Standing proudly above the picturesque village of Leuchars in the historic Kingdom of Fife is the truly remarkable St Athernase Church.
Leuchars: St Athernase Church of Scotland is the parish church for the villages of Leuchars, Balmullo and Guardbridge, the hamlet of St Michaels and the housing development of Drumoig. Services are held every Sunday at 11.00am in the church and every Sunday except the first of the month at 9.30am in Burnside Hall, the community hall in Balmullo. There are additional services in the church during Holy week and at Easter and occasional midweek worship in the Coach-house (meeting rooms) which is adjacent to the church. The Remembrance Sunday service in the church is held jointly with chaplains and personnel form RAF Leuchars.
Twice a year, in September and February, the uniformed youth organisations (Scouting and girl guiding) are invited to worship in either Burnside Hall or the church, these services being styled to suit children and young people. The Sunday Schools meet during school terms at both Burnside Hall and the church. 3beebies (for parents and under-3s who have been baptised or blessed) meets on the first Friday morning of the month in the Coach-house. Youth activities occasionally take place in the Coach-house, Burnside Hall or the manse (7 David Wilson Park, Balmullo). In collaboration with clergy and members of the church at RAF Leuchars, the minister and several volunteers run a Christian after-school club in Leuchars Primary School on Wednesdays.
The church is open to visitors every day during the period of British Summer Time. On Tuesdays during July and August members of the church are on hand to give guided tours. There are also leaflets, booklets and postcards available to visitors. In 2007 over 1,200 people signed the visitors’ book, of whom about 40% were from overseas and about 5% were children. Two classes each from Leuchars Primary and Balmullo Primary came to the church, where the minister was on hand to provide information on the use of the church and its history.
On Monday evenings from October to March the Guild meets in the Coach-house. The Guild is part of a Church of Scotland wide organisation open to women and men. St Athernase Guild hosts a varied programme of speakers and is active in fundraising for the congregation as well as nationally nominated projects.
On Tuesdays volunteers run a café on the ground floor of the Coach-house, providing tea and coffee and home baking (plus soup in the winter). On Wednesday afternoons during the autumn and winter the Coach-house is open to those who wish to play whist or dominoes.
The bible study group meets at the manse every second Thursday during school terms. The choir meets to rehearse in the Coach-house on Thursday evenings.
Approximately once a year an adult education programme is run, either in the Coach-house or the manse. This takes the form of a presentation followed by questions and discussion; the presentation may be from a video or DVD. The minister is assisted by elders in the running of these programmes and they are open to church members and non members, with efforts being made to invite those in the latter category.
There is a planned programme of social and fundraising events aimed at the whole community, using the church, Coach-house, Henderson Hall, Leuchars (owned by Lodge Earlshall), Burnside Hall and Balmullo Bowling Club. Proceeds from such events may be directed inwards to the maintenance and improvement of church premises or outwards to charity. The congregation fill shoeboxes for Blythswood Care at Christmas and last Christmas (2007) over forty selection boxes were donated to Home-start Fife for children of families in need. About four Traidcraft stalls are held every year, plus two Fair Trade breakfasts on Sundays before worship. We aim to keep a balance between helping those close to home and those further afield.