The Parish Grouping was established in December 2004 and comprises the Kirk of St. Nicholas Uniting, Queen Street Church and St. Mark’s Church. The Grouping’s emblem is the Triskeles which you see above. Through co-operation and mutual support, the Grouping seeks to:• • • • •
respond to human need by loving Christian service transform unjust structures of society overcome separation between Church and community fulfil human potential and affirm God’s creation proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
The “homelessness” theme adopted by the Grouping in 2008 as its main outreach led to the establishment of the North-east of Scotland Big Issue distribution office in the Queen Street chapel. Over the last three years around 40 people from the three congregations have volunteered to staff the office on a rota basis, building up relationships with each other and, more importantly, with the Big Issue vendors by providing a place of welcome and showing the love of Christ through practical help offered in a non-judgmental way. The Grouping also holds regular joint social events, as well as joint services and pulpit exchanges involving the three ministers – Rev. Dr. Graham Deans, Queen Street; Rev. Diane Hobson, St. Mark’s, and Rev. Stephen Taylor, Kirk of St. Nicholas Uniting. In addition, the Grouping has been exploring the concept of Team Ministry as a way of using the gifts and talents of its people to promote mission by reaching out to the people of the three parishes. Ian McIver Community Outreach Worker 07890 932677 email@example.com
NEWS FROM ST MARK’S As we approach the Easter Season I’ve had just a flavour of what it means to be a Parish Minister. Our own minister, Diane has been away in Malawi on Presbytery business in her role as Chair of the Presbytery Malawi Twinning Committee, leaving the pulpit temporarily empty. Having led worship on a few past occasions (including a sermon at a joint Grouping Service) I volunteered to ‘keep the pulpit warm’ in Diane’s absence. I agreed to stick to the themes Diane had already planned for the run up to Lent, so at least I had my sermon titles. However apart from the odd note Diane keeps on her own list of forthcoming services that are advertised in our weekly Pew Leaflet and on our website, the Bible readings and the hymns chosen by our organist, I was on my own. Some ministers, I suppose have the benefit of years of previous sermons, possibly in faraway churches so preparation might be as simple as an update and re-write, some have a steely organisation that sees them work away late on a Saturday or even early on a Sunday. I have none of these things. My previous sermons are not old enough to be re-worked and leaving things to the last minute just wouldn’t work. And on top of that I had agreed to speak on topics which the congregation knew were coming up. So preparation being the key I started in advance. I read the Bible verses and those before and after the listed readings. I prayed and concentrated on what the title might actually mean in light of the Bible readings and about a week in advance of each preaching date I had the makings of a service. I did however still end up the night before adding the finishing touches and I think they were well received. Planning and preparation, that’s the key to many things, so I hope everyone is already prepared Easter. Alex McConochie Page 2 Grouping Supplement Easter 2012
NEWS FROM THE KIRK OF ST NICHOLAS UNITING Easter Greetings from all at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting. This is an important time of year for all Christians. The Easter Gospel message really is the most wonderful Good News! I was reflecting on the first of the Grouping Lenten Studies led by Rev Phil Lightbody about Mission Shaped Church and Fresh Expressions of Church. I enjoyed sharing with other attendees our different experiences of Church. I particularly liked a new definition of mission: - “Mission is seeing what God is doing and joining in”. I look forward to the remaining sessions during Lent. During that initial session, Phil also played the theme music for the TV/film series “Mission Impossible” and if I understand correctly, the point was that WITH GOD mission is most definitely possible, and we should have a positive attitude towards mission. I reflected that it had be some time since we had an active Sunday School at St Nicholas, and some of us began to think it would be a long time until this was possible again. I am pleased to report that since early December, thanks to the redecoration and furnishing of our Choir Vestry (to provide a space for the children), and more importantly the willingness of volunteer teachers, we now have a small but regular group of children learning more about God’s love, and the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please support this work through your prayers, and I hope that all 3 churches continue to ensure that our young people are able to share and understand the good news that we celebrate at Easter. I hope you enjoyed the “Croon for a Cuppa” event and I trust that this fellowship will grow over future social events and joint services. God’s Blessings to you all. Bill Ross Page 3 Grouping Supplement Easter 2012
Greetings from all at Queen Street to all our friends in the Parish Grouping. I’m sure we’re all grateful for the kind (if cold) weather so far that has enabled our various organisations to meet regularly and carry out their activities uninterrupted. Our Guild conducted morning worship on Sunday 27th November in our minister’s absence on holiday and were able to tell the congregation about this year’s theme “Called to walk humbly with God”. In December, 31 of our Guild members enjoyed a Christmas Party at the Inn at The Park and raised over £100 for the Blue Horizon Charity, working with youth and families in Kincorth. The Guild are holding its usual coffee morning on Saturday 10th March. Aberdeen Street Pastors held a coffee morning in our main hall and raised an incredible £1723.35. A coffee morning was held on Saturday 4th February in support of Abigail Ministries and again, a creditable sum of over £1,350 was raised. We are grateful to all those helped and supported these fund raising events. On Saturday 17th March at 6.00 p.m. our organist has arranged a presentation of Stainer’s Crucifixion and other works and we hope to see lots of you there. Holy Week services this year will all be held at Queen Street between Monday 2nd and Friday 6th April with Communion on Thursday 5th April. I close with a few words from our Sunday Club’s presentation on 11th December “those who missed the Lord’s arrival that Christmas night, missed it not because of evil acts or malice. No they missed it because they were not looking for Him. What about us?” N J Haggart (Session Clerk) Page 4 Grouping Supplement Easter 2012