December 2010/January 2011
Sunday 12 September 2010 was a very significant day in the life of the Christian Church in Scotland. It was on that day that a service was held to launch Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS). The launch event took place in the Wellington Church, Glasgow with the resident minister, Rev. Dr. David Sinclair, leading the service. A very challenging and encouraging sermon was delivered by Rev Dr Larry Pickens of the United Methodist Church in America and member of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches. The WCC Executive Committee was meeting in Scotland during that week. One of the Scripture readings was read by Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the WCC.
The leaders of MECTIS were introduced, receiving the right hand of fellowship from representatives of ACTS Member Churches. Rev Colin Brown, Principal Clerk of the General Assembly, extended the hand of fellowship on behalf of the Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland. Everyone enjoyed the enthusiastic singing of the Scotland African Massed Choir.
Church. The general aim of MECTIS is to enable and support minority ethnic Christians in Scotland in their partnership and work with other local and national organisations in order to grow together in faith. They also seek to work with the established churches and to represent the voice of Minority Ethnic Churches to authorities to challenge exclusion and racism.
Reflections on China Page 2
MECTIS is comprised of more than forty minority ethnic Christian groups worshipping in Scotland. Included among these are the Scottish Asian Christian Fellowship, African and Caribbean Christian Fellowship, Singhalese Fellowship, Iranian Church, Russian Fellowship and the Korean
Of the few hundred representatives from minority ethnic and established churches present at the launch event, most agreed that the birth of MECTIS presented exciting possibilities for Christian unity and unified social action in Scotland.
All Editorial Correspondence should be addressed to:
N.B. The views expressed in the features, news reports,
Advertising and orders for Stedfast should be sent to:
The Editor â€“ United Free Church of Scotland,
letters and book reviews are not necessarily those of
Rev. John Fulton BSc., BD, The Secretary, United Free
11 Newton Place, Glasgow G3 7PR
the editor. Editorial comment and signed articles do
Church of Scotland, 11 Newton Place, Glasgow G3 7PR
not necessarily contain the official views of the Church,
Perth Welcome Solcial
which can be laid down only by the General Assembly.
Published by the United Free Church of Scotland.
Oberammergau Passion Play Page 14
Scottish Charity SC008167
Copy is required not later than the 5th February, April, June, August, October and December, and should be written or typed on one side only.
GOD WITH US
In this Issue...
Introducing Tearfund’s Christmas Materials until the local church stepped in.
16 9 14 1
God with us
Welcome at Arbroath
Oberammergau Passion Play
Reflections on China
K.J.B - The Book that changed The World
See how these Christians love one another
Youth Visit 2011
In a changing world God remains the same
It’s not fair.... or is it?
Perth Welcome Social
Editorial Much of this issue is about ‘The God who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in a messy world’ – and who calls us to do the same! Celebrating the birth of Jesus is not about escaping the pain and suffering. Instead he comes in love to give us hope that things can change for people and for communities as they respond to him. He calls us to share that love and hope in our actions and words. In this issue a number of people tell us about ways in which they are involved in doing just that. Are we willing to join them in getting our hands dirty in the service of such a Saviour? Thanks to all those who have contributed to the magazine over this past year! We are delighted to tell you that we have a new Stedfast Secretary, Alastair Wright, from Chryston. He will work with the editorial group in putting each issue together. We look forward to hearing about what is happening in your congregation during 2011 and to receiving (good quality) photos! Letters and comments will also be appreciated! It’s your magazine so please play your part!
A LISTLESS mother, too depressed to look after her children. A violent partner who refuses to acknowledge his son. An unhappy boy falling in with the wrong crowd. Set in a shanty town outside Lima, Peru, this story is no fairy-tale. It is simply the story of how one woman’s love and concern led her to befriend Maribel, the struggling single mother, to draw near to her and listen, and to offer support and help. Now Maribel and her two children know and love Jesus and have hope for the future. Maribel has a job in a factory and her son Daniel is happy at home and works hard at school. The transformation came through Tearfund partner Agape who work with the poorest and most vulnerable families in the outskirts of Lima, aiming to alleviate spiritual and material poverty. Agape worker Elena invited Maribel to workshops at a local church where she learned to address her family’s problems, to know the saving love of Jesus and to apply the Word of God to her life. Maribel says, “God has transformed my life.” So often we hang back from difficult situations, from dysfunctional families, from poverty. But God didn’t hang back when he sent his only son Jesus right into the sin and struggles of this world to draw alongside us, to love us and to save us.
At Tearfund, we want to get involved – with vulnerable families, with HIVstricken communities, with hungry farmers, with victims of injustice – and incarnate Jesus’ love to them. And we are urging churches and individuals this Christmas to be a part of the story of God’s redeeming work and to remember the poor. “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do,” says Paul the Apostle in Galatians 2:10 after meeting with the church leaders. His doctrine and knowledge of the gospel was spot-on – but the leaders urged him not to neglect that godly mandate to care for those who were vulnerable and often oppressed. Maribel’s story beautifully encapsulates the heart of what Tearfund is all about and is told in ‘God With Us’, a resource available to churches this Christmas which includes a DVD that tells the story from Daniel’s perspective. There is also a script for a nativity play, notes for a speaker and games for children to play. The message of ‘God With Us’ is clear. The Son of God coming to save – now such a joyful reality in this family’s life – was something Maribel and her children knew nothing about
Tearfund partners with Christian organisations and churches to alleviate spiritual and material poverty. Local churches are well placed to meet the needs of their communities and to reflect God’s character to a world that desperately needs him. Tearfund Scotland Director Lynne Paterson says, “It’s our responsibility as Christians to give to the poor. They need to see God’s love at work in their lives before they will know how much he cares – and as Christians, we are God’s servants, sent to demonstrate His love to others. “Our ‘God With Us’ resources provide people with the opportunity this Christmas to return to the simplicity of the Christmas message. It’s a story about how the church is bringing about change and how you can be a part of that. “We urge Stedfast readers to use ‘God With Us’ as part of their Christmas activities and help us to bring hope to more people like Maribel this Christmas.” Maribel’s son Daniel says, “My mother tells me about her belief in God. She encourages me to be close to God and explains that I don’t have to be sad. “God made me change. My life has changed and I feel very happy.”
Reflections on China
Margery Collin tells about a visit to China earlier this year to assist those with cancer.
Shenyang is a city of around 8 million people in the north of China, close to the border with North Korea. Since the 1880’s Scotland has had links with the city as Scottish missionary doctors set up a hospital there. The Church of Scotland continues to keep this link with China by supporting Shenjing Hospital, now a University Teaching Hospital extensively rebuilt in the 1980’s and still expanding.
