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City Scots Kirk group visit country cousins

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City Scots Kirk group visit country cousins

A GROUP of Church of Scotland members from London have made a pilgrimage to the famous Celtic Cross in Ruthwell Church.

It was a highlight during an ‘away weekend’ visiting religious and other places of interest in Dumfriesshire.

The party were from St Columba’s, situated on Pont Street in fashionable Knightsbridge and home to one of two Church of Scotland congregations in the UK capital.

Helping organise the trip was St Columba’s member Hugh Pym, well-known nationally as the BBC’s health editor, and his Scots-born wife Susan, an elder, who are friends of long-serving locum minister at Ruthwell, the Rev. Gerald Moule, who lives in Moffat.

The visitors, current and former members of the ‘Friends of St Columba’s,’ joined the Ruthwell congregation for the Sunday service led by Rev Moule in the shadow of the historic cross. The group chatted to father and son guests, local constituency MP and MSP David and Oliver Mundell, enjoyed a buffet in the church and were particularly intrigued by a regular canine member of the congregation, Cara, a border collie, owned by Ruthwell Church office-bearer Fiona Sloan.

The St Columba’s group, based at the Powfoot Golf Hotel, also walked to the Brow Well to learn about the site’s connections with Robert Burns.

During a busy three days the visitors took in many places of interest, including the heritage centre at Dunscore dedicated to missionary Jane Haining; Moat Brae children’s literature centre, Dumfries; the Burns mausoleum at St Michael’s Church and the Devil’s Porridge Centre in Eastriggs.

Hugh Pym, an occasional visitor to the area, expressed the group’s thanks to everyone who had hosted them, including the Ruthwell congregation; Pam Mitchell for her moving talk at Dunscore and Rev Moule and others for helping put together a fascinating programme.

The broadcaster added: “Everyone was very welcoming. We had a very interesting and enjoyable time.”

Rev Moule explained he had long-standing links with St Columba’s stretching back to before he was called to the ministry and was a congregation member whilst a young chartered accountant working in London.

He said: “In those days St Columba’s was a great place to meet other people, many from Scotland, who were away from home and keen to make new friends in the capital.”

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