The magazine of Leith Churches Forum
2013 Vol. 48/13
From the Chair Rev Rob Mckenzie I’m taking over the chair of the Leith Churches Forum at an exciting time. Also, unfortunately, a depressing, difficult time for many people in our community. Between austerity measures, the bedroom tax, rising prices and a lack of employment opportunities, spare money is in short supply. As churches, we can’t operate as talk-shops through such crises; we have to respond creatively to meet immediate needs and bring about long-term change. In many ways, the Food Bank we have opened is about meeting the immediate needs of people in crisis, but it also serves as a symbol of how prevalent injustice is throughout our society and how a more compassionate approach is urgently needed from politicians and other decision-makers. We shouldn’t underestimate the importance and power of symbols! It’s been a significant achievement to open the Food Bank, but the real achievement will come in keeping it going for as long as it is needed. Coming up soon, we have the proposed Credit Union, and this is a measure for long-term change. Already, much work has been done on this, and it also will make a massive difference to people when it’s ready to open. We have the opportunity to give an alternative to unstable banks and amoral loan sharks (both the illegal ones and the legal institutions who charge people outrageous levels of interest for loans). It is the church, very literally, being the “body of Christ” in its community. Other activities are being planned too. Our conference in September signalled various ways of moving ahead, which the Co-ordinating Team have begun to address. By the time you read this, we will know whether our application to the ‘Go for It’ fund has been successful for the proposed ‘Deacon for Leith’ project – another long-term change measure. We are also planning a joint Bereavement Service during Lent for anyone who wants to come and remember people who have died. And who knows what else will find its way onto our agendas in the months to come? There’s no room for giving way to worry or fear. When we come together in God’s name, we achieve more than we ever might have thought possible. That’s the positive and, at times, hectic reality.
The Forum Focus Team wish all of our readers a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New year See our sponsor Garry's advert on the back page and support him if you can.
Forum Congregational Conference Rev Alex. McAspurren For those that were able to attend our conference back in September what follows will need no introduction. Rather it may serve as a reminder of some of what was said in our presentation and discussions. For those who could not make it to the event, a good crosssection of all four Forum congregations were present to look at ways forward in our discipleship, mission, and evangelism; specifically we looked at the areas of ‘youth’, ‘community engagement’ ‘worship’, and ‘learning’. With creative and inspiring worship, led by Rob Mackenzie, to open and close our morning we in between had a presentation led by Alex McAspurren and some discussion in both groups and ‘open floor’. What follows is an outline of the presentation. Generation to Generation As we look round our congregations we often note and bemoan the lack of ‘young folk’. Some may sit back and despair of the future; others try all forms of innovative activities and events to draw these people in, however none seem to have the effects that we desire. A fellow Church of Scotland minister looked further into this matter and observed that there were significant differences across the generations in terms of values and practices. It seems that the problem may not be with the message or how we present it but, rather, with what it is to be ‘church’. Perhaps, it is thought, that if we understood how different generations thought and acted we may find a way of being ‘church’ to those generations who do not really fit in to the culture and practices of the church as it is, yet who are still open to the message of the Gospel. First, a Question: Do you know who said the following, and when? (The answer is at the end, but please don’t cheat by looking it up just now!): The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. 3
It’s a familiar idea is it not? At this time in our country there are more generations alive at the one time than at any time in our history; in fact it may be true to say that it applies to the world as a whole. Each generation currently living has experienced major changes in the way life has been lived, and has lived through many different world changing events. Just now there are people living who grew up during the first world war, with many more having grown up during the second. Many alive today remember a prenuclear (i.e. dropping of the bombs on Japan) age. Many more alive were born before the space-age began. You may add in many other great innovations, and tragedies, in our collective history. Each of these experiences will have shaped us, directly or otherwise; some of these will have been personal and others by the wider populace. Each of these experiences will also have helped shape and change our values and the actions that go along with them; this means that each succeeding generation will partly have been shaped not just by the generation before (they way you were brought up) but also by the events around them. It follows that each generation will, inevitably, be slightly different. Four Generations The theory is that, at present, there are four significant generations living, each of which has been given a label. From oldest to youngest, there are ‘Builders’, ‘Boomers’, ‘Gen-X’, and ‘Gen-Y’. These equate, and it must be pointed out that it is a rough equation, respectively to the ‘retired’, the ‘middle-aged’, the ‘younger adult’, and the ’youth’ of our society. What has been observed is that there are general values and concepts that apply particularly to each generation, that do not so apply