Trustees Report 2020

The Church of Scotland

Kildonan and Loth, Helmsdale Church of Scotland


Congregation No: 402258

Charity No: SC 004056

Year ended 31st December 2020

Reference and Administrative Information

Charity Name:                                     Kildonan and Loth, Helmsdale Church of Scotland

Charity Registration Number:             SC004056

Congregation Reference No:              402258

Contact Address:                                Mr. Adam S. Macpherson

                                                            49  Portgower,



                                                             KW8 6HL


Kirk Session                                                                                          

Interim Moderator: Mrs. Gladys MacCulloch (Appointed by Presbytery on 1st July 2019) retired  25th September 2020

Minister Rev Lorna Tunstall (25th September 2020)

Mr. Adam S. Macpherson

Mrs. Christine Sutherland

Mrs. Christine Cowie

Mrs. Ina D. S. Macpherson

Mrs Janys Wetton

Principal Office-bearers

Interim Moderator: Mrs Gladys MacCulloch (Appointed 1st July 2019) retired 25th September 2020

Minister; Rev Lorna Tunstall Inducted 25th September 2020)

Session Clerk: Mrs. Ina D. S. Macpherson

Church Treasurer:  Mr. Adam S. Macpherson

Independent Examiner

Rev. Hilary M. Gardner

Cayman Lodge

Wester Kincardine Hill:


1V24 3DJ


Bank of Scotland,

Golspie Branch,

P.O. Box 1000


Trustees’ Annual Report

Year ended 31 December 2020

Structure, Governance and Management

Governing Document

The Kirk Session  adopted the Deed of Constitution (Unitary Form)

Recruitment and Appointment of Trustees

Members of the Kirk Session  are the charity trustees.  The Kirk Session members are the elders of the church and are chosen from those members of the church who are considered to have the appropriate gifts and skills. The minister, who is a member of the Kirk Session, is elected by the congregation and inducted by Presbytery. The Interim Moderator is appointed by the Presbytery Clerk

Organisational Structure

The Kirk Session, which met 4 times in 2020, is responsible for the spiritual affairs within the church. Certain responsibilities are delegated to the Fabric Convenor, Safeguarding Convenor, Treasurer and Session Clerk. The Stated Annual Meeting for 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, it is intended that the next Stated Annual Meeting will take place two weeks after the Church Buildings are allowed to open again in 2021, this meeting will then ratify the accounts for both 2019 and 2020.

Objectives and Activities

The Church of Scotland is Trinitarian in doctrine, Reformed in tradition and Presbyterian in polity.  It exists to glorify God and to work for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom throughout the world. As a national Church, it acknowledges a distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry. It co-operates with other Churches in various ecumenical bodies in Scotland and beyond.

The primary objectives of the Kirk Session are to sustain congregational life and providing the ordinances of the religion to all who live and work within the Parish, we endeavour to continue to outreach and connect with our Community.

At the beginning of 2020 we continued our regular weekly service at 12.00 noon in the Hall during January, February and part of March, our  services were taken by  Session, retired Ministers and readers.  Unfortunately,  due to the Covid-19 Pandemic the church and all additional face to face church activities were closed, in mid March.

Although the churches were closed the work went on, each week everyone received both a newsletter and a reflection, and sometimes a wee treat!

Bunillidh Church kept in contact with the congregation all through the closure of the church, we also reconnected with the people who could no longer attend our services, and this connection will continue as it has been  much appreciated by all.

In the early days we even got a letter published in the Life and Work, a first for Bunillidh!!

Our weekly Letters, reflection and Working our Finances took up a fair bit of time, but nobody, but the Lord himself could see what was to come!!

In line with church rules and regulations, Bunillidh church members took up the challenge to meet all the requirements to re-open the church, this included a lengthy risk assessment process and obtaining Presbytery permission along with a thorough deep clean and removal of all bibles, hymn books and pew cushions.

Trustees’ Annual Report (cont)

Year ended 31 December 2020

The Vacancy Committee were overjoyed when they received an enquiry from a Mrs Lorna Tunstall showing interest in the Linked Charge of Clyne l/w Kildonan, Loth and Helmsdale.

Our Interim Moderator Mrs Gladys McCulloch was on the ball with procedures regarding the vacany process and ensured that the vacancy committee followed the due diligence required.  Joint Session meetings, electoral rolls edicts, and congregational correspondence and subsequent vote were all handled in the most professional manner adapting to these strange times by using  a mixture of zoom meetings, written correspondence or telephone conferencing to enable communication to all on the church roll and in some instances wider community.