In 2001 a hospice department was opened in the hospital. There is no ‘NHS’ in China and no GP service as such therefore this department currently serves 4,200 cancer patients aged 2 to 94. It is the only hospice available in a very large region. In all there are 31 hospices across China, covering a population of 1.3 billion. The comparison with Scotland’s 15
hospices for 5.5 million people is only too stark. In 2005 Dr Wang visited Scotland, spending some time in Strathcarron Hospice in Stirlingshire. She learned much about the way we care for patients and she took back with her many new ideas, innovative for Chinese culture.
patients and their families at a time of crisis by giving them an opportunity to tell their story and helping them to find inner resources to cope with their difficulties. Not all countries are in as privileged a position as Scotland and many across Europe and further afield have cause to envy the Scottish system.
Scotland leads the way in Spiritual Care - China responds Within the healthcare system in Scotland government guidelines indicate a need for holistic care, ensuring that healthcare staff understand the human make up of body, mind and spirit and the importance of addressing negative emotion, anxiety and questions about life and death. Within this remit spiritual care is a broad spectrum of care given to all, whether religious or not. In essence it provides support for
On her visit to Scotland five years ago it was spiritual care that Dr Wang recognised as a helpful and natural process in Scottish palliative care and as generally lacking in China. To date these issues have not readily been addressed in China because of cultural norms. Chinese people tend to avoid talking about death. Consequently, a request was made for a series of education and training sessions in spiritual care to be given to doctors, nurses and students. Thus, a visit to Shenyang was planned for April 2010.
Gathering information In order to share the workload I took with me a colleague from the education department at Strathcarron Hospice. Before offering teaching sessions we collected as much information as we could about healthcare in China and local palliative care in particular. All this was done through interpreters. We began by accompanying the home care team. As most patients for financial reasons cannot access hospital palliative care, many remain ill at home. On visiting two families with cancer patients, it became clear that poverty was the cause of lack of treatment and unnecessary death. This was a source of great sadness to the palliative care team who readily give of extra time and their own financial resources to aid treatment programmes. For a doctor who feels called into a profession in which lives should be saved, facing unnecessary death is particularly painful to deal with. Discussion on sensitive issues carried out through interpreters is not ideal. However, on noticing the ready smile of the wife of one cancer patient, I managed to take her aside and turn the conversation to how she really felt and the resources she found to cope with a tragic situation. The smiles, laughter and resilience turned to tears as she confessed her real feelings of despair and the energy it takes to keep
Some of the staff Margery worked with at Shenjing
going for the sake of the family. In that moment we both felt the powerlessness so often present at such times. Words would not change anything. I could only hug her and hope that, as she cried on my shoulder, she would somehow gain strength from knowing that she is in the thoughts and prayers of those who care. We also visited some patients within the hospital palliative care unit. Following Chinese practice, family members take care of feeding, changing and toileting patients and also help with provision of some medication. We spoke with the patients, their relatives and the nurses. Clearly, the attention provided by our visit brought smiles and a sense of wellbeing to all. Unfortunately, Chinese culture favours a stance whereby one does not talk of things that have gone wrong within the family, therefore encouraging patients and families to talk openly of illness and death can be challenging. Moreover, showing deep emotion by shedding tears is counter-cultural. This causes families to internalise their feelings, to deny that there is a real problem and to withhold from the patient the truth about their prognosis. In addition, children are kept out of the proceedings altogether and therefore
have difficulty grieving, having had no preparation for impending death. This open approach embraced by the palliative care team in Shenyang, while more normal to countries in the western world, is ground-breaking in China and some of the work has been captured by the media. DVDs and television programmes have been made of patients’ experiences before they die. Emphasis is on encouraging patients to have their wishes fulfilled before it is too late and on talking openly about death and dying. The stories of two young girls hit the headlines, one of whom managed a trip to Bejing and the other her marriage to her childhood sweetheart. It is hoped that this kind of publicity will help to remove the stigma of disease and death. Our contribution Within this backdrop of cultural challenges, we set about teaching doctors and nurses about the softer side of healthcare. We began with an overview of palliative care provision in Scotland and then looked in detail at the spiritual needs of patients and families and how these needs might be addressed. We used a film showing poor quality care to highlight the importance of a person-centred approach and a number of case studies to highlight the degree of complexity
which might exist within any single case. All these presentations engendered much discussion â€“ an aspect not readily used in Chinese education. Normally a Chinese teaching session would consist of a lecturer delivering information to a large group of students. In our sessions we encouraged small group work and personal exchanges in discussion, a new but ultimately productive method of learning for the staff.
Learning more about palliative care
Youth Visit 2011
As we had expected, the problem of truth-telling was paramount. The families of cancer patients withhold information about the prognosis in order to protect the patient. However, following every teaching session we gained written and verbal feedback indicating how much had been learned and how much the staff wish to change their ideology. As a follow up to this visit, a request has been made for more in-depth learning to be undertaken by those who would champion the cause of spiritual care in Shenjing Hospital and beyond. A further visit it therefore planned for 2011. This is a particularly privileged form of ministry as we seek to provide a healing presence, a listening ear and a gateway to an area of healthcare the ethos of which echoes much of the Christian way of loving oneâ€™s neighbour.
Visiting with the home care team
Tribute to JIM SWINDELS: LARGS
Jim was born in 1927 in Greenock, being educated in Grosvenor Primary school and at Mearns Street Secondary school. After leaving school, Jim worked for a short time at Hepworths the tailor, before joining the Ministry of Defence in Greenock in 1949. He then worked at Fairlie as a personnel recorder until he retired in 1992, a total of 43 years. His work encompassed all kinds of administrative duties including payrolls. And many would be the comment about how bizarre that someone with his name could be trusted with payrolls! Such was the regard in which he was held that he was presented with the Imperial Service Medal and British Empire Medal at Buckingham Palace.
Jim and his wife Greta were married in the United Free Church of Scotland in Ardgowan Square on the 26th of September 1956. In 1967, they were blessed with their daughter Lyn. Sadly, his wife Greta died in 1994 allowing them only 38 years together including just two years of retirement. After several moves, the family settled in Largs where Jim, an elder for 37 years, ably played his part in the Largs United Free Church of Scotland, having to retire only a few years ago.
