St James' & St Philip's Churches

    Stonehaven and Catterline


    Part of the Scottish Episcopal Church



  • Connecting, celebrating and supporting

    Historic St James' Church and its modern community hall are available to you, to worship or to host and attend events and activities in Stonehaven. St Philip's Church in nearby Catterline is available as a beautiful wedding venue.

    St James Church Stonehaven

    What's on

    Upcoming events at St James


    20th March – CHILDREN’S SERVICE at 9.30am.


    31st March – MOTHERING SUNDAY service at 10.30 am.


    6th April - Book Browse in hall from 10.00am to 3.00 pm and

    7th April - Book Browse in hall from 10.00am to 2.00 pm


    13th April - Spring Coffee morning from 10.00am – 11.30am. Stalls: Cake & Candy. Raffle, Books, Knitting, Flower Trail with a plant prize, Tombola Stall {£1 per ticket with a guaranteed winner}


    14th April - Palm Sunday, Bishop Andrew celebrating


    Future Events


    25th May - Book Browse in hall


    1st June - Stall at Feein’ Market


    27th July - Book Browse in hall


    25th August - Stall at Harbour Festival


    5th Oct - Book Browse in hall


    13th October - Harvest Festival and lunch


    16th October - Seniors’ Harvest service and tea.


    7th Dec - Book Browse in hall


    14th December - Christmas Coffee morning and The Tree of Life (Christmas baubles).




    Come and worship with us. We are always happy to welcome visitors, newcomers and people from any denomination.



    Every Sunday  

    9.00am – Said Eucharist

    10.30am – Sung Eucharist ( On the 2nd Sunday of the month we hold a Songs of Praise service)


    Second Wednesday of the month

    10.30am – Eucharist and Healing Service


    First and Third Wednesday of the month

    9.30 am - Children's Service



    As we do not have a rector at the moment, we use the Reserve Sacrament booklet when no priest is present. Otherwise we follow the Scottish Liturgy 1982 blue service booklet.


    There is an introit hymn of welcome followed by a short time of intermingling to meet and share with one another the Peace of Christ and then the service continues according to the booklet words. Music and singing praise is enhanced by the uplifting touch of church organist, Peter Parfitt – a wonderful sound!


    Having joined in faith affirmation and prayers of intercession, the Eucharist [Holy Communion] is then celebrated and offered. All are welcome to receive Holy Communion should you choose to do so. If you prefer you may come forward simply for a blessing from the priest/celebrant. All children are welcome to come for a blessing.



    There are no services being held at St Philip's at present.


    For further details please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us.



    Creating memories

    We would be delighted to talk to you about how St James or St Philip's Churches can help play a part in your life's milestone moments, including baptisms, marriages and funerals.


    To find out more about our baptism, wedding and funeral services, click here.

    To discuss your requirements, please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us.


    Space to be social...


    St James' modern community hall is yours to hire. With modern facilities, including a kitchen, it's the perfect venue for children's or adult classes, fairs, sales, events or parties. St James' Church can also be booked for your special event and St Philip's Church is exclusively available for weddings.


    Click here to find out more about our venues.

  • Life Events

    We would be delighted to talk to you about how St James or St Philip's Churches can help play a part in those milestone family moments, including baptisms, marriages and funerals.

    Wedding Venue St James Stonehaven


    St James is a church that is steeped in tradition and family values making it the perfect place to hold your marriage service. You can also get married in the coastal village of Catterline in the very beautiful church of St Philip's.

    If you leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us, we will arrange for a priest to contact you. They will arrange with you a time and place and during the run up to your wedding they will be on hand to help with any questions that you might have. A couple of months prior to your wedding they will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your plans and go through what hymns and readings you would like at your service. This allows everyone to have a clear idea of what will happen on the day. As arrangements are finalised, a further meeting may be necessary.

    On the day before the wedding, we normally have a full rehearsal with the bride and groom, best man, bridesmaids, the person who is giving the bride away and anyone else involved in the ceremony.


    Associated costs

    Wedding service – £392

    Baptism Stonehaven Venue St James


    St James are very happy to welcome children into the family of the Church. A date and a time should be arranged with the church by leaving a message on 01569 764473 or using our contact form. You will then receive a booklet explaining the purpose of baptism and a form to be filled in and returned to the church.

    At a convenient time before the baptism, there will be a meeting with you to go through the service and arrange any last-minute details. After the service, the family is given a baptismal certificate and candle.


