The congregations of St John's and St Michael's are drawn from the East Neuk's coastal villages and agricultural hinterland and come from a wide variety of backgounds.
We are ‘small eucharistic communities’. Eucharist is a Greek word meaning ‘thanksgiving’ and has been used since earliest Christian times to mean a service of Holy Communion.
On Sunday we gather:
– to hear the great stories, poetry and wisdom of the bible
– to reflect on our own lives and the world we live in
– to pray for our world, our communities and for each other
– to share bread and wine – the timeless symbols of Jesus’ love and community
Pittenweem means "the place of the cave", a reference to St Fillan, an 8th century hermit whose cave remains in the care of St John's. St John's church is in the centre of Pittenweem, on the site of the 14th century Augustinian priory, of which the grade 1 listed Gatehouse remains.
In 1805 St John’s Episcopal Chapel was built by Revd David Low, the then incumbent of Pittenweem and Crail, who largely led the revival of the Scottish Episcopalian Church. He was later elected Bishop of Ross and Argyll, but remained the incumbent at Pittenweem, and thus technically St John’s Chapel was his cathedral.
The building has been altered and extended over the years, but basically it is the same 19th century beautiful small stone building, which comfortably seats 75-80 in traditional wooden pews. The sanctuary is decorated with fine oak carving from the 1920s by the famous architect Robert Lorimer. There are several 19th and 20th century fine memorial stained glass windows, and two new windows, designed by Ursula Ditchburn (illustrated above), were added in 2005 to commemorate the church's bi-centenary and the life of the local community.
When Elie and Earlsferry developed as a major holiday resort in the later years of the 19th century, Summer Mission services were held from time to time, and in 1904 a series began in Earlsferry Town Hall. St Michael's was built to meet the demand from locals and visitors alike and the formal dedication by the Bishop of St Andrews took place on 4 July 1905.
The building is representative of the early 20th century work of Spiers and Company iron foundry who were Glasgow’s foremost exponents of prefabricated building in Scotland during the period. Iron churches were available in various sizes and patterns and could be ordered from the company catalogues. Once relatively common, it is now unusual to find such a building being used for its intended purpose. The distinctive octagonal window is a feature repeated in similar churches by this company including “The Mill Shop”, Fort Augustus and the Church Hall at St. John’s Selkirk.
Our Priest in Charge is Steve Butler, who joined us in August 2020. Steve is originally from Glasgow. After university in Edinburgh and a few years working in property, he spent ten years as a musician, music publisher and producer.
He did his theological training in Bristol and was ordained in Edinburgh in 1997. He has served congregations in Edinburgh, Leith and Dumfries.
He has been married to Anne for nearly 40 years, and has three children and two grandchildren.
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