A group of lantern bearers from St John’s shone the light of Christ at the annual Big Burns Supper parade.

About a dozen members of the congregation met up in the church hall before the carnival that wound its way through the streets of Dumfries, starting outside Moat Brae House and finishing at the bottom of the High Street, on 25 January, the birthday of Scotland’s national poet.

Group leader was Ann Toner, who attended a demonstration on how to make the lanterns before Christmas and then took a practical workshop for the volunteers at St John’s a week before the parade.

The lanterns were made out of paper, willow and a strip of LED lighting. A four foot lantern in

St John's group at Burns Supper parade
St John’s lantern bearers at Burns Supper parade.

the shape of a cross was the centrepiece. It was carried at the front of the St John’s group by Eleanor Tofield.

Said Ann: “It was fun. We enjoyed the night walking along the High Street, showing the lanterns which we brought from St John’s, sharing the light of Jesus with the town of Dumfries.”

The parade featured 2015 lanterns, carried by numerous community groups and organisations, including the town’s schoolchildren, as a nod to the celebration of UNESCO’s 2015 Year of Light.

UNESCO is an agency of the United Nations. Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights, and freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.

The parade is one of the highlights of Big Burns Supper, a nine-day festival of music, comedy, theatre, cabaret, culture and fun throughout the town that runs from 23 January to 31 January.

The St John’s lantern bearers were: Ann and Mark Toner; Carol Finlay; Helen Paisley, Paul, Kim and Eleanor Tofield; Edith Levin; Anglea and John Taylor; Terry and Rosie Brown, and Diane Tyas.

St John's group of lantern bearers
The St John’s lantern bearers at the start of the Burns Supper parade



St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


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The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.


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