By the Grace of God, our Minister, Mrs Lorna Tunstall was inducted and Ordained in Bunillidh Church on Friday 25th September 2020 and although the number of attendees was limited due to the social distancing rules, the service was extremely poignant and spiritual.  The service was streamed over zoom live and was also recorded by an amazing team comprised of members of the wider community to ensure that those within the community that could not attend could be included in some shape or form.  Sadly there were no celebrations allowed after the service, but the joint churches intend to organise some form of celebratory service when safe to do so and showcase Helmsdale hospitality at its best to Lorna and all her friends and family.

After the ordination of our minister, weekly services resumed in November, led by Rev Lorna Tunstall.  All Covid secure precautions were followed which of course included restricted numbers allowed in to worship.  Despite the restrictions the services were will attended and the Remembrance service was particularly well received especially as Lorna included well respected members of the wider community in the worship.

Although social distancing restriction were still in place our minister hit the ground running and tried to reach out to as many members as possible in order to make a connection, albeit limited.

Many of our objectives could not be realised due to Covid, and we look for more to happen in 2021, once the country recovers from the Pandemic and ongoing restrictions are eased, we really do look forward to planning the future work and Pastoral care in our Church.

Our objective is to increase our involvement with Eco Congregations, hopefully linking up with the “Kitchen gardens” and using some ground for planting fruit bushes (more jam) and Timespan who are leading a “Climate revolution” Solar Panels, might help with heating costs for a few examples.

Our Minister, with some congregational help, has now made it possible to stream our live services on our Church face book page.  Additionally, a joint you tube channel has been created which has enabled our minister to provide online only services to be shared via social media after the current lockdown was announced.  The Christmas Eve reflection was recorded and shared via Facebook.  During December the minister ran a Facebook challenge for the congregation to nominate their favourite Christmas carol or song, this was well received and had the added bonus of encouraging folks to engage with the Facebook page.  The services that are shared via social media are viewed by many more people than come to Church which is very encouraging.  The congregation do however miss the fellowship that face to face services provide and are looking forward to being back in the church building as soon as possible.

The Kirk Session keep life and fabric of the church in good order, and now with our new Minister we look forward to the next phase in the life of Bunillidh Church including good Stewardship, maintaining our good relationship with the local Primary school, and building our work in the local Community.

Garbh Allt Community Project are renting our transept, the income is appreciated particularly in a year when some our regular contributors have passed away.

The Knitting group whilst not being able to meet in person have continued to knit.  Ironically at the start of lockdown in March 2020, the group knitted Easter chicks for all the school children in Helmsdale Primary School and at the start of this latest lockdown in December 2020, the group once again knitted a mini stocking for each pupil that was handed out just before the closure at the end of the year!

The most successful project that was rolled out in 2020 was the knitting of hundreds of poppies for a beautiful “Poppy fall” that was displayed in the church for Remembrance Sunday.  Hundreds of red, purple and white poppies were knitted and this was combined with a campaign to “sponsor a poppy” and have a name and message recorded in the churches’ Book of Remembrance.  This campaign was incredibly well supported and raised a sum of £320 which was donated to the “Legion Scotland Helmsdale Branch.”

After Remembrance Sunday the Poppy Fall was handed down to Helmsdale Primary School to add to their own Remembrance display and was therefore in place for Armistice Day.

The knitting group’s aim remains the same, to promote the charitable and caring work of the Church, and look forward to working together on new campaigns for 2021.

Achievements and Performance

One of our main objectives is to revamp our Bible study/ Prayer group meeting as this is a vital part our Church’s life.  We will continue our link with the Helmsdale Primary School and we very much appreciate how fortunate we are that the Head Teacher is very happy to allow the Church into the school and the school came to our Church, we were able to donate £100s to their project to create a sensory outdoor space which was gratefully received by the school.

Fund Raising for our own Church:

Although fund raising in 2020 was limited due to the church closure the congregation at Bunillidh church do host a variety of fund raising activities through out the year that includes but is not limited to:

The Gift Day with a “Soup and Sweet lunch” including a sales table, Sale of Work including a Raffle.

Bunillidh Church like to support the work done by recognised Church of Scotland Charities.

Supply (money)Collecting boxes for Tear fund.

Collection of used stamps for World Mission Council

Continue relationship with the Friends of Kildonan Church, Timespan Heritage Centre, Helmsdale Community Transport group, the Local village Hub, The Local Legion group and the local RNLI group.

In 2021 we aim to continue our ecumenical relationship with the local Free Church

We were able to send an amazing number of Christmas Shoe boxes, a considerable amount of knitted items etc. and also a very generous  monetary donation to Blythswood.

The Church has had another very busy year unfortunately a particularly difficult year. However with the help of a visit from “Place for Hope” we are now ready to look forward and face the challenges 2020 will bring.

