William (Bill) Ashcroft Berry – 28th March 1934 to 2nd December 2017

Bill, was a gentle soul who will be much missed, he always had a twinkle in his eye, his wife on his arm and a story to tell.  Below is what his son had to say about his life.

William Berry – Bill to his friends – was born in March 1934, on the outskirts of Wigan to William Henry Berry, an agricultural traction engine driver and Elizabeth Ashcroft, a cotton mill worker. He was the eldest of three children with a younger brother Anthony and sister Rosemary. His childhood was a happy one, despite the war, and he often used to reminisce about the chickens they kept on the back green, and hearing German bombers flying overhead towards Liverpool.
Bill learned to play the violin at an early age, forced to take lessons by his father who’d had thwarted ambitions of his own.
Having failed his 11 plus – a bone of contention with him until he died as it resulted in a rejected application to study at the Royal College of Music in Manchester – he left school at 15, and was briefly apprenticed to a furniture upholsterer. Two years National Service in the infantry followed, mainly in Dorset, where Bill had the opportunity, through contacts made in the local church, St Mary’s, to play with the Dorchester Music Society.
After finishing National Service, Bill worked as an accounts clerk for the De Havilland aircraft company in Bolton. It was then that he met his future wife, Enid, a trainee librarian. They married in June 1958 and had two sons – Paul born in 1961 and Steven in 1963.
Although Bill had a secure job, the tedium of office work was becoming too much and so in 1965, after a couple of year’s ad hoc work with the Hallé and Laurance Turner Orchestra, he resigned and went freelance. These were difficult times, away from his young family, staying in cheap digs and travelling 35,000 miles a year chasing jobs. But they cemented his reputation as a reliable performer and built up a valuable network of contacts. He took work were he could find it – The Cheltenham Festival, D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, Max Jaffa Orchestra, Scottish Baroque Ensemble and even a UK tour with Tony Bennett, but increasingly more of his work was happening in Scotland, mainly with the Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. And so, in 1972, Bill and his family upped sticks and moved to Biggar.
In 1976 Bill was offered a full time post with the Scottish National Orchestra, where he remained until he retired.
Although Bill and Enid were happy living in Biggar, by the time he’d reached his mid 50’s, Bill was finding the travelling back home at night after concert performances in the winter months too much, and after having dug himself out of the snow on the Carnwath Road one time too many, Bill and Enid decided to move to Bearsden. Here they had easy access to the Trossachs and Loch Lomondside where they could indulge their passion of long walks together, once even getting to the top of Ben Lomond, much to Enid’s surprise.
Shortly after retiring from the orchestra, Bill and Enid’s life was blighted by the sudden death of their son Steven in a road accident.
Despite being a regular churchgoer all his life, most recently at All Saints, Bill almost lost his faith then, but took solace in music and was fortunate to be offered several more years contract work with the BBC and Scottish Ballet. It was then too that he became involved with colleagues playing quartets, occasionally giving performances, but mainly as a way of seeking meaning from his music. This he did right up until the end, playing his violin every day until his admission to hospital at the end of September.
Please remember Enid and Paul in your prayers.

The Stars are out in Abundance

Bearsden Festival of Stars leading up to Christmas is now underway.  Last evening 100’s came along for the lighting of the community Christmas tree, the local primary schools sang, more stars were made, hot chocolate was drunk and the community gathered in joy and peace.
Before news of what is still to come here are some pictures from last night.

This afternoon the first of the family Christmas films took place – another one on 9th and 16th.

Keep an eye on facebook for news of all the activities and competitions.   Including in the final week before Christmas a follow the star story trail, but for now some stars from All Saints.
Over the coming weeks the stars in and around the Church will grow in number as we await the appearing of the biggest star of all heralding the birth of Christ.

The Year of Mark

As we approach year b in the Lectionary, there will be three interactive discussions about the Gospel of Mark.  Mark’s Gospel will be the main source of the Gospel readings over the coming year.

This isn’t a Bible study on Mark’s Gospel, rather it is an overview to help us get the most out the Gospel as we experience its unfolding, scene by scene as the year progresses.

Mark is the shortest and earliest of the Gospels.  If can easily be read in a couple of hours.  It would be beneficial if you can read it in one sitting before coming along.

Each week is independant, but you will get the most out of this short course, and indeed the coming year, if you can attend them all.

Thursday 19th October, Thursday 9th November and Thursday 23rd November. 

All will begin in the Choir Vestry at 7.30pm.


Bring along your sense of humour and your open heart and mind.  Coffee from 7:15pm.


Afternoon Cream Tea

On Saturday 4th November

between 3pm and 5pm

we will be holding an cream tea.

Why not chase off the Autumnal blues and enjoy tea, scones and cream with friends old and new.

There will also be a baking stall.

Entry £5 (free for children)


Primus addresses the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting on Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision to change its Canon on Marriage

At the Primates’ Meeting today the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was asked to explain the process undertaken by the Scottish Episcopal Church in its move towards an adjustment of its Canon on Marriage to enable those who felt called to offer marriage to same gender couples the ability to do so.

