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Meet the Team

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After working for seven and a half years in Castlemilk  Parish Church I was called to Alva Parish over 20 years ago. 

I believe in the truth. I think the truth that we tell ourselves is seen in the stories that we tell about ourselves, and the stories that others tell about us. So when I read the bible I see the truth in the stories that are told about people. These stories explain the many complicated and varied relationships we can have with God.

As varied as our relationships are with each other, so are God’s relationships with us, but at the basis of each one is a deep love and desire for us to grow.


As minister I coordinate the leadership of the church. I also do other things.

  • I visit the hospital, 

  • I prepare the worship for Sundays

  • I perform weddings, funeral and baptisms 

  • I visit the elderly, sick and those who ask for pastoral help.

  • I visit primary and secondary schools 

My favourite passage in the bible is the one about the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus for punishment.

I love it for the main point: that Jesus gives us another chance even when we completely mess things up.

I love it for the hypocrisy of the world shown in all its light. If the woman was caught then so was the man, but where is he in all of this? We see the way of the world is that there is one law for some people (usually the most vulnerable) and another law for others.

I love it because it reminds me not to get so high minded when others have done wrong to me, because I may need another chance one day.

I love it because it reminds me that the aim of faith is to help us on our journey of life, not live by a set of rules in the hope of getting to heaven.

I love it because it reminds me that there will always be things that I don’t understand or fully get.

I could keep on about this passage but it would just bore you.


Reverend James McNeil


John Spruce

Session Clerk

Tech team member

I moved to Alva over 30 years ago from Cheshire and transferred my membership from my Congregational Church. I have been attending church regularly since Sunday school.

I have been involved in Scouting all my life and currently hold the post of Clackmannanshire District Scouts Chairman. I organised the Toys for Ndola last year after one of my Scout Expeditions to Zambia 4 years ago.

Gil Harvie

Depute Session Clerk

The church here in Alva is a great community where people support each other, and care about others outside our immediate area.

As Depute Clerk I am responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act.  I am also on the Finance Committee where I assist the Roll Keeper. I am part of the Men’s Group, the  Worship Group,  and I hold monthly House/Study groups at my home. I try to support most church events and the charities associated with the church.

“Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself. Everything else will follow..”

Mrs Elaine Stein

Church Elder

Co-ordinator of The Guild

When we came to live in Alva I wanted to feel part of the community so came to Alva Parish Church and we were made very welcome from the onset.  My faith is very important to me, I feel secure in the knowledge that God is always with me, during good times and bad and that he loves me unconditionally.
As an Elder I enjoy visiting the people in my district and catching up with all their news. Being part of the Worship group has helped me to have a greater understanding of the Bible and taking part in a Sunday morning service is a privilege, although a bit scary speaking in front of the congregation. I shake from head to foot each time.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”

Lesley Dawson

Depute Session Clerk

We joined Alva Parish Church when our boys were little, over 20 years ago, and felt at home really quickly. The fellowship and love that is here in the church is beautiful.

My mum taught me to pray at the side of the bed before going to sleep when I was little. Over the years my faith has developed and changed and it's difficult to put down in words what it means to me. It's like trying to describe a colour or taste – really tricky!  It’s a living growing relationship with God through His people and His creation. Faith adds love, hope, joy and perseverance through both good and bad times. I can't imagine life without it.

“For you created my inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful,
 I know that full well”

Psalm 139 

Dave Clark

Church Elder

I was an atheist at 19, but God had another idea. He broke into my life and I became a Christian. I had a backslidden period, but, again, God had a plan. I still consider myself as the most broken Christian in Alva. However, I get it! God loved me so much that he became “godforsaken” on the cross so that this Godforsaken man would have a conversation with him.
I enjoy visiting my small flock and contributing to the strategy of the church. I believe the bible says all Christians are a Royal Priesthood – my priesthood is my life!

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13 - the best explanation of love I have ever come across.

Margaret Sherry

Church Elder

I joined Alva Parish Church shortly after my marriage to the Rev G Sherry.  My faith means everything to me. Throughout  my working life as a nurse , despite having a few personal problems in my life my faith has remained strong .

 I have until very recently been a part of the Street Pastors initiative where Christians from churches in the Alloa and Stirling areas go out on the streets of Stirling at the weekend helping vulnerable people in the name of Jesus Christ .

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love"

Kay Conn

Church Elder

Editor of the Alvanac

I was brought up in a church going home but lost my way a bit after my mother’s death. I returned to church after my daughter raved about ‘the new minister and his puppets’ when she was wee. Have been in Alva Parish Church ever since and it means so much to me. The fellowship and friendships we have forged over the years are very special.

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Hazel Mitchell

Church Elder

To be honest I joined the Eadie Church when I was about to get married. I was twenty years old. Forty years later my faith continues to be a big part of my life. It helps me through difficult times by prayer or listening to prayers or even Jim’s sermon. I think it makes me a more caring person. My Mum died recently and I am reassured that she is safe with my Dad in the next world....

As an Elder I have a district to care and think about. I enjoy visits and like to think I am a friend of people in my district. Many of them just take the magazine at the door but we usually have a wee chat together which is still a sort of fellowship. I made vows when I joined the church, when my girls were baptized and when I became an elder and I take them very seriously.

“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.”

Douglas Buck

Church Elder

I was brought up in the Church of Scotland and went to Sunday School and then joined at 16. An Officer in the Boys Brigade, who later became a Minister, was a great influence in my life.
I was Property Convenor for a number of years in the 80’s and found this job very rewarding. I am now in my late 70’s and still have my district (The Cochranes) which I enjoy and have a great relationship with the residents there. We have a service in the Hall on the last Sunday of the month which is looked forward to by the Cochrane folk.

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight.”

The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)

Margaret Wilkie

Church Elder

Messy Church Kitchen Coordinator

I joined Alva Parish Church in 1982 with my husband Jimmy and we took the Youth Fellowship for a couple of years. Over the years, I’ve become more and more involved with the church and since I retired from teaching at Alva Primary, I’ve had more time to devote to some of the organisations.

I felt a great sense of responsibility when I was invited to become an elder. It is an honour and a privilege to help others in our church community and beyond.                                                     The work I do in the worship group always fills me with trepidation beforehand, but prayer and trust in God help me through the performance and relief follows afterwards. Members of the congregation are so kind in their support and appreciation that I feel very lucky to be part of this group.                                                                         

I am coordinator of “Foodie Friends”, our kitchen group. We really enjoy working together and there’s always laughter coming from the kitchen as we critique important topics such as Strictly as well any recent holiday breaks or new babies, weddings etc.                                                                                                                          


“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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