to the one that follows; this also means that the differences in approach and understanding between the oldest and youngest generations is more marked than between two succeeding ones. It is important, too, to remember that this is a theory and relies on some generalisation so there will always be ‘exceptions to the rule’. Builders tended to grow up in the years immediately around the Second World War. They are familiar with the need to pull together as a larger group (from family to church to nation) in order to survive, let alone flourish. As a generation they are familiar with corporate and individual sacrifice (think of war and rationing). They have heroes who are often the great leaders of the time or of history. Boomers are the generation that were born and raised in the post-war decades. They knew a greater degree of affluence and possibility. They tend also to think more strategically and like to ‘get things done’. This was a generation that could take greater risks, as there was a greater level of support and a safety net (think NHS and universal benefits). This was also the age of the rise of the entrepreneur. 4
Generation-X are the children of the sixties and the seventies. Somewhere along the line something significant happened. They are a generation that struggles to find heroes, and is more inclined to be cynical (it’s the age-group that was raised through the Watergate years). It is also a generation that is more focussed on the smaller, intimate, group of friends than of the wider family, let alone church and nation. Work for this generation is no longer about raising wealth to provide safety and security for the family; rather, it’s for using to enjoy life. This functional view of work, rather than it being a part of identity, may often make them seem disloyal since they are more likely to move from job to job (or church to church). Generation-Y are different yet again. They tend to feel that they have a wide support network, and that the focus of life is on them. Some would argue that this makes them ‘pampered’. There is much questioning of institutions and a greater drive toward collaboration. The environment also often features highly in their values. These are, of course, sweeping generalisations and they are also greatly abbreviated. What they do, though, is highlight some of the potential areas of conflict and of approach that may be needed if the church is to make sense to the different generations. Discussion: As noted earlier, this presentation was intended to inform our four areas of discussion. Notes from these went on to the November meeting of the Forum’s steering group and will, we hope, lead to further insight and development of practices that will enable us to reach out to the whole community with the Gospel of Christ Jesus. The Answer: Oh yes, the answer to the question was ‘Socrates’ (477 – 399 B.C.) It seems that some things never change! North Leith Update Anne Lamont Where has 2013 gone? I can hardly believe it will soon be a year since I last wrote an update from North Leith for the Forum Focus. That update did not appear in the magazine till the March edition but was written in January and in it I said quite a bit about Christmas activities in North Leith. This time let me start again with Christmas – we have already, in October, ordered the Christmas tree for the church and probably by the time you read this we will have put up the tree and the decorations, thanks to a small band 5
of willing helpers. We have also selected the charity which will receive our Christmas Appeal donations – this year it is Richmond’s Hope, a small charity, based in Craigmillar church, which provides support for children who are struggling to cope with bereavement. One of our own church families has benefited from this work and that made it an easy choice for the Kirk Session which received nominations for three different charities. If you had visited our hall on one Sunday in early November you would have found a busy, cheerful group of people of both sexes and all ages packing Christmas shoeboxes, bound for poor families probably in Eastern Europe, for the charity Blythswood Care. On another occasion you might have found volunteers from different churches in Leith, led by Tim Bell and Jennifer Stark, having a cruise ship visitors de-brief and get-together in the Session House. Other charity activities over the year have included contributing to the Guild projects for Fish n Chip babies (knitting woolly jumpers), and milk bottle top collections to benefit the oncology unit at Borders General Hospital. We had a retiral offering at the end of October for L’Arche Edinburgh’s appeal for a new house and were able to add to this a donation from a legacy bequest fund. In March our church building once again hosted Trinity Occasional Pipers’ annual fund-raising concert for Help for Heroes which received donations of c £1800. All these activities took place in addition to our usual support for Christian Aid. This year we also have had two new activities to support both financially and in other ways – the Forum project the new NE Edinburgh Food Bank and our own Stewardship Year of Talents. The Year of Talents has seen Congregational members using their gifts not only to serve in the church and community but also to increase fellowship among members and raise funds for the church. Many activities and events have taken place including sponsorship for running & cycling; making of goods for sale eg framed photographs, knitted scarfs, sewn bags, jars of jam / marmalade / chutney; story-telling, poetry reading, coffee morning, afternoon tea and supper events; window / car washing; and I am sure many more. So far nearly £1000 has been raised. The Food Bank has seen a hive of activity in our Session House as this is acting both as a distribution centre for the food packs and as the store for the goods and making these up into packs. It was wonderful to see nearly 20 people attending our first meeting for North Leith volunteers. It was a wondrous sight to behold all the goods that came in from the churches’ Harvest Festivals. During the year the Kirk Session organised a Congregational questionnaire and a KS conference; members took part in the Leith Churches Holiday Club and the Craft Corner in Ocean Terminal in October school holiday week, as well as our small teams and other volunteers who support year by year the Care Van, Care Shelter and Fresh Start, the Parent & Toddler group and the youth organisations. 6
