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July/August 2018Edit Page

 Rector’s Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

You may remember from the May edition of the Church magazine that I provided a short update on where we were in terms of planning the future of our building.  A small group reporting into the Vestry has produced some planning documents to help us frame our thinking in the months ahead.  One of the first things we need to do as a Church family is to agree what we are here for.  A draft Vision and Mission statement have been written accordingly, for your comment, and it’s included in this edition of the magazine.  Please provide feedback!  It’s also been made available at Church from 24th June and will be available there over the next two weeks to get as wide a consultation as possible.

Why do we need a Vision and Mission statement?  As you’ll know the building needs a number of repairs.  We could decide to embark on a full refurbishment which would require us to apply for grants available to buildings such as ours.  In order to do that we need to demonstrate that we are useful to the wider community, and part of that is to be able to state clearly who we are and what we are here for – hence a Vision and Mission Statement.

However, we have not yet decided on a full refurbishment.  I can’t stress enough that nothing has been decided at this stage.  All options are open to discussion – including doing nothing at all, if there is not the will to do it; including doing just the minimum of repairs needed; including a redesign of our existing buildings to suit our future needs and those of the wider community.  We need to consider what is required in the long term future by succeeding generations (of the congregation and of the local community which we serve).  So even to do that, having a Vision and Mission statement will be useful for clarifying our thinking.  Any option we decide on will have its own cost and fundraising implications.  Finally, whatever we decide will have to go to the Diocese and the Bishop for approval.

We want to have a truly open debate to which all views, however radical, are debated. Nobody’s views are ‘wrong’. Once we have decided what to do, we would like those whose views are not eventually adopted to still feel able to participate in the chosen project.

Please do take time to review the draft Vision and Mission statements included in this edition of The Bell.  Please then use the form to send in your comments, or email me at revsarahshaw@gmail.com, or phone me on 01324 482 438.  Alternatively contact a member of the Vestry (details included in the magazine).  Please let us know what you think over the next few weeks- if possible, before the next Vestry meeting on 9th July, but there isn’t a deadline for this!  And in the meantime, please continue praying for our building, the Vestry, and God’s leading and provision in the days ahead.

With prayers and blessings,




I do not know how, but we raised a magnificent sum of £666.70!!! We plan to make a donation to the orchestra, as without them, we would not have raised a penny.  Thank you so much to all those you either attended or gave a donation if you were unable to be there in person.It was a wonderful evening – most of the music was new to me, but I appreciated the explanations of the different instruments and the backgrounds of some of the composers. Many thanks are due to the Trinity Church members who ran the bar, Andrew Burnside, a member of Edinburgh Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra who gifted the programmes and also worked closely with Margaret Briggs to arrange the evening, and Trinity Church for the venue.Thanks too,  to the fund raising committee  – Mary,  Sally and Frank for all their efforts on the night, and Margaret for her donation,  as she had to go to Disneyland,  and missed it all.😊😊😊😊

Sandie Bovaird


A cartoonist talks to God

These two poems are by the poet and cartoonist Michael Leunig.                                                 They are taken from his book of prayers, “When I talk to You

Like the best poetry, they say things for us, better than we could say them ourselves.  And they take a sideways look at God’s world making us think differently about our lives.


We Welcome Summer

We welcome summer and the glorious blessing of light.

We are rich with light; we are loved by the sun.

Let us empty our hearts into the brilliance.

Let us pour our darkness into the glorious, forgiving light.

For this loving abundance let us give thanks and offer our joy.



We Give Thanks for the Mystery of Hair

We give thanks for the mystery of hair.

Too little here and too much there.

Censored and shaved, controlled and suppressed;

Unwelcome guest in soups and sandwiches.

Difficult growth always needing attention.

Gentle and comforting;

Complex and wild;

Reminding us softly

That we might be animals.

Growing and growing

Till the day that we die.

And the day after that as well

So they say!

In all of its places

And in all of its ways

We give thanks for the blessing of hair.


(If you enjoyed these I’ll loan you his book!)



Come and join Christian Aid on Saturday 29th September from 10:30 am at the Helix Park, Falkirk. Visit the breath-taking Kelpies and discover some secrets of the Helix Park on this 5km walk, run or cycle. Afterwards you can enjoy a well-deserved rest with a picnic on The Great Lawn and some fantastic entertainment including face painting, bouncy castle and much more. Together we can walk to fight poverty and injustice worldwide. We can’t wait to see you there!

For more information, get in touch with Richard Dyer on 07734322673, email richard@dye.rs ,  or Lucy from Christian Aid on 0141 221 7475 or visit caid.org.uk/walks



Quiz 2018

A quick reminder that this year’s Quiz will take place in the Hall on Friday September 7th (7pm for 7.30pm – £25 per team or £6.50 per participant).   Light refreshments will be available during the interval.  However, please bring your own bottle!