As you will already be aware, a team of young people from UCCSA and the UF will be working throughout the denomination to share the Gospel, for three weeks in August 2011. It is coming round so quickly! We thought it would be good to update you and ask for your continued prayer support for this worthwhile venture. The young people from Scotland who were interested in being part of the team were invited to send in application forms and then attend for interview. We are delighted to have a team from the UF of twelve young people from a variety of our congregations and representing all three presbyteries! The team includes: Catherine Mckenzie from Torry, Rachel Keane and Alistair Keane from St. Ninians, Nathan Owens and Allan Brown from Drumchapel, Andrew Brown and Ross McNaughton from Darnley, Jennifer Wilson and Martin Paterson from Uddingston Park, Ruth Fulton and Kirsten Boettcher from Cathcart and Carol Owen from Chryston. It is such an exciting time as the congregations prepare to have a team work with them. The other
Reminder of the visit to southern Africa in 2008
half of the team coming from the congregations of UCCSA is almost finalised and there is great excitement within the young people. The teams will be running summer missions and schools groups. There will be music and drama presentations happening in a variety of venues, so look out for a team in a shopping centre near you! There will be cultural evenings, special services and drop in style afternoons where the young people will hand out tracts and share their faith with people they meet. The Southern African young people will treat us to traditional worship styles and music. There will also be times of sightseeing for the teams, and the three week mission will finish with a celebration at the Dunblane event where the young people will share their experiences and stories. We are really looking forward to the three weeks and would ask for your continued prayer support both for the congregations involved and for the young people on the team. It is a real encouragement to see young people signing up to spend their time working in their home
country sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in many different ways. These young people have a passion for God and sharing that with others. They will be serving in a variety of different ways and would appreciate your support. Please pray that opportunities will arise for them to share the word of God with people of all ages. Please also pray that the Southern African half of the team will be granted visas to come and join us. This is an amazing opportunity for the word of God to be shared with people in Scotland. As a nation we desperately need God to move in the hearts of people, so it is with great anticipation and excitement that we look forward to August 2011! What a blessing that our young people and those of UCCSA have a desire to join with us to serve God. The teams will be with us from the 6th-29th of August. More information will be available soon to allow you to come along and join with them. What an exciting time for the young people and for all of us as we wait and see what God will do!
ADVENT Bruce McDowall, from Uddingston Park, helps us reflect on this season.
And every voice be song! Yet Advent is far more than a looking forward to Christmas but a conscious time to reflect on that future event when: ‘He comes whose advent-trumpet drowns the last of time’s evangels, Immanuel, crowned with many crowns, The Lord of saints and angels. O Life, Light, Love, the great I AM, Triune who changest never, The throne of God and of the Lamb Is thine, and thine for ever.’ And so as we journey through this Advent Season, let’s take time to reflect on its significance for us today. A - a sense of ANTICIPATION
Like many of my generation, my first insight into the season of Advent was NOT through the worshipping life of the Church, but through ‘Blue Peter’ - the popular BBC children’s programme. My earliest recollection was of Valerie Singleton twisting red coloured tinsel (presumably fire retardant!) around a cross shape made up of two wire coat hangers twisted together. Four sections from an egg box were used to provide the base for the four candles to be successively lit as the countdown to Christmas began. This ‘Advent Crown’ was made more complicated one year by the adding of another wire coat hanger crown on top of the existing structure to give a double tier approach to the whole thing!
Such was the impact of that vivid imagery that in my first congregation, the first Christmas I was Minister, we made a similar structure for use in the Church - although my efforts could not have been too impressive because
when the next Advent season dawned, the two Flower Convenors in the two churches I served, suggested that they make a more ‘suitable’ Advent Crown from holly! This Advent Sunday, the 28th November, will mark the 22nd time in my ministry, that I will invite one of the young people to come forward and light the first candle as we count down the four Sundays to Christmas. Advent holds that unique place in the Christian Calendar that marks both the beginning and end of the Christian Year. Liturgically, it marks the beginning of the various seasons and festivals that mark out the yearly cycle of Christian Worship and Reflection. As a countdown to Christmas, it sets the scene for the Incarnation, drawing on the Old Testament promise of the One who was to come, Israel’s Consolation’. Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes, The Saviour promised long; Let every heart exult with joy,
I am sure that for 99% of those reading this magazine, the sense of anticipation that once marked the approach of Christmas, has long gone. For our older readers, we may well remember the fact that in Scotland, Christmas was still a working day for many people until well after the War. Christmas presents, if given and received, were on a far more modest scale than today. The Protestant Church certainly did not make much of it - Watchnight Services were at New Year, NOT Christmas. Others of us may well remember that sense of expectation as we went to bed on Christmas Eve and the arrival of that pillow case filled with presents the next day was a real source of surprise and joy. But those years have long gone and for many, the run-up to Christmas can be an exhausting round of shopping and planning, with the best part of the festive season being the week long break from work that follows that ‘Day’! The season of ADVENT is given to us so that we might rightly anticipate the Good Things that God Has Done, and Will Do! The prophet Isaiah reminds us that; ‘The Lord Almighty has a day in store’ (Is. 2:12) and on that DAY there will be both judgement on ‘.. all the proud and lofty and the arrogance of man will
be brought low..’ but it will also be a time; ‘.. when He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they rain for war anymore.’ (Is 2:12,17 & 2:4) I don’t know about you, but that Day is surely something to be anticipated, and unlike so much of our contemporary Christmas celebrations, will have a lasting, indeed, eternal impact! D - for a time of DECISION In preparation for Christmas, so often we have to decide so many things - where we are going to celebrate Christmas and who with!; what we are going to give to people as gifts, and what we would like ourselves!; whether we have turkey or beef or mince for our Christmas dinner! These decisions can have a costly outcome for us, and not just in terms of finance! Relationships can be strained, and for many within our society it can take until the next Christmas to pay for them! Wisdom is needed to make the right decisions for us, and for others ! For Isaiah, the decision to be made is vitally simple; ‘Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.’ 2:5 To anticipate the coming of the Lord, whether as the Christ Child of Bethlehem, or the Lion of the tribe of Judah on that final Day, calls us to decide how we shall live in the light of those events. Do we seek to live in the ‘light of the Lord’ and allow Him and His agenda to determine the use of our time, talents and money, or do we live under the demand and expectation of others or the rule of a self absorbed sinful nature! Advent is a time to decide what will determine our decisions, and our destiny!
For Isaiah, the ADVENT of the Lord was a time to celebrate His Victory. He tells us that;’ the LORD alone will be exalted in that day and the idols will totally disappear.r 2:18 In our increasingly post-Christian society, with many of our Churches shrinking down to a mere handful of people, it is easy, and understandable, for a spirit of defeatism to take over. It could have been like that for Isaiah. All the evidence was that the Lord had; ‘... abandoned your people, the house of Jacob..’ 2:6 for alongside material prosperity and a growth in various forms of mysticism and spirituality, their was a clear turning away and ignorance of; ‘., the splendour of His majesty..’ 2:21. And yet Isaiah was confident that that Day would come when; ‘... men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and of gold which they made to worship.’ 2:20. Advent is a time to recognise this fact in human history, and to acknowledge God’s final victory over all that deceives humanity and is opposed to Him! E - a time for ENGAGEMENT For many Churches like ours, Advent is perhaps one of those times of the year that are more commonly associated with Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. We Presbyterians don’t ‘DO’ festivals, seasons and candles! That is
sad, for in a day when many are rightly suspicious of words and talk - even from clergy and churches, the visual and the ‘community’ aspects of the Advent season can be an effective way to engage together as a Christian community and also to draw in those on the fringes of our Churches. There are excellent materials available both ‘on-line’ and in Christian bookshops for activities like Carol Suppers to Christingle Services and much much more as a way of building a sense of anticipation for all who would come! Our communities can sometimes be far more responsive to creative engagement from us that we might initially think, and Advent is, by its nature, a time to ‘.... see .... come .... walk .... turn .... run .... bow .... flee!’ (various verses from Isaiah Chapter 2). For Isaiah, the Day of the Lord was something that engaged people and would by its very nature create a response. Whilst that DAY is still to come, our active engagement with its promise TODAY will stir up active thoughts, if not active bodies and this itself can be a provoking thing to those who live with us and surround us. Creative thinking is important as we seek to engage with our Advent God and take His message into our local communities.
