WOW – what a weekend that was. I am referring, of course, to the weekend of 6/7 June which saw our annual summer fete followed by a worship service commemorating 350 years of continuous worship in our present church building followed, in turn, by our birthday party on the manse lawn. Phew, one can get tired out just by thinking about it. But it was a marvellous weekend and the culmination of many hours of hard work and effort by lots of different people. And, to them all, we say “thanks”.
First up was the Summer Fete on Saturday 6th June. As the hailstones battered the manse garden on Saturday morning, serious doubts about the success of this year’s event must have been going through many people’s minds. But the skies began to clear as opening time approached and, as the afternoon wore on, the showers gave way to bright sunshine. By 4pm over three hundred people had thronged the gardens and tearoom and over £2205 was raised for church funds. Radio Heartbeat provided the musical entertainment, the official opening was performed Rev. Alan Sorensen from Greenock Wellpark Church (better known for his radio programme on Clyde 2) and our usual stalls did a roaring trade. The cheerleaders J C Pom Poms amazed us by their athleticism and the children’s fancy dress competition was yet another highlight of what turned out to be a brilliant day. We have got a lot of pictures from the event and they will be added to our website over the summer.
On Sunday 7th June we had the second of our worship services celebrating 350 years of continuous worship in the present church building. The service was led by our worship team and the Very Rev. David Lunan, until very recently the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The theme focused on how we are all parts of Christ’s body – the church – and how we each have a part to play. The children and young people provided drawings of what it means to them to be part of this body (see the poem at the end of this update); there was a musical solo from Claire Dalling on the flute; Graeme Currie (trumpet) and Lucy McDonald took part in one of the meditations; and various members of the congregation came forward with items representing different contributions we all make to the life of the church. During the service, our new specially-commissioned Pulpit Fall was dedicated. Pictures of the new fall have been added to our website along with Maggie Dobie’s description of what the various elements represent, while the remaining pictures from the anniversary service and the birthday party will be added to the kirk website over the summer.
Leading up to the anniversary weekend, we had asked members to send the church a Birthday Card and invited them to make a donation of one penny for each year of the church’s history (£3.50) or whatever they felt they could give. The birthday cards were displayed in the church on the day of the service and we were delighted that £2034 had been donated. Some of this money will pay for our new pulpit fall and the rest will be used for the mission work of the church. We will be able to give you more information about this in a later bulletin.
While most of the committees and councils are taking a well-earned break after the General Assembly, there is some news to report. The June edition of Good News contains a summary of, and pictures from, the main proceedings at the General Assembly and contains news of an East Lothian kirk that has become the first Church of Scotland congregation to open a debt counselling centre for parishioners struggling with their finances. There is also news of a fund-raising scheme in Caithness Presbytery for a hospital in Malawi that prevents and reduces the major causes of blindness.
The kirk’s Church & Society Council has produced its June news update. This contains a simple checklist to enable churches to measure their carbon footprint and more about the Eco-Congregation Scheme. There is also news from the Poverty Truth Commission that was launched in Glasgow in March.
Finally, the latest newsletter from the World Mission Council – WM29 – features news on what it is like to be a Christian in a country where Christians are not only the minority but face hardship for their faith. With features on India, Pakistan and China among others, WM29 provides much of interest as well as topics for prayer.