The magazine of Leith Churches Forum
2014 Vol. 50/14 June
From the Chair Rev Rob Mckenzie One thing that always amazes me about the more ancient communities we’re told stories about in the Old Testament is their capacity to celebrate God among them, no matter what. The Israelites had an annual programme of festivals and religious rites, all to draw their attention once more to the God who had liberated them from slavery in Egypt and was with them as light in darkness, and they kept those faithfully (even if sometimes they needed the prophets to remind them what real religion was all about). In our churches we also have regular forms of celebration – communion, Harvest, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter for example – which have a similar function. At times, we might lose sight of their significance, and see them as habits as opposed to times to remember God’s presence in the lives of our congregations, but we can be called back to real religion as well, just like the Israelites. Each local church will have its own specific regular celebrations in addition to those practised by almost everyone. Even in difficult times, we know celebration is vital to our spiritual lives, that attending to such things is important to our identity as religious communities. The Leith Festival may be predominantly a secular occasion, but it’s also a time when a community comes together to celebrate – even in times of hardship and difficulty, of which there have been many in Leith over the years. People, churches and other organisations try to deal with the problems all the time, but the power of a community coming together to celebrate can’t be overestimated. At the Gala Day, the sheer variety of stalls, food tables and acts is mind-boggling and shows at a glance how much is going on in here. It seems to me that we, as churches, have a distinctive contribution to make to the festival. We hold the opening service, of course, which this year is in South Leith Church on Sunday 15 June, 11am, and we usually operate various stalls and tea tents on Leith Links. More than that we bring a spiritual element to the festival, not in a heavy handed way, but in a way that offers welcome, friendship and a sign of God’s presence among the whole community of Leith. Jesus didn’t hide behind the walls of the Temple of synagogue. Instead, he spent most of his ministry among people and showed us where our ministries should be today. The Leith Festival is something we are proud to support and be a part of and contribute to in our own particular way. …............... See our sponsor Garry's advert on the back page and support him if you can. 2
The Holy Land Rev. Mark Foster I have been asked to write a few words about my recent trip to the Holy Land. Although this was the third time that I have been on Pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine, it is still a deeply enriching experience to worship at many of the sites associated with Jesus’ life and ministry. One of the most challenging, yet most rewarding, experiences of being on pilgrimage is encountering the living stones i.e. the people who live in the Holy Land. Through meeting Christians (both Israeli and Palestinian) and learning more of their daily living, we were afforded an opportunity to grasp something of the tensions and joys that exist in this land. One Arab Israeli, who was Roman Catholic, reminded me that the percentage of Christians in the Holy Land is now less than 1%. He spoke about some of the jostling he encountered during Holy Week as he walked the Via Dolorosa, retracing the footsteps of Christ on Good Friday. It was with a sad heart that I learned that he had experienced being spat upon, frequently had small fireworks thrown under his feet, and disrespectful comments directed towards him because of his faith. This is a reminder of the freedom we often take for granted as we engage in our Christian practices and worship in Scotland. Another powerful image that will remain with me is that of the Segregation Wall, which divides the people of Israel and Palestine in ways that go far beyond it’s sheer physical nature. The wall, which is still under construction, is expected to reach at least 403 miles in length (650 km) and has a maximum current height of 25 feet (8 m) in some places. When you realise that the Internationally agreed border between Israel and Palestine, the so called ‘Green Line’ of 1967, is less than 125 miles (200 km) in length, then the maths strongly suggests that this wall is less of a security barrier between two countries and is more realistically an additional effort to confiscate Palestinian land, facilitate further colony expansion, and unilaterally redraw geopolitical borders by the State of Israel. As a tourist I passed through the wall with very little inconvenience, but for many ordinary Palestinians this barrier denies them the ability to earn a living from their own land, reach their schools or work places, access adequate water resources, reach essential health care, and travel to worship with the same freedom that we enjoy in Scotland. The wall has not only created a physical barrier between Arab and Jewish citizens, it has also created a barrier in the hearts of the people from these two nations. Despite their falling numbers and the many hardships they face it is always an inspiration to see what many Christians are doing to help others and build 3
