Please note: The current / recent Pastoral Letter is found at the end of 'News'.
Youth and Family Project Update
For some months the Kirk session has been considering ways to strengthen links with families in the community and, last December, commissioned research into the possibilities for outreach work to help achieve this aim. The researcher, Graeme McMeekin, spoke to the congregation about the work at Morning Service, and at a special meeting in the Glebe St Hall in late February, members of the congregation helped identify priorities for the church's outreach. This report has now been completed and is now available to view. (28/04/17)
Community Link's Easter Activities
Easter Good News leaflets were delivered to homes in the Parish giving details of all the Church Holy Week events. We are delighted to report that The Maundy Thursday Reflection Service Lunch was attended by more people than ever - approximately 70 people. It was most enjoyable and companionship and friendship were very much in evidence. A number of members and non-members also visited during the Open Church sessions each day to appreciate the peace of the Sanctuary. (29/04/17)
New Venture - Prayer Group
A new Prayer Group is starting up on Sunday 7th May after church - to pray for the Church, society, the world, and to remember people for whom a prayer has been asked. Speak to Stewart Smith or Marion Leddie if interested. (28/03/17)
Christian Aid Week 2017: 14th – 20th May
This year’s Christian Aid Week will be the 60th since it began. (Stewart Smith remembers taking part in the very first one, in Cleland, in 1957). It’s called “Christian” because of the example of Jesus; it’s called “Aid” because people are still in need of help, people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds. Remember the song – “And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there”?
The focus for this year is the plight of refugees. Christian Aid itself began 70 years ago, in response to the needs of refugees after World War 2, and 60 years ago, the first Week was devoted to refugees as well. Today the need is as great as ever. That’s why we’ll be out and about in the parish and beyond with the familiar red envelopes, a method of fund-raising which continues to work wonders. More details on the Home Page Noticeboard.
World Mission Stamp Appeal
Thank you for the used stamps you have brought in to raise funds for the World Mission Stamp Appeal. They are turned in to vital funds to help our partners worldwide. In 2016, we raised an amazing £4,334.00 that will be used to support the Othara Eco-spirituality Centre run by our partner, the Church of South India.
The Appeal which started in March is raising money for the Giffen Institute of Theology (GIT) in South Sudan. Our partners, the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, established GIT in 1974. 75% of the Church’s ministers are trained at the Institute, and it plays a vital role in educating and equipping students for ministry. It has, however, suffered as a result of the violence which has erupted in South Sudan over the past few years.
The Institute has been relocated twice in order to ensure the safety of its staff and students, and it has now been re-established in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya. Resources were unfortunately lost in the process, and the library was, sadly, burnt to the ground. Money raised from this year’s Stamp Appeal will provide GIT with much needed resources, including books for their library. So please continue to put your used stamps into the boxes in the Halls and at the front door of the Church. (29/04/17)
Fundraising Coffee Mornings
The Elders' Coffee Morning on Saturday 29th April was a great success, at times with hardly a spare seat in the place! The total raised for the Children's Services Summer Lunch Fund will be announced soon once all figures are in. (29/04/17)
We are also happy to announce that £400 is being sent to the Kilbryde Hospice as a result of the special Coffee Morning on 30/03/2017. (03/04/17)
Cabaret Evening Friday 21st April
We were royally entertained by Davey Hay, singer, guitarist and friend at Kirk Life's recent 'Cabaret' event. It was truly a great evening which was enjoyed by everyone there and we raised £346 for church funds! (29/04/17)
Sunday School's Lent Challenge Sunday 26th March
The Sunday School 'Did Something Funny for Money' in aid of Comic Relief and raised nearly £240. (updated 29/04/17)
Pastoral Letter for May
I write this article listening to Prime Minister’s Questions in the background. As we all know, this will be the last “Questions” until after the next General Election. I wonder how you feel about another election so close on the heels of the local council elections in a few days’ time. Maybe you’re like Brenda from Bristol who when told by a reporter that the Prime Minister had called a General Election said, “Oh no, you’re joking, not another one, I can’t stand it!” Or maybe you relish the opportunity to debate with friends and family the issues of the day.
As Christians, I believe our faith should influence our voting decisions, and while the pulpit is no place for party politics, there is a need for all of us to do our homework about the issues in the world which concern us right now; ask questions of those standing for election; and place our votes in an informed way. (And don’t get me started on people who don’t bother to vote, especially women. People fought for your right to do it, so make sure you use it wisely!)
I do have a bit of a fear however that further debating and voting, and some becoming winners and others therefore losers, might lead to divisions amongst people. The recent referendums in our time have made it apparent that vast sections of society disagree with other sections of society. In some cases this has led to the break-up of relationships, splits in families, and an air of discord.
Again as Christians, we are called to set an example to the world. Disagreements happen, and often debates are healthy, but listening to our elected members right now during Prime Minister’s Question Time shouting at one another and trying to score points off one another worries me. I chaired a “Husting” event last week in the church for the candidates standing for the local council elections, and while on the whole people behaved in a courteous manner, I did have to stop a few times and tell people to stop shouting at their fellow human beings.
And after it’s all over, and the vote is in, I hope and pray that we can all get on with living in harmony with one another, that we can continue to treat one other with the respect which is our calling in Christ Jesus. Jesus said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12)
Yours in love, Anne Paton
Pastoral Letter for April
They say that when the slaves in Jamaica knew they were to be set free on a certain day, they spent all night getting ready. While it was still dark they began moving by twos and threes out of their huts into village lanes, joined by others coming from the forests and the plains. They streamed toward the highest hill, climbing through the darkness and crowding together at the top, waiting for the day. As the first strands of dawn began to show on the horizon, a ripple of laughter spread through the crowd like a murmur of waves. Then a shout went up and they began to sing in their distinctive rhythm, at last lifting up their hands into the sky at the rising of the sun and crying, "Free! Free! Free!"
This is the Easter Story. The message we celebrate on Easter Day is “Free! Free! Free!” However our lives have been, they should be changed by this amazing message. Our wary or weary hearts should take in the freedom of this powerful story. This story has the power to enable us to break free from all that would keep us from being the people God wants us to be. And this gospel -- by God's grace -- gives us the courage to venture out to meet our Lord in our own life's tomorrow -- a tomorrow which is not fully here but is real, visible, already broken onto our horizon. Now we venture into the life we most profoundly longed for, not the life we've settled for. Not the keeping on that passes for life, but rather the life for which we have hungered and hoped, the life God intended for us.
I hope and pray that we might all glimpse something of the Easter message this season and that the healing love of the risen Christ may dwell in all our hearts,
Yours in love, Anne Paton