About 2000 years ago in a small country at the extreme eastern edge of the Mediterranean, there lived a man who became quite a celebrity in his day. Wherever he went, he drew a big crowd. He was a “people person” who cared deeply for those living round about. And he understood their most basic needs for food, drink, love and companionship. So, when the time came for him to leave this life, he gathered his friends together for a final meal and asked them to remember him by sharing bread and wine with one another. He promised that, if they did this, he would be with them in this remembrance in a very special way. This is how the meal, often called the “Lord’s Supper”, was inaugurated by Jesus. We also use another name for this very special sacrament. We call it the “Eucharist”, which means “Thanksgiving”. So, what better way to celebrate the centenary of God’s goodness in establishing St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Bathgate exactly 100 years ago, than with a Celebration Eucharist!
Our Rector, Christine Barclay and a team of dedicated workers spent a great deal of time planning the details of this celebration. Invitations were sent out to members of the congregation, past and present, to former clergy and to ministers of other churches in the area, not forgetting the Bishop of Edinburgh and his family. The newly refurbished building was looking splendid and so welcoming, but space is at a premium and perhaps we should have asked for elastic walls to be included in the upgrade. However, somehow we all managed to find a seat and it’s probably true to say that, during the service, we did indeed experience “close fellowship”.
The service was led by the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Rev Dr John Armes and the Gospel was read from the Bible that was presented to St. Columba’s church on the occasion of its dedication one hundred years ago on 17 May, 1916. After a very apposite sermon given by Concelebrant, the Rt Rev Douglas Cameron, there was the Dedication of Gifts to St. Columba’s. These beautiful works of art, which will be greatly treasured, include a wooden candlestick, handmade by Penny Lyons, an illuminated wooden cross, handmade by Eric Dobson, a banner depicting St Columba, hand sewn by June Bremner and a collection of views of the church painted by Len Barham. The music was led most ably by our choir, kindly augmented by friends from another congregation, with Margaret Lumsdale on the newly repaired and upgraded organ. The congregation were also in good voice. Part of the collection taken during the offertory hymn will go to the Bathgate Memory Café and the Bathgate Street Pastors.
After the service there was time to look around the building and admire all the improvements so recently finished, including the freshly painted walls, new lighting and stripped and resealed floor. Then we all decamped to the church hall for chatter and fellowship over a delicious buffet supper prepared by the superb catering committee. I’m not sure what they would have eaten for a celebratory meal in Jesus’ day but I’m guessing that perhaps it would have included fish or lamb, bread, olives, figs, grapes or dates, and of course, wine! Well, some things don’t change and we were provided with lots of delicious savoury nibbles, including olives, followed by some toothsome, bite-sized sweet treats and a magnificent cake baked by Liz Frew and decorated with a splendid model of the church. And, of course, we mustn’t forget the wine!
It was truly a time of celebration and an evening to remember. God has richly blessed our congregation over the past 100 years and who knows where He will lead us during the coming century. Let’s give Him thanks for all He has done and pray that He will show each one of us individually what He wants us to do as we go forward to serve the people of Bathgate in the next 100 years and beyond.
Back row L-R Jim Adamson (Bass) Sandy McAlpin (Tenor) John Adamson (Bass) Andrew Gerrard (Bass) Andrew Mains (Tenor) Front row L – R Carol Main (Soprano) Sandra Buchanan (Soprano) Sandra Crawford (Soprano) Liz Oliver (Soprano) Elaine Ross (Soprano) Special thanks to John Adamson and Sandra Crawford who augmented our choir for the evening.
Iona Pilgimage 24th – 28 Mayth
Here is the first of the photos from the Iona Pilgrims. Our new St Columba’s Banner is centre stage!
Click on each image for a larger view