Remembrance 2018

As intimated earlier this year we are planning an afternoon service on November 11th to mark the century since the 1918 Armistice.  This will include tributes to the contributions made by our forebears whether in or out of uniform during the four years of conflict.  Please give these names to Frank Murray.


The enrolment of the Air Cadets on Sunday 8th July

Rev Sarah has recently become the Chaplain to the local Air Cadets group (470 Squadron).  On 8th July we will welcome a small number of them and their families and some staff from the Squadron, at our 10.30 service.  There will be a short ceremony of enrolment for the young people during the service.  Also it will be a Service of the Word (no Communion), to be as inclusive as possible.  Communion will be available as usual at 9.00 am.  Please give all our guests that day a warm Christ Church welcome!



 When you are on your own it is daunting when the holiday season comes around.   A few years ago by chance I picked up a brochure catering for the single traveller – the name of the travel company ‘Just You’ (there are other travel companies you can go with). I’ve been on several holidays with this company, visiting Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Malta and Gozo.  Some of my friends/work colleagues have said ‘There is no way they could travel on their own.’  As I said to them ‘You take the bull by the horns and go for it.’  Back in March I did a five-day tour to New York which was amazing, visiting the tourist attractions with two guides.   One of the guides was a New Yorker – she was able to tell the group the history of the tourist sights, and how Rudy Giuliani, when he became Mayor of New York back in 1994-2001, was elected to clean up the city under the Broken Window Theory (signs of crime, anti-social behaviour) Act.

Today it’s a totally different city.  A city which is very much integrated, vibrant, and full of tourists.  I loved every minute of the holiday.  The people I met on the tour were all friendly.  The new brochure has dropped through my letterbox.  I’ve been flicking through and there is one holiday which has caught my eye, touring Canada and New England in the Fall.  I’d better start saving as I have a big birthday to celebrate in two years’ time!

Lynda Dawson


A week in the life of… a Rector

One of the things it took me a while to get used to once I was in ordained ministry was not being on a fixed timetable like I had been when I was in teaching.  Apart from the services you make up your own timetable. It was suggested to me that readers of The Bell might find it interesting to know what a ‘typical’ week as a cleric is like!                                                            This was my week beginning 27th May, Trinity Sunday.It was a lovely start to the week – not only was it Trinity Sunday and so the 10.30 service was made more splendid by a splash of incense, but my friend came over from Fife to the service, and took me out for lunch for my birthday afterwards.  I won’t name the cafe but safe to say we are blessed with plenty of choices here in Falkirk!  After that I visited someone in hospital at Forth Valley (Sunday afternoon’s a good time to visit there – plenty of parking).  In the evening we had friends over from Fife for dinner.  We hadn’t seen them since February so lots to catch up on!

On Monday I spent much of the day reading the Synod papers for the forthcoming General Synod, and going through them with a highlighter pen.  There was to be a pre-Synod meeting that evening in Edinburgh where we would discuss the papers and where controversy might arise.  I was to present 5 of the motions at this year’s Synod on behalf of the Personnel Committee, so I had to be prepared for questions.  At 3 pm I left for Edinburgh, as I’d arrange to visit a friend I’d trained for ministry with beforehand for coffee and cake (it’s not all nose to the grindstone, you see!).  At about 5.30 I walked along from the West End to the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the pre-Synod meeting was being held.  I had anticipated a fair amount of comment on the Personnel motions, and I was right!

Tuesday started with Morning Prayer at the Church.  I then had a couple of visits – at 11.00 am and 2 pm, giving me time later to work on the pew sheet and some overdue things for The Bell.  I also had an unexpected hospital visit later that evening.

On Wednesday I started with Morning Prayer at the Church.  This was followed by answering e-mails, making phone calls, and sending my final things for The Bell.  Just one visit today, followed by attending the Dedication Service of the new extension at St Peter’s, Linlithgow, in the evening.

Thursday started with the Communion Service at 10 am – usually a jolly affair, as the banter and story swapping after the service over coffee is something to look forward to.  Sadly on this day I had to announce that one of our members had died early that morning.  At some point that day I spent time on the phone with the next of kin so that we could arrange to meet up and plan the funeral service.  After the service I had a call with Secretary General of the SEC about the forthcoming Synod, as it seemed that my Personnel Committee bit was indeed going to be particularly controversial… At lunchtime I attended an ecumenical meeting of Falkirk Church leaders.  Immediately after that I did a home visit.