relationships with their neighbours. We were able to visit one such project in Bethlehem, which provides invaluable education opportunities and support for children with severe visual impairment and blindness. And we were able to hear about the work that The Church of Scotland is doing to promote greater understanding between people and communities of all faiths. The Easter story reminds us that God’s love knows no barriers at all. Indeed, by overcoming the barrier between life and death God sought to bring an end to all that separates us from God’s love. The season of Easter stands as a reminder to us that all barriers, be they between countries, nationalities, religious communities, or individuals, tear at God’s heart and are contrary to our faith. As people of a resurrection faith we must seek to bring down the barriers that we create in our own lives; the barriers that we put up between ourselves and others; the barriers that some seek to impose on our Church; and the barriers that divide our brothers and sisters in humanity. We must strive for unity and embrace diversity if we are to become the people that God wants us to be – and it will hopefully be through the power and example of us living and working together that barriers such as the Separation Wall will one day be broken down too. In the meantime please continue to hold in your prayers our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and the good work that they are doing in Christ’s name. ----------Commonwealth Games Baton Ian Bethune The Queen's Baton Relay comes to Edinburgh on Saturday 14th June. It will go through Scotland and end up in Glasgow for the opening ceremony of The Commonwealth Games on Wednesday 23rd July at Celtic Park. Eric Fisher has been chosen to be part of the Edinburgh leg of the Relay. An elder at Pilrig St. Paul's Church , Eric is well known through his Church and BB commitments etc. and is The President Of Leith Probus. An international athlete himself , Eric has been involved at Meadowbank since it's inception in 1969. He is a highly regarded coach with Edinburgh Athletic Club and it is fitting that he should have the honour of carrying The Queen's Baton
A Review of 2013 in South Leith Parish Church Dawn Birkenshaw (Session Clerk) 2013 was a challenging, yet rewarding year for all in South Leith Parish Church (SLPC). We continued to get to know our Minister, Rev. Iain May, but also looked for new ways in which to engage with the diverse community of South Leith. The year saw a number of new initiatives within SLPC and the wider Leith community. Through our role within The Leith Churches Forum we were involved in the planning and delivering of a Food Bank for Leith. This opened in October 2013 and has so far provided food to over 400 people. SLPC is also involved in setting up the Water of Leith Credit Union, a project that is still in the planning stages but will be opening in late 2014. In May we welcomed the Rev Kondolo and his wife Margaret from the Mindolo Congregation in Zambia. As a church community we are looking at ways in which we can expand our relationships in Zambia, and are looking at forming a faith sharing partnership with the Mindolo Congregation. The visit of the Rev Kondolo was the first step in developing this new partnership. Throughout 2013 there were a number of services that added a great deal to the worship within SLPC. During Easter Week and the summer services were conducted by various groups within the Church. There were a number of joint services with the other Church of Scotland Congregations held during the year â€“ Epiphany in January, Leith Festival in June and the annual Service for Seafarers in November. The latter service, attended by over 500 people, was held in South Leith with the Right Rev Dr Nigel Peyton, Bishop of Brechin as guest preacher. The same day also saw a service held at the Merchant Navy Memorial in Leith. These services are important as they serve as a reminder of the strong connection that Leith has with the seafaring community. The Harvest Festival Service in October was also a joint service in many ways, with all 4 CofS congregations in Leith using the day to gather in over 2 tonnes of donations for the new Food Bank. Another highlight of 2013 was the Dedication Service for the BB Company, with the young men of the 10th Company parading to and from the Church Halls to the Church via the centre of Leith. SLPC continued its work in the wider Leith community by offering a free breakfast every Sunday morning to those in need. Numbers increased throughout 2013 with up to 70 attending breakfast on occasion. The Christmas Day Lunch was also well attended with over 100 people gathering in the Church Hall for a meal and a time of fellowship. We offer a big thank you to everyone who helps to make both the breakfasts and the Christmas Day lunch happen with success.