V - a time to celebrate VICTORY Many people today emerge from the Christmas season with a real sense of defeat! Things don’t work out as we had planned; we didn’t get the reaction we hoped for from our gifts; the dinner was burnt; the loneliness was acute!
N - is all about NOW! In our looking back at the first Christmas, and our looking forward to the final DAY, it would be easy to lose sight of the fact that these great truths and events in Human History are to impact on the here and now. After speaking of what will be; ‘In the last days’ Is 2:2 the prophet goes on to very clearly state; ‘See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah!’ Is 3:1. The Lord, the Lord Almighty is equally active today in our world. Unfortunately, we do not always have eyes to see, ears to hear, or hearts and minds ready to respond. The invitation that the Lord offers us this Advent season is; ‘Come now, let us reason together’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. ‘ Is 1:18 There would be many within the wider Church today who would see
in its weakness and its failings, God’s judgement upon us NOW for our failure to be faithful and obedient to His leading and prompting. As in the case of Jerusalem and Judah, the Lord Almighty has issues with us and his desire is that we might NOW come before Him in repentance and openness to His Spirit renewing and remaking us into the people and Church of God that He desires for 21st century Scotland. ADVENT has a message for NOW that we need to hear and heed!
our communities; humanity in our contemporary world still largely sees trust as something one does; if not in others, then in SELF! The call of the Advent is to TRUST IN GOD! T he message of that first Christmas when Mary, in response to the Angel Gabriel’s visit was to say; ‘I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.’ Luke 1:38, is the message which our preaching, our engagement, our activities and our celebrating is to point too!
T - it’s all about TRUST!
However we as individual Christians and as Churches celebrate this Advent season, our prayer should surely be that; ‘.. the Lord alone will be exalted on that day..’ Is 2:17b May the Holy Spirit enable us so to enter into the spirit of this season, that above everything else, the Lord will be exalted and His message for His Church and our society today to TRUST in Him will be heard loud and clear,
Isaiah ends this prophecy about the Day of the Lord, with a plea; ‘Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?’ Is 2:22 Western society has elevated ‘trust’ in MAN as the new religion of the age and despite the warnings about its fallibility, through events as wide ranging as global warming; the financial ‘melt-down’ and the very evident social breakdown of
Amen, so let it be!
Welcome at Arbroath
THE BOOK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
The King James Bible. Over the next year we plan to include in Stedfast various articles relating to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. A new film has just been launched on DVD and this gripping film tells its story - from the dangers and intrigues of the Court of the Virgin Queen, through battling Bishops and squabbling scholars to 17th century terrorists and their infamous ‘Gunpowder Plot’. And through it all one man held sway, the Scottish King James VI, who took the English throne, confounded his enemies and delivered a single, great and towering work which still bears his name today... This highly entertaining, 90 minute, drama-documentary is full of powerful drama, beautiful photography and surprising discoveries. With
atmospheric locations, great performances, unexpected action and the high art of tale-telling rediscovered, this is a film with the broadest appeal to the broadest of audiences. It will help us appreciate some of the fascinating background to this momentous event 400 years ago.
Available on DVD in the UK at the end of November 2010. For more information contact: 1A Productions - 01360 620 855 www.1aproductions.co.uk www.kjbthefilm.com
From Ann Brown, Missionary Secretary at Drumchapel UF Church I am so thankful to Famie Crawford and Moira Currie for their invitation to join other missionary contacts from congregations in the West presbytery. (This was reported on in the previous issue) It was indeed good to share with others the different ways of supporting our missionaries which now includes the use of modern technology.
There were great celebrations and hope for the future of Arbroath United Free Church on Sunday 10th October when the Rev. Alistair Keddie was appointed as Ministry Assistant. Mr. George McRobb, Interim Moderator, opened the service and after the Kirk Session welcomed Alistair with the right hand of fellowship, Alistair conducted the remainder of the service. After the final hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father”, the congregation gathered at the Colliston Inn for lunch.
We are extremely grateful to the members and friends in each of our churches who pray for our missionaries and give financial and practical support as the Lord enables them. Despite being mission secretary at the Drumchapel United Free Church over the past 18 years, I learned a lot from dedicated Christians eager to move forward with new ideas for the future in their continued support for our missionaries here at home and abroad. I came away feeling encouraged, uplifted ,inspired and look forward with anticipation to our next meeting which I can recommend to all missionary contacts giving them the opportunity not only to encourage but be encouraged in this very worthwhile work for the Lord.