On Friday I had my day off, but in the evening attended the local Air Cadets (470 Squadron) to meet the new Officer Commanding.  We agreed a date for when I would do my first ‘Chaplain’s Hour’, and for when the new Cadets would come into Christ Church for their enrolment service.

Saturday morning started with the Prayer Group at 10 am (which I wasn’t leading, so it was lovely to be there and benefit from that).  Then the usual Saturday afternoon task – sermonising! (yes, it’s a verb).  And before you know it, it’s nearly Sunday again!!

Rev. Sarah


 Volunteers requested please!

Two of our beloved members who have died this year had specific ministries they undertook as part of their Christian service, and we’re looking for volunteers to undertake these roles.  Jill McMillan sent Baptism Anniversary cards to children who have been baptised at Christ Church, and David Tierney gave birthday cards and a small gift to our members who are over 80.  Could you help with either of these valuable ministries?  Please speak to Rev Sarah or Lesley Leishman if you can help.

Revd Tim Njuguna

The Revd.Tim Njuguna will retire in July from his role as a Forth Valley Chaplain.  Please do remember Tim and Beatrice in your prayers as they transition to this new stage of their life together.  *******************************************************************************************************

Draft Christ Church Vision and Mission Statements June 2018

Vision Statement

Christ Church’s mission is to celebrate God’s love throughout the whole community by what we believe and do.

Mission Statement

At Christ Church we seek to be a welcoming Church which is open to all. Situated in the heart of town we serve not only Episcopalians but also people of all faiths and of none. We are a diverse congregation, committed to the service of each other and with a long history of engaging with, and supporting the needs of, the people of our neighbourhood in the Falkirk area.

Buildings Statement

In the project for the refurbishment of our buildings we look to provide facilities which we can share with this wider community of Falkirk, now and in the years to come, and enhance our contribution to the ever changing needs of our neighbours, as our faith teaches us to do.

Bible Verse if required

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35


Questions for you (please comment below or overleaf and return to The Vestry, Christ Church, 55 Kerse Lane Falkirk FK1 1RX or email revsarahshaw@gmail.com):

To what extent do the above statements reflect our life and purpose together here at Christ Church?

Is there anything missing that is fundamental to this worshipping community and should be included?

What thoughts/feelings do you have at this early stage about a possible building project and the future of that?

Would you like to give feedback/further feedback to a member of the Vestry in person (if so please write your full name below). 

Prayer Diary  July 2018





All who will worship in Christ Church today

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tues 3 St Thomas
Wed 4 The Diocese of Kerala, India
Thurs 5 All those living in Parkhead Rd, Glen Village
Fri 6 Clergy & congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Edinburgh
Sat 7 The Prayer Group meeting today
Sun 8 The young people of 470 Squadron (Falkirk Air Cadets)
Mon 9 The Vestry meeting today
Tues 10 Our neighbours
Wed 11 St Benedict, d. 550
Thurs 12 The Community of Emmaus House, Edinburgh
Fri 13 The Salvation Army in Falkirk
Sat 14 Those living with persistent and long-lasting pain
Sun 15 All who will worship in Christ Church today
Mon 16 The Grangemouth Churches Children’s Holiday Club starting today
Tues 17 All those in hospital
Wed 18 Those who will benefit from the efforts of the knitting group, meeting today
Thurs 19 The Revd Yousouf Gooljary, being instituted at St Martin’s Dalry, Edinburgh
Fri 20 Those suffering from cystic fibrosis
Sat 21 The young people and leaders attending Glenalmond Youth camp starting today
Sun 22 Revd Tim Tunley, presiding and preaching today
Mon 23 Our servers
Tues 24 All those in Care Homes
Wed 25 St James the Great, apostle and martyr
Thurs 26 Those who are homeless in Falkirk and the surrounding areas
Fri 27 Diabetics
Sat 28 Children of drug addicts
Sun 29 All those being married in this summer season
Mon 30 Our sidespeople
Tues 31 St Ignatius Loyola, d. 1556

