Category Archives: Minister’s Page

Minister’s letter from September 2018 magazine

Dear friends,

We are delighted to be part of the family of St. Cuthbert’s Church and look forward to sharing with you all in worship, fellowship and service.

We have been touched by the warm welcome you have given us on our arrival in the town.  Thank you very much for the greetings cards sent to the manse, for the flowers offered as we chatted over the garden fence, for the food brought to the back door and for hospitality in your homes.

The induction service was very special, combining the formality of such a service with the warmth of St. Cuthbert’s fellowship.  At the social we enjoyed your delicious home-baking and learned a little about local heroes and dialect, as well as the rivalries of different football teams! Your gifts of the flowers, the beautiful picture looking towards Arran, the book token and cheque were most generous.  Thank-you for all your kindness and for all the work put in to make that evening so special.

We would also like to thank the team who joined Archie before our arrival to decorate the manse, make sure everything was comfortable for us, and transformed the garden.  Your hard work is much appreciated.

As a new session begins, I look forward to getting to know more of you through coffee and tea after the service and through visiting the various activities and groups of the Church.

During my first few weeks with you my overarching theme has been “Getting to know you”.

This is a multi-dimensional theme as you get to know me, too, and we seek to get to know Jesus better, so that we can help others also get to know Him better.

To do this we are reading from Luke’s Gospel during Sunday services, and I invite you to read the full Gospel alongside this at home.

Although most of us were probably introduced to Jesus from our childhood days in Sunday School, as adults we often pick and choose the passages we like to read and re-read, not always taking a wider look at the whole message proclaimed and acted upon by Jesus.  We need to remember that getting to know Jesus is not about looking at a snapshot of His life here and there.  Rather, we need to see how Jesus’ life and teaching flow from one day to the next, and how these flow on into the life of the growing and spreading Church.

So let us follow His journey from Bethlehem to Nazareth, through the wilderness experience and the countryside of Galilee with its villages, fertile fields and freshwater lake, through the towns of Judaea up to the capital in Jerusalem.

Let us listen to what He said and watch what He did.

Let us see how He related to honest seekers, humble sinners and the hostile self-righteous.

Let us see how He faced suffering and death, then let us rejoice in His triumph over them, a resurrection life He offers to us all.

With every blessing,

Sarah Nicol.

Wednesday 1st August 2018 – Induction of Rev Sarah Nicol

A new chapter in the ongoing life of Saltcoats St Cuthbert’s Church of Scotland saw the induction of Rev Sarah Nicol. Ardrossan Presbytery, led by the Interim Moderator, Rev David Watson, managed the proceedings.

After a series of questions asked, and answered by Sarah in the affirmative to the satisfaction of the Presbytery, the Moderator called upon Sarah to sign the Formula (as seen in the photograph on right) saying:

You are now required to sign the appointed Formula as a seal of the vows that you have made.

The Formula states: –

“I believe the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith contained in the Confession of Faith of this Church. I acknowledge the Presbyterian government of this Church to be agreeable to the Word of God, and I promise to observe the order of worship and the administration of all public ordinances as the same are or may be allowed in this Church.”

The right hand of fellowship (as well as hugs!) followed as attending members of Presbytery and our own Session personally welcomed Sarah. Members of Saltcoats St Cuthbert’s were then asked to stand and questions were asked of them – ensuring that they too committed to supporting Sarah in her new ministry.

After this more formal part of the evening, everyone moved through to the larger hall for a time of shared fellowship with tea or coffee, sandwiches and plenty of cake!

Once sated, we returned to the church for an informal welcome to Sarah and her husband Stewart including the giving of gifts to Sarah and Stewart, after which Sarah took the chair. Gifts were presented to David Watson and our much-appreciated locum minister, Mr Bert McCool. These proceedings were interspersed with a very witty welcome from our Session Clerk, Elsa Kirk, a ‘heads up’ from members of her previous churches, greetings from Rev Alex Noble on behalf of the local clergy and musical interludes by the choir. The event was a very relaxed affair, concluding with a vote of thanks to everyone involved in the preparation of all aspects from Dr Simon Hales.

A short biography: Rev. Sarah Nicol

Churches Sarah has served as Minister: –

St. Johns Church for the Deaf;

Blackhall St Columba’s, Edinburgh;

Christ Church, Warwick Bermuda;

Craigmillar Park Church, Edinburgh;

Kirn Church linked with St. Johns Dunoon, and Sandbank;

Midstocket Parish Church, Aberdeen;

And now Saltcoats St Cuthbert’s.

Sarah was born and grew up in sunny Kitwe, Zambia,  before returning permanently to Inverness, Scotland, as a teenager.  There she attended Crown Church Inverness. In 1983 she married fellow theology student Stewart Nicol at Crown Church.  After University, graduating as Bachelor of Divinity, she took her bible exams from Inverness Presbytery and was Licensed by them in June 1983, which is when she became Rev. Sarah Nicol. She was then ordained by St John’s Church, Aberdeen, in 1985 and spent some years in a new experiment for the Church of Scotland as minister for the deaf in Aberdeen, Grampian Region and the islands, covering up to Shetland and Orkney.  She learned Sign language to second stage while working with the deaf congregations.  After a spell, she moved as Associate Minister in Blackhall St. Columba’s in Edinburgh.  She enjoyed this city congregation and served there during a vacancy period, something she did in Bermuda too, her next Church.

Following her time in Bermuda, she returned to Edinburgh to Craigmillar Park Church. She would spend the next fifteen years in this charge and it was during this time their daughter was born. While in this charge, Sarah also tackled her Master of Theology at New College, graduating in 2000 with her MTheol.  She really enjoyed this academic challenge.

The next call was another move, this time to the west coast to the deferred linkage of Kirn with St. John’s Dunoon and Sandbank.   Kirn Church’s location was perfect for sea loving Sarah; it was right on the Clyde coast and the Ships which came to Greenock were a spectacle not to be missed.

After the west, it was the north east to Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, and her next charge was with Midstocket Parish Church, where she saw a refurbishment of the Church with pews being removed, underfloor heating installed, carpeting of the sanctuary and chairs brought in to replace the pews, giving a far more flexible space layout in the Sanctuary.  Renewing of halls and adding a Garden Room also took place.  At the end of the refurbishment, the Moderator, the Very Rev. John Chalmers, attended to dedicate the new place and plant a tree near the new Garden Room. This had been a major piece of work. During the time out of the sanctuary, services were held in the church centre down the road from the church building, while waiting for the delivery of the chairs, which were supposed to arrive in time for Christmas but ended up being delivered in January. She appeared in a few news stories, one picturing her in an empty sanctuary with the headline “Standing room only”!!

Sarah very much enjoyed her time in Aberdeen but the call of Saltcoats did not go unnoticed and so, after much thought and prayer, she felt it time to move again back to the West!

A New Minister

It was with great joy that the Nominating Committee of Saltcoats St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church announced on Sunday 15th April 2018 that Rev. Sarah Nicol  of Aberdeen Midstocket Parish Church would preach as sole nominee at St. Cuthbert’s on Sunday 29th April at 10.45am for the vacant charge. The church was well filled with members and friends of the church on that day as we opened a new chapter in our history. After a wonderful service Sarah was duly elected. As we wait for the Presbytery processes to be completed we look forward to the Induction Service which looks likely to take place in early August.

” All are welcome in this place.”