In a Changing World God Remains the Same Pat Smith, Manager of Falkirk Christian Bookshop, ran the bookstall at ‘Together in Christ’ in August. Here she tells the story of their eventful year. suffered the same impact from Internet companies as we did. Initially, life in the shop continued as close as possible to normal as far as the customers were concerned but, as we began to be unable to supply customer orders, we had to explain the situation that we found ourselves in. Our customers grew concerned since they did not want us to close. Words from St Augustine which had been used at the Managers’ Meeting came to mind; “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
I arrived for work on 15th September 2009 as the new Manager of the Falkirk Branch of Wesley Owen Books and Music. John, the former Manager, had retired and as Deputy Manager I had applied for, and been appointed to, the position. I wondered what lay ahead of me; little did I know! By October, having appointed a new Sales Assistant, I felt that it was time to settle down to the Christmas trading that lay ahead. The Autumn Managers’ Meeting was held in Edinburgh and we were updated on the position of the company which was being affected financially by various factors including the global recession. However, there looked to be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Friday 13th November started like any other day: we were well into Christmas and the shop was getting busier each day. Just before I went
for lunch I checked the emails and one in particular caught my eye; a conference call for all Wesley Owen Managers in Scotland, Ireland and the North of England was to take place in 5 minutes. A feeling of disbelief ran through me; was this a joke? I had never heard of such a thing happening before. I called and joined with all the other managers to hear the news that our parent company IBS-STL UK was to be put up for sale as it was no longer viable. We knew that the computer system installed the previous October had caused a great deal of problems but we had not known the extent of these regarding stock control causing cash flow problems. The global recession also had its part to play on other companies that year, including Borders Books who
God’s timing is perfect!; following a discussion with a friend during the last weekend in November about the future of a Christian Bookshop in Falkirk and having received the offer of money to make this possible, I returned to work on Tuesday to an email saying that if any Manager wished to enter into negotiations about a bid
for their shop they should give notice of this ASAP. This I did. But what else needed to be done? Earlier in the year, Keith Danby, the CEO of IBS-STL UK, had spoken to Christian Marketplace magazine highlighting the need for Churches to be willing to support their local Christian bookshop. I could not enter a venture like this without backing from the local Churches. I called a meeting with some of the local Church Leaders ten days later and presented them with the following facts: • This was not a good time to be in the retail trade • We were not able to be self sufficient • We would need an injection of cash every month to be viable • If the Christians in Falkirk and the surrounding area were willing to support the shop financially we should be able to continue trading Late on Friday 18th December the news arrived about the future of the Falkirk Branch of Wesley Owen; we were in administration along with 25 other branches. Wesley Owen in Glasgow, along with 7 branches in England was bought, by an Australian Christian Retailing Company called Koorong, and 6 branches in England were bought by CLC. A mailing of the Church Leaders’ presentation was sent to other Churches in Falkirk and the surrounding area and so 74 churches became aware of the situation. The Churches were asked if they would be willing to support the shop in five different areas: Prayer, Promotion, Purchasing, People and Pledging money. The feedback was that generally Churches were willing to Pray, Promote and Purchase while customers, who were asking what they could do to support the shop, were willing to Pledge and be the People willing to volunteer as well as provide Prayer support. Negotiations began in earnest with the administrators after the Christmas break. At the time, I was very upset that the amount of money they were asking for the stock was far too high and eventually discussions were abandoned. A solicitor was appointed to negotiate with the landlord of
the premises about Falkirk Christian Bookshop taking over the lease. The day before we closed, good news arrived saying that our offer was accepted in principle. Even so, closing the doors to Wesley Owen Falkirk on Monday 18th January was a very emotional moment. The next 4½ weeks flew past as there were so many things to organise for the opening of Falkirk Christian Bookshop but it felt like we had never been away when on the morning of 19th February we collected the keys. The break that we had been given by not buying the existing stock from the administrators allowed us the ability to refurbish the shop with the help of volunteers in a rather manic week before we opened for business. The final few hours of preparation looked like the end of a television makeover programme. A Dedication Service was held on Saturday 27th to mark the opening. Prayer, six months on, is still the underpinning of this whole venture and we are being supported by individuals and also Churches. Local churches were encouraged to pray for us on a Day of National Prayer for the Book Trade in September. Promotion of Christian Literature is happening through the use of Bookstalls either on a regular basis in a church or at special events, including the United Free Church’s Conference at Dunblane
in August. Purchasing has come from individual customers and from local churches who have been using us to provide them with new hymnbooks, Bibles and resources for Book Clubs. People have volunteered to help in different areas of running a small business including professional advice, acting as Trustees and Sales Assistants. Pledges to pay our rent have come, mainly from individual Christians as well as some Churches, and it looks as if we have enough money pledged and given as one-off donations to cover this year’s rent. The Christians in Falkirk and the surrounding area were asked in December 2009 if they had the Vision that was needed to provide a Christian presence in Falkirk town centre, a resource for Churches and Christians and a business promoting the sale of Bibles, Christian Literature and Christian Music. At the end of this year of change the answer is “yes”. It is good to look back on the last year, take stock and give thanks but we must look forward to the adventure that God has for us in the next year and the years beyond, listening to His leading and following Him wherever He asks us to go.
BIBLE FAVOURITES In 2011 we have the 400th Anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible. Over the year we plan to have a number of articles on the Bible, Bible Translation, Bible reading etc. As part of that we will be inviting people to tells us about their favourite Bible verses, characters etc. and this time we hear from 4 people in Lochwinnoch.
The Twelve Disciples. One of my favourite parts of the Bible is when Jesus calls twelve very ordinary men to be Apostles or Disciples. Simon Peter and his brother Andrew were fishing by the sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to be “fishers of men.” They left their nets and followed him. Similarly James and John, sons of Zebedee, were also fishermen who followed Jesus when he asked them to do so. Some time after Jesus had healed many people he was now again by the lake when he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, (who is also called Matthew in some versions) sitting at the collectors’ desk. Tax collectors at this time were very unpopular because they generally defrauded people and so when some Pharisees saw Jesus having dinner at Levi’s house they jeered and asked why Jesus was having dinner with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus overhead their question and replied, “ it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repent.” Before deciding on the final twelve Jesus went into a mountain and spent the night in prayer then next morning he added the following seven people to the five he had already chosen. Bartholomew. Thomas who later doubted that Jesus really had risen from the dead. Thaddaeus - different versions describe him in different ways. Judas son of James and Judas brother of James. Simon the Zealite or Canaanite. Judas Iscariot who later betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. James the son of Alphaeus. Philip from Bethsaida.
These twelve men were given authority
to drive evil spirits out to heal every disease and sickness. As they went around the country carrying out these instructions they also preached. Jesus has preached wherever he found people and his disciples did likewise. They were not given any money and were told not to take any food with them. What faith these men had that their physical needs would be provided. After Judas Iscariot’s suicide Matthias was chosen by lots to be the twelfth disciple. I find it incredible that from these twelve men the “Good News” has spread throughout the world. When they started “Going out to all the world to preach the gospel to every creature” they did not have planes, trains, buses, car or even bicycles yet they still succeeded in their mission by preaching to people who then carried out the work they had begun. E. McAllister. Samuel Many of us have Sunday School to thank for our favourite biblestories - stories which captured our imaginations in childhood and stayed with us as vibrant pictures in our minds throughout our lives. The story of Samuel has been with me from my early days, and I`m grateful to a longforgotten Sunday-school teacher for telling it. She must have been a vivid teller of tales… Poor Hannah, so wretched in her childlessness, how she longed for a child! I could picture her weeping and praying to God to send her a son. I appreciated the vow, which seemed to me to be more of a bargain than a vow, that she would give the child up to the Temple so that he might do God’s
work all the days of his life, if only God would grant her wish. I felt Hannah’s joy when her prayer was answered and the boy was born, and when she named him Samuel. I recognised her pride when she kept her promise and took Samuel as a small child to the priest, Eli, to be brought up as God’s servant. Best part of the story, of course, was the darkness of the Temple when the voice came to the child in the night - “Samuel”, and again, “Samuel” [ I still think of the name in syllables as Sam - u - el] and when Eli told the bewildered boy to listen one more time because it was God who was speaking, and to answer, “Speak, for thy servant is listening “ . . . I read the story afresh, from the Bible this time, before I started writing down my memories of it. It’s a much more complex tale than I could have comprehended at the time. But I’d got the crux of it, and that voice saying “Samuel” still feels very real. It is somehow relevant to our own lives, even today. Isn’t there a quiet voice within us all which speaks to us as loudly as the one that said that word “Samuel” in the darkness of a Temple night? It tells us the paths we should tread and the ones we should avoid. If only we always listened to it! Read the whole story 1 Samuel, chapters 1-3 Betty McKellar. The Prodigal Son At face value, this seems to me a
complex story of greed, despair, forgiveness, love and jealousy. But it is really a simple illustration about God’s attitude to all of us. How easy is it for us to say ”He hasn’t been through our doors for years. What makes him think he can just turn up whenever he likes?” Jesus told his disciples this story to illustrate that no matter how we waste God’s gifts to us, He will always welcome us back into his family, but only when we truly and humbly ask for his forgiveness. We need to see ourselves, not as an angry brother or sister, but as a prodigal. We are just like the younger son. We have often strayed and continue to stray from righteousness and are in need of God’s forgiveness. The father in the passage has compassion and love for his son. He sees him at a distance and knows he is coming back long before his son arrives. Surely it would be easier for us to say ”He hasn’t been through our doors for years, WELCOME BACK!” After all, is this not what God would say? Alan Murray Sermon on the Mount. My favourite bible story is from the Gospel of St. Matthew, part of the Sermon on the Mount. In this materialistic world we all need reminding of the important things in life. This passage was a particular favourite of my mum and dad and it helped them through a difficult time in their early married life. I can always remember them telling me about it, which is probably why it is so special to me. The passage talks about nature – the birds, the lilies, the grass – and how our heavenly father takes care of them and then goes on to say ask ‘Are you not more valuable than they’. Living in Lochwinnoch we see this beauty of nature all around us and we should therefore be reminded on a daily basis of the help and strength that is available to us with all the many things that cause us to worry. Matthew Chapter 6 v 25 – ‘Do Not Worry’ Mark Brown.
