That’s what the Romans used to say when people departed and arrived. Hail and farewell.
So farewells first. And we do indeed wish Very Revd Dr Finlay Macdonald fare well as he departs
from the role of Interim Moderator. He brought to us a very apposite set of skills and experience
as a former Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and as a former
Moderator of the General Assembly.

Through the most difficult circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, he kept our eyes focussed on the prime task of an Interim Moderator – to prepare ourselves to get to the point where we are able to search for and appoint a new Minister, and thus to conclude the vacancy.

In the course of his year with us, he successfully moved us forward to the next stage of that
process. His personality, his humanity, and his friendship have been warmly welcomed. As well
as being an Interim Moderator, I have also served with 3 IM’s in recent years. They have all been
first rate. None more so than Finlay. And I have thoroughly enjoyed a common basis for our
theology, a common love of music, and a common sense of what church is, and what challenges
we all face.

We started with Latin, let’s switch to French because that language offers a word of farewell
completely suited to Christians. So adieu, Finlay. To God’s gracious care and protection we
commend you and Elma, and wish you a happy return to retirement.

And we say Hail to Revd Pamela Strachan, appointed by Presbytery to pick up the work of Interim Moderator. As is often said, this lady needs no introduction . This time it’s true.

Pamela has been close to these congregations in many roles through the years, and has earned
the affection and confidence of all she has encountered. The tasks have not lessened in the
transition, but we look forwarded to being guided by her through the path of leadership to a
concluded vacancy. She will do well, and she will be supported by all her friends and colleagues
in the Kirk Sessions and congregations.

So welcome Pamela. And God go with you.

These changes have just been confirmed by Presbytery, and so this announcement is made as an
indicator of the next steps ahead.
J R Smith

Church Opening

Church opening During the Covid 19 Crisis

At the present time with the current Scottish Government regulations in place, the Kirk Session are agreed that it is not feasible to open the church either for private prayer or normal services. Hopefully, however it will be possible to return to normality before too long.

When reopening becomes possible it will be necessary to have volunteers to undertake cleaning of the building and to act as stewards. In preparation for re-opening we are asking for volunteers for those tasks.

Under current regulations Volunteers will be required to undertake the following:

Church Cleaning

  • A thorough cleaning of the whole church will be necessary before the first opening of the building.
  • A full clean of the areas in use, before and after each opening either for services or private prayer, using approved disinfectant materials.
  • Volunteers will need to observe social distancing and  wear a face covering and wash hands on entry and before leaving.
  • Volunteers will be required to direct cleaning operations on each occasion.


  • Will require to control access and take contact details. 
  • Ensure that everyone entering the church hand washes with materials provided.
  • Ensure that face coverings are worn.
  • Direct worshippers to specified seating.
  • Ensure hand washing on departure. 

Anyone willing to volunteer is asked to use the form below or email admin@topcop.org.uk  indicating the amount of time they would be prepared to give to those tasks.