From Rev Morris Smith

Hello everyone,
When I was asked to write the letter for the Kirk Window I thought that you might, perhaps, like to know a wee bit about your Locum Minister. Hence the following ‘potted’ history.
As a comedian once said, ‘l was born at a very early age’, in 1948 in fact, the eldest of a family of three. That was in Edinburgh where I grew up and attended school, as did my younger brother and sister.
After leaving school I started work as an apprentice with what was then GPO Telephones, but is now B.T. During these years I also developed a love of motorbikes which has never really left me although I know that I am safer on four wheels nowadays. It was at a cafe frequented by motorcyclists that I met my future wife Jan who was a nurse at the nearby Eastern General Hospital. We married in her hometown of Biggar in Lanarkshire in 1970 and have been blessed with two lovely daughters, two grand-daughters and a grandson.
Around 1980 1 felt a call to the ministry and, after attending night-school to gain the necessary entrance qualifications, in 1982 began studying for a Bachelor of Divinity at New College in Edinburgh. which was quite a change for all the family as evidenced by our younger daughter who asked her mum, ‘Mummy, when Daddy goes to university will they let him come home again?’ New College was a novel experience for me as well and in my first lecture in Systematic Theology I remember thinking, ‘l understand every word that man is saying but I haven’t a clue what he is talking about!’ Thankfully things became clearer and New College was a fantastic experience. As was training as a student for the ministry in which I began to discover some of the basics of being a parish minister. which I became when I was ordained to Dulnain Bridge and Grantown on Spey in 1988 where I was privileged to be minister for over 25 years.
However, I mentioned the year of my birth at the start and when my 65th birthday fell on a Sunday, I decided it was time to retire and make my birthday my last service. It was sad taking leave of so many friends and the folks we had known for so many years and Jan and I were both moved and humbled by the number who came to the service and the lunch afterwards. So, we retired to Elgin where I discovered that retirement in the ministry certainly doesn’t mean stopping work. I have conducted worship in many of the churches in the Presbytery. I was Locum at Bellie and Speymouth for over two years and at Aberlour for a similar time. Again, it was sad leaving the friends we made but we are delighted that they each have a new Minister. I now have the privilege of being your Locum and Jan and I have had a wonderful welcome from the members of both congregations. I hope that in the months to come we can get to know one another better and discover together the blessings and challenges of God’s Word.
God Bless,
Morris & Jan.

Easter Message from Morris

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.’ (St John 1: 1-5 NRSV)

Dear Friends,
I remember Easter from when I was a child. It was such a happy time with all the excitement of going on a picnic to roll the eggs that our mother had prepared for the day. Of course, these were real eggs which we had fun decorating and painting. It was fun, but I am afraid that I have never been able to develop a taste for hard-boiled eggs. However, I did like the chocolate eggs that we were allowed to eat once we had rolled our eggs until the shells had broken and we had eaten at least some of the egg.
In those early years it seemed that Easter was all about eggs and chocolate. It was only as I grew up that I began to learn the backstory of Easter. Of our Lord’s Passion and resurrection, the stories of his love of people – especially those considered sinners and unworthy by the religious leaders of the day. The joy with which he was received by ordinary people compared to the hatred of those who felt threatened by him. Of the political intrigue, his betrayal by Judas, being abandoned by his friends, the injustice of his trial, the fickleness of a crowd persuaded to bay for his blood. Pilate’s failure to stand up for justice by symbolically washing his hands of the whole thing, and Jesus’ subsequent violent execution. It was later still that I learned that in what happened to our Lord, he shared in the suffering of so many people down the centuries, and so many people in the present day.
As I write this letter it is a few weeks before Easter and I don’t know what will have happened in Ukraine, or the world, by then. However, whatever happens, Easter and our Lord’s resurrection tells us that the forces of evil and darkness that took our Lord to his death did not have the last word. He is risen and the victory is won. Therefore, the forces of evil and darkness which still betray justice and truth, compassion and love. The forces of evil that are still killing people in Ukraine and around the world today, will not have the last word.
Jesus also said, ‘l am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’
There are many places of darkness in the world and our task is to witness to the light of his life. To proclaim this Easter, and every day, that Christ is risen, and that the darkness will be overcome.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

A Blessed Easter to you all