    Associated costs

    Baptisms are free, but a donation is usually given to the church.

    Funerals St James Stonehaven Remembrance


    Funerals can be arranged through an undertaker but you may also wish to contact the church directly, by leaving a message on 01569 764473 or using our contact form. We will then contact the family and arrange a time for a visit. During the visit, you will discuss the music and readings that you would like during the service, together with a fitting tribute for the person who has passed away.

    The service can take place in Church, the crematorium, the graveside, or the funeral home.

    If the main service is in Church, the coffin is normally brought in the night before, and is placed in the Chancel, covered with a purple pall and flanked by two candles, giving the person who has died quietness and dignity in death.


    Associated costs

    Funeral service in Church
    – £182

    Burial of cremated remains in churchyard on separate occasion
    – £138

    Burial of cremated remains in churchyard on a separate occasion or without service in church
    – £164

    Organist – £60

    Church Officer – £50

  • Venue Hire


    St James' hall and church are available for you to book for your event.

    To enquire about using the hall or church, please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us.

    St James Hall

    A space for the whole community

    St James' modern community hall is yours to hire. With modern facilities, including a kitchen, it's the perfect venue for children's or adult classes, fairs, sales, events or parties.


    Capacity: Theatre style 60 people. Cafe style approx. 50 people

    Equipment available: Tables | Chairs | Baby Chairs | Toddlers' Toys | Free WiFi

    Dimensions: 11m x 8m. Ceiling height 2.8m.

    Heating: Gas central heating on automatic timer/thermostat

    Facilities: Fully fitted kitchen with crockery, cutlery, oven, fridge | Two unisex toilets, one disabled | Fire alarm | Free Wifi

    Access/Parking: Disabled access. Ample free on-street parking. Market Square (charges apply during day). Access for deliveries. Bus parking opposite river. Bus station 100 yards away. Railway station (10 mins walk).


    To enquire about booking St James' hall please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us. You can download an information pack below.

    St James' Church

    A unique venue to make every event special

    The Church of St James the Great, Stonehaven is a Grade 1 listed building and can be the ideal venue for your event as well as hosting baptisms, weddings and funeral services. With its stunning interior and excellent acoustics, St James' Church is a venue with a difference.


    Capacity: 260 people.

    Equipment available: Pews are not fixed to the floor and can be moved with adequate manpower (three people per pew) under supervision. Wooden floor with carpet in aisles.

    Dimensions: 22m x 14.5m.

    Heating: Modern electric heating (upgraded soon)

    Facilities: The adjacent hall's toilet facilities can be used (one unisex, one disabled). | Radio microphone and PA system | Pipe organ (Wadsworth 1877) | Bluthner concert grand piano | Free WiFi.

    Access/Parking: Disabled access. Ample free on-street parking. Market Square (charges apply during day). Access for deliveries. Bus parking opposite river. Bus station 100 yards away. Railway station 10 mins walk.


    To enquire about booking St James' church please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us. You can download an information pack below.

    St Philip's Church

    An intimate, historic venue for weddings

    St Philip's Church in nearby Catterline is available as an exclusive wedding venue.

  • Contemplation



    When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).


    Innocent, they went to their beds,

    cosying under the duvets:

    babes with their cuddlies and comforters;

    children, homework done, i-pads under the covers

    despite the admonition of their parents;

    their parents, so work weary,

    grabbing time to themselves

    before the rote of work and family

    wakes them for another day;

    students, grannies, grandpas, the lonely and the forgotten;

    black, white, Asian, British, Middle Eastern, multi-ethnic;

    Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs,

    multi-faith and none.

    Innocent they went to their beds expecting a tomorrow.

    There they thought, if they believed, God was: their shield and their protector.


    Fire struck.

    A fire that should have been contained took hold.

    Black toxic choking smoke.

    Fierce flames rising, up, up, floor after floor as the world looked on in horror.

    Where was God?


    By morning, Grenfell House,

    a charred emaciated skeleton of a building,

    smoking, smouldering,

    a tragedy that never should have been.

    Yes. Where was God?


    Mercy, O mercy,

    so many of those, awoken from their slumbers, made their way to safety,

    smoke stained, coughing, cradling children,

    guiding the elderly, lost in the darkness of the night.

    There was God.


    Mercy, O mercy,

    fire fighters, paramedics, the police,

    doctors, nurses, turned up trumps again,

    risking their lives, interrupting their own slumbers

    to do their job, to care, to love, to seek to heal.

    There was God.


