Rector’s Letter – November 2016

Dear folks,

This month begins with a Messy Bonfire on Tuesday 1st, and concludes with Advent Sunday on 27th.

In the middle of that we pause to refresh our memory of precious lives that have been and still are being laid down for our safety and security.
The feast of St Martin of Tours is celebrated on 11th November. The Hungarian born reluctant 4th century bishop and modern patron saint of beggars had an influence that reached as far as Scotland and Ireland.

Martin became a Roman Soldier as a teenager and experienced a strong sense of vocation as a young adult, which became more real when in the army. One day while out on patrol he came across a beggar without adequate clothing. Legend has it that he impulsively cut his military cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: “Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe.” (Sulpicius, ch 2).

Centuries later the remnant of the cloak had become a holy relic and was carried around by kings and even into battle. The clergyman who carried the remnant became known as a cappellanu… ultimately all priests who served the military were called cappellani, the French translation of which is ‘chapelains’, from which the English word chaplain is derived. Small temporary churches were built for the relic and became known as “capella”, the word for a little cloak. Eventually, such small churches lost their association with the cloak and began to be referred to
as “chapels”.

Reflecting the Eden family ancestry the beautiful wee Chapel at Cromlix house has a strong military influence with its regimental drums, flags, and stained glass windows (no remnant of St Martin’s cloak though!) This is not unusual of course as historically the Church and military services have enjoyed a close relationship and military chaplains are still in service today.
But it was during his time in the army that St Martin faced his greatest faith dilemma – Just before a battle in the Gallic provinces at Borbetomagus (now Worms, Germany), Martin determined that his faith prohibited him from fighting, saying, “I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight.” He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service. *

Perhaps it is no co-incidence that St Martin’s feast is shared with Armistice Day.

Our service men and women, some of whom are teenagers, indeed have great courage. While we remember the sacrifice made by those who paid the great cost for our freedom, and the willingness of all who take the same risk today, let us commit to pursuing international policies that require courage to be put in the forefront of bringing peace to the world without fighting.

We will observe an act of remembrance in both our morning services on 13th November. At the 10:30am service I am delighted to welcome the Explorer Scouts who will share in our service and act of remembrance. I hope you can make it too.

With every blessing,


* Read more about St Martin at