Some services & events in the Forum congregations to which you are invited to attend.
Leith Festival Joint Service: South Leith Parish Church, 11am, Sunday 15th June.
Leith St. Andrew's Messy Church meets from 5-7pm on the last Thursday of each month. A fun, noisy, messy time for families. Oasis of Peace at Leith St Andrew's: Our quiet reflective prayer services on 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. St Andy's Teeny Tots meets every Wednesday afternoon in the Easter Road Hall at Leith St Andrew's from 2pm – 3.30pm for fun for babies and toddlers and their parents/carers. Cost is £1 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
South Leith Worship at One at South Leith church every Thursday at 1pm – prayers for the community and the world.
Pilrig St. Paul's Pilrig Parlour Irene Wexelstein (Convener) The Pilrig Parlour started in 1981 serving soup, light lunches and home baking. The parlour runs for the three weeks of the Fringe. The hours it is open and the menu have changed over the years but the main aims of outreach to the community has stayed the same. It is good to see the regular faces each year. This year the parlour will run from Monday 4th August until Saturday 23rd August. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 11.30am until 2pm. We hope you are able to come along and have a snack lunch or a cup of coffee and some home baking and have a chat with some of your friends at Pilrig St. Paulâ€™s. On other dates open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm. Serving tea / coffee and biscuits. All welcome to pop in. Funeral teas at South Leith We would like to extend our services to all of the people within the Leith Community and beyond. South Leith Parish Church Halls can be booked for funeral teas. The halls can accommodate from small numbers to around 120 people. Whether it is scones and a cup of tea or a full meal, we can cater for your individual needs and requirements. If you would like to discuss this, please contact the halls on 0131 554 2578.
South Leith Halls Open from 9.30am - 2.30pm Monday â€“ Friday. Hot meals served until 2pm Carry out facilities available. Lunch Club available for any senior citizen from 11.30 Monday - Friday.
3rd Leith BB Memorial Lamp Update – Leith St Andrew’s Joanne Baird We are delighted to be able to announce that our grant application to restore the 3rd Leith BB Memorial Lamp has been successful. The First Minister announced the latest round of grants in February. We have been awarded £6,672 by the Centenary Memorial Restoration Fund, towards an expected cost of around £9000. This leaves us around £2500 to raise through donations and fundraising. After a very successful coffee morning at the end of March, and including generous donations we have already raised over £1,700. We hope to have a reunion of former members this year and also to hold a rededication ceremony. If anyone would like to make a donation towards the restoration, however small, we would be most grateful. Please make any cheques payable to Leith St Andrews Church and send to: Leith St Andrews Church, 410-412 Easter Road, Edinburgh, EH6 8HT. The lamp has now been removed to the contractor’s workshop where full restoration is being carried out. The base has already been cleaned, repainted and regilded. The lantern head is more delicate work and will take a little longer. It is appropriate that this memorial will be restored in 2014, the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
Leith Churches Together Jennifer Stark Ocean Terminal Work in Ocean Terminal has taken on momentum in the last few months. Following the success of our October Community Craft Corner for children, I organised a similar event in the February school holiday week, with a ‘Spring’ theme, and a great team of 15 volunteers from churches across the denominations. We estimated that 70-80 children and a similar number of adults visited over the four afternoons, and the feedback was again excellent, ‘enjoyed the creativity, ‘calm and relaxing’, ‘lovely chance to be creative with my wee one’, ‘team helpful and well organised’. A number were ‘returners’ from the October week. It was particularly interesting to see how our publicity was working – people mentioned flyers at the ‘Leith Decides’ event, Leith Academy, Charlotte Baptist Chapel, church newsletters, the Ocean Terminal website and flyers in Ocean Terminal itself. Building on the momentum, we ran an Easter workshop for children during Holy Week and we were delighted by the fun everyone had, with simple Easter-related crafts, a ‘Palm’ tree and ‘journey to Jerusalem’. The Easter card, designed by members of the St James’ Episcopal congregation, was a particular success, with an Easter message waiting to be deciphered in the design – this teased the brains of some OT staff as well (and mine!) For both events, Ocean Terminal were very helpful with publicity and sent a photographer from their team who sends a report to the Edinburgh Evening News. Many thanks to the creative and committed team for both events. Plans are now in progress for a weekend event (probably 7-8 June) focused on The Boys' Brigade. David Scott, the Development Officer for the regional battalion, and I would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in helping – we hope it will include activities and crafts, in addition to publicity and information material. Watch out for more information. Joint Lent groups. Rob MacKenzie and I each ran a group using an innovative Lent course by Hilary Brand based around the film The King’s Speech. I am grateful to Rob for pointing us towards this beautifully written course. Comments from my group included ‘the writer was so encouraging and yet reassuring’, ‘great for anyone, accessible to those on the fringes of church,’ ‘conversations could grow out of the film material and move easily into the everyday’, ‘It brought home to me what a wonderful film it was’, ‘good to share this with different people of different backgrounds’. 9
Chaplaincy work in Ocean Terminal is well embedded and developing, one of the best indications being that it’s often hard to get out of the mall at the end of my usual shifts – people call me over on my way out, or a casual conversation develops into something deeper. In February, Rev. Tony Bryer, City Centre Workplace Chaplain, and I had an informal meeting with Dennis Jones, the manager. This was particularly helpful as Tony could speak from his wide experience of workplace chaplaincy in Edinburgh and beyond, and how it is expanding through Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland. Dennis in turn updated us on the developments planned in Ocean Terminal. Date for your diary: Leith Churches Together AGM, 7 for 7.30, Tuesday 10 June at the YMCA Edinburgh (Acorn Centre). Our guest speaker is Sister Isabel Smyth, who in this referendum year, will speak on interfaith work in Scotland. More info to follow. Mission Shaped Intro is being offered again in Leith, Thursday 15 May-19 June. See posters in your churches, or at www.leithchurchestogether.org.uk, or contact me as soon as possible (latest 12 May). Jennifer Stark Leith Churches Outreach Project Jenniferstark3@yahoo.co.uk, 0777 9900024PORT CHAPLAIN’S REPORT -----------------All in the past? Interest in BB memorabilia? Arthur Mathieson Any officers and leaders with an interest in BB badges going back in time and other memorabilia is invited to come along and view the 10th Leith archive on Saturday 14 June. The items will be on display between 10.30-12pm at South Leith church halls (on the stage) in 6 Henderson Street. The display is for the local members of the BB collectors' club but all and everyone is truly welcome. It is not just for the 'anoraks'. I am confident that you will be interested and perhaps even fascinated. If you have a special item of your own / own company please bring it along. You are welcome to visit the regular Saturday Coffee Morning while there. 10
Port Chaplain Tim Bell At the time of writing, we are about to start on the new season of visiting the cruise ships as they come into Leith. Together with the Rosyth team, we have had several new people doing the training course supplied (and required) by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, so we should be able to offer every ship a good team of three or four people who can go on board and be friendly and helpful to the crew. The biggest practical thing they are looking for from us is a supply of sim cards and top ups. They don’t have time to go ashore - for most of them, a day in port is a busy day. Forth Ports supplies free wifi in the terminal building while the ships are in port, and that is much appreciated. On the other side of the docks, the seasonal cargo ships have started coming again after the winter. Most of them trade in the North Sea and round the British Isles, but the last port or the next port for some of them is much further away. It’s a privilege to welcome them all to Leith, which I do on behalf of everyone. They think it’s cold and expensive, but it’s always friendly and there’s never any trouble. If you see me out and about with them, say hello and I’ll introduce you. They find it interesting and a bit of a thrill to meet someone new and have a friendly encounter in a strange country. As ever, thanks are due to all the churches and the people in Leith for ongoing support in various forms.
Information about Leith Churches Forum can be found at our web site at htt://leithchurchesforum.org.uk/
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