To the Parish

This letter will be sent to all the residents of Cadzow Parish in the next publication. Thought y’all might like to see it first.

People always ask me, “Why have you moved to Scotland?”

I suppose a better question is, “Why have I moved back to Scotland?”

I was born here 41 years ago at Bellshill Maternity Hospital. I think a lot of us were born there, maybe thousands of us.

Mum was from Airdrie and Dad grew up on Tollcross Road, in Glasgow. Shortly after I was born we all moved to America, where I’ve lived my whole life.

We visited Scotland a number of times during my childhood and I have many memories of coming here. I remember my grandpa’s house and the trains that ran across the bridge down the street. I remember the smell of his greenhouse and the patch of rhubarb at his back door. I remember eating smoked kippers and square sausages on floured rolls. I remember Irn Bru and Smarties and Jelly Babies. I remember the thrilling terror of having a double decker bus zoom past you inches away as you walked along the pavement. I remember tossing and turning in bed at 10:30 PM, wondering if the sun was ever going to go down. I remember the castles at Stirling and Edinburgh, and I remember looking for ‘you know who’ at Loch Ness (I never saw him!).

Scotland has always been a place of fascination for me, and for my wife. We started thinking about a move nearly ten years ago. I was thinking about coming for some further schooling. That didn’t work out, but it started us down a pathway that has led us to Cadzow Parish Church.

I’d never heard of Hamilton or the Duke or the Palace or the M 74. It was all new to me when it was first suggested I look into the position of minister here. I thought Cadzow was a strange name for a church. In the states churches are known as First Presbyterian, or Trinity Church or Westminster, but not Cadzow.

When I first interviewed with the committee I thought, “No way, that’s not for me,” which is generally a good indication that’s where God wants you to go.

But, we’ve made the right decision coming here. There are lots of nice things about the church and about the city. The kids like the schools and are making lots of friends. It just feels right for us to be here.

Maybe you’ve never heard of Cadzow Parish Church, or maybe you’ve passed by a thousand times without really seeing it. Maybe you’ve got some memories of the place from the BBs or Sunday school. Maybe you were baptized here or had your wedding here. Maybe you haven’t come for a long time but feel like your kids need to come.

Whatever the case I hope you’ll try it and have the same experience we’ve had coming back to Scotland. You’ll know it when you get here; it’ll just feel right.

I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Peace, John

PS If you’re interested, check out my blog at

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