    Mercy, O mercy,

    churches, mosques, temples,

    community centres, opened their doors.

    Clergy, imams, rabbis, priests,

    social workers, counsellors,

    the lay and the community

    did as Jesus would himself have done:

    had compassion for the homeless,

    the injured, the lost and the bewildered.

    There was God.


    Mercy, O mercy,

    shelter, food, water, clothes and toys

    appeared as if by miracle

    to meet immediate need.

    There was God.


    But wait!

    Innocent, some went to bed expecting a tomorrow.

    They shall never see the light of day again:

    not, at least the light of day that we see.

    Where was God?


    We weep. We pray. We hold out hope

    that they shall be welcomed into the light eternal.

    There is God. Dear Lord, may they rest in peace and rise in glory.

    To be with God.


    Dear Lord, comfort those left behind:

    the orphaned child, the grieving brother,

    the parent left without those whom they have borne,

    the boyfriend, girlfriend, lover.

    We cannot comprehend what grief they feel.

    Where is God?


    And wait!

    A tragedy that never should have been.

    And why?

    We all await the answers to that question.

    How can a home, a place of safety for so many

    become the charred wreck that it now is?

    Bewilderment, shock, ‘who is responsible’

    turns to understandable anger.

    How can we stem this anger

    being felt by the victims?

    Where is God?


    But now, today, this week and years to come,

    our thoughts and prayers must be with those who suffered, and will suffer still,

    an endless, yes, eternal suffering.

    Be with them, God.


    Requiescat in pace, Grenfell House.


    When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.


    The Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting,

    and his faithfulness endures from generation to generation. (Psalm 100:5) Amen


    ©2017 Peter Smart


  • The story of St James and St Philip's

    Our history and architecture

    Stonehaven Venue Church Community Hall St James

    A brief history of the Episcopal Church in the Stonehaven area 

    The first church in the neighbourhood of Stonehaven was planted at Dunnottar but only the name survives in St Ninian's den. The parish church of Dunnottar remained for some centuries until a new church dedicated in honour of St Bride or Bridget, was built by the Earl Marischal in Dunnottar woods where a more modern church now stands. The parish church of Fetteresso (built in Kirktown) in honour of St Kieran was dedicated by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews, in 1246. The history of these churches before and after the reformation followed similar lines to the history of churches all over Scotland.


    Shortly after the 1715 Rebellion, the Episcopalians, now apart from Establishment, worshipped in the Tolbooth, Stonehaven under Mr Peter Rose. In 1737 a cruciform chapel was erected in the high Street. Following the Jacobite uprising of 1745, the Duke of Cumberland on his march north to the battle of Culloden in April 1746 stopped briefly at Stonehaven. On his orders the Episcopal Chapels at Muchalls and Drumlithie were entirely razed to the ground on the grounds that all Episcopalians were suspected of being loyal to Charles Edward Stuart. The Chapel at Stonehaven was only rescued from a similar fate by the pleading of Sheriff John Young. However, all of the furnishings were taken out into the High Street of Stonehaven and burned and the chapel was unceremoniously converted into stables for the King's cavalry.


    Nothing is left of the old High Street chapel except the belfry stone, which is preserved in the porch of St James and the altar cross and candlesticks which were given to King David's, Inverbervie.


    With the increased rigour of the Penal Laws of 1746, it was an offence to conduct services in the presence of more than five people. Nevertheless, services were conducted at various houses in the High Street. The Rev Alexander Greig was convicted in 1748 for this offence and after trial, spent the winter of 1748-49 in the Tolbooth Jail at Stonehaven harbour with his companions from Drumlithie and Muchalls.


    The chapel was rebuilt under the Rev. Robert Memess in the 1760s and called the English Chapel.


    After worshipping in various houses for a time, the Scottish Episcopalians built a small chapel in Cameron Street near Keith Lodge. They worshipped here until 1815 when they sold their chapel and applied for money to make improvements to the High Street chapel to which they returned.


    By the 1860s the High Street chapel had become too small so Robert Thom, Dean and Alexander Penrose Forbes, the Bishop (and a former Rector), planned a new church. The foundation stone of the present St James Episcopal Church was laid by Bishop Forbes on St Matthew's Day (21 September) 1875. The nave took two years to complete and was opened for service on 1 October 1877. The nave was hardly sufficient so a chancel was added, opening in 1885 so the church could accommodate 520. At that time there were 900 adherents, 400 communicants and 230 pupils in the Sunday School. The Baptistery was dedicated in 1906.


