Rev. Robin McAlpine

Rev. Robin McAlpine
2011 - 2022

History (2020 - 2021)

Dementia Friendly Hippo
Dementia Friendly Hippo

In mid March Fife Council appointed a Project Manager to promote Fife as being Dementia Friendly. The project manager visits schools and delivers a specialist course for children on becoming a dementia friend. The gift of a small, hand sized, purple hippo is also given to each child who undertakes the course. Click the picture to follow the pattern.

Following a recent adult Dementia Friends Course at Bennochy, we were invited to help with some of the knitting of the hippos to be gifted. The aim is to have 1,000 hippos to hand out to the children of Fife.

On the 18th March all our services, organisations and other activities were suspended due to the national emergency centered on the world wide coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. To mitigate overload on the health services, and to reduce the spread of infection, the Government imposed social distancing to avoid close contact between groups of people, especially the elderly and those with health problems and closed all places and activities which involved gatherings outside of a normal household.

To help people staying at home we added more pages to the website such as letters from Robin, prayers from the Moderator and even the Hippo knitting pattern to keep people busy. Robin also prepared a selection of lessons and prayers for the website every Sunday and produced his own podcasts direct from the Manse.

A National Day of Prayer was held on the 22nd March when The Church of Scotland joined with 11 other religious groups across the country and called for a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Everyone was invited to light a candle at 7pm in their window.

National Day of Prayer
National Day of Prayer

The following prayer was used when lighting the candle:

For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

At the end of March we successfully added the monthly quiz to the web site for everyone to try at home, along with the answers after a few weeks.

Starting in May, Robin deployed his new multi-media skills to prepare weekly Sunday reflections videos which were also made more widely available on our new Bennochy YouTube channel. Later, the From the Manse podcasts were also upgraded to videos.

During the national lockdown, Lorriane and Brian Fairful helped to convert John Methven's 'Memoirs' into book form with proceeds donated to Bennochy Church.

To further improve communication we introduced an Email News Service whereby people can register to receive regular news from Bennochy Church direct to their email inbox. This lets you know what's new on the website.

The usual Joint Kirkcaldy Town Centre Churches summer services were presented as YouTube videos with two services from different Churches every Sunday. A new 'Open' poster was created to promote the services from the five Churches.

The Scottish Government confirmed that Church buildings could re-open for limited activities on the 15th July as long as special social distancing measures were put in place along with contact tracing and enhanced hygiene. However it was decided to plan for reopening in late summer due to the joint video services which were already scheduled.

PPE Supplies for Zambia
PPE Supplies for Zambia

In mid-July the Presbytery appealed for money to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Zambia in association with our Mission Partner, Jenny Featherstone. Although Zambia appears to have very low cases of Covid-19, it is because they are not testing as a matter of course, and that nurses in her area are being expected to buy their own PPE, which many of them can't afford. A sum of £900 was raised and sent to Jenny.

With approval to reopen the Church and to ensure compliance with government guidelines, the Church organised the restart of limited worship services starting on Sunday 20th September. Up to 46 members of the congregation could attend, each bringing a facemask and cushion. Signs were added to ensure distancing and hand sanitisers were provided. Although there was music the shortened services did not include any singing, tea/coffee or access to bibles. The Sunday School was able to restart during November.

Socially Distanced Worship, 20 Sep 2020
Socially Distanced Worship, 20 Sep 2020

The Sunday services were also recorded and added to our library of weekly Sunday Reflections. During lockdown our videos have 130 viewers on average with some being seen more than 300 times.

Our annual Christmas Box appeal was suspended for this year, instead gifts were directly passed to the Salvation Army for local distribution.

During Advent, we hosted greetings between members of the congregation on the web site as well as a selection of Nativity Scenes which were sent in. You can see more scenes on the Natvity Scenes page.

Nativity Scene
Nativity Scene

After the final Sunday service on 20th December there were Joint Kirkcaldy Churches Online Services spanning the end of Advent and the start of the New Year. However, Sunday services were then suspended as all of mainland Scotland entered tighter restrictions from Boxing Day with very reduced numbers permitted to attend worship services.


Sunday reflections videos were shared between the Kirkcaldy Town Centre Churches on a rota basis with a different Church each week.

Starting in February, Robin hosted regular Coffee, Book & Chat interactive sessions on Zoom where a book was read as well as a general catch up and chat between attendees.

During the season of Lent, for six weeks, the Kirkcaldy Town Centre Churches offered a Lent study course, based on material from the Church of England, entitled, #Livelent21, God’s story, our story. This comprised a video from one of the Churches followed by a live discussion forum on Zoom the day after.

In late March we received permission to reopen the Bennochy building, for worship only, from the Presbytery of Fife. So as from Easter Sunday, 4th April, it was back to 'in person' worship at Bennochy, starting at 11am, however the earlier restrictions on numbers and permitted activities were still in place.

Easter Sunday, 4th April, was a big day as the Church reopened and the service was also streamed live on Zoom and Facebook and via the website. Members of the congregation had gifted the required audio-visual equipment to the Church for this purpose to allow members at home to view the live service.

During May we expanded the service by relaying the service live to the Methven Hall where socially distanced seating was provided. This allowed us to remove the need for people to book a place each week.

A baptism was performed during the service on 20th June, the first for a long time. This gave Robin some additional Covid procedures to adapt to.

Our Guiding Units were awarded a Golden Pudsey in recognition of their Children in Need fundraising! Well done to all the girls and their leaders!

Social distancing limits were reduced from the 25th July allowing more people to be accommodated in the Church for services. When limits were removed in August we reserved a dedicated part of the building for people who felt more comfortable with a 1 metre gap. Other areas were free of limits. On 26th August we were able to reopen The Olive Branch Café.

Welcome back to Church, 01 Aug 2021
Welcome back to Church, 01 Aug 2021

In early September we were able to restart teas and coffees after the Sunday service and the Olive Branch Café reopened. By the middle of the month many of our groups, organisations and activities had restarted.

John Methven MBE

In mid September we were saddened by the death of John Methven MBE at the age of 94. John was one of the most respected and longest serving figures in Kirkcaldy’s Boys’ Brigade movement. He famously led the Boys' Brigade at St. Johns/Bennochy for 29 years and our large Church hall was named in his honour in 2008.

John 'retired' after 80 years with the Boys' Brigade when a special Church Service and Exhibition was held in November 2015.

On 18th September we held a Yard Sale in the Church car park where many bargains were to be found from donations handed in by the congregation. Proceeds from the sale went towards the Church Harvest Appeal supporting a family in crisis in Zambia.

Our annual toy appeal for the Salvation Army to distribute in the local area was again well supported on the 12th December.

Gifts donated by the congregation for distribution by the Salvation Army
Gifts donated by the congregation for distribution by the Salvation Army

Once again Covid returned for Christmas with a new Omicron variant. Therefore we cancelled in-person services until early 2022 including our Christmas and Watchnight services which were switched to be online only.

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