General Assembly

Mission & Discipleship eNews – April 2013

The latest newsletter from the Mission & Discipleship Council of the Church of Scotland introduces Heart And Soul 2013, when the church will take over Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh for an afternoon of celebration on General Assembly Sunday (19th May), which is also the Day of Pentecost. In recognition of the 1450th anniversary of Columba landing on Iona, Heart and Soul 2013 will be inspired by Celtic Christianity, with all the richness of its themes, including: hospitality, pilgrimage, journeying, creation and its care, representing Christ to the world, and ‘being on the edge’.

The newsletter also has news of two retreats being organised to take place in the Highlands in June, the National Youth Assembly in August and a conference for Session Clerks planned for September.

Among the many items listed in the ‘resources’ section are two new websites:
www.resourcingmission.org.uk offers mission resources from the Church of Scotland for download (e.g. Quick Guides) and purchase (e.g. the popular Pray It Forward cards), and an online booking facility for Mission & Discipleship events (e.g. National Youth Assembly).
www.lifeandwork.org is a new online presence, offering readers and followers an enhanced and up-to-date experience of the Church of Scotland’s popular magazine. In addition, regular updates on Life and Work’s new pages will appear on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LifeandWork) and Twitter (@cofslifeandwork).

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Church & Society eNews – April 2013

The April 2013 edition of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council newsletter looks forward to some of the issues that will form part of the Council’s report to this year’s General Assembly of the Church, which convenes in Edinburgh in May.

As the newsletter states: “Our work and prayer, action and reflection are seen through the lens of priority to the poorest and most marginalised. The General Assembly is a chance for the Church to debate political, economic and social issues, and to set the direction for future thinking.”

(more…)

Church and Society News – May 2012

The May 2012 edition of the kirk’s Church and Society e-newsletter provides links to their report which will be discussed at this year’s General Assembly and much more.
Coinciding with the General Assembly there is an exhibition in St Augustine’s Church, Edinburgh called ‘Walking in my Shoes‘. Described as a “moving and challenging experience”, each shoe tells a story and the exhibition is an invitation to the onlooker to ‘walk in the shoes’ of women who have lived with domestic abuse.
Another subject addressed in this year’s report is that of Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings – both adults and children – for the purpose of commercial exploitation. Operated by serious organised criminal gangs and independent opportunists, it can take many forms including sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic slavery. The impoverished, socially disadvantaged and children and women are those who are at most risk of being exploited. We’re appealing to anyone who may in their day to day lives come into contact with people who are trafficked – be it where they live, where they work or as they travel within their community – to report any concerns anonymously to CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111. By taking the time to do this you can help us build an accurate picture of what’s happening within our communities, help us take action against the crime groups who are cashing in on this modern day slavery, and provide victims with the support they deserve and require.
The National Parenting Initiative (NPI) is seeking to help churches in the UK across every denomination and network to grasp the opportunity to connect with parents in their communities and support family life in a practical way. Churches that are already running, or are planning to run, a parenting course are being invited to register their course – however small – on the new NPI website. Some courses will involve a few parents meeting in a home. Others will be larger courses run in community centres, kids’ clubs, youth centres, cafés after hours, schools or church rooms.
The full newsletter, which contains information about various other topics from sectarianism to neurobiology, can be read from here.

General Assembly 2011

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is meeting currently in Edinburgh. The kirk’s Communications Department has developed a number of ways for people to keep in touch with proceedings. You can watch events online via a live webcast or follow a Twitter feed, both accessible from the Church of Scotland’s dedicated General Assembly web pages or read the daily updates produced at the end of each day’s proceedings. We’ll try to post these here, so watch this space!
General Assembly Preview
Report of proceedings – Saturday 21 May 2011
Report of proceedings – Monday 23 May 2011
Report of proceedings – Tuesday 24 May 2011
Report of proceedings – Wednesday 25 May
Report of proceedings – Thursday 26 May 2011
Report of proceedings – Friday 27 May 2011

Kirk news – May 2009 (II)

Just after I issued the last update (see below), the Church of Scotland issued a special General Assembly edition of their Good News bulletin. This newsletter (which can be downloaded from here) summarises some of the issues to be discussed at the General Assembly which starts on Thursday 21st May in Edinburgh. Among them are suggestions that the kirk considers using ‘virtual ministers’ to stem a shortage of full-time clergy, i.e. using video links where a minister cannot be present in person. Meanwhile, a report from the kirk’s World Mission Council asks whether the Western world needs to be converted because of a “recession” in Christianity. The report says that many African countries have become heartlands of the faith while Europe has seen a slump in Christianity which is unprecedented in its extent and severity and claims that Christians from Asia and Africa are now approaching Europe as a mission field, as the direction of missionary endeavour changes.

