Father John Maendeleo became our priest in residence on 7 June 2006. As well as helping Canon Matt with his duties in Ardrossan, Father John helped in neighbouring parishes. He returned to his native Tanzania on 1 February 2008. To commemorate his input to the Parish, there was A Scottish Farewell To Father John in late January 2008 in the Parish Centre.

On 25 January, there was a gathering with a meal and entertainment. Because that date was the birthdate of the national bard, there was a Burns Supper theme throughout the evening. Father John was piped in by Ciaran Sinclair. George McGrattan made a welcome address and Father Stephen Sharkey said the Selkirk Grace. After a wholesome meal, which included haggis, was served by Ronnie Roberts and staff, Canon Matt reflected on Father John's time in Saint Peter's. Father John thanked Canon Matt for his hospitality and friendship. He also expressed gratitude to the community for welcoming him. The assembed community then sang A Man's A Man.

The entertainment was started by Lauren Dickson and Amanda Gemmell of the North Ayrshire Schools Traditional Music Group. They played Scottish tunes on fiddle and piano then swapped instruments for more music. This was followed by Saint Peter's Country Dancers who danced Athenside Lake to the tune of Bonnie Anne. Athenside Lake is an anagram of Sadie and Kathleen in memory of Sadie Kelly and Kathleen Findlay, deceased members of the Country Dance Club. The dance was choreographed by Alice McGrattan whose fellow dancers were Sheila Boyle, Sheila Douglas, Moira Donnelly, Peggy Duffy, Maria Hilferty, Anne Thompson and Margaret Wright.

Saint Peter's Choir sang Ye Banks And Braes, The Dark Island and Marie's Wedding before leading the community in Comin' Through The Rye, Loch Lomond and The Northern Lights Of Old Aberdeen. The choir was accompanied on piano by Alistair Sim, Director of Music. The choir members were Evelyne Agostini, Cathie Boyd, Jim Donnelly, Catherine Kerr, Michael McCulloch, Cecilia Morman, Margaret Swiercz, Robin Reid and Monica Taylor. Ciaran Sinclair played a few more pipe tunes. Michael McCulloch and George McGrattan sang Wild Mountain Thyme, Westering Home, Ardrossan's My Home Town and Where Was I Born - Born In Scotland, the last two being composed by George.

The highlight of the evening was the Conferring Of Scottish Nationality on Father John. To qualify, he had to answer ten questions, the last of which was 'Can you sing Flower of Scotland'? Father John accepted the challenge to the delight of the audience. He was then draped with a Scottish flag to symbolise his acceptance by the community and the affection in which he was held.

Everyone agreed that it was an excellent social event and a fine tribute to Father John.

On the afternoon of 27 January, there was an 'open house' in the Parish Centre. Hundreds of parishioners and friends came along to have refreshments and say A Scottish Farewell To Father John.

More photographs of A Scottish Farewell To Father John are on the Pictures page.