    Notes extracted from a booklet by William Christie: 'The Church in Stonehaven'


    St James Church Stonehaven Architecture

    St James' architecture

    The Church of St James the Great, Stonehaven is a Grade 1 listed building.


    The narthex and baptistery were designed by Arther Clyne and were consecrated in 1906. The baptistery stained glass windows were designed by Sir Nunian Comper in 1929 and honour St Nathalan, St David of Scotland, John the Baptist, St Francesca and St Kieran.


    The nave was built by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson in 1877. Its style is Norman, passing into early English of the eleventh century. It is 22.25 metres long, 14.6 metres wide and more than 12 metres high, with massive stone pillars each side supporting five arcaded arches, each topped at clerestory level by a Norman window and revealing another Norman window in the aisle beyond. The roof is open and bound with transverse redwood spars and supports.


    The great west window commemorates the incumbency of The Very Rev William Leslie Christie. The upper part depicts our Saviour's baptism by St John the Baptist and the lower shows the baptism of babies by the Rev Alexander Greig while he was imprisoned in the toolbooth.


    The pulpit of Caen stone was designed by Arthur Clyne of Aberdeen and carved under the superintendence of James Bremner of Broughty Ferry. Octagonal in shape, the pulpit has boldly relieved moulding above the base course, giving way to a course of richly carved foliage below a course, of five panels with finely carved heads. These heads (looking left and right) represent:


    (i) St Ninian, 397-432, Bishop of Candidacasa;

    (ii) St David, King of Scotland 1124-1153;

    (iii) John Sinclair, last bishop of Brechin before the Reformation 1565-1566;

    (iv) Alexander Jolly, Bishop of Myoray 1798-1838;

    (v) Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin 1847-1875.


    The green marble balls at the angle of the panels above and below come from Egypt and the red from Victoria in South Africa.


    On the opposite side of the nave is the lectern. At the entrance to the nave stands the marble font which is one of the earliest stone fonts in the Episcopal Church having come originally from St John's Chapel, Golden Square, Aberdeen.


    The chancel was added in 1885 and is apsidal in form (having a semicircular end): 10.7, metres long, 10.7 metres high and 6.4 metres wide. Encircling the apse 3 metres from the floor are seven lancet windows with boldly splayed stone reveals and glazed lead quarry lights. The curved ceiling of the chancel has narrow horizontal linings, rig mouldings and moulded cornice formed of St Petersburg pinewood. The organ chamber measures 4.6 metres by 3.4 metres and is 6.4 metres high, being lit by two Norman windows and lined with narrow varnished pine.


    The high altar has an elaborately sculptured reredos by Gambier-Perry of London. The reredos is in Corsham stone, divided into five trefoil arches supported by columns of Devonshire stone, with five alabaster figures depicting St Andrews, St Peter, our Saviour, St James and St John.


    Notes are extracted from the booklet by Charles Cleall:

    'Walking round the Church of St James the Great Stonehaven'


    A virtual Guide to St James' Church building


    Visitors are now able to use our new smartphone app, "James Shell", which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Just point your smartphone camera at one of 12 Trigger Panels in the church and the app will describe the adjacent feature in detail.

    St Philip's Church Catterline

    St Philip's Church, Catterline

    The fishing village of Catterline expanded in the early 19th century after a harbour had been built. In 1842 a group of 19 male communicants, speaking for a community of 132, petitioned the Diocesan Synod for a church at Catterline because the Episcopal Chapel at Drumlithie was seven miles away. In 1843 the first Catterline pastor – the Reverend James Stevenson of Stornoway – was elected.


    The present church of St Philip was designed by Charles Brand in the English style and was built on the site of an earlier church, retaining its historic graveyard. It was opened in 1848 and consecrated by Bishop Forbes of Brechin. You can view St Philip's location by clicking here.


    A notice in the entrance porch records that the Founder and First Priest, James Stevenson, was buried in the churchyard after his death on 5 March, 1868 at the age of 64 years.


    St Philip's is also a very beautiful venue for weddings. For further information on the church as a wedding venue please leave a message on 01569 764473 or contact us.

    Bishop Nigel Peyton Diocese of Brechin St James Stonehaven

    The churches of St James and St Philip are members of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is diverse in its tradition, outlook and culture. Such diversity enriches the Church and is expressed in warm relationships of mutual respect for one another.


    Firmly rooted in the life of Scotland and part of its rich history, the Scottish Episcopal Church is also deeply committed to its membership of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which is a family of over 70 million Christians in more than 160 countries.


