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Ellon & Cruden Bay Branch - Archive 2011 and earlier

Carol Service 2011


On a cold, but clear, winter day with record high winds our December meeting found us, once again, welcoming our friends from the Ellon Resource Centre to our annual Carol Service. They were all in good voice and really enjoyed singing the carols and, especially, hearing a solo by member Carol Fox.


Our Rector, Revd. Canon Peter Mander, led the service and Margaret Murray told the story of Jesus’ Coming.


Afterwards, we all had tea and cakes together in the church hall and everyone agreed we had spent a happy afternoon together.


In the usual fashion we finished the afternoon with a rousing “We wish you a Merry Christmas”

Photo  – some of our friends enjoying tea



Amongst our Souvenirs


This was the theme for our November meeting and members brought along some very unusual and pleasant reminders of their past. What made it even more interesting was the background each member gave and why each memory meant so much to them.


After our break for tea, with cakes brought along to celebrate the birthday of two members, we settled down to hear the second half of the DVD playing the BBC Songs of Praise from the Albert Hall, it being a fitting end to a most enjoyable meeting.


Bring a Plate for Lunch


This was the theme for our October 2011 meeting.  It was part of our Church Harvest celebration. All members made a donation which will be divided between the Overseas Fund and our local charity, ‘Away from it All’.


This charity is held annually for a deserving family to go away for a short, but well earned holiday.


After lunch plus tea or coffee, we settled down to watch a video recording of last year’s BBC  Prom Praise from the Albert Hall. The orchestra conductor was Noel Tredennick, who is the god son of one of our members, Cannon Dorrie Firmin. We could only manage the first half of the concert on this occasion and hope to see the remainder at our November meeting.



September 2011 Meeting


On Tuesday 6th September our guest speaker was Dr. Martyn Gorman his subject being ‘Syria’, a country he had visited two years ago.


Through his talk, and outstanding photographs, we toured from Haire to the Euphrates, ending with the Lawrence of Arabia (who at one time stayed at Colieston) era.


Dr. Gorman displayed pictures of Crusader castles still in good condition, souks where goods ranging from dyes to pharmacia and bikes amongst many others.


We saw the 3,000 year old Roman city of Mari with an interesting street called ‘Straight Street,’ with people still occupying some of the houses.


Of course, as part of the talk he spoke about the current problems in the area but that did not detract us from the wonderful pictures and commentary and giving us a most informative and interesting subject.


Doreen Baillie gave a vote of thanks on behalf of all the members present.



August 2011 Branch Meeting

On Tuesday, 2nd August, instead of our usual meeting at St. Mary’s, we paid a visit to our sister church, St. James, at Cruden Bay.


Despite the dreadful weather at the start of the day it had cleared up by the start of the meeting and we received a very warm welcome at the church.


After a reading by Margaret Murray and prayers by Carol Fox we were given a potted history of the church by Marna Cruickshank, a member of St. James who lives in Cruden Bay.


The ancient Kirk of Cruden dates back to 1012 A.D. when there took place a battle between the Danes and the Scots under King Malcolm II. It may well be that the name Cruden comes from Croch Dain - the slaughter of the Danes. After the battle a pact was made and the Kirk of Cruden (dedicated to St Olaf, the patron saint of Norway and Denmark) was founded by the Scottish King to mark the spot where the fallen warriors on both sides were buried.


The Church was mentioned in a Papal Bull by Pope Adrian IV in the year 1157; and in 1256 it appears as one of the prebends of the Cathedral of St Machar in Aberdeen, with the right to appoint a Deacon to serve as Vicar in the Cathedral.


The first church was built on a sandy plain near the sea - now part of Cruden Bay golf course. It was overblown by sand and another church was built on a slightly higher piece of ground. Changes in the dunes have revealed the site of the church and a special service is held out in the dunes at this site every year.


The present Cruden Bay church (the third built on the site) was built sometime around 1776 and could originally hold a congregation of 600. The organ is said to be of Italian origin and is unusual in its design, but sounds delightful.


Afterwards we made our way home mainly along the beautiful coast road to Ellon, having had our usual welcome cup of tea and biscuits and our thanks go to our hosts for an interesting and delightful afternoon.

Members looking around the church of St. James:

Top photo (from the left):

Mary Christofferson (retired organist) Margaret Murray, Doreen Porter, Sylvia Baston

Photo above (from left):

Margaret Murray, Chales Fox, Blanche Beattie


July 2011 Branch Meeting


This meeting was a Songs of Praise in St Mary’s where we were joined by about 20 members from our Sheltered Housing complexes in Ellon, the residents of which always enjoy attending as much as we enjoy their company.


We all sang several well known hymns and it was a joy to hear the way we all joined in together. Our leader, Carole Fox took the meeting, Chares Fox read the lesson and Margaret Murray led the prayers.


