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Christmas Celebration

The 15th-century St John’s Kirk, Perth is the beautiful setting for this year’s Christmas Celebration, which takes viewers of BBC Scotland and BBC One Scotland across midnight into Christmas morning. It was in 1490 that King James IV funded the start of the present building, but there has been worship on this site in the heart of the city of Perth for a thousand years. St John’s remains the focal point for significant city and county services and ceremonies.

Six well-known traditional carols, Once in Royal, Hark the Herald, O Come All Ye Faithful, See in Yonder Manger, As with Gladness and O Little Town of Bethlehem are sung by a large congregation gathered from all over Perthshire, accompanied by Alba Brass.

Other carols are sung by smaller choirs. Jambouree, a mixed children’s and adult choir, perform songs from Scotland and Malawi. Chansons, a Perth-based chamber choir, sing Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day and two other songs. And Caritas, a new choir formed at the suggestion of the Duchess of Cambridge to perform on significant national occasions, sing Torches by Jean Joubert and a new version of Silent Night by Paul Mealor, who has composed for the Cambridges’ wedding and for the Army Wives choir.

The traditional Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus along with modern meditations are read by 13 pupils from nine Perth primary and senior schools.

The organist is Howard Duthie. The minister is Rev John Murdoch.

Watchnight Service Recording

This year’s Watchnight Service is called ‘Christmas Celebration’ and will be transmitted on BBC Scotland on Christmas Eve 2019. It is a music-based programme interspersed with relevant readings and links. This year we are recording in Perth at St John’s Kirk.  Half of the music items will be performance based from the local Jambouree choir, Chanson Chamber Choir and Paul Mealor’s Caritas Choir; the other half will be carols sung by the congregation. 

The congregation will be made up of people who regularly worship at St John’s Kirk together with members of congregations from surrounding churches, as well as singers from local Perthshire based choirs and schools and anyone else who wants to join in the fun and festive celebrations.

The aim is to absolutely fill the church with people, both non singers and singers, young and old, who want to be part of this programme for Christmas Eve.  We’d like to invite you to join with St John’s Kirk’s congregation and help us fill the church. If you sing in a choir, we would also like to invite SATB singers to sit in their appropriate ‘parts’ to augment the singing and give us the necessary variation – harmony, descants, men only, women only etc.

The recording will take place on Saturday 23rd November from 7pm – 10pm in St John’s Kirk, St John’s Place, Perth.  As in previous years this is a free of charge – ticketed event. Please ask those who wish to attend to put their name and a contact telephone number on the sign-up sheetso that we know exactly how many people have committed to come and we avoid overfilling the church or, the embarrassing situation of having empty seats.

The carols are: Once in royal David’s city, See amid the winter’s snow, Hark! the herald angels sing, Child in the manger, As with gladness men of old, and, O come, all ye faithful. The carols will be accompanied by organist Howard Duthie and Alba Brass whose arrangements are always uplifting.

There will be a rehearsal on the Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 5pm at St Matthew’s Church Main Hall, Tay Street with the programme conductor Susan Hamilton and organist Howard Duthie. Attendance at the rehearsal is welcomed but NOT compulsory.  

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

All good wishes,

Susan Burgess

Assistant Producer, Tern Television Productions, 73, Crown Street, Aberdeen AB11 6EX

Telephone: 01224 252 306

Piano available

Mrs Olive Martin contacted us about donating a German piano which is in good condition but is in need of being tuned. She wishes to donate if it would be of use to anyone. 

If you are interested, she lives in Comrie and can be contacted on 01764 670364.

Inside out

The guest speaker at this month’s meeting of Perth Action for Churches Together (PACT)) was Morag Sievewright, who spoke about Inside-Out  – an ecumenical initiative to help prisoners maintain a church connection when they leave prison;  we are looking for Christians who would be keen to form a group in Perth, which would receive prior training. 

More information will be sent out for dissemination in individual churches – PACT is keen to promote this, in conjunction with the Scottish Prison service and the Prison chaplains.

New leaders for Perth’s Salvation Army

Andrew and Kathryn Howe are the new leaders of Perth Salvation Army. They took up our new responsibilities on the 12th of September and report that they have thoroughly enjoyed these initial days of experiencing the ministry of Perth Salvation Army in the Fair City. 