At time of writing we still have a vacancy for an organist but have been enjoying contributions from various talented organists and other musicians at our Sunday worship. We now only have evening services on the first Sunday of the month but on other Sundays have had mini ‘Songs of Praise’, evening prayers, Bible studies and discussion groups. I am sure there will be things I have not mentioned but I trust enough has been included to show you that it has been a busy year. Now we look forward again to the wonder of Christmas and the opportunities and challenges which 2014 will no doubt bring. Best wishes to all of you from the congregation at North Leith. A year at PSP Mark Wexelstein (Convenor of the Nominating Committee) The vacancy at Pilrig St. Paul’s ended on 24th October 2013 when Rev Mark Foster was inducted as our minister on a renewable tenure for 5 years. John Tait preached for the last time at our communion service held on the last Sunday of October 2012 and our vacancy started. We were given permission to call a new minister but as the Presbytery Plan was being reviewed we didn’t start the process until December. The first meeting of the Nominating Committee was held in February when we found out what was required of the committee and were advised by our interim moderator, Rev Jack Holt, that we should expect the vacancy to be around a year and perhaps longer based on the average for congregations in Edinburgh. After our advert was published we were pleased to receive 5 applications for the post of minister. Over the following couple of months we heard those we took forward preach and we carried out interviews. This left the committee a difficult decision at the end of the process and due to this we were happy we had made the correct decision in asking the Kirk Session to ask Mark to preach as sole nominee. Mark preached on the 1st of September and the congregation voted 80 – 0 in favour of Mark becoming our new minister. Happily he accepted our call. From that date we have carried out a lot of work on the manse to upgrade and decorate. There is one last job to replace the windows at the end of November but we are happy that the rest is complete and Mark is now in the manse. Mark’s first service was at our October communion on the last Sunday of October 2013, so our vacancy was 1 year as we had been advised to expect. We look forward to working with Mark at Pilrig St. Paul’s and with the other Leith Forum Churches. Three six year olds were playing the wise men in the school Nativity play. As they came to Mary and Joseph in the stable, the first one handed over his gift and said, “gold”. The second presented his gift and said, “myrrh”. The third one threw his gift into the manger and said, “Frankie sent this”.
Some services & events in the Forum congregations that you are invited to attend.
Joint Forum Epiphany Service Sunday 5th Jan at 11am at Leith St. Andrew's Nine Lessons and Carols Service with St. Mary Star of the Sea 7.30pm @ South Leith. Leith St. Andrew's Messy Church meets from 5-7pm on Thursdays 30th January and 28 February. A fun, noisy, messy time for families. Families are invited to join us for our early service on Christmas Eve at 6.30pm. Oasis of Peace at Leith St Andrew's: Our quiet reflective prayer services Wednesday at 10.15am. A time of peace, worshipping, sharing and praying followed by a cuppa and chat. We meet in the Church. All are welcome. We take a break after 11th december until Lent. Details of the exact start date will be on our website. Young at heart. An activities group for 60's and overs. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Tues of the month from 2pm- 3.30pm in the Easter Road hall. All welcome - we look forward to seeing you. For further details contact Pauline our Deacon on 554 6564 St Andy's Teeny Tots currently meets every alternate Wednesday afternoon in the Easter Road Hall at Leith St Andrew's from 2pm - 3pm for fun for babies and toddlers and their parents/carers. Cost is ÂŁ1 per session which includes tea/coffee for parents and a healthy snack for the children. We now have a waiting list so if you want to join the list or to check dates please email us at email@example.com Christmas Worship Dates Mon 16th Dec 7pm Coffee & Carols - come to our Easter Road Hall and enjoy singing carols old and new followed by coffee and a mince pie. Sun 22rd December 11am 4th Sunday in Advent Led by the leaders and young people of the Sunday Club Tues 24th December 6.30pm Families are invited to join us for our early Christmas Eve Service
Tues 24th December 11.30pm Christmas Eve Worship Wed 25th December 11am Christmas Day Celebration Sunday 5th January11am Joint Forum Epiphany Service at L St. A's North Leith (all in church) Sunday 22nd December 6:30pm - Carol Service Tuesday 24th December 11:15pm - Carols by Candlelight Wednesday 25th December 11:00 am - Family Service for Christmas Day
South Leith Worship at One at South Leith church every Thursday at 1pm – prayers for the community and the world. Sunday 1st December 11am: first Sunday in Advent – family service. Sunday 8th December 11am: second Sunday in Advent. Sunday 15th December: 11am: third Sunday in Advent: Chuppets. Friday 20th December 1pm: lunchtime Carol service. Sunday 22nd December 11am: fourth Sunday in advent. Lessons and Carols, family service. Tuesday 24th December 6.30 pm Christingle service; 11.15pm Watch Night service. Wednesday 25th December 11am Christmas Day family service. Sunday 30th December 11am: family service.