Our organist, Alison Stephen, had a double celebration on Sunday, 3rd July, when it was Alison’s birthday and, with Frank’, their 40th Wedding Anniversary. We wish both of them happiness and lots more to celebrate in the years to come.


Afterwards we all had tea and cakes in the Church Hall, in all a good afternoon enjoyed by everyone.

Sylvia Baston


June 2011 Branch Meeting


At our monthly meeting on Thursday 7th June the speaker, unfortunately, was changed at the last minute due to previous illness, and one of our own members Charles Fox stepped into the breach to give a talk and slide-show on Norman Rockwell, the American artist and political cartoonist.


Rockwell's earlier work  of paintings, together with his newspaper illustrations and political cartoons  were shown, together with the  background and relative history of each being described by Charles.


A most enjoyable and informative evening with everyone expressing a wish to see more on the subject at a future meeting. A vote of thanks was given by Sylvia Baston  and fully supported by all.


Our prayers and best wishes were also sent to our original speaker with the hope that she would be able to attend a meeting sometime in the future.


Easter Praise Celebration 2011


On Tuesday 3rd May we once again were delighted to have the company of the Ellon Resource Centre to take part in our Easter Praise Celebration.

The Rev. Peter Mander took the service and the singing of the hymns was, as usual, enjoyed by everyone.

One of the members from the Centre was celebrating his birthday and, before going into the hall for tea and cakes, he was wished a happy birthday in the church.

Sylvia Baston


30th Anniversary Celebrations  

On Tuesday, 1st March 2011, branch members were joined by other members from throughout the Dioceses together with non-members from the congregation, to celebrate our 30th Anniversary as a M.U. branch.


The service was held at St. Mary on the Rock and the rector Peter Mander was the celebrant at the Eucharist, with our M.U. Diocesan Chaplain Canon Graham Taylor being the Preacher.


It was a joyous occasion and afterwards everyone went to the church hall for tea and a celebration cake.


Two of the founder members, Dorrie Firmin and Carole Fox, cut the cake.


Other founder members and past Branch Leaders were there so a great deal of ‘catching up’ went on with all looking forward to many more years ahead.

Sylvia Baston


A Journey of Faith


On Tuesday, 1st February 2011 members of the St. Mary on the Rock and Cruden Bay Branch had a most interesting talk from the Rev. Sheila Craggs from the Ellon Parish Church.


She told us of how she was called to the Ministry, and of the journey she went through to finally get through to her studies at Edinburgh.


Her first placement was at Ellon and had only just started when her husband asked her 'how would you like to live in New Orleans for three years'?  What a dilemma for anyone but, after a great deal of thought and prayer, she said 'yes'.


On arrival at New Orleans she found it difficult to settle in at first as her husband was working and decided to attend a local church.  The church warmly welcomed her and she soon settled in as a member of the congregation and felt at home.


Whilst talking to the local church members they soon found out she was a vicar and before long taking services, baptisms and weddings, plus all the other usual church duties.


The three years soon passed by and, in time, the family returned to Ellon.  Whilst abroad she made many friends in the congregation and has been back to New Orleans to see them.


We were all fascinated by her excellent talk and it gave us lots to think and talk about.


Sheila George gave a vote of thanks on behalf of those attending, together with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation.


Carol Concert


On Tuesday 14th December 2010, the Ellon and Cruden Bay Branch entertained a group from the Ellon Resource Centre at a Carol Concert held in the church of St. Mary on the Rock, Ellon.


As usual the singing was very good and, afterwards, there was tea and cakes for everyone present. The group is always very pleased to come to us and we are more than delighted to welcome them.


Safe Arrival


At the Wednesday morning Eucharist one of our founding members, Dorrie Firmin, was pleased to announce the safe arrival of her great-grandson Riley, and we send our best wishes for the future to both him and his parents.


A Time for Change


On Saturday 16th January 2010, members of the Branch at St Mary on the Rock, Ellon met to hold their AGM.  In tune with the Roman god Janus, they looked both backwards and forward.  The Rev'd Canon Peter Mander commissioned Carole Fox as the new Branch Leader to take the place of Sheila George who stepped down after six years in post.  Carole who was instrumental in the formation of the Branch 30 years ago, has held several positions at both Diocesan and National level and will bring her expertise and experience to the Branch.


Two new members were enrolled, Charles Fox and Moira Milne.  Charles has volunteered to be Diocesan Treasurer in place of Chris Crosley who is our new Diocesan President. To make the occasion more special our out going Diocesan President, Olga Robertson, was also present along with the new Diocesan President and a Diocesan member Teresa Probert from Orkney.


In Sheila's report on the past year, she welcomed the opportunities to share the aims of the MU with the wider congregations and expressed her thanks for their support.  She has confidence that with the leadership of Carole, the support of the Rector and with the Diocesan President a branch member, the outlook is bright.



Sheila was presented with a beautiful bouquet in recognition of her contribution to the Mothers' Union in Ellon.






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on the Rock Scottish



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