 Prayer Diary  August 2018





All at Christ Church, on the anniversary of Sarah’s institution as Rector

Those who attend the Thursday Eucharist

Fri 3 Everyone in the armed services
Sat 4 All those living in Roxburgh Place, Stenhousemuir
Sun 5 Those attending the Afternoon Tea service today
Mon 6 For safety for families on this August Bank Holiday
Tues 7 The Name of Jesus
Wed 8 St Dominic, Order founder d. 1221
Thurs 9 Those who are anxious or depressed; the work of FDAMH
Fri 10 The congregation of Holy Trinity Church, Haddington
Sat 11 St Clare, d. 1253 and the Order of Poor Clares
Sun 12 All who will worship in Christ Church today
Mon 13 The Vestry, meeting this evening
Tues 14 Those families struggling with poverty in this area
Wed 15 The Blessed Virgin Mary
Thurs 16 Those suffering from M.E.
Fri 17 Hospital chaplains
Sat 18 All surgeons
Sun 19 All who will worship in Christ Church today
Mon 20 St Bernard of Clairvaux, d. 1153
Tues 21 Those with hearing difficulties
Wed 22 Those experiencing addiction issues
Thurs 23 Social workers
Fri 24 St Bartholomew, apostle
Sat 25 The work of Family Mediation
Sun 26 All who will worship in Christ Church today
Mon 27 Our servers
Tues 28 St Augustine of Hippo, d. 430
Wed 29 Beheading of John the Baptist
Thurs 30 Perpetrators of violence
Fri 31 St Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, d. 651



Sat 7th July 10 am Prayer Group in the St Andrew’s Chapel Sarah Shaw
Sun 8th July 10.30 am Special service (non-Communion) for the local Air Cadets Sarah Shaw
Mon 9th July 7.30 pm Vestry meeting Sarah Shaw/Camayo Hyde
Wed 18th July 2.00 pm Knitting group at Margaret Aitken’s house Margaret Aitken/Sarah Shaw
Sat 21st July – Sat 28th July Rev Sarah helping at Glenalmond Youth Camp
Sun 22nd July 9.00 am and 10.30 am Rev Tim Tunley presiding and preaching at both services Sarah Shaw



Sat 4th August 10 am Prayer Group in the St Andrew’s Chapel Sarah Shaw
Sun 5th August 2.30 pm Afternoon tea service Sandie Bovaird
Mon 13th August 7.30 pm Vestry meeting Camayo Hyde


*NB. A Teddy Bears’ Picnic will be held either on 29th July or 19th August – date to be confirmed


General Synod 2018

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church meets every year around the beginning of June.  The Synod is made up of lay members and clergy representatives – and includes all seven of the Bishops.  I’ve been on it now since 2016, and I have one more year to go.

The Synod votes on changes to the Canons (rules of the Church), and new policies relating to the life of the Church.  This was the first year that Synod had welcomed a female Bishop – the Right Reverend Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.  Also it had been announced that the Dioceses of Brechin and of St Andrews had new Bishop-Elects, Canon Andrew Swift and Canon Ian Paton respectively.  It was good to put faces to names for those who didn’t know them.  In terms of the content of Synod, there are a number of standing items, such as elections to the Committees, and the reports from all of the Committees from the last year, including the financial report and budget for the next year.

Extraordinary items this year were firstly, a motion relating to the recent GDPR legislation (which I’m sure we’re all aware of).  Churches now need to be careful not to display the Communicants’ Roll, even prior to the AGM, as had been required by the Canons.  Secondly, the Personnel Committee (presented by little old me) had put forward five motions relating to clergy terms and conditions of service.  These were thrown out unilaterally.  They will need to be worked on extensively for next year, and re-presented to Synod.  Back to the drawing board…

Another new regulation was related to Canon 35, the rule which governs what churches do with their buildings.  There is a desire to extend the reach of Canon 35 to cover the grounds of the church buildings as well as the buildings themselves.  This motion had its first reading and was passed.  It will come to Synod again next year for another vote (as changes to Canons are required to come to Synod twice before being passed).

Other items of interest was the presentation by the Mission Board (lots of good stuff happening), and a report by the Pension Fund Trustees.  The part of Synod I missed (as I’d been asked to read at a funeral that morning), was the Saturday morning when the Provincial Youth Committee presented what’s happening with children and youth.  I was sorry to miss that, as it’s always inspiring.

Synod is also punctuated with acts of worship, and there is always a dinner on the Thursday night when it’s good to get to know new people and catch up with old faces!

Rev Sarah 


July is the seventh month of the year (between June and August) in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the fourth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in honour of Roman general Julius Cæsar, it being the month of his birth. Prior to that, it was called Quintilis, being the fifth month of the 10-month calendar.

It is on average the warmest month in most of the Northern hemisphere, where it is the second month of summer, and the coldest month in much of the Southern hemisphere, where it is the second month of winter. The second half of the year commences in July. In the Southern hemisphere, July is the seasonal equivalent of January in the Northern hemisphere.

Dog days” are considered to begin in early July in the Northern Hemisphere, when the hot sultry weather of summer usually starts. Spring lambs born in late winter or early spring are usually sold before 1 July.