Pilrig St. Paul's Open Doorway Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm. Serving tea / coffee and biscuits. All welcome to pop in.
South Leith Halls Open from 9.30am - 2.30pm Monday – Friday. Hot meals served until 2pm Carry out facilities available. Lunch Club available for any senior citizen from 11.30 Monday - Friday.
It was a simple scene that first Christmas â€“ A rough room, a young couple and nothing but a feeding trough to put the child in. It was probably quite cold and with family far away there was little help. Not exactly the hallmark moment we like to show in Christmas pageants. And yet this rustic scene marked the greatest event in the history of mankind. God's Son became human and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah, one who would save His people. He could have easily burst on the scene as a full grown man, a seven foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. This was what many people were looking for, but it wasn't how God did it. He arrived in the arms of a young girl. He was, "a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God. The perfect gift." God gave His only Son to die in our place so that we, in all our brokenness, could know forgiveness. He came so that we could know what love feels like, real love â€“ love that never leaves, love that never disappoints, love that is never betrayed. He sent His Son into a corrupted world to bring us hope.
For a child has been born to us: a son is given to us,he will bear the symbol of dominion on his shoulder, and his title will be Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty Hero, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Wide will be the dominion and boundless the peace bestowed on David's throne and on his kingdom, to establish and support it with justice and righteousness from now on, for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9: 6-7)
PORT CHAPLAIN’S REPORT Tim Bell I am writing this from the Sailors’ Society International Conference in Hertfordshire. It is very moving to be in the presence of over thirty chaplains from around the world - from every continent except North America - and to realise just how much dedication and commitment goes into supporting seafarers, on whom we depend for everything that comes to these shores. Some of my colleagues work in very adverse circumstances: the port authorities can make access very difficult (they have their reasons - they know that even the agents engage in smuggling, so understandably they are not prepared to let in non-essential personnel) and some find that their work is undermined by unscrupulous and dishonest ship visitors. In many ports it is impossible for a seafarer to walk off the gangway and find his way into town; pedestrians are prohibited, and they must wait for a port bus, which might be very unreliable. So we must give thanks that things are so easy in Leith, as they are generally in UK. My Ukrainian colleagues find it’s not easy to go on board ships in the port. Much of their work is caring for the families and particularly the children of seafarers. In the Philippines a lot of effort is required to liaise between seafarers who have got into some sort of difficulty in another part of the world and their families. It’s depressing to realise how often that happens. In one South American port sometimes ships are at anchor off-shore for two or three weeks or even two or three months, and the chaplains really need a launch to bring much-needed personal items, phone top-ups. Simply their presence can bring welcome respite from the tensions and boredom of prolonged inactivity. One day has been spent in central London, the highlight being the 195th annual service of the Society at the Church of Scotland, Pont Street. It is good to re-dedicate ourselves with the staff and supporters of the Society. We have also been to Southampton, where we met face-to-face the very small team of seventeen who run this world-wide operation. I often say that the Society could parachute in a port chaplain into Leith, and the job would be done, after a fashion, but Leith Churches Together could not support the post without the Sailors’ Society. The partnership is everything. Meanwhile, back in Leith plans are going ahead for the now-familiar Christmas parcel wrap for seafarers. We should make around 450 parcels, all with a card from a Leith school-child and a useful shoulder bag carrying the logos of Leith Churches Together and the three subscribing maritime welfare agencies. It’s a good effort by all concerned, and you don’t need me to tell you that the parcels are very much appreciated by the seafarers who are away from home at Christmas. 11
A Christmas Quiz for children One word answer to each of the following questions. (Fit letters to number of dashes) Who was the mother of Jesus?
Who told Mary she was going to have God's baby?
Who did Mary marry?
What town did they go to?
Where was Jesus born?