They arrive in Perth from Buckhaven, where they have been serving for the last three years, where they shared actively with the churches and Christian/community organisations across Levenmouth working together to build God’s Kingdom in our communities, making a real difference in many different ways. 

Andrew says, “We found our work and relationships with our friends from across the church to be very fulfilling and therefore are very keen on joining you and working alongside you as you build God’s Kingdom here in Perth. We very much look forward to meeting you in the days ahead, and being involved in PACT and whatever other initiatives come along.”

Scottish Bible Society

The Scottish Bible Society extends an invitation to an individual or group from your church to an information and networking evening at the North Church, Mill Street, Perth on Tuesday 25th June at 7.30pm.

Mr. Norman Liddle, Community Partnership Manager with the Scottish Bible Society will give a short presentation on the current work of the society, focusing in particular on resources for use in our own changing context here in Scotland, such as:

  •  free, downloadable Bibleworld resources for children’s groups
  •  free Equip resources for Bible study groups
  •  ‘Dear Theo’ (an accessible version of Luke-Acts, illustrated and easy-to-read, with resources to use with young people)
  •  the Community Bible Experience that is transforming people’s interaction with the Bible across Scotland
  •  and the Trauma Healing programme which is having a remarkable impact in situations of need
  •  not to mention ongoing connections with the world church from China to Iraq and from Cuba to Burkina Raso and the Bible     Translation Roadmap 20-year strategy.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and to view resources from the Society and there will be refreshments and time to interact more informally with others from across the area, to share experiences and good practice.

This invitation is going out to all churches in the Perth and Kinross area and we look forward to the opportunity to engage with you and discover how the Scottish Bible Society may support you in your mission in the coming years.

I look forward very much to welcoming you or someone from your church to the event on 25th June but in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.  It is not necessary to confirm in advance if you will be represented but it would be very helpful to know how many to expect in order to assist with the preparation of refreshments. My e-mail address is if you want to contact me.

An appeal from Perth and Kinross Foodbank

To all our lovely supporters, we really need your help!

We have seen a  huge dip in the amount of food being   donated over the past few weeks, and a 20% increase in food parcels being handed out.  Our Foodbank is currently running very low on the following items:

· Pasta sauces

· Packet pasta meals

· Tinned or packet puddings

· Tinned tomatoes

· Jam

· UHT milk.

Please consider popping one of these items into our permanent collection points in the supermarkets, or at the church.   

L’Arche – Open Gathering in Perth


L’Arche is a grass-roots organisation, building community networks from the ground up as
people with and without learning disabilities.

Its core value is that of shared lives in mutual relationship.

In the Perth Seed group L’Arche is currently exploring the prospects for launching a new community.

*L’Arche offers more than forty years L’Arche experience in the UK
*The first community in Scotland continues to flourish in Inverness, the second in Edinburgh
*There are ten communities in the UK and 148 across the world.

Service provision is one aspect of L’Arche and its shape reflects the desire of local people with learning disabilities, of their networks of relatives and friends, and of the commissioning plans of a particular area’s Social Work team. Local plans reflect the existing strengths of the area.
In most cases, this provision begins by supporting local people at home – sometimes with people moving to a new home. But L’Arche always responds to whatever people in a local group value the most.

L’Arche fulfils all the accreditation steps, referral or SDS arrangements that go with the provision of dual-registered care services with the Local Authority and with the Care Inspectorate.

As L’Arche works on the options for a third Scottish community in Perth, the key criteria are whether there is a desire among local people with learning disabilities, their network of friends, their relatives and advocates, to show the role that a L’Arche community could play as part of Perth’s existing communities – and how that desire is matched in Social Work / Health, Housing and regulatory bodies.

Also of key importance are the interest shown by local people prepared to get involved as volunteers, helping build up momentum and providing skills for future project development and overseeing: and the scope in Perth in future to employ key people with experience.
A network of local people with a deepening vision for how L’Arche could grow in Perth, must come before and with the planning, the search for resources, buildings or workers – all of which are essentials to make this vision a reality.


Our AGM will be held on Tuesday 28th May at 7.30pm. in the North Church.  We are delighted that Rev Jim Stewart has agreed to be our guest speaker – he will be reflecting on this past year when he was one of the chaplains to the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt. Rev Susan Brown.