In Ancient Rome, the festival of Poplifugia was celebrated on 5 July, and Ludi Apollinares was held on 13 July and for several days afterwards. However, these dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fifth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was originally named Sextilis in Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, and March was the first month of the year. About 700 BC, it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year before March by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days. Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC (708 AUC), giving it its modern length of 31 days. In 8 BC, it was renamed in honor of Augustus. According to a Senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, he chose this month because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt. In the Southern Hemisphere, August is the seasonal equivalent of February in the Northern Hemisphere. In many European countries, August is the holiday month for most workers. Numerous religious holidays occurred during August in ancient Rome.  Among the aborigines of the Canary Islands, especially among the Guanches of Tenerife, the month of August received in the name of Beñesmer or Beñesmen, which was also the harvest festival held this month

Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands.[Research into the genetics of the Guanche population have led to the conclusion that they share an ancestry with Berber peoples of the nearby North African mainland. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago around 1000 BC or perhaps earlier. The Guanches were the only native people known to have lived in the Macaronesian region before the arrival of Europeans, as there is no evidence that the other Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira) were inhabited before Europeans arrived. After the Spanish conquest of the Canaries they were ethnically and culturally absorbed by Spanish settlers, although elements of their culture survive to this day, intermixed within Canarian customs and traditions such as Silbo (the whistled language of La Gomera Island).


You may be going to Tenerife for a holiday, then again you might not,. You could be having a “staycation” or taking a cultural holiday in Benidorm, Bognor or Bali, but, wherever you go on holiday we would appreciate a tale or two for THE BELL.                  *****************************************************************************
Cape Verde Islands

A group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean lying less than 300 miles off the coast of Senegal in west Africa. Once a staging post for the  Portugese slave trade between Africa and America and now one of the new holiday destinations.

The locals are friendly and kept busy with the tourists, but, dig a little deeper and you find the staff in the hotels can be working very long shifts with low wages, sometimes as low as one euro an hour.

New hotels, stunning white and black beaches and all just six hours from the UK. There is a fairly constant temperature between 25 and 30 degrees. Very easy to relax. I enjoyed a holiday there with my  family although it seemed like two holidays because some of them came to join me for my first week and the others came during my  second week.


Cocktails and Chocolates                  Lifeboats and Bakers

Unlike some Christ Churchers who pop down to the Antipodes like going to the Central Retail Park, we’re not great world travelers. However in March, Claire and I braved the 27 hour flight to New Zealand to visit our younger son. Timothy graduated from serving tables at Behind the Wall via Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Thailand and Australia to end up managing Crumpet Bar at the Opera House in Wellington. What more could one have wished for in a son? Trebles all round!

We can come round and show you the PowerPoint slides of our trip (it only lasts 90 minutes!) but I’ll focus on the Sunday service at the Episcopal church in the student quarter above the city.

St Michael and All Angels, Kelburn was a traditional stone-build in the days when New Zealand wanted to emulate the UK. (By contrast, in Christchurch we saw the Cardboard Cathedral, a striking, post-quake temporary structure which many want to retain.)

My first surprise was the Maori welcome and blessing. The service continued using English and Maori consecutively. Then hymns led by well-played keyboard and guitar. Liturgy was familiar but at the Peace we all got up and, like the end of a Calcutta Cup match, everybody shook hands with everybody else.

The priest was in civvies, perhaps a reflection of the young congregation, and the sermon fairly demanding but interesting.  However the highlight was their version of the Pascal Pig. Their focus was not just on Thanksgiving, but on Celebration. So their “Pig” was a tin of Celebrations! Since you got a chocolate for each event you were celebrating it encouraged a fair bit of rejoicing all round!

Unfortunately I had to leave before receiving Eucharist nor did I get a chance to sample their Kiwi-style “Soup and Pud” but the experience made me reflect on what is church for and how best to do it in ways that “visitors” feel at home.

 What IS church for?

Before I joined Christ Church I remember thinking the building looked like a boat; a lifeboat on the crest of a wave. Who are lifeboats for? Lifeboats are not principally for the crew. They are for people who need rescued or, as Billy Graham would have put it, need saved. I was at sea, desperately trying to keep my head above storms of depression.  And coming aboard was part of my rescue.

Martin Luther gave us another picture of church. He put it this way:

We are all mere beggars, showing other beggars               where to find bread.

What are bakeries for? Bakeries are not mainly for the bakers. They are for sharing bread, providing bread for the hungry.

What’s this got to do with my experience of church in St Michael’s, Wellington? Well, it made me wonder what elements of our church culture that might put people off; and the ways we might make church easier to access.

Welcoming people who don’t share our church “culture”

We’re so used to our church culture we may not appreciate how “foreign” it might be for someone who has no experience of pisky culture. And how difficult to risk crossing the threshold.

