Church News, followed at the end by the Minister's Pastoral Letter, and preceding that, the latest update from our Youth & Families Worker
“The Gathering”, an event being organised by Christian Aid in Scotland, will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness, offering a time when supporters of Christian Aid can get together and hear first-hand from one of the 40 or so countries where Christian Aid and our partners are working.
The Glasgow Gathering will be on Friday 1stMarch, from 10am till 1pm, in Wheatley House, 25 Cochrane Street, G1 1HL. The Speaker will be Jeanne Camara, from Sierra Leone. If anyone would like to go, please speak to Stewart or phone 226718. (Sorry it’s the same day as the World Day of Prayer, but it’s the only day the speaker was available.) Stewart Smith
The Hogmanay Ceilidh was a huge success once again, enjoyed immensely by young and not so young! It also raised £571 for the church funds.
The Kirk Life Team would like to thank everyone for the support they have received throughout the year. The total sum raised through all the fund-raising events, in 2018, is £4,293. Helen Stevenson
Our Youth Worker Iain has been busy organising a 'Messy Church' event in the Glebe St Hall on Sunday 24th February 4pm - 6pm. Food, Crafts, Games, Worship and more... For all the family and all ages.
(All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.) See Home Page for more details.
FROM THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND WEBSITE: A BREXIT PRAYER FOR PEACE AND UNITY
In church on 13th January the Minister read out a special prayer which is copied below. It is available on the Church of Scotland website, with this (updated) introduction:
Legislators are set to vote further on Prime Minister Theresa May's plans with less than three months to go before the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union.
The vote in the House of Commons will (again) be a key moment in UK modern history and the consequences of the result are uncertain.
The prayer below was written by Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, Secretary to the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland. Church congregations across the UK and overseas are encouraged to use it during services on Sunday 13th and share it widely on social media.
God, who in Jesus broke down all barriers between people of different races, rich and poor, male and female, Jew and Gentile, between heaven and earth, we worship you.
God, at this time of heavy responsibility, as decisions about future relationships with our neighbours in Europe are being taken, we pray for our leaders: that they will lead wisely; that they will listen attentively; that they will exercise grace; and that they will know peace in their deliberations.
God, at this time of uncertainty, within our nations and communities, we pray for ourselves: that we will remain open to the stranger; welcoming to the neighbour; and committed to those who struggle.
God, we pray for your church of which we are a part: that we might be a place of honest reflection; respectful dialogue; open friendship; humility and reconciliation.
We pray that we might be a community that points to heaven, and shows ways in which heaven is glimpsed on earth.
God, who in Jesus breaks down all barriers between people of different races rich and poor, male and female, Jew and Gentile, between heaven and earth, we worship you. AMEN
WORLD LEPROSY DAY (UPDATED)
Every year, East Kilbride Old Parish gives generous support to the work of the Leprosy Mission Scotland. This year, World Leprosy Day fell on Sunday 27th January, and as in past years, we focused on this vital work at the morning service. The main emphasis on this year’s appeal is the work that is on-going in Nepal, especially through the leprosy hospital of Anandaban, near the capital Kathmandu. Although it is primarily for the treatment of leprosy patients, after the terrible earthquake on 2015, it has been treating all kinds of injuries, with patient numbers reaching around 40,000 a year. Leprosy continues to be widespread in Nepal, one of the poorest countries on earth. Our donations can make a real difference, especially since these will be doubled by the UK Government. For anyone who didn’t get a gift envelope at the service on the 27th, and who would like to contribute, spare envelopes are on the shelf at the front door of the Church. The envelopes can be returned via the Offering Plate on any Sunday throughout February.
The TLM Scotland website has lots of information about leprosy and the ongoing global work that needs to continue. You can find the site at https://leprosymission.scot
Many thanks also to those who support the Leprosy Mission throughout the year via the blue tubs. Since last January, these blue tubs have yielded £400.46, which is a great figure. There are spare tubs on the shelf at the front door of the Church, and these can be taken away and returned any time. Stewart Smith
COMMUNITY LINK UPDATE
After our November Appeal Collection, which raised £426.06, we were able to purchase enough groceries to fill 40 bags - 20 for Women’s Aid and 20 for Lindsay House. We also purchased a lovely variety of toys which were delivered to Women’s Aid and very much appreciated. I was told that the bags of groceries would be used up by the end of that day. Makes you think.... You can read the letter we received from Women’s Aid on the noticeboards in both the Lower and Glebe Street Halls.
The Bubble Gum and Fluff programme on Tuesday 11th December went very well with Primary 6 pupils from Halfmerke and Maxwellton Schools enjoying arts and crafts and hearing the Christmas Story from the Chaplaincy Team.
Our Advent Lunch held on the 20th December was very well attended with over 50 people enjoying a lunch of soup and sandwiches etc., and most important of all fellowship.
We look forward to the new Session with renewed commitment and thank you for your continued support.
