate at these or to delegate them to another priest.‘ The Vestry felt that Jim Booth, who has been amongst us for some time and has contributed to the development of healing prayer ministry would be a good person to fulfil this; Jim has indicated a willingness to do so, and the Bishop will shortly formally confirm this.

The Interim Priest is not expected to chair the Vestry. The Vestry has meantime agreed that James Clark-Maxwell will do this, and that Heather Gibbings will be his depute.

So that’s how we keep the lights on and the services happening with no Rector.

The procedure for appointing a new Rector is governed by the 2010 Constitution, so may vary from what people may remember from last time.

Within a reasonable period (and we have provisionally agreed with the Bishop that that would likely be in June), we have to hold a Special General Meeting at which 7 constituent members of what I’ll call a Vacancy Committee are elected. In many charges, this is the Vestry; here there can be an overlap to a greater or lesser extent, but the only actual requirement is that members be constituent members of the congregation of at least a year’s standing. That committee is required to act in consultation with both Bishop and Vestry in finding a suitable candidate for recommendation to the Bishop for appointment. The Committee cannot begin to search until the existing Rector has left. A Parish Profile, describing the kind of church we are, and a Person Specification, outlining the kind of person we’re looking for, would be drawn up. The post can be advertised and it is possible, also, that the Bishop might make a recommendation (which the Vacancy Committee is not obliged to accept) if there is someone he knows of and whom he thinks might be suitable. Eventually, an agreed candidate or candidates is/are arrived at, interviewed, recommended to the Bishop and, if approved by him, appointed.

So: a likely timeline for all of this is:

  • Mid-June, 2016: SGM held; vacancy committee elected
  • End of June: Robin departs
  • September: AGM and Vacancy committee starts its deliberations
  • November: Vestry at Cumbrae and final work done on the Parish Profile and Person Specification and approval by the Bishop.
  • January, 2017: Search, advertising etc begins
  • March, 2017: Interviews and successful candidate appointed; likely 3 month notice period to his/her existing charge.
  • June, 2017: New Rector at St John’s.

You may feel that’s a long time, but the Bishop advises, and the Vestry agrees, that it is already a fairly tight time scale to do all the things we need to do. We need to do it once, and do it right.

There’s more detail available, but I’ve kept you long enough. Just to finish; different people will have different, and complicated, emotions about this news. My personal feeling, which some, but not all of you, may share, is that I wish neither Robin nor Helen were going, but I have to recognise that everyone eventually must retire or move on and, in terms of the planning Robin has put in to this and God’s provision of so many people (and that includes each other) to look after us, this is the ‘least worst’ time for a change of Rector; it’s not a disaster and we mustn’t make them feel it is; we need to release them with our blessing, with our thanks for the past ten years and to wish them every blessing in the next stage of their life together.

The Vestry – any of us – can answer any other immediate queries you may have.”

David Kerr – Vestry secretary

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