Having never encountered Catholics or entered a chapel till my late teens (for geographical, not religious, reasons), I found it challenging to go in on my own. Something to think about after the Celebration of Hope with Will Graham when non-church folk might be investigating our church.

I discovered St Michael’s service by going online, prompting me to appreciate the importance of our own online presence.  Even people of my advanced years use Google to find our way around. Could you help crew our Christ Church lifeboat/bakery by having a look at our website and letting Sarah or myself know of ways it might be even more welcoming? (Recent failure at M+S has been linked to their poor website!)

I’m delighted to say Christ Church welcomes strangers – you’ve put up with me! But I believe all churches should identify those elements of church culture that are crucial to our purpose, consider ditching those that aren’t crucial but may be off-putting barriers to a “stranger” and adopting new strategies to make our welcome even better.

How much of what we have and do is treasure from the Past which enriches our Present? And how much is just what we’re used to, what we’ve always done and are comfortable with – but might be unnecessarily off-putting?

As Tom (Ogilvie) reminded us recently, the building works need to be complemented by discussion about our mission. What would be the point in spending time, effort and money fixing the roof if strangers find it hard to come in the door? With the future possibility that, like many church buildings in Falkirk, the door shuts for good.

John McCall













Courtesy of the wonders of modern technology


Church of England offers prayers read by Amazon’s Alexa –





Copy date for the next edition of

The Bell

Sunday—27th August 2018


If you would like to submit an item for THE BELL  please hand a copy to someone at the Church or E-mail it

as a Microsoft WORD or Apple PAGES document to :

Ronnie Peebles

( ronniepeebles@hotmail.com  or Mobile 07740 502083 )


The next edition of THE BELL  will be for  September 2018
















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The Church Magazine appears bi-monthly.

Mine eyes have seen thy salvation

Dear friends,

I love the Feast of Candlemas which falls on 2nd February (also known as The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord).  It is perhaps one of the lesser known feasts of the Church, but definitely worth celebrating.  In days gone by, Christmas decorations were taken down on Candlemas Eve.  Robert Merrick, a poet of the 17th Century, commemorated this with the following words: Down with the rosemary, and so; Down with the bays and mistletoe; Down with the holly, ivy, all; Wherewith ye dressed the Christmas hall.  Willie and I tried out keeping up the decorations until Candlemas last year, but I have to say we got a bit tired of our drooping tree towards the end. Traditionally, too, the candles of the Church have been blessed at Candlemas – some churches will do this, to this day.

As with any feast of the Church, however, the main reason to celebrate it is because of what it teaches us about our faith.  It is at Candlemas that we remember the examples of Simeon and Anna, those faithful servants of God who had looked for the coming of the Messiah, and had their long wait fulfilled the day that Jesus was presented in the Temple by his parents.  It is a moment we celebrate with every Evensong, and every time Compline (Night Prayer) is said, by recalling the words of Simeon as he held Jesus in his arms: ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation; Which Thou has prepared before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel’ (Luke 2: 29-32).

For me Simeon’s beautiful words of faith recall our own waiting and longing for the light of Christ; our own hopes and dreams of salvation fully realised.

This is what the coming of Christ means – light, and   salvation.  And in the reality of a world which seems sometimes so dark and chaotic, we are called, as Simeon did, to wait and watch for the revealing of Christ in unexpected moments of grace, and in the times when we clearly see His light dispelling the darkness.

We can invite more of the light of Christ into our lives too, through our words and actions.  As we come into the season of Lent, we may want to think about practising some new things to do that.  Lent as we know doesn’t have to be about giving something up- although that discipline can bring its own blessings! But we could consider doing something new – or something we used to do, but have forgotten about.  How about these for some ideas?:

Pray every day for someone you find it difficult to get on with

Send someone who’s struggling with illness, anxiety, frailty or bereavement a text, e-mail or a card with words of encouragement or support

Read and note how many times the word ‘Hope’ appears in the Letter to the Romans  – and write down a verse that particularly gives you hope

Free up an hour a week in your diary by writing ‘God’.  Spend time with him for that hour in prayer – and listen, too.

As we celebrate Candlemas, and observe the season of Lent,may God inspire us by his Holy Spirit to know him more and more, who is the glory of Israel and the light for all nations, Jesus Christ our Lord.





Remembrance Day, 2018

As a congregation, in August 2014, we marked the centenary of the outbreak of World War I with a service of readings, music and reflection.  A similar commemoration is proposed for the afternoon / evening of November 11th this year.  While the names of the Christ Church fallen will be honoured during our Eucharist earlier that day it is suggested that the focus of this service would be on our own family members.  Consequently members of the congregation are asked to submit the names of forebears who were killed or wounded as a result of enemy action or accident whether in uniform or engaged in other war work [merchant marine / munitions / medical services / etc.] during that conflict so that they may be named during the service.  [Names can be given to Frank Murray.]  This may be a joint service with St Catherine’s and St Mary’s.

