Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Blessed Christmastide - floods notwithstanding

May I offer each and every one of you my heartfelt prayers and a layman's blessing on this the day we celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Father.
Here in the village we were almost without our Masses.  On Sunday morning I was en-route to church where I usually sing Lauds in the morning when I came upon a number of fire engines, police cars, marine rescue personnel and even a decontamination unit.  It quickly became apparent that a major flood had occurred - the second in two weeks.  The previous week we had experienced exceptionally severe storms with winds over 80mph and waves the size of any self respecting tsunami.  A number of homes were evacuated and the local supermarket shut due to sea-water ingress.  Fortunately no-one was hurt and emergency serves were very quick o respond.
This Sunday it was the turn of the torrential rain which broke the banks of a tributary of the Carron river (we have two rivers running through the village; the Cowie to the north and the Carron to the south).  Readers in the UK will have seen video and picture footage of our flooded streets on the national news.
One of the casualties was our Church which, for the second time in three years, was surrounded by a lake of water as was Father's Gerry's presbytery.  At it's worst the water was chest high which fortunately was just below the floorboards of the church but not that of the house.  Mud, effluent, and worse meant that we had to be diligent about hygiene as we worked.  The water did subside quickly as the sea, a major flood influencing factor, receded leaving behind a few inches of glutenous mud.

View from Fr's back door with the Church in the background
(this taken as the water had already begun to subside)

By 6pm on Christmas eve we were satisfied that all that could be done was done and Fr Gerry could at least "make do" in his house.  The insurance assessor had been, mud cleared from the path between the house and the church and from the church to the road, environmental health feedback okayed the church for use, electrician checked the wiring, gas supply had been reconnected and the chapel carpets cleaned.  Even the tow truck had been and taken Father's car, which had been semi-submerged during the flood, away to the garage.

Unfortunately the decision had already been taken that there would be no Midnight Mass but at least we would have our two morning Masses which, I am very happy to recount, had parishioners standing in all the nooks and crannies as every pew was full; even though the sound system and organ were not working due to wet circuits.  Equally pleasing was that a local Church of Scotland minister had offered us one of their churches for our use on Christmas day should our chapel be unusable.

We are now restricted to Sunday Masses only until the solum (the space between the foundations and the floor) has been dried out using industrial blowers and the void sanitised against microscopic bugs etc. to prevent health problems.

In your charity I ask you to please pray for Father Gerry whose health, which is never too robust, has suffered greatly during this time.



  1. Sorry to read of the flooding but very glad that you were able to have Masses on Christmas Day. Hope things continue to improve and will certainly remember Father Gerry in our prayers. Best wishes for the New Year.

  2. Have you thought of approaching Bishop Hugh and requesting the provision of an Old Rite mass in Aberdeen?