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St Ayle
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St Ayle Parish Church was the name chosen by the congregation when the Parish Churches of Anstruther and Cellardyke became a harmonious union in 2016. The name has a special connection to our community as a chapel dedicated to St Ayle was built in the 15th century to serve the spiritual needs of the fishermen, coopers and brewers who lived here. This chapel was located on the north side of what is now the Fisheries Museum. Our minister, Rev Arthur Christie who retired in January 2018, was called initially to the linked charge of Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny. On 1st January 2019 a new linkage was formed between St Ayle and Crail.

Both Anstruther and Cellardyke Church buildings have undergone refurbishment and upgrading in the last few years. Anstruther is now a modern multi-purpose building with an industrial kitchen. Cellardyke sanctuary has been refreshed and the hall modernised with spacious storage accommodation. The buildings complement each other and so are both used for church and community purposes. Both benefit from modern technology.

A foodbank operates out of Anstruther providing both physical and spiritual support. Activities regularly taking place are the Guild, Friendship Group, Babies and Toddlers, Stepping Stone coffee morning, Messy Church, Country Dancing, Prayer Group, Craft Group, Games afternoon, Members’ Association. We have a puppet ministry and also topical bible study. Pastoral care is an important part of our ministry.

Mission is important to us and special events in our worship calendar are our beach service on Easter Sunday, our “tent” service during the harbour festival and our bereavement service held in December.

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St Ayle aims to be a welcoming church at the heart of our community.  We consider it a privilege to serve and aim to create a church that is considered as a family rather than a congregation.  People of all ages are valued and welcome.

On the 16th September 2016 Anstruther Parish Church and Cellardyke Parish Church were formally joined together as one church at a worship service led by St Andrews Presbytery.  The combined churches are now called St Ayle Church, the name having been chosen by the congregation and both building complexes remain in use to develop outreach and service into our community.  our aim is to develop the spiritual lives of lives and individuals by practically changing church structures to make worship more current and relevant to today's society.  They are many groups meeting in both locations offering relational support.

Why St Ayle?  Who was St Ayle? 

(584 - 650)  also known as St Ayeul, St Aile or Agil.  He was the son of Agnoald, one of the principal lords of the court of young Childebert II (570-95), King of Austrasia and Burgundy (Butler, 1866).  Sy Ayle's parents, by the advice of St Columba, consecrated him to religion in the monastery of Luxeu.  He studied under the Abbot St Eustasius and distinguished himself by his passion, humility and self-discipline.  St Ayle and St Eustasius were sent topreach in Bavaria in 617.  On their return, St Ayle governed the monastery of Rebais, the the diocese of Meaux, near Paris France.  He was appointed First Abbot in 636.  He died at 66 in 650 (Anon., 2002).

there has been no historical account indicating that St Ayle went to Fife, although there have been several chapels named after him.  it is thought that the Abbey of Balmerino possesses some of the relic of St Ayle.  In 318, the Lord of Anstruther, William de Candela, gave a piece of land on the site where the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther stands, to the Cistercian Abbey of Balmerino, North Fife.  A community of fishermen, coopers and brewers developed the area and a small chapel was built in the 15th century to serve their spiritual needs.  This chapel was called St Ayle and was located on the north side of the Fisheries Museum (Carr, 1960s).

With the reformation, the Chapel of St Ayle discontinued its religious function but was only demolished in the 1850s, when it was used as a store-house.  However, a window of St Ayle's chapel was preserved and integrated into the north wall of the Fisheries Museum where it can still be seen.

We today, like St Ayle in the past, are most influenced by a loving God who sent his son Jesus to live among us.  Psalm 33 gives us words of hope and strength in the last few verses, which say; "Watch this, God's eye is on those who respect Him, the ones who are looking for his love.  He's ready to come to their rescue in difficult times, in lean times he keeps body and soul together.  We're depending on God, he's everything we need."

Christians gain strength in worshipping, learning and serving together.  This is faith at work, not outdated ways of being a church, but finding ways to show and share the love of Jesus.  The apostle Paul writes in the Bible that we should clothe ourselves with Christ.  The original Greek word for "put on" was the same word used for "brooch".  So our aim as a church is to "put on" love, a love that clasps us, embraces us and holds us together as God's people.  No one who comes to church is perfect, in fact most outside the church have an image of change and decay, if it was like that, none of us be there.  The ancient writer of Proverbs noted; "a cheerful heart makes a cheerful face" - we hope that in church today you will find cheerfulness breaking through...  In these changing times, it is good to have a heartbeat of Hope.  Through Jesus we can lift our eyes from how things are and see them as how God wants them to be.  If you want to know more, please contact us.

Rev Arthur Christie (2009 - 2018)

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