Where did Mary lay him (Instead of a cot)?
Who told the shepherds about Jesus?
What did the wise men follow? What gifts did the wise men bring (Other than gold and frankincense)?
Who was the King of Judea when Jesus was born?
No prizes! See answers on page 14 (as if you need them!)
Ocean Terminal Jennifer Stark Time seems to have flown since the last Forum Focus. Through September and early October, planning was in progress for the ‘Community Craft Corner’ which we ran in Ocean Terminal’s Community Space as a Leith Churches Together initiative during the October schools holiday week. This proved a great success and great fun! We had a wonderful team of volunteers from 8 Leith churches, plus others who dropped in to encourage and enjoy. The Craft Corner was open from 10.30 to 12.30 Tuesday – Friday and we reckon that well over 100 children (plus parents or carers) came in – some for half an hour, others for most of the morning. The crafts were imaginative variations on the themes of Autumn and Harvest, with everyone ‘signing in’ on the Community Tree as they entered.
Great fun was had with lentils, pasta, autumn leaves and mice among the cornsheaves (courtesy of Jennifer Paterson, South Leith Baptist Church). At the end of the morning, we had the chance to use a different ‘sense’ with Eric Fisher from Pilrig St Paul’s, who rounded things off on his guitar with some traditional children’s songs. We’ve been asked if we can run it again (Christmas holidays, anyone? – just joking) and Ocean Terminal’s publicity team sent round a couple of photographers to take pictures and chat to the kids. The event was publicised around several community spots, in the Evening News and of course the churches, but a lot of people came in simply as a result of leafleting in Ocean Terminal each day. I also compiled an information booklet about what all our churches in Leith offer for children – organisations, youth groups, Sunday worship etc. – with copies to take away. A copy of the booklet will go on the Leith Churches Together website (along with pictures from the week) and we hope to get more printed. Very many thanks to everyone on the team, and particularly to Pauline Rycroft who provided most of the creative input as well as co-coordinating. Thanks also to Neil Chalkley, Ellen Lowe and Aileen Fraser who lent or donated resources. Our annual ‘Seafarers’ Christmas Parcel Wrap’ was held on Friday 8thSaturday 9th November. For anyone who hasn’t seen this in action, we sort and pack small items into a special shoulder bag for seafarers, and add a Christmas card designed by a local school and signed by passers-by in Ocean Terminal. This year, Pilrig Park School, where I have been doing some chaplaincy work during Pilrig St Paul’s vacancy, is providing the artwork. We were out in the Mall as usual, and had the use of the Community Space during the event. Keep a lookout for our Christmas Carols @ Ocean Terminal! Leith Churches Outreach Project firstname.lastname@example.org 07528 578042 Christmas is too large to be tucked away in the toe of a child's stocking. Christmas is a time when the world breathes a great sigh of belief. In reply to the teacher's question, “Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?”, one wee boy replied, “because his mother was there.” 13
Chocolate and Coconut Fudge a tasty treat or give as a gift Ingredients * 450g dark chocolate * 60g butter * 400ml condensed milk * 50g desiccated coconut Method * Line a 23cm square tin with greaseproof paper * Put chocolate, butter and condensed milk into a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water * Heat for 5-10 minutes until melted then mix together * Take the pan off the heat and stir in 3/4 of the coconut * Pour into the tin, level off and sprinkle over the remaining coconut * Cover and chill for at least 4 hours * Cut into 2.5cm squares - should make about 32 squares * Will keep in fridge for up to four weeks - if they last that long!
Answers to Christmas Quiz (p 12) Mary; Gabriel; Joseph; Bethlehem; stable; manger; angels; star; myrrh; Herod.
A New Year The year You gave us, Lord, has ended, its joys and sorrows passed away. What has been done can't now be altered, Only the memories with us stay. Forgive us, Lord, for sins committed. For foolish words and careless ways. And help us always to remember the many blessings of its days. The time has come to face the future. A new beginning, Lord with You. To trust again in that great promise “Behold I will make all things new.” We trust you, Father, to transform us. To make us what we ought to be. We pray as saints have prayed before us, “convert the world – begin with me.” In days of strife, fill us with calmness. When we are tempted, make us strong. When life is kind, then keep us grateful. When it is not, save us from wrong. Throughout the new year which is dawning, each day an unknown path to tread, give us the strength to live as Christians, disciples by their Master led. David Fraser
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Published on Dec 30, 2013
I’m taking over the chair of the Leith Churches Forum at an exciting time. Also, unfortunately, a depressing, difficult time for many people...