SUNDAY SCHOOL REPORT EXTRACT (SEE IN FULL ON THEIR PAGE UNDER 'OUR SPACE')
To everyone who took part in the Festive Wear Sunday - thank you very much. Together we raised an amazing £332.00 for CHAS. During November and December our children were considering how to spend some of our offering money. After much thought we chose the following: £100 to EK Loaves and Fishes Food Bank; £100 to EK Toy Appeal; £100 EK Dementia Carers Group; and £100 to EK Old Parish Church. In addition we also adopted two animals from Scottish Wildlife Trust – a common seal and a red squirrel. (Note from Administrator: WOW!)
YOUTH AND FAMILIES WORKER UPDATE (KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR THE MINISTER'S PASTORAL LETTER)
As I write this article, I am in the process of planning our first ever Messy Church event scheduled for Sunday 24thFebruary from 4-6pm (See 'Noticeboard' for more).
I am excited by the possibilities that this may bring but equally fully realise that by trying something new and different, that hasn’t been tried before, also brings its challenges. But I am encouraged by the following verse found in Jeremiah 29 at verse 11 when God was speaking to the prophet Jeremiah and said these words: “I alone know the plans that I have for you. I have plans to prosper you and not to hurt you, plans to give you hope and a good future.”
Equally I find encouragement in the words of the opening verse of hymn 237 in the CH4 Hymn Book – “Look forward in faith, all time is in God’s hand. Walk humbly with Him and trust his future plan.”
I hope many of you will want to get involved in this new venture as well as supporting the other exciting initiatives that are in the planning stages all of which are designed to try to attract families to our Church.
For Messy Church we require people who have gifts and talents in any of the following areas – welcoming people and chatting to them making them feel at ease, making tea & coffee, music, singing, storytelling, arts & crafts, leading games and activities, assisting in the worship section by reading, praying or leading the singing, helping set up and clear up, preparing food (a family meal) for those who attend – the list and possibilities are endless so everyone can play their part. As such please consider what part you can play in this important outreach work and let me know so I can ensure you can get involved – my contact details are available from the Church (use the Contact us button, phone, or speak to the Door Duty Team on Sunday.
Other forthcoming events include an Easter Holiday club with a sports theme using the Scripture Union Teambuilders material, another movie afternoon (possibly showing The Greatest Showman or Mamma Mia and we may even have a singalong !!), a family sponsored 6k walk to support the Christian Charity World Vision and hopefully a fun family day trip in June.
Can I also draw your attention to our Sunday Evening Youth Group for young people in secondary school which meets in the Lounge Area from 7.30-9.30pm. Currently there is a small but very loyal and lively group but there is always room for new members. Forthcoming events lined up for February include a visit to Braehead to play Mini Golf, a carpet bowls session in the Church Hall, a console night and a night for the whole church to get involved in called Head Start – which is also a fundraising event for the British Heart Foundation – more information on this in due course.
A couple of words of wisdom to end on –
Were Adam & Eve the first people to NOT read the Apple Terms and Conditions?
Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.
As always, I am very appreciative of all your support and prayers - thank you.
Iain(Youth & Families Worker)
At the very beginning of this update may I take this opportunity to wish you and all your loved ones a happy and peaceful new year. At this time of the year we tend to look forward with hope and expectation and some of us will make new year resolutions which may last an hour, a day, a week, a month or if you’re really serious about it even all year. What will 2019 have in store for us? Firstly, let’s look back a little ….
Our Christmas Family Movie afternoon on December 16th was a great success. We watched the film Nativity whilst eating popcorn, mince pies, tablet, macaroon bars and other goodies and all the children who attended received a selection box as they left. We had 50 attend and everyone had a great time-sharing food and enjoying each other’s company whilst watching the film. Based on the success of the afternoon this is something that would be worth repeating, possibly around Easter. Now let’s look forward….
Early in the new year it is hoped to embark on our first Messy Church event and I hope many of you will want to get involved in this as well as supporting the other exciting initiatives that are in the planning stages all of which are designed to try to attract families to our Church. Please do consider what part you can play in this important outreach work.
I have also signed us up as a Church to take part in the World Vision 6K for clean water event which is a sponsored walk, run or jog scheduled for early May. World Vision is an international Christian charity who believes that by working together with children and their communities, together with supporters and partner agencies like us, can transform the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. Everyone in the congregation with their families, friends and neighbours can take part by running, jogging, walking, pushing a pram/buggy, walking the dog etc for just under 4 miles. The important thing is that we will be all be doing it together in one event, in one place raising money for a great cause. More information on this event will be made available soon and the World Vision team is extremely keen to visit our Church to provide more information on this event and their work in general – I will try to make this happen in the coming months if we can manage to get a suitable and mutually agreeable date.
I was in a school recently and saw these two pieces of advice on their student noticeboard which I think is something we can all take on board as we approach this new year –
It’s okay if you try and fail but it's not okay if you fail to try.
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.
As always, I am very appreciative of all your support and prayers - thank you.
Iain (Youth & Families Worker)
And here's the Minister's Pastoral Letter....