Closer to home, our Boys’ Brigade company – the 1st Cumbernauld – had its Annual Display on Thursday 14th May. It was a fabulous evening all round and a very memorable occasion for eight young men in particular: three being presented with their Queen’s Badge and five being presented with their President’s Badge. Neil Campbell, Mark Gammie and Calum McDougall received their Queen’s Badges ahead of a further, formal presentation in a few weeks’ time at the Scottish Parliament, and Jordan Watson, Andrew Turnbull, Kenneth Scott, Stuart MacFarlane and Euan Alston were awarded their President’s Badges. Some pictures of their presentations have been added to the church website and we hope to have more pictures added over the next few weeks.

Cumbernauld Old is a member of Scotland’s Churches Scheme. They have just launched their new Sacred Scotland website and are producing a series of Sacred Places guidebooks covering the whole of Scotland. One of the features of the new website is that churches can update their own entries with historical information, pictures and events. I’ve updated the entry for Cumbernauld Old to add some pictures of the church (only six photos are allowed) and had hoped to add details of our Summer Fete and Anniversary activities. However, the events section of the website has so far beaten my attempts at updating it.

The Christian ‘think-tank’ Ekklesia has reported recently on concerns raised by Christian Aid about the current situation in Sri Lanka, hopes that the results of the recent General Elections in India will mean a reduction in the violence against Christians in the state of Orissa and a call from Christians in China for the world to remember the events of Tiananmen Square that occurred twenty years ago this June. Click on the links above to find out more.

Kirk news update – May 2009

My, doesn’t time fly? Holy Week and Easter almost seem a distant memory but it’s worth remembering, before moving on, that they are the reason that the church exists. Everything we are as a church, and everything we do, is as a result of the events of that one weekend in the life of our Lord. At the end of this month, on Sunday 31st May, the Christian church celebrates the feast of Pentecost when the promised Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem, and so the church was born.

Sunday 31st May, the Day of Pentecost, is also the day when we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion at services in the Parish Church at 11am and 6.30pm. We usually celebrate Communion on the first Sunday in June but have other plans for that day, as you may have heard! The 11am service replaces our two usual weekly services at 10.15 and 11.45, while at the 6.30pm service, non-alcohol wine will be used.

Before then, though, May is rather a busy month in the life of the congregation

Yesterday, Sunday 10th May, there was a gathering of the five Church of Scotland congregations in Cumbernauld. Faced with the challenge of creating a joint plan for the future, this was the first “staging post” (to use an expression of Peter Neilson, our mission enabler) and the turnout of members from Cumbernauld Old was impressive. At this first meeting, we learned a bit more about each of the five congregations and discussed our common challenges. These will be reviewed by the Steering Group, further activity will take place over the summer and the next “staging post” gathering is scheduled for September.

Christian Aid Week 10-16 May 2009

Christian Aid Week 10-16 May 2009

We are now into Christian Aid Week. Over the next few days, until Saturday 16th May, volunteer collectors from our congregation will join others across the UK and Ireland delivering envelopes, visiting houses and asking for donations. Should an authorised collector call at your house, please give them a warm welcome and a generous response (preferably with a Gift-Aid signature).

On Thursday 14th May our Boys’ Brigade company hold their Annual Display in the Forge Community Centre starting at 7.00pm. Please come along and show your support.

On Sunday 17th May, the Scottish Bible Society are having a celebration of their 200th Anniversary at St. Mungo’s Parish Church at 2.30pm. The entertainment will be provided by the Kilsyth Praise Group and tickets, priced at £2 include tea or coffee. All proceeds to the SBS’s current Brazil Project.

The Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets in Edinburgh from Thursday 21st to Wednesday 27th May. Due to space constraints, not all congregations can send ‘commissioners’ (as they are called) so a rota system operates within presbyteries. This year Cumbernauld Old has the opportunity to send two commissioners, and our minister and one of our elders will be travelling through to Edinburgh for each day’s debates and discussions. You can keep up with everything that’s happening at the General Assembly through the Church of Scotland’s dedicated web pages.

And so into June, and our 350th Anniversary weekend.

The action all starts off with our annual Garden Fete on Saturday 6th June in the Manse grounds. Doors open at 1.30pm with the official opening at 2pm by Rev. Alan Sorensen, presenter of Radio Clyde’s “Down to Earth” programme.

Then on Sunday 7th June we have a special joint 350th Anniversary Worship Service in the Parish Church at 11am and led by Very Rev. David Lunan, the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. By the time he reaches Cumbernauld, his term of office will have ended, but Immediate Past Moderator of the General Assembly, etc. doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily! Following our worship service we will have our 350th Birthday Party in the Manse Grounds. Invitations will be on their way in the near future.

For several weeks now, we have been inviting members to send us a Birthday Card and we are glad to report that quite a few have been received. We have also been asking those who can to send us a donation of one penny for each year of the church’s 350 years (i.e. a gift of £3.50). That appeal has also been very well supported. There is still time to send us a card (and a donation if you wish) – just hand it to any office-bearer or hand it in to the church any Sunday. The cards will be displayed in church at our Anniversary Service and the money raised will be shared between the cost of a specially-commissioned pulpit fall and the mission work of the church.

News of the Garden Fete and our 350th Anniversary plans is contained in the May 2009 edition of the church newsletter, available for delivery to members shortly but already available online from our church’s website.

With the General Assembly on the near horizon, a few of the kirk’s councils are issuing summaries of their reports in newsletter form. I have provided links to a few of them here (courtesy of the Falkirk Presbytery website). In addition, though, the regular bulletins continue to be published and I am delighted to pass them on.

First up is the May edition of the kirk’s Good News magazine. Among the articles in the seven-page newsletter is a call for the church to face up to the reality of HIV/AIDS, news of a march (with a difference) through the streets of Larkhall, and thoughts on love from the Moderator, Rev. David Lunan.

The Mission & Discipleship Council’s enews for May 2009 contains details of more than 30 events, resources and websites to explore. Among the events listed is a conference on ‘Emerging Church’ – building a church for the 21st century – Fresh Horizons, which (it says) is a conference for ‘third-agers’ and how they may be used in ministry and mission; and information about Open Farm Sunday. I also liked the materials produced by Scripture Union for children about to enter primary school and for young people making the transition from primary to secondary education.

The kirk’s Church & Society Council has produced a short newsletter to coincide with the General Assembly, as has the Committee on Ecumenical Relations. Both can be downloaded from the Falkirk Presbytery website.

A recent World Mission Council news update highlighted the forthcoming World Week of action for peace for Israel and Palestine. The news article reads: World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 4-10 June 2009, is intended to generate joint church action for a just peace. Churches in 20 countries have already sent news of their plans to the conveners, the World Council of Churches (WCC). A Palestinian community organisation is offering a way for many more countries to join – by sending peace prayers to Bethlehem.
People and parishes around the world are invited to send peace prayers to Bethlehem. A church-related community organisation there will share the prayers for worldwide use online during World Week and to be read aloud locally at the Wall, near settlements, and in Palestinian parishes and schools including in Gaza.
The WCC-led week of action is in its fourth year. Participants are invited to pray, educate and advocate, inspired by the theme “It’s time for Palestine”. A prayer offered by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem has been sent to more than 120 countries, along with invitations to join World Week. For 2009 participants are encouraged to focus on Israeli settlements in occupied territory. Links to the topic as well as a message, prayers and liturgies for the week are available on the WCC website.

Oh, and did I mention this was Christian Aid Week? Just a reminder that their website will take online donations, just in case no-one comes to your door or you don’t get a chance to return your red envelope or you can’t make it to church next Sunday.

The director of Christian Aid, Dr Daleep Mukarji will preach in Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday 17th May at 6.30pm as the Cathedral hosts a service reflecting on the work of Christian Aid. There is more about this service on the Ekklesia website.