All Things in Common
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 18 – 25 January 2011 The 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to us from an ecumenical group in Jerusalem. The Christians of Jerusalem and indeed much of the Middle East are living under tremendous pressure and we are all too aware of the difficulties they experience both in terms of the political and religious situation and their dwindling numbers. However they are also communities of faith that worship, pray and study
together, who work for the good of their society and pray for unity of the Church and the coming of the Kingdom of God. In 2011 they invite the world-wide Church to pray with them for the unity of the Church and justice and peace in the Holy Land and through the world. The resources for 2011 are available as downloads from www.ctbi.org.uk . There is also an order form to purchase the material in a published format.
Ministry within the United Free Church of Scotland The Ministry Committee would like to hear from those who are interested in serving in Ministry within the United Free Church. This includes full time or part time ministry which may be ordained or unordained. Normally applicants should have been a member of the UF Church for 1 year before their application can be considered. Information is available on the selection process and educational requirements. The committee is also willing to consider applications from ministers of other denominations who are interested in serving within the United Free Church. Applicants must be ordained ministers in good standing of a member denomination which is a recognised branch of the Christian Church. Information is available on the application process. For further information please contact the General Secretary, United Free Church of Scotland, 11 Newton Place, Glasgow G3 7PR Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oberammergau Passion Play
days during which Jesus experienced intense passion, suffering, agony, human condemnation, forsaken for a ‘moment’ by His Father whose will and purpose he had fulfilled. The Play, emotionally, spiritually and personally fulfilled for me its purpose of reminding me what my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as the Son of Man, did for me by his passion and death on the cross of Calvary. It was a performance but at no point did it detract from the personal message it sought to present. It didn’t ‘present’ the gifts, skills, expertise of actors, singers, speakers or musicians (and these were obvious) but drew ones feelings towards the people who surrounded Jesus in those passionate days, whether his disciples, followers, detractors opponents, haters, betrayer or just ordinary folk caught up in unique extraordinary events. Passions were palpable – love, hatred, anger, arrogance pride, grief..... Nevertheless Jesus, Christ Messiah, is the central figure appearing to be swept along but always in control focussing solely on fulfilling His Father’s will to be Saviour, Redeemer of all men.
Christine Gower and Jim Marshall from Milngavie report on their visits. In June of this year my daughter and I were part of a group travelling to Oberammergau. Despite a strike by BA forcing a change in our travel arrangements we had a pleasant journey to our initial destination of Fuschl in Austria. This is a beautiful little lakeside town and we were blessed with glorious weather so much so that I braved bathing in the lake - briefly!
Our hotel was excellent and we enjoyed a lake trip to St. Wolfgang, some lovely walking and a wonderful evening of music at a Mozart dinner in the stunning Baroque hall of the Benedictine monastery in Salzburg. Both the music and food were par excellence.
Then to the main purpose of our trip. Oberammergau where the citizens of the town have performed the Passion play every tenth year since the 17th century. This is the result of a promise made by the townspeople in 1633 that if they were spared the worst ravages of the bubonic plague sweeping Europe they would re-enact the story of the last cruel days of Jesus’ life on earth and his resurrection. Over 2,000 local people are involved in staging the play and the theatre seats over 4800 and every seat is occupied. The singing of the local cathedral choir and soloists is quite magnificent and adds greatly to the unfolding drama of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem,
through his betrayal and subsequent trial to his crucifixion and resurrection. It is beautifully done over an afternoon and evening and our tour company had supplied us with a full translation of the German text. It was a wonderfully moving experience and one I would not have missed. We invited Rev Jim Marshall to reflect on his visit on 14th September ‘The Passion Play’ is ‘billed’ as the re-enactment’ or ‘re-presentation’ of the last week of Jesus’ life. Of course these events are unique in human history, past present and future, never repeatable (as is the celebration of Communion) but a reminder of the last
A lady who sat next to me at meals (Sheila was on my right) said ‘I wish I could take ‘Jesus’ home with me!’ My goodness, I said, you can! Clearly she was drawn to this man Jesus, he attracted her by his demeanour, character, compassion and love for everyone (‘The Son of Man). ‘If only’, I felt she was saying ‘All people, even me, could be like that man!’ ‘The Passion Play’, for me, was God centred, Christ centred. God honouring but possibly, just possibly, being centred on Jesus’ Passion and death, His resurrection, ascension, glorification and eternal purpose to ‘draw all men to Himself, might seem like a second ‘play’ yet to be performed! Jesus appeared on stage and remained on stage in the last act as the Risen Christ but the eternal significance of His death which is only revealed in His Life and fulfilled in His Return at the end of ‘this age’ can still be a mystery unless one sees the full picture? Possibly it is the difference between a ‘Crucifix and an (empty) ‘Cross’. Jesus died for me but lives forever for and in me! And you?
“See how these Christians love one another” John Fulton continues our series on Kingdom Values
She wouldn’t normally be seen anywhere near a church. She’s known her share of problems over the years and has been let down by others. A friend invited her to go along to a new, informal meeting at the church where there was an opportunity to relax and chat and hear from a Christian speaker – and she went!
