Please note: The current / recent Pastoral Letter is found at the end of 'News'.
Vacancy for Youth and Family Worker (Part-time)
We will shortly be advertising for a part-time, temporary Youth and Family Worker to strengthen links with families in the community through increasing the range of activities and support the church currently offers to families and young people. Details will be posted on this site from week commencing 26th June, and there will be a link to the Job Description and Application Form, which should be returned by 14th August. (23/06/17)
Overnight from 10/06/17 to 11/06/17 our Youth Group endured a Sponsored Homelessness Experience, and the congregation were generous in their support on their way into church. They were surely tired, cold and hungry - the weather was not at its best!
Amanda* Graduates in Haiti
For the last 19 years our Sunday School has been corresponding with, and supporting, a young girl, now young woman, in Haiti. Amanda* has now graduated and our church celebrated with a special cake on Sunday 11th June. Photos will be posted on the Sunday School 'Our Space' in due course, along with a piece written by Amy in our Sunday School (presented in church on the 11th.).
Well done Amanda*, and all the best to you in the future!
(*Real name witheld for privacy)
Early Announcement: The 14th East Kilbride Community Arts Exhibition Returns 4th and 5th November 2017
Venue: Glebe St Hall. Saturday 4th November 10am - 4pm and Sunday 5th November 12noon - 4pm. Entrance £3* to include tea/coffee and home baking.
Open to all artists - all artwork accepted, ranging from paintings, drawings, photography, textiles,ceramics,etc. Entry forms will be available from September onwards from East Kilbride Arts Centre, the Old Parish Church and this website. They will include full information including closing date.
There will also be an Exclusive Evening of Music and Art on Saturday 4th November at 8pm, with a limited number of tickets available at a cost of £10* to include refreshments, nibbles etc. This promises to be a very special evening, with a chance to enjoy the exhibition and mingle before a musical performance by 'Brats and Callets'. This highly acclaimed vocal ensemble will present an evening of popular songs and ballads ranging from Glen Miller and Cole Porter to Lennon and McCartney.
* Tickets not available till September. All proceeds of this evening event and the exhibition will support the work of the Kilbryde Hospice.
Look out for the poster featuring an image of the Old Parish clocktower - an original pastel entitled 'Hope and Peace' by Isobel MacKinnon. (05/06/17)
Christian Aid Week 2017 Report
This year’s Christian Aid Week was 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.
Our Christian Aid Week 2017 has been very successful and a big ‘thankyou’ is due to everyone who has contributed, and who has helped in many different ways:
· In the house-to-house Envelope Collection, 42 Volunteer Collectors visited homes throughout the parish area, and parts of Stewartfield. Members of the congregation living outwith these areas brought their own donations to the Church. A team of Counters took over and the total, together with the donations, comes to a provisional £3,492.94, which is a splendid result. There may yet be more donations to come in. Also, the amount which was Gift Aided means Christian Aid can reclaim an extra £233.
· Our Coffee Morning team produced an excellent result of £415.12. Well done to everyone for the home baking, the plants, the gifts for the raffle and to all who came along on the Thursday morning.
· A Can Collection took place at Morrison’s in Stewartfield on the Saturday and Sunday at the start of the Week. Members of various churches took part in this, including 4 of our own volunteers. This resulted in the grand total of £950, which will swell the overall total from East Kilbride as a whole.
· Throughout the year, members of the congregation regularly take away and return the little Christian Aid Boxes, which so far have realised £679.10. Many thanks to all who take part in this simple yet effective method of supporting this vital work.
· Our Window Display team again created, in the Church Hall window facing onto Montgomery Street, a most imaginative and well executed portrayal of a refugee camp.
When all our efforts are taken together – House-to-House Collection, Donations, Coffee Morning and the Christian Aid Boxes – the figure now comes to £4,696.56. That figure is surely a great result, and another sign of Jesus’ spirit of compassion at work.
The first Christian Aid Week was held in 1957 and we have certainly observed the 60th Anniversary in a very full and worthwhile way!
New Venture - Prayer Group
A new Prayer Group meets in the Lounge Area after the service in Weeks 1 and 3 of the month - 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. (updated 6/06/17)
Youth and Family Project Update
Kirk Session on 24/05/17 discussed the research undertaken into the feasibility of our employing a Youth and Family Worker referred to in the paragraph below. Session has decided to go ahead with the process and hopefully to have a result by the autumn. (06/06/17)
"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". Click Here to view. (28/04/17)
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)
Pastoral Letter for June
As I write this, the General Assembly is meeting in Edinburgh. On the Tuesday, there was an additional session after the close of business and one of the guest speakers was Rev Dr Sam Wells, Church of England Vicar of St Martins in the Field, just off Trafalgar Square. His topic was “Creating Kingdom Communities,” and during his talk, he told this story:
He was approached by an elderly lady in her nineties, who wanted to start coming to church, so he went to visit her. He was intrigued as to why she wanted to start coming to church, so he asked her about it. She told him how she had been brought up in Wales and the church had been a big part of her life as a child, but in her later teenage years she stopped going. Sam assumed that like many young people, she had just gradually drifted away, but that’s not the case. She said that she stopped going to church because the minister refused to marry her and her future husband. “Had your husband been married before?” Sam asked her. “No,” she said, “Here’s why,” and she showed him her hand. She explained that she had worked in a mill and had been in an accident, and lost three fingers of her left hand, so she only had a thumb and an index finger left. The minister wouldn’t marry them because she had nowhere to put a wedding ring.
Sam said he almost laughed because the story was so ridiculous. But the story isn’t funny, it’s horrifying. She went on to tell him that she had been away from the church for 75 years, but all that time she believed that God was bigger than the church, so now she wanted to forgive it for what it had done to her. Sam Wells said that 75 years away was pretty lenient. He ended with asking, “What if the lapsed and astray are that way because of the church?”
Often we tend to see ourselves as a church as reaching out to others, but that story stuck with me and I share it with you to urge you to ponder it too. Let’s examine ourselves, and think about our own context. And let’s hope that the lapsed and astray are not that way because of anything we do as a church.
Yours in love, Anne Paton
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