St Columba's Church - Crieff
St Columba's Scottish Episcopal Church is situated in a large garden on the busy Perth Road which runs through the historic market town of Crieff, the town which used to be the centre for the Drovers bringing their cattle from the Highlands to sell to the Lowlands and the English.
Our Christian faith is based on the historic creeds. We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Word of God, and we meet to worship, study and pray, and to celebrate the Eucharist, or Communion, the celebration of the Lord's supper. We are part of the Diocese of St Andrew's, Dunblane and Dunkeld , a Diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church , which is an autonomous province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, alongside the Church of England , the Church of Wales and the Church of Ireland .
There are members of our community who have worshipped at this church, and in the older building that stood on this site, all their lives, who remember running down the hill to the Episcopal school every morning and swimming in the River Earn on warm summer evenings (see history). There are also many who have moved to the area over the years and been drawn by the warm welcome and friendship they have found. The church is open to all who wish to join in worship on Sundays or at the weekday services, as much to those who are exploring their faith and wrestling with questions about God as to those who are settled church members. Our aim is to provide as wide a range of worship opportunities as possible, for the traditionally-minded as well as for the younger and those who are still exploring.
Our church is a modern, dual purpose building, which has the flexibility to provide a beautiful worship space, but also an easy to maintain area for a range of different functions. A broad range of community organisations uses the church, and the smaller St Michael's room during the week. One group particularly close to our hearts is the one set up by a parishioner, helped by church members, to support people who are recovering from a stroke, and who find it really helpful to have people to compare notes with, and to swap hints and tips as they develop confidence to enter social life again.
We have a dedicated pastoral care group, who visit those who are housebound, and form part of a prayer chain for people who ask for prayer. They help provide a monthly Communion service on a Tuesday afternoon for those who find it hard to sit through the longer Sunday morning service. The tea and chat afterwards provides a good way of catching up with old friends.
Young people, and all those who are young at heart, are welcome at the very informal service held usually on the last Saturday of the month, between 6.30and 7.30. This is an ecumenical service, attended by parents and children from the three Strathearn churches and the Parish Church in Crieff, and anyone else who wishes to come! (Check on the events page for the exact dates each month).
There is also a thriving group that meets for prayer and Bible study on Tuesday evenings, where, in the safety of a small group in private homes, there is a chance for a more personal exploration of our relationship with God, and his calling for us.
We are committed to our responsibility for the environment, and are proud that we have become an Eco-church. We have a busy eco-group to keep us on our toes. A number of people work hard in our garden, and we received much help from the children of Ardvreck School and the Glenalmond Community Service scheme in extending our planting. We have designed a route round the garden, with a leaflet to help people wishing to take a while to be quiet and reflect on God in nature – see prayer garden below .
We have a variety of other teaching and social events on the go – do visit the events page to see what's happening at the moment and read the magazine to see what has happened.
- 8.00 a.m. - Spoken Eucharist (1929 Prayer Book). (When there is a fifth Sunday in the month, this is normally merged with the service at 11.15 a.m.).
- 11.15 a.m. - Sung Eucharist.
- 9.00 a.m. - "Breakfast Flock" - tea, toast and Communion.
- 7.30 p.m. - Bible Study and Prayer. (Check venue in events – this is usually held at someone's home.)
- 2 - 4 p.m. - Crafts and tea.
- 2.30 p.m. - Shortened Eucharist, followed by tea and fellowship.
- 6.30 – 7.30 p.m. - "Saturday Special" - an informal service for the young (and young at heart), for all the Strathearn churches,. It is held at St Columba's , normally on the last Saturday of each month. (Check events.)
- 7.00 p.m. - "Filling Station" at the Crieff Hydro on the fourth week of each month.
- Church Wardens: Mrs Kate Clements and Mrs Mary Mitchell.
- Treasurer: Mrs Jane Humble. Tel 01764 654047.
- Secretary: Mrs Maggie Duncan. Tel 01764 656640.
- Bookings for Church and St Michael's Room: Mrs Mary Mitchell. Tel 01764 654139.
OFFICE OF SCOTTISH CHARITY REGULATOR REFERENCE SC 023267
‘And I saw in the morning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
And the legends of green chapels'
From Dylan Thomas: Poem in October
St Columba's Church
Garden of Prayer
Stones tell us stories,
gardens remind us of God,
the wind whispers secrets to us,
nature teaches us wisdom
so as we walk round this garden, let us see what we can learn from it,
how it can teach us what to say to God, and what God says to us
Start at the west gate. With your back to the gate you will see three stone panels on the ground. They come from the original St Columba's Church, and they carry symbols of the church:
The legend of the pelican Symbol of the good mother, and of the church. The story is that the pelican will feed her young with the blood from her own breast when food is scarce.
In hoc signo ‘ In this sign' The story goes that the Roman Emperor Constantine was facing an vast army of Barbarians, and the night before battle he has a vision of the cross and heard the words: ‘In this sign you will conquer. He had all the Eagle standards replaced by crosses, and the Romans were victorious. This marked the beginning of the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire . In this sign we still do our work today, and you will see these letters on many church objects
The Lamb of God Jesus is our Passover Lamb: he died at the season of the Passover, and through his death we are saved. (Revelation 5: 1-8)
The Cross The beloved symbol of all Christians who remember how Jesus died for us
Move along the side of the church to the back left hand corner of the grounds, where you will come upon the wild garden:
The logs to shelter the bugs Ugly, apparently useless but so valuable for shelter – enabling pollination, fertilisation, cleaning the soil
What about those weeds? We need to be vigilant in the garden and in our lives (in the psalms, David speaks of the enemy lying in wait for us, and he emphasises the importance of rooting them out, not allowing them to take hold. We notice the great variety of them, and consider different ways in which we are tempted and fall. We see too that some of the weeds are so interwoven with the good plants that they have to be allowed to grow with the good plants until they are big enough to tell the difference, and the good plants are strong enough to risk the trauma of yanking the enemies out from round their roots.
The wild flowers They have been established gradually; some are very fragile, but they are growing and spreading. Consider: what is the difference between a wild flower and a weed?
Time to sit and think We all need Sabbath times – God hasn't made us work horses, but he loves to see us play, to have us spend time quietly, to enjoy one another and to get to know him, and to relish the shelter and refreshment he provides.
The tree overhead Look up into it and feel the shelter and protection God provides
The rose Just a bit along the wall is a rose. It nearly died but was r escued. It seems so sharp and strong, but is actually surprisingly brittle and fragile, and needs support and gentle handling. Some people we think are prickly may in fact just be trying to defend themselves – could we handle them more gently?
Every herb here comes from the Bible (list them with Bible references)
Give yourself time to think of some f the stories where they appear – how marvellous to think that we are seeing the same kinds of plants as those that people were awre of in the Holy Land so many generations ago.
The Rowan Tree:
Set on the altar of the old church Unseen witness of the past – still supported today
The legend of the Rowan : it is planted in gardens and in church grounds to ward off evil spirits
The compass points at its roots remind us of the influence of God across the world, in every aspect of pour lives – our challenge to look out to all points of the compass: mission
Remembering those we've loved
The Ardvreck Memorial We pause for a moment to thank God for the sacrifice of those from this area who died in the First and Second World Wars. Here is a chance to pray for an end to war – for peace in the troubled areas of the world.
The memorial stones for family members We rejoice in the generations of people who have made up the family of this church, and we thanks God for placing us in this living community where we can share in the life and service and support of all those who have gone before us.