Over the following few days she was telling others about her experience, how everyone was so friendly and welcoming, seemed so genuine, in fact she couldn’t sleep that night because she had such an incredible sense of peace. She couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to go along! The speaker was probably very good but what impressed her most was the warmth of the welcome from those who were there and the love she experienced among them as people accepted her as she was. It’s a reminder that as Christians, as a Church we have something unique to offer to those around us; a quality to relationships, a quality to life which is very different to what people encounter in so many other places. Although they may not recognise it at the time, in such
experiences people sense something of the presence and love of Christ and are being drawn to him. The tragedy is that people’s experience of church is not always as positive. The religious affairs correspondent of a national newspaper was moving on to a new post some time ago and in his final column he reflected on his experience of meeting with people of various religions, but predominantly with Christians. He summed it up by saying ‘What faith I had, I’ve lost, I’m afraid – I’ve seen too much, too close.’ What a sad reflection on spending time with those professing to be followers of Jesus. He does concede ‘Besides some pretty unpleasant people, I also met some inspirational ones, working selflessly and often obscurely in the world, motivated not by ambition or for reward but by their faith. This is not to be sneered at.’ However it was the ‘unpleasant people’ who most influenced him. How would it have been if he had spent time with people within the congregations we belong to? Most congregations like to think of themselves as friendly, welcoming places, but is that always the experience of those who come along?
It was Tertullian, the Christian writer who lived from 160 to 225 AD, who quoted those who were not Christians as saying ‘“Look, how these Christians love one another” As we experience and respond to the love of God in Jesus, we are called to love others in the same way as he loves us. In the last issue Archie Ford began this series on ‘Kingdom values’ by reminding us that the Bible ‘sets out a way with love at its heart’. Love is the quality we see clearly revealed in Jesus and love is the quality he calls his people to demonstrate in all they do. As we prepare to celebrate again the birth of Jesus, it is worth reflecting on something of what was happening as the Son of God was born into our world. Paul reflects on that in those well known verses in Philippians 2 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (NIV) It is hard for us to comprehend just how much Jesus humbled himself, ‘equal with God’ yet ‘making himself nothing’ and ‘taking the very nature of a servant’. It speaks of an amazing, humbling, self-giving love where Jesus puts the need of human beings first and is willing to give himself completely for their sake; and in John 13.34 Jesus says ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ If we find that loving other people is hard, maybe we should reflect on how other people find it when it come to loving us. It is always much easier to
see the faults in others and be blissfully unaware of our own shortcomings. But then, isn’t that what Jesus said? What does loving other people involve? It means putting other people before ourselves, thinking about their needs and desires before our own, thinking about what is best for them before we think about what is best for us. Perhaps we want to rebel at such an idea and suggest it is all very well to say we should love one another but let’s be reasonable. It means humbling ourselves and considering others better than us and that is challenging when we live in a world where everyone seems to want to put themselves first. When I’m getting the train in the morning I often see a man who seems to consider it his right to get on first as soon as the doors open and he positions himself with that in mind. I’m no better because my ambition is to position myself to get on before him! ‘That’s human nature’, we say but that is no excuse. Can you imagine Jesus indulging in such behaviour? It means being careful over what we say about other people and using only ‘helpful but not harmful’ words. When we speak about other people, would we be happy if those people heard what we were saying? Sometimes we feel the need to be critical of others, to find fault with what they say and do, perhaps out of a need to make ourselves feel better than them. It also means listening to what other people are saying before we speak, recognising they may be right and we may be wrong – and that can be hard! It means not being quick to dismiss and condemn other people based on our assumptions about them or because of what they have done. Hundreds of years ago there was a wandering scholar named Muretus. He was very educated but also very poor. He became very sick, and he was taken to the place where the destitute were kept. The people who cared for him did not know that he was a scholar and that he understood Latin. One day
the doctors were discussing his case in Latin and they were saying that he was a poor creature of value to no one and that it was hopeless and unnecessary to expend care and money on attention to such a worthless human. Muretus looked up and answered in their own Latin, “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.” Every person is of infinite worth to God because Christ died for them. Love of this kind will affect every area of our lives. It will transform our family life and the relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children and every other relationship within the family. We live in a society where many children are growing up in situations where there is a lack of love and little security, where different siblings have different fathers. Christian families have the potential to be so very different and to demonstrate to our society what family life can be. This is not to make other people feel bad but to let people see what Jesus can do as we demonstrate ‘kingdom values’.
As Christians does this love show itself when we are mixing with our neighbours, spending time with our colleagues at work and when we are engaging in leisure activities. Often the best witness we can give as Christians is from the lives we live and the way we treat other people. Yes there may be opportunities to speak about our faith and that is good but there is no point in saying anything if our attitudes, values and behaviour do not support what we are saying and the claims we make. Within our local church do we contribute to an atmosphere where there is love and compassion. We may not always agree with one another – and that can actually be healthy – but we are called always to love one another and treat one another as Christ treats us. Then, like the woman I started with, people will come along and experience something of the presence of Christ so that they are drawn to Him. As we celebrate the amazing love of Jesus in coming to this planet, he calls us not only to love him but also to love others as he loves us.