    The Scottish Episcopal Church is known as a Province of the Anglican Communion. Within the Province there are seven areas (known as Dioceses) which cover mainland Scotland and the Islands. Each Diocese is overseen by a Bishop. The Dioceses are: Aberdeen & Orkney; Argyll & The Isles; Brechin; Edinburgh; Glasgow& Galloway; Moray, Ross & Caithness and St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.


    There are over 350 Scottish Episcopal Churches across Scotland which offer a range of liturgical worship and music.


    For more information about the Scottish Episcopal Church click here.


    St James' and St Philip's are in the diocese of Brechin. To find out what is happening in the diocese click here.


  • About us

    St James is open to all during daylight hours,

    please feel free to visit.

    Our people

    Bishop – The Rt Rev Andrew Swift

    Rector – awaiting appointment. Interim rector, The Bishop, The Rt Rev Andrew Swift

    Lay Readers Emeritus – Arma Iles and Anne Geldart, MA, BD


    Bishop and Interim Rector - Rt Rev Andrew Swift

    He was Dean of Argyll and The Isles from 2012 until 2018, Rector of Dunoon and Rothesay in that diocese since 2010 and a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod from 2011.

    He was a Depute Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute since 2016. He previously served in the Diocese of Gloucester, following a career as a shipbuilding executive, Civil Service research engineer and a junior officer in the RAF. He was born 1968 in Aberdeen and grew up in Dunblane. He studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Oxford.

    The Very Rev Andrew Swift is married to Mary, a native of Stranraer, and they have three children - Frances (16), Peter (19) and Eleanor (21). For leisure, the family enjoy narrow-boating on the Scottish canals with their Collie, Molly.




    Lay Reader Emeritus – Arma Iles

    Arma was born in Banchory & raised in Aberdeen, where she trained as a general nurse & children's nurse before moving to London to study further in midwifery & obstetrics During the time Arma spent in London she met her husband of 47 years & they have gone on to have a large family, eight children, fifteen grandchildren & four great grandchildren - at the last count!


    Arma has been connected to St James' for twenty three years. In 1997 she was appointed Server & Eucharistic Minister & also Pastoral Server. Following on from this Arma trained as a Lay Reader, after which she took up her duties within St James' & St Philips', as well as this she also preaches occasionally at St Ternans in Muchalls


    During Arma's spare time she volunteers at the local Red Cross Shop, is a broadcaster on the weekly newspaper "Talk of the Mearns" which is the local paper for the blind & as well as all of the above Arma is an enthusiastic member of the Ury Players in Stonehaven & the the Burns Choir in Drumlithie. If Arma ever finds any spare time she does enjoy reading, walking, swimming & tending to her garden.


    Arma retired from being a lay reader in June 2015 but holds the position of Lay Reader Emeritus.


    Lay Reader Emeritus – Anne Geldart, MA, BD

    1979 - BD Hons, University of Wales | 1980 - PGCE with distinction | 1981 - General Readers Certificate of ACCM, Westminster | 1992 - MA in Education


    Anne continued to teach until 1997, until she retired as Head of Humanities in a large City School in Cardiff. Anne then went on to write a number of texts on a range of Religious subjects, including World Religions and Exploring the Gospels and was also Series Consultant for a further set of books. By 2003 she had more than ten titles in publication.


    While Anne lived in South Wales, she was an active Reader in the Diocese of Llandaff, which resulted in her preaching and conducting services in 26 different churches, as well as my own Church of All Saints, Barry. From 1997 until 2003 she was Diocesan Tutor to Readers and helped prepare a number of candidates for licensing to the role of Readers.


    Anne maintained an interest in Religious Education through first becoming an Examiner, and then a Senior Team Leader in the Welsh Joint Education Council.


    Upon moving to the North Mearns in 2003 her Readership was transferred to the Diocese of Brechin. She retired from being a lay reader in 2017 but holds the position of Lay Reader Emeritus.


    Anne's greatest delight is in preaching, and 'opening a window into the Gospel'.

    St James' and St Philip's Churches

    To find out more about the Church of St James in Stonehaven and St Philip's Church in Catterline, click the button below.

  • Contact Us

    Please leave a message on 01569 764473 or use this contact form and we will get back to you.

    Note: All boxes on the contact form must be filled in.

    St James' Church, Arbuthnott Street, Stonehaven, AB39 2JB
    Open during daylight hours
    01569 764473