Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron News

Last date for submissions

31st October 2022

Date of publication

1st December 2022


Dear friends,

Now that the long, hot days of summer are receding into the mists of time, it might be appropriate to look back on what were our holidays – if we were lucky enough to actually go anywhere. Aileen and I decided to book a few quiet days in a cottage on the Black Isle. She was more enthusiastic about this destination than me since I found the heady lure of the summer sun brochures just a bit too irresistible. As she left for work one morning, I sat peering at my laptop and surfing the booking sites for the best deal. By the time she returned home after a long shift, she cheerfully asked, “Well, did you manage to get us accommodation somewhere in Ross and Cromarty?” I answered her as truthfully as I could: “I got us somewhere to stay, alright”, I replied sheepishly, “….only, it’s a bit further south.” The inevitable question was then asked, “How much further south, Stan?” To which I replied, “Menorca!”

Our plans for journeys very often start out as one thing, with good intentions and high ideals, but often the actual destination is not what was expected. As Rabbie Burns reminded us in ‘To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough’ written in 1785:

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, for promis'd joy!  

As you know, the Presbytery of Perth, faced with the hard task of cutting out nine and a half ministers from its clerical workforce has made drastic cutbacks, not least the eventual dissolution of the Parish of Abernethy & Dron & Arngask. The folks in Glenfarg and district will become part of a church grouping in the Kinross area and share their ministers, whilst the people of Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron will become part of a group of churches whose minister is based in Bridge of Earn.  Although none of these changes can happen until I retire, there seemed little point in me lingering on and blocking the future plans of the Kirk in this part of Perthshire. Hence my firm intentions to remain here until I became an OAP were suddenly challenged and I had to make a difficult decision to demit. This then, will be my last letter to you, since I will depart this Autumn - towards the end of October this year.

I am sure that, as a destination, the Black Isle holds many attractions, but the journey there went in a surprising and unanticipated direction and we were never to experience them.  On the other hand, Menorca proved to be everything I hoped for – sun, sea and a swimming pool.  Likewise, my journey with you all as your parish minister is ending prematurely, but I wish you all well in all your future travels in life, and likewise when the time comes, planned or not, a happy destination.

With all good wishes.

Rev Stan  July 2022