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Parish News

Wednesday January 19 2022

Our regular round-up of news received from churches

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The Church of Scotland congregation of Costa del Sol met for the last time on Sunday January 16, prior to its dissolution at the end of the month. The service was held in the Lux Mundi Ecumenical Centre in Fuengirola, the congregation’s place of worship for many years, and was conducted by the Interim Moderator, the Rev Derek G Lawson. There were 27 in the congregation for this first in-person service since March 2020, since which time worship continued, initially by way of a printed service circulated to members and, for the last 16 months, by recorded services on YouTube.

The beginnings of the congregation date back to 1964 when the Rev Peter McEwan, then minister in Gibraltar, began a monthly service in Malaga, before the congregation moved to Fuengirola. Services became twice monthly and then weekly, and in 1996 Costa del Sol became a ‘scheduled charge’ linked with Gibraltar. This continued until 2003 when each part of the linking became a 75% charge; then in 2013 the congregation was placed under the guardianship of Presbytery.

Many Scottish and other visitors to the Costa worshipped with the congregation, many of them returning year after year – as did a variety of locum ministers and others providing pulpit supply. The combination of the membership becoming older and the effects of brexit and Covid-19 finally meant that it was no longer possible to sustain the congregation, but the members will continue to keep in touch with and support each other as they have done throughout the pandemic.

Mr Lawson said: “While the closing service was a sad occasion, it was also a time to celebrate the life of the congregation over its 57 years and essentially conveyed a positive tone, encouraging all present to sustain their faith and live as salt and light in the world. Following worship and the usual gathering for coffee after the service, many of the faithful went on to lunch together. This brought the chapter to a close, but the bigger story of which we are all a part goes on!”

Greenbank Church in Edinburgh has achieved the Eco-Congregation gold award following an assessment last November.

The Church has been a member of Eco-Congregation for some years and has an active EcoGroup working to reduce its carbon footprint. In recent years the church has installed an intelligent heating system and more efficient gas boiler. The group also raised money to green the area in front of the church and to plant trees both on church property and in the local park, Braidburn Valley Park, which had an expanding orchard.

The group had only applied for the Eco-Congregation silver award, but the assessors were impressed enough to award them gold instead. Alison Murison, convener of the EcoGroup, said: “Imagine how pleased we were that all our work was so appreciated.”

Buckie South and West Church linked with Enzie welcomed three new elders last month, with the ordination of Elizabeth-Jane Hutchinson and Graeme Thain, and the admittance of Catriona Ladanowski.

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