Dirleton | Belief

Throughout the period there have been three churches in the parish: the Church of Scotland parish churches of Gullane and Dirleton and St Adrian’s Scottish Episcopal church in Gullane. The major change is that all three are now linked to other congregations. The first of these moves came in 1975, when St Adrian’s became a linked charge with St Baldred’s, North Berwick, retaining the rectory there and the Gullane rectory being sold. In 1985 Gullane parish church became linked with Aberlady with the manse in Gullane retained. The same year Dirleton kirk was linked with the Abbey church in North Berwick.

In the last 50 years Dirleton kirk and Gullane parish church have each seen four ministers while six rectors have served St Adrian’s. A new manse (the third) was built in Dirleton in 1968. In terms of membership Gullane’s now stands at around 500 compared to 921 in 1977 and 570 mid-century. In Dirleton the membership was 390 at the time of the Third Statistical Account and is 280 today. By comparison today 143 persons are ‘attached’ to St Adrian’s (93 as communicants) with a quoted membership of 150 in 1977 and 100 in the early 1950s. These figures obviously are more significant when considered in conjunction with population numbers. At Dirleton as well as the Sunday morning service there is a service on Wednesday morning and an Armistice Day service is held at the War Memorial. At the time of the linkage, Gullane morning services were cut back from two to one and Communion services have been reduced from three to two per Sunday and are held three times a year. The use of communion cards ended in 1998. On Easter Sunday an early morning service is held on Gullane Hill or at Aberlady Bay on alternate years. St Adrian’s has a sung Eucharist every Sunday morning and an early Holy Communion (1662 Prayer Book) on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. There is also an occasional Evensong. The Sunday school in Gullane parish church had a roll of 120 in 1950 reaching a high of nearly 200 in the seventies. Thereafter, numbers declined but with a change in format – a rota of participating parents and much more emphasis on discussion for the older children. In 2000, there is a lively Sunday school with around 35 children on any one Sunday and a Sunday evening Sun Club attracting an average of 24 in the 11-13 age bracket. Noticeable too is the much greater involvement of Sunday school children in church services.

During recent years some significant changes have taken place. Women elders were first called to Gullane parish church in June 1979. At the end of the century there are 39 elders of whom 14 are women. St Adrian’s welcomed its first lady curate, Rev Lorna Mortis, in 1999 following the Scottish Episcopal church’s decision to ordain women priests. A number of other church-based organisations have come and gone in Gullane over the last half century: church dramatic group (1947-c57), boy’s brigade (1951-85), men’s club (1965-95) and young wives and mothers (1951-76). The parish church guild, however, continues to thrive. Towards the end of the 1990s ‘Woman’s’ was dropped from the name and the guild became open to both sexes and men are starting to attend. Equally, membership is no longer restricted to the Church of Scotland, with some coming from the congregation at St Adrian’s.

Church halls too have seen changes. In 1990 the Gullane church hall was sold and replaced by the church centre, adjoining the church itself. It has become a well-used facility including being used for the serving of coffee on Tuesday morning and after morning service on Sunday. In the 1990s in Dirleton the church hall became increasingly used for a variety of activities, as the village hall became less usable.

The Roman Catholic community in the parish is served by the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Berwick. A Mass centre at Luffness House, Aberlady, closed in 1992.