It’s not fair.... or is it? The Youth Assembly met at the Windmill Christian Centre from the 29th-31st of October. Twenty two young people came together to look at the Ten Commandments. There were times of group work, discussion, bible study and teaching sessions presented to the young people. We had a great weekend learning together, discussing God’s word and being both challenged and encouraged. On the Friday evening, the challenge was put to the young people could they, by the end of the weekend say that the commandments of God were good for their lives? By Sunday, the group was in agreement that God’s standard is good for us, is difficult for us to keep on our own and we do fail, but is given in love and that we as Christians are to use these commandments as the base line for how we conduct ourselves, striving to go the extra mile, showing grace to others and rejoicing in the fact that Christ came to save us and set us free. The commandments are far from a list of rules and regulations to curtail us, rather they are to protect and help us to live safe, godly lives that glorify God with the help of the Holy Spirit, guiding us each day. Some of the young people commented: ‘What I learnt most from the weekend, is how the Ten Commandments are only the baseline, and how it’s not enough for me/us to abide by them alone, I/we have to go a step further
Reporting on the recent Youth Assembly
and respond with grace and love, we are image bearers of Christ.’ (Cat Mckenzie, Torry) ‘It was great to have the opportunity to meet with a group of other young people from different places and backgrounds to share in fellowship and study God’s word’ (Martin Paterson, Uddingston Park) ‘At this youth assembly the teaching focussed on the Ten Commandments. It was really helpful to look more deeply at these well known verses and to learn more about what they mean for our lives today’. (Jennifer Wilson, Uddingston Park)
On the Saturday evening, we held a murder mystery night based around the War Rooms of the 1940s. Over our evening meal, the young people who were all dressed as different characters, (some from the land army, some officers of the Army, RAF and Navy and some war room staff), asked and answered questions until the murderer was discovered! Vera Lynn entertained us in the background and the evening was finished with games. The weekend went very well and all credit is due to the young people, many who travelled a great distance to be there, for entering into everything asked of them. The discussion times and bible study sessions were a real encouragement to those in leadership. It was good to see the young people
The Youth Assembly was a good mixture of learning and fun, and the balance between the two was just right. The whole weekend was just a huge eye- opener to the difficulty youths can have trying to keep to God’s word but places such as the Youth Assembly can help us find our way and get us on the right path. Also the atmosphere of the whole weekend was relaxed yet exciting and it was great to be able to meet new people the same age as myself who are also Christians’. Stephanie, Gorebridge UF Church
discussing the word of God and what it means for our lives. Some of the young people led devotion times and it was great to have some new young people joining us at the youth assembly this time also and the sense of fellowship and fun throughout the weekend was just lovely. Thank you very much to Robert and Jane Owens for the time and effort put into the weekend and also to Diane Ledingham and Gordon Mackenzie for cooking for us, the food was excellent and greatly appreciated by all! ‘The youth assembly weekend just flew by. From start to finish it was full of laughter, socialising, funny games and free time. As well as worship there were group discussions, and challenging bible studies from Robert Owens and Laura Mackenzie on the Ten Commandments. The whole weekend has really challenged me that the Ten Commandments aren’t ten rules and regulations, but they are there to help us and guide us into leading a Christian life through the life of the lord Jesus Christ.’ (Allan Adamson, Cunningsburgh)
‘I thought that the youth assembly was a very enjoyable and informative weekend that gave us as youths a good experience at looking at the 10 Commandments and how they are broken and carried out in today’s society. I also thought that the activities such as making up our own commandments and looking at each commandment was very useful and made us think about Exodus 20 and how the Commandments fit into our lives. The murder mystery evening was amazing. I met loads of amazing new people who I’ll keep in touch with. I really enjoyed making the tiles and though it was a great way to end a great weekend. I has an amazing time and can’t wait till the next one.’ Lucy, Gorebridge UF Church
Tribute to MRS NAN CAMPBELL: Candlish Wynd Candlish Wynd Nan Campbell was a lifelong member of Wynd and Candlish Wynd UF Churches. Over the years she contributed substantially to the life of the church, being a deacon then an elder for many years. Nan was a marvellous organiser and her thoughtfulness was appreciated by everyone. She was renowned for handicraft fundraising with her sister Susan at her own church and beyond. Members of the congregation benefited from her pastoral care. Nan loved her holidays including her visit to the Holy Land which she readily shared with her church family. She was truly a
lovely Christian person who did so much for Candlish Wynd and the wider church.
Secretary, Women’s Home and Overseas Committee: 1978 – 1994 Nan Campbell passed into the presence of the Lord whom she loved and served on the 23rd of September 2010 at the age of 90 years. Nan was a faithful and competent secretary of the Women’s Home and Overseas Committee for 16 years and continued to serve on the Committee for a number of years after her retirement. Due to ill health, Nan spent her last years in the Canniesburn Care Home. We extend our sympathy to her sister Susan, niece Elizabeth and nephew Jim in their loss.
Perth Welcome Social Ian Shering, the Interim Moderator, reports on an encouraging appointment at Perth. On 1st September our Perth Church had the privilege of welcoming the Rev. Bill Buchan as its new part time minister. The church had been some time without a minister and had passed through difficult times. However, the Lord’s timing proved to be just right and it was with deep thankfulness that we welcomed the Rev. Bill Buchan to the charge. The evening was informal, with some inspirational singing and playing from the group “Vangel”. A welcome was given on behalf of the Ministry committee by Rev. Colin Brown, himself a Perth man and Miss Jackie Ramsay on behalf of presbytery. Jackie was a past interim moderator in Perth. Mr. Archie Stewart and Mrs. Margaret Walker, the two oldest members gave presentations to the Rev. Bill Buchan and his wife Hazel. The usual UF church hospitality followed! Ian Shering interviewed Mr. Buchan later and asked him about his life and experience. What family do you have?: There is my wife, Hazel, my daughters, Lesley, Ruth, Iona Lynn and son Bill plus the grandchildren.
How did you become a Christian?: I was taken to the Brethren Hall in Peterhead when I was 13 yrs old and it was there that I decided to follow Christ. How did you enter the ministry? When I left school I served an apprenticeship as an engineer. During this time I attended a youth fellowship in a Methodist church. One day, one of the workers asked me to go with him to a service he was taking and would I put up the hymns on the hymn board for him? Next time he asked if I would
put up the hymns and do a prayer! The next time he asked me to give the sermon! I went to the Methodist college in Headingley for six months to train for full time service. One week I was an engineer, the next a lay pastor! I spent a year in Shetland in charge of four churches and then went back to college, this time for three years and then three years in the field. I was then a full status minister. After some time my health began to deteriorate and the family situation became difficult so I left full time ministry to go back to industry, but I continued church work at the same time.
What drew you back in to full time ministry? After 20 years back in industry and doing a lot of church work my health again was causing problems, I had a heart attack, partly caused by the double work load, also the family were mostly grown up so there were fewer ties. The choice was now, continue in industry and give up church work or give up industry and concentrate on my church work. There was really no contest! I went back into full time service but this time in the Church of Scotland. I spent fifteen years in Kilwinning Abbey. It was a time of great opportunity with a congregation who were very supportive and prepared to try anything, like a clown Christmas service with Olive Drane! These were rewarding years.
Unique Occasions At Candlish Wynd Mrs. Martha McInally
So you retired? We looked around for a place to live but could not find a suitable place. On passing through Auchterarder and stopping for a meal we were attracted by a sign that said, “New Houses – go down Abbey Road.” We went down and the rest is history! I retired officially, yes, but I took some locums around Auchterarder. I remember asking you if you could help in Perth and Auchterarder but at that time you could not: That’s true but I was busy with locums I had agreed to do, so could not help at that time. However, when the locums finished Hazel and I discussed it and I felt I would like to help. We are very glad you did! How do you view the future in Perth?: I am very happy working with the folks in Perth and I look forward to a fruitful and encouraging time. Bill thank you very much for telling us about yourself. Ian adds: I first got to know Bill many years ago just before he went into the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, when he lived in Dunblane and I worked in Dunblane. He was a parent and I taught his children. When Bill retired to Auchterarder we renewed acquaintance and I was able to ask him to help in Perth. As Bill said at his installation, “The Lord had this planned many years ago!”
We had great rejoicing when two of our members celebrated 100 years of life. Mrs. Martha McInally was born on the 3rd. July 1910 and Mrs. Nell Ribi was born on 9th. September 1910. These two ladies have given a faithful and devoted service to our church. Mrs McInally was latterly in Mavisbank Nursing Home were she died on the 31st. August 2010. Mrs Ribi is still coming to church every Sunday and enjoying a blether with her friends. We thank God for these two ladies and for their Christian Witness throughout the many years
Mrs. Nell Ribi
Published on May 8, 2013