Special services in February

There will be a Choral Evensong for Candlemas on Sunday 4th February at 6.30 pm with the ABI Singers, followed by refreshments.

We begin our Lenten observance with Ash Wednesday services on 14th February – at 10 am in the St Andrew’s Chapel, and at 7.30 pm in the Church.

Please support a West Forth Area Council service – ‘Songs of Praise’ – in aid of Kamuli School Lunches in Uganda, on Sunday 18th February at 3.00 pm at St Mary’s Grangemouth.   All of the churches in West Forth Area Council have been asked to contribute a couple of requests – willing victims will be identified!

Spectacles for Charity

Some time ago we collected our old spectacles and arranged to have them made available to a charity which distributed them to third world countries where it was difficult for people to have glasses.

Jan Wallace is now collecting glasses for that purpose once more.

Bring your old spectacles along and drop them into the box at the back of the church



A Mystery

I am glad to be able to say that I am nearing the end of my historical journey through the life of Christ Church.  My intention is to have it published by 13th April 2018 which will be exactly 154 years since its consecration.

Anyway, I have a little puzzle that I need help with.  I found this picture when I was looking through some of our records.  The handwritten piece beside it was written by Rev. Cannon Clark and implies that he found this in April 1963, and hadn’t seen it  before.  However, there was a longer note, (2 ½ pages) that  describes the reredos, of which I have the first half page, implies this was made for us.  Now after Rev. Ramsay died in 1956 a sum of money was donated to produce something in his memory

A reredos was an option, and indeed one was in place behind the altar until quite recently, and I wondered, at first, if this was a design that was considered.  However, Rev. Cannon Clark was the rector here when the question of a memorial to Rev. Ramsay was considered, so surely he would’ve been more specific in his notation if he knew what it was.

So I have questions, but no answer that entirely satisfies me at this point.  Can anyone help me?

Many thanks

Wendy Pemble


Christ Church Family Tree Update

The Church Hall is home to the Christ Church Family Tree which proudly displays the many members of our community. A beautiful reminder that ‘in Christ we, though many, form one body and each member belongs to all others.’ – Romans 12:5 NIV. It has been some time since it was updated. I will be taking photographs in the Hall after the 10:30 services on 4th & 18th Feb and at the next Afternoon Tea . Appreciating the limitations of my photography skills, you are more than welcome to send your photographs to my email address :


 I have also left a brown envelope at the back of the church where you can pop your photos in. Please write your name on the back and whether you would like the photo returned. If you’re happy with the one that’s up then there it will stay.

Nonee Mathe


The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar. January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar, since the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period. They were added by Numa Pompilius about 713 BC. February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the decemvirs (c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain intervals February was truncated to 23 or 24 days, and a 27-day intercalary month, Intercalaris, was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons.

February observances in Ancient Rome include Amburbium (precise date unknown, Sementivae (February 2), Februa (February 13–15), Lupercalia (February 13–15), Parentalia (February 13–22), Quirinalia (February 17), Feralia (February 21), Caristia (February 22), Terminalia (February 23), Regifugium (February 24), and Agonium Martiale (February 27).                                                                                          These days do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.  Under the reforms that instituted the Julian calendar, Intercalaris was abolished, leap years occurred regularly every fourth year, and in leap years February gained a 29th day. Thereafter, it remained the second month of the calendar year, meaning the order that months are displayed (January, February, March, …, December) within a year-at-a-glance calendar. Even during the Middle Ages, when the numbered Anno Domini year began on March 25 or December 25, the second month was February whenever all twelve months were displayed in order. The Gregorian calendar reforms made slight changes to the system for determining which years were leap years and thus contained a 29-day February.

February is the third month of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the last month of summer (the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, in meteorological reckoning).

February may be pronounced either as FEB-ew-err-ee or /ˈfɛbruːˌɛri/ FEB-roo-err-ee). Many people pronounce it as ew rather than /ruː/ roo), as if it were spelled “Feb-u-ary”. This comes about by analogy with “January” (which ends in “-uary” but not “-ruary”), as well as by a dissimilation effect whereby having two “r”s close to each other causes one to change for ease of pronunciation


Candemas : 2nd February 2018

Candlemas commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days   after the birth of her son Jesus. This day also marks the ritual presentation of the baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem.

The Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was met by Anna and Simeon. Simeon held the baby Jesus and called him a Light to the World.

