The Reverend John Povey conducted his last service at the Kirk of Calder recently after 40 years behind the pulpit.

John retired after having served the congregation and parish, as their minister, since 1981.

During this time John has become well known in the local area forging links with local schools and the community. He also served for a period as chairman of the Mid Calder Community Council and was twice Moderator of the West Lothian Presbytery.

John performed 2,300 baptisms at the Kirk of Calder during his tenure as its minister, including on one special Sunday performing the sacrament 12 times during the service.

He joined 1800 couples together in holy matrimony and in one year alone, he carried out 100 weddings. He also conducted 1700 funeral services and helped to support many families at these difficult times.

Kirk of Calder during his time as minister has been maintained and restored both internally and externally. This has included a full cleaning and restoration of the church’s stained glass windows.

Mr Povey is pictured with Church Officer Eleanor Blair. Pic by Eddie Anderson

In 1990, the Glenalmond Hall was purchased and this has allowed the church to have a venue to host its own events as well as making it available for use by the local community. As a result, the Kirk of Calder is well placed to continue to be a place of worship long into the future after John’s retirement.

John welcomed HRH the Princess Royal, Princess Anne to the Kirk of Calder in 2017 to present her with a cheque for £85,000 that had been raised to support the Vine Trust’s Kazunzu project.

Thanks to the ability to record and stream online services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic of the last eighteen months, John has been able to stay in touch with the congregation and wider community and offer spiritual leadership during these testing and trying times.

After his final service, John was presented with a watch and a lifetime membership to Historic Scotland.

He also unveiled a Roll of Honour board, which will hang in the church, naming John and the other 21 past ministers of the Kirk of Calder. He received further gifts at a retirement dinner held in his honour at the Pumpherston Golf Club last month, including a penguin adoption certificate and penguin statue, a gourmet break gift package and various other gifts.

The Kirk of Calder Guild presented John and Linda, his wife, with a matching tartan tie and scarf set, while the Mid Calder Community Council presented him with a friendship cup and vouchers.

After the meal and some thank you speeches to John, and from him to the congregation and wider community, there was musical entertainment to end the evening. During this a series of slide show pictures showing John and his involvement with the Kirk of Calder over the years were shown to those attending the evening.

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