About us

The Gardner Memorial Church was built in memory of the Rev. Alexander Gardner who served the Parish of Brechin for nearly 50 years. The church is also dedicated to his late son James, an Edinburgh lawyer and founding member of the Scottish Rugby Union, who died tragically in September 1887.

Gardner Memorial and Farnell Parish Churches were linked in early 2008 and whilst each church retains its unique character, they share a minister. Their congregations now look forward to working together for the greater Glory of God.

As a welcoming, friendly and growing congregation, of all ages and backgrounds, we try to express and communicate Gods love in our daily lives.

Our Minister is

Rev Adriaan van Tonder

Adriaan had studied for his degree in theology at the University of Petoria in South Africa and was ordained as minister in the Dutch Reformed Church and worked in his hometown of Oudtshoorn at Welgeluk Church.   Later he became minister at the Dutch Reformed Church Aliwal North.  During his time working in South Africa he met and married his wife Sanelle and their first son Albert was born

Adriaan and his wife Sanelle dreamt of working and living abroad and then they heard the church of Scotland was calling for Ministers from abroad to come serve here in Scotland.  In 2021 he applied for placement as minister on familarisation with the Church of Scotland and in 2022 they sold everything and moved to Glenrothes for a placement at St. Columba’s Parish Church.  Their second son Lukas was born in Scotland and after completing his placement he started his new role as Associate Minister in the Glenrothes cluster.

On Tuesday 13th February 2024 it was the  start of a new chapter when his Induction Service was held to become Minister for Brechin & Farnell Parish Church.

Here are Adriaan’s thoughts in words for his future ministry here in Brechin.

“In terms of ministry, amongst many other things, these three things are most important:

Christ: This is why I do what I have been called to do: To glorify, serve, follow, and imitate our Lord, King, and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Calling: My calling to ministry has been something that has carried me through many trials and tribulations in ministry, and it has also brought me great joy and fulfillment.

Community: As a leader, I believe that God has called me to not only serve the faith community in Brechin and Farnell but also to serve the wider community. To be a presence in the community and to partner with other organisations and groups to try and make a difference”.

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    Session Clerk

    David Adams

    The recently elected Session Clerk of Brechin and Farnell Parish Church, David Adams, worked in the Education Service locally during all of his professional career. After teaching in Dundee Schools, he was appointed Principal Teacher of English in Arbroath Academy before becoming assistant Director of Education in Angus and subsequently in Tayside.
    From Tayside he was appointed Principal of Aberdeen College of Education, the teacher education and social work education college. When Aberdeen and Dundee Colleges merged to form Northern College of Education and he was appointed Principal of the combined college. It was at this point that Ishbel and he moved in 1991 to the former manse at Farnell, midway between the two campuses. David is a keen fisherman and gardener.
    Ishbel and David have two children, a son who is a surgeon in the Army, and a daughter who qualified as a dentist, and now works as an interior designer. Jane and her family now live in the former manse while her aged parents now live the Farnell Minister’s stables and byre.

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    Peter George

    After a varied career as an engineer in the Merchant Navy and Chemical Industries Peter moved to Brechin from the North East of England in 1979 along with his wife and daughters to work in the Pharmaceutical and Oil Industries often for both short and longer periods abroad. Within a few years he joined Southesk Church, as it was known then, and subsequently became a member of the Kirk Session. As a member of the Kirk Session he has been a District Elder, Property Convenor and Session Clerk, he is now Treasurer and Project manager for the Church’s Repair & Renewal Projects.

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    Brechin's Development Group Convenor

    Dorothy Black

    Dorothy has had a varied career starting straight from school to the TSB Bank and then spent 6 years as this church’s Office Administrator. Dorothy retired in 2021 from the local Health Centre. She previously held the post of Treasurer for 6 years and had been the Presbytery Elder 2016-2019.

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    Farnell's Chairperson for General Purposes Group

    Ann Banks

    Hailing originally from Strichen in the North-East, Ann has resided in Farnell for nearly 30 years.
    Early married years were spent sailing the high seas in the Merchant Navy with her husband Robin.
    Most of her career has been in retail; she was the founder of Highland Scene, the still very successful Kilt and Accessory business in Montrose, and Buth Tabhartas, an enterprising Jewellery and gift shop, also in Montrose.
    Since her sale of these businesses, her time is devoted to her garden and managing aforementioned husband.
    Ann and Robin have two children. Debbie is a wildlife conservationist and is well known within her `trade` as a leader in tiger conservation.
    Son Stuart is a precision engineer working in the oil service industry and is currently residing in Norway.

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    Office Administrator

    Elizabeth Baillie

    Elizabeth is a Brechiner born and bred, in fact a “Tarantarian”, meaning from a local area of Brechin called ‘Taranty’. She has had a varied career working for a long time with the NHS, first at Stracathro and Ninewells Hospitals, then moving to Angus College, Dundee University and Montrose Day Care Centre. Elizabeth is enjoying the varied workload (which was in very small print in the job description)

We cannot forget…

All our helpers and wonderful hospitality team!

Both Farnell & Brechin have lots of helpers on the hospitality teams, who are willing to go out into the community to help or raise funds for other good causes.

Supported by:

Heritage Lottery Fund logo Church of Scotland logo Historic Environment Scotland logo