The 800th anniversary of St Mary’s and Old Parish Church took place on Sunday with a service that celebrated the community and its traditions.
Cornet Ross Gibson, his Lass Michelle Paxton, Hawick Common-Riding Committee and the Provost Council were among a full house of Teries who joined together to mark the important milestone. And with the 2014 Cornet and Lass also planting a rowan tree to commemorate eight centuries in the town, it was certainly a fitting tribute to the St Mary’s Place house of worship.
Provost and Common-Riding Committee chairman Stuart Marshall said: “I was really pleased with the way it went and the minister did a super job. I’m very grateful to everyone at St Mary’s for making us all feel so welcome.”
The service was conduced by the Rev. Neil Combe, and referring to himself, Cornet Gibson and Mr Marshall as three people whom in different ways represent life in Hawick – from the spiritual, to the traditional and civic –he said: “We are bound together by a love of the town and a desire to see the very best for it. For all three of us there is a sense of having received something which we were entrusted with for a while only to pass it on to others.”
The retiring Teviot minister went on to give a thought-provoking sermon that described a local conflict between civic and religious leaders, stating: “Relationships between these different offices have not always been harmonious.” He also outlined such conflicts through a reading and messages from the Apostle.
But being in stark contrast to Sunday’s gathering, he added: “To the Provost’s Council and the Common-Riding Committee, I say thank you for the gift of the tree, and thank you for honouring us with your presence.
“We share the joy that this year has been a special anniversary for the town which coincides with our special anniversary as a church.”
And finishing with a rousing request to “Aye Defend” Hawick’s religious freedom and customs, he added: “We look to you, in defending the traditions of our town, to defend our right to continue to gather and be a worshipping company.”
Provost Marshall said: “It was terrific to see so many people at the tree-planting ceremony and I’m delighted that both the Common-Riding Committee and Provost Council has marked such an important event in the history of this kirk.”
Cornet Gibson added: “Once it again it was great to be involved in another special occasion and mark another milestone.”