Pastoral Letter for February
I hope by the time you read this, you will have heard about Iain Shaw’s new venture, a “Messy Church” event, very much aimed at families, whatever shape that family might be. We frequently call ourselves a “church family”, but what does a church family look like? Here is a definition from the Church of England:
“Imagine a group of people of all ages going on a long walk together. At times the children and adults will walk along together, talking as they go, sharing stories with first one person, then another, each observing different things and sharing their discoveries. At times the children lag behind and the adults will have to wait for them and urge them on. Sometimes the smallest children will ask to be carried. At other times though, the children will dash ahead making new discoveries and may, perhaps, pull the adults along to see what they have found. Some adults may well behave like these children of course. For all there will be times of progress, and times of rest and refreshment, time to admire the view and times of plodding on, and the eventual satisfaction of arriving at their destination.”
My mother is now resident within a nursing home, and her favourite time of the week is when they get their visit from the children from a local nursery. Over the months she has come to know the children and often they play picture bingo together. (Not quite sure who is helping who!) They also draw together and she has some of the pictures displayed in her room. Seeing the over 80s interact with the under 4s is a delight to watch. We can all learn from one another no matter the stage we’re at on our journey.
So please support “Messy Church” in whatever way you can.
Yours in love,
Pastoral Letter for January
I write this on Boxing Day, surrounded by the left-overs from yesterday. The bin is full of used wrapping paper and the fridge is full of turkey. Christmas is over for another year. It’s been a good Advent season in the church, from the choir; to the Coalburn Silver Band; to Mama Mia and even a bit of Baby Shark thrown in. The Christmas services: Christingle, Watchnight and Christmas Day were all well attended and there was a real warmth amongst the people. What now?
There's snow on the mountain and ice on the pond,
The Wise Men are home now in the back of beyond.
The Shepherds have left us; the heavens are dumb;
There's no one left to tell us why Jesus has come.
Isn’t that sometimes how we feel when Christmas is over and we’re preparing to begin a New Year. We’ve heard the message of Christmas, but despite that, we have mixed feelings about facing a new year. Maybe you’re glad to see the end of 2018, maybe it wasn’t your best year and you hope 2019 will be better. Maybe you’re sad to begin a new year without someone who was special to you by your side. No matter your circumstances, I urge you not to pack the Christmas truths away with the decorations and turkey sandwiches, for the message of God’s love coming into the world is not just for Christmas, it’s for the new year too.
Now God's in His heaven, and Jesus has come
To show every person they’re welcome back home,
He’ll be this world's Saviour from hunger and fear,
And give us new courage to face the New Year.
Yours in love, Anne Paton
Pastoral Letter for December
So we're into December and the big question is "Are you ready for Christmas?" Advent is a time of preparation, but what does getting ready for Christmas look like. I found this wee poem which made me think:
“I’m ready for Christmas,” she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high.
Then wearily sat for a moment and read
Till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
“Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?
Ready for Christmas when only last week
You didn’t acknowledge your friend on the street?
Ready for Christmas while holding a grudge?
Perhaps you’d better let God be the judge.”
She woke with a start and a cry of despair.
There’s so little time and I’ve still to prepare,
O, Father forgive me, I see what you mean!”
To be ready means more than a house swept clean.
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree,
It’s the heart swept clean that He wanted to see,
A heart that is free from trouble and sin,
So be ready for Christmas and be ready for Him.
Are you ready for Christmas? Don't worry, there's still time.
Yours in love, Anne Paton
Pastoral Letter for November
On Monday 22nd October, an American theologian called Eugene Peterson died. That name might not be particularly familiar, but in 2002 he published a translation of the bible called “The Message” which has sold millions of copies. It’s a paraphrase, and while a little American in style, it speaks to a younger generation in ways that more traditional translations simply don’t. Millions have come to faith through his writings. What a legacy to leave to this world!
As I said in church recently, when I was clearing out the cupboard under the stairs, I found the original church keys I was presented with on the evening of my ordination on 4th April 2001. (They had been lost for around 10 years, oops!) As I looked at them, I remembered that the bunch of keys were put together by an elder of the church called Nelson Wright, some of you will remember him. Nelson did not write any great theological works, but he served God and his church faithfully, sometimes in particular roles like Session Clerk and Property Convener, but also tirelessly behind the scenes. We can’t underestimate how much we as a congregation owe to people like Nelson, and there are many of them. What a legacy to leave to this world!
November is our annual remembrance season when we recall all of the people who gave their lives in sacrifice for the freedom of our nation. At our service in church on Remembrance Day, each individual order of service will have a name written on it, a name taken from our own war memorial. It’s the name of someone who died in the service of our country. I will encourage everyone to take it away and think of them, who they might have become, who loved them, who mourned their loss, and give thanks for them. What a legacy to leave to this world!
Then I urge you all to remember the one who gave his life for the world, God’s Son Jesus Christ, who died so that nothing can separate us from the love of God. What a legacy to leave to this world!
Jesus said, “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. (The Message)
Yours in love Anne Paton