He explained that the process had included much prayer, theological debate, open and, at times, very personal testimony and that opportunity had been provided for groups throughout the Church to discuss this matter and to pray about it; this included the voice of the youth in the Church, the sharing of powerful words and stories from elderly members and hearing representation from those who hold a traditional understanding of marriage, those who see marriage as including same gender couples and those who have encountered exclusion in declaring their love.

The Primus also explained that the nature of decision reached by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is such as to allow those of different views to continue to “walk together”. It recognises that there are different understandings of marriage and that no member of clergy is compelled to conduct any marriage against their conscience. Only those clergy who wish to solemnise marriages of same gender couples will be nominated to the civil authorities for authorisation to do so.

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “In June the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to change its Canon on Marriage.  This decision was ours to take as a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion.

“However, I recognise that this decision is one that has caused some hurt and anger in parts of the Anglican Communion and that the decision taken at the last Primates’ Meeting, which was to exclude our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church from debate on Doctrine and from Chairing Anglican Communion Committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us. We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love.”

Never ‘Just’ a Tin of Baked Beans

Today was Harvest Thanksgiving at All Saints and we discovered that there is far more to a Tin of Baked Beans than first might meet the eye.

From farmers in Ethiopia growing, harvesting and drying the haricot beans before they make the long journey to the UK to meet up with the tomatoes, herbs, spices, corn, sugar beat, grown elsewhere, plus salt.
To the harvest of trees that made the labels, the harvest of minerals that made the can.
To the vast quantities of water used throughout the production process, not to mention the watering of the crops, and the energy needed at just about every stage.

At an average of 436 beans in a tin, there is almost as many process involved in getting those beans from soil to plate and a countless number of people from subsistence farmers, seasonal farm pickers, those on zero hours contracts in supermarkets and sailors away from hours for months at a time; to lorry drivers, factory workers, lumberjacks and buyers; to graphic designers, chemists, quality controllers and energy workers.

All to produce a seemingly simple everyday, tin of baked beans.

Today we gave thanks not only for God’s bounty, but we also remembered all those people from soil to plate who labour to give us the variety of food choices we enjoy.  Including those who need our help to ensure they get a fair deal in producing the food we take for granted.

International Peace Day

Today at All Saints we marked United Nations International Peace Day below are some pictures of a few of the things we got up to.

Prayers from around the world

A map of all the conflicts in the world

Africa has more than its fair share

People were invited to write messages on doves that we then laminated and strung on brightly coloured embroidery thread …

… before hanging them on the fence for the community to share in the peace too.

There were books to read …

… blessings to share …

… and candles to light.

Kenotic Bowls

On Sunday 17th September as part of our September is for Stewardship and MAPping the congregation had the opportunity to take a Kenotic Bowl and fill it with God’s blessings to then take and share with others during the week.

The book ‘The Chinese Christology of T C Chao’ by Yongtao Chen, tells how Christianity in China had been influenced by Western ideas and ideals brought by Western missionaries; no surprise really once you think about it.

As early as 1582 when the Jesuit Matteo Ricci tried to convert the emperor and the upper classes, with the hopes that they in turn would win over the common people, by presenting Christianity through traditional Chinese learning.  While Ricci was unsuccessful, the Chinese were more interested in the clocks than they were God, this approach was to return as the 20th century arrived and all western ideas and culture was frowned upon.  T C Chao was one of the leading Christian theologians of the early 20th century and during the Anti-Christian movement of the 1920’s he urged Christians in China to de-westernise Christianity.  Chao wasn’t alone, Jingxiong, another theologian of the period argued that, a Western view of Christianity could not meet the needs of Chinese people.  China, they said needed to look at Christ through Chinese thought and culture and so Dao Christology, a Chinese theology, came into being.  Yongtao Chen writes:

The purpose of a Chinese Dao Christology is not innovation, but the development of a relevant understanding of Jesus Christ in the Chinese context.  Therefore, the task of constructing a Dao Christology is a matter not on innovation, but of interpretation, a process of hermeneutics that really matters.

The Chinese Christology of TC Chao by Yongtao Chen p332

One of the three metaphors that Yongtao Chen goes on to advocate in his book is that of an empty bowl linking Christ’s incarnation to the Chinese concept of Dao.

Dao, sometimes referred to as the Way, is understood in Toasim as a philosophy for living in harmony with the world.  Dao has no beginning and no end, it can be empty, it can also contain all things.  It is open to the outside and so can become a vessel for anything be it humble or grand, the same vessel is used.  The nature of Dao is humility giving to all and containing all, being more like a servant than a lord.  Lao Tze, said to be the founder of Taoism, wrote of Dao:

Which in being used can never be filled up.
Fathomless, it seems to be the origins of all things.
it blunts all sharp edges,
it unites all tangles,
it harmonizes all lights,
it unites the world into one whole.

So the congregation each got a bowl, and then were invited to fill their empty bowl with doves representing God’s blessings.

Further bowls over flowing with God’s blessings were placed around the church for members to take from and fill their own bowls, each represented a different aspect of worship.