Unfortunately the Bunillidh Church web site, is not being used as much as we would like, perhaps we will have to engage with some who will take this post on permanently. Our face book page, Bunillidh Church is now being used as a means of advertising.

Prayer shawls are given to people we feel in need of comfort, a card from the Church and a Prayer in the form of a Book mark are included. They have been well received.

Blythswood Shoe Box Appeal,  we were amazed this year, particularly with the restrictions in place, at how our Community donated to our  Shoe Box Appeal. £180.00s including bags of both knitting and toiletries were gratefully received by Blythswood which was a very difficult year for them also.

“Sponsor a Poppy” was amazingly well supported, and not only did we raise £360s for our local Legion Branch, but it shows our Church is “IN” the Community, and not just the building up on the Hill.

Knitting is also a good talking point in the Church and shows we are a working active and caring Church, God is surely using our hands.

All aspects of Safeguarding are in place within our Church.

Thanks to our Fabric Convenor our property continues to be well maintained. This year we had a huge problem when our bell lost its “Dong” however with help and indeed expertise from the Free Church we were Ding, Dong merrily on high for our Christmas service.

Barry Wetton, Derek and Linda Gill have been a huge help this year, and our Induction services and Poppy Tribute would not have been such a success without their help and particularly their expertise.

Many Thanks to our Church officer Brian, so duties in writing, Brian covers everything from janitorial Duties to gritting the church paths and many other things in between!! 

Mrs Sheila Fox has to be commended for the work she does in cleaning our Church and Hall.

A huge Thank you has to go to our congregation this year, they have supported us in all our activities and also kept up with their monetary donations all during the Covid-19 closures, we are so indebted to you all.

Trustees’ Annual Report (cont)

Year ended 31 December 2020

Our Church is in good health, although we are a small congregation we have a big heart, and over the year we have seen a few new people worshipping in the Church on a regular basis,. This is wonderful and with the help of our new Minister and Kirk Session we will prayerfully be able to attract new members and be able to make a real difference.

Financial Review

This being a strange year due to the Pandemic, all our offerings show a decrease this year, we had no Gift Day this year and only one Funeral.

However the majority of our congregation have maintained their offerings.

The rent of the Transept (1200) and receiving 2 legacies has boosted our Income, so we have ended the year with a credit balance.

Reserves Policy

It is the Trustees’ policy to hold reserves of approximately six months expenditure.

The Church has cash funds of £4,911s which will be sufficient for six months .

Statement of Trustees’ Responsibilities

The members of the Kirk Session prepare financial statements which give sufficient detail to enable an appreciation of the transactions of the Church during the financial year. The members of the Kirk Session are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which, on request, must reflect the financial position of the Church at that time. This must be done to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and the Regulations Anent Congregational Finance approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2007. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Church and must take reasonable steps for the prevention and/or detection of fraud and other irregularities.

Approved by the Trustees and signed on their behalf,

Ina D. S. Macpherson

Session Clerk


Kildonan and Loth, Helmsdale Church of Scotland


Independent Examiner’s Report to the Trustees of Kildonan, Loth and  Helmsdale Church of Scotland

I report on the accounts of the charity for the year ended 31st December 2020 which are set out on pages 7 to 12.

Respective responsibilities of trustees and examiner

The charity’s trustees are responsible for the preparation of the accounts in accordance with the terms of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

The charity trustees consider that the audit requirement of Regulation 10(1) (d) of the Accounts Regulations does not apply. It is my responsibility to examine the accounts as required under section 44(1) (c) of the Act and to state whether particular matters have come to my attention.

Basis of independent examiner’s statement

My examination is carried out in accordance with Regulation 11 of the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006.  An examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the charity and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records.  It also includes consideration of any unusual items or disclosures in the accounts, and seeks explanations from the trustees concerning any such matters.  The procedures undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit, and consequently I do not express an audit opinion on the view given by the accounts.

Independent examiner’s statement

In the course of my examination, no matter has come to my attention [other than disclosed below*]

  1. which gives me reasonable cause to believe that in any material respect the requirements:
    1. to keep accounting records in accordance with Section 44(1) (a) of the 2005 Act and Regulation 4 of the 2006 Accounts Regulations, and
    1. to prepare accounts which accord with the accounting records and comply with Regulation 9 of the 2006 Accounts Regulations have not been met, or
  2. to which, in my opinion, attention should be drawn in order to enable a proper understanding of the accounts to be reached.

Rev Hilary Gardner

Cayman Lodge

Western Kincardine Hill:


1V24 3DJ

Date: 15th February 2020