Ritual purification stems back to a Jewish tradition that women were considered unclean after the birth of a child. For 40 days for a boy, and 60 days for a girl, women weren’t allowed to worship in the     temple. At the end of this time, women were brought to the Temple   or Synagogue to be purified. After the ceremony women were allowed to take part in religious services again.

The festival is called Candlemas because this was the day that all the Church’s candles for the year were blessed.

Like some other Christian festivals, Candlemas draws some of its  elements from Paganism.

In pre-Christian times, it was the festival of light. This ancient festival marked the mid point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox.

Some people lit candles to scare away evil spirits on the dark winter nights.

People believed that Candlemas predicted the weather for the rest of the winter.

Snowdrops (galanthas nivalis) are known as Candlemas Bells        because they often bloom early in the year, even before Candlemas.



The Kingdom of Heaven in Larbert

As part of my recovery from debilitating depression, two years ago I joined an art class at DELTA Studios, next door to the indoor go-cart track at Larbert Viaduct. It’s more than a class though – it’s a therapeutic community for all ages and all conditions – and for supposedly “normal” people too.  And I love it. Recently it occurred to me I love it because it’s like the best kind of church.  A safe, warm place welcoming everybody, young and old with a special place for broken, hurting people, as I was at the time.

Leading is Craig McKechnie, himself an experienced, accomplished artist. With his team they share their expertise, demonstrate techniques, providing the tools and materials and encouraging, without insisting you do it their way. Developing hidden talents, nurturing individual gifts and building self-confidence and self-worth.

There’s sketching, cartoons, watercolours, oil painting, clay moulding, papier mache, sculpting, dance, photography, an extensive art library and much, much more. Around noon most folks have a sandwich lunch together. During the sessions there’s periods of silence, chat, interspersed with background music from Classical, Sounds of the Seventies and Grunge.

Regular celebrations include joyous exhibitions, where people’s work is validated, and picnics, retreats and parties. And there’s always, always laughter.

Occasionally, someone in crisis might have difficulty controlling their frustration or pain but there’s acceptance of this too. And it’s handled skilfully in a protective environment where everyone feels safe. The kind of atmosphere where classmates spontaneously support and encourage each other.

Yes, the best kind of church, where outsiders feel made welcome. A church where our differences are accepted. Where we feel affirmed. Where there’s care for needy and hurting people and where we can express our distress in safety. Where there is skilful mentoring. Where our sleeping gifts are wakened. Where we share bread together. Where there is music and dancing and laughter.

In talking about our building project in his Quinquennial Project Report, Tom Ogilvie challenged us:

“We have to go right back to basics and look for radical solutions… considering what our role as Christians in the community is and how, in today’s society, we can best serve it.”

Going back to biblical basics in Acts chapter 2, church is described as something like Delta Studios:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Can we draw on the tradition of  the early believers and the contemporary example of DELTA and fulfil Christ’s call to love our neighbour?



The Vestry has agreed to join a network of groups in support of migrants and refugees, called With Refugees Scotland, co-ordinated by Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees (SFAR).  We are in the process of developing a statement of support with SFAR.  In the meantime, this is to let everyone know about this new initiative that we are joining in with:

What is it?

A network of local faith-based projects and congregations in Scotland that are committed to working for a culture of dignity for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants locally, nationally and globally.

Why is it called With Refugees Scotland?

It is often the empty handed stranger who turns out to be the bearer of the most priceless gifts.  We want to be known as people who stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants.  We acknowledge that in our congregations in Scotland there will be asylum seekers and refugees.  We share the stories of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world who have been forced to leave their homes.  Our work is not simply about doing things for refugees, but living with them.

How does it work?

The local faith community discusses and agrees a statement of support by its decision-making body or usual authority.  Ideally this will be a short statement explaining why the issue is important to the local group, and a sentence “We commit to being part of the With Refugees Scotland network of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees”.  The local faith community would then notify Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees of their decision and statement and would:

  • Provide at least two names and email address of people who can be kept in touch
  • Provide up to 200 words about their community and their work for the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees website, including a photo (where possible) and any links that might be useful
  • Inform their members, staff, partners that they have joined the network and include mention in newsletters, on a website or whatever is appropriate
  • Agree to review the information held on an annual basis

What commitment is involved?

The idea for this network is to encourage and affirm work that is already taking place; it should not feel a burden or extra duty on people but rather a chance for existing work to be recognised, acknowledged and drawn together in a way which inspires and energises.  Members of the network will be asked that at least once every 12 months they do something practical and something spiritual.

Practical suggestions could include:

·         Offering space to meet for refugees or anti-racist movements

·         Encouraging members to support food, clothing or other projects that would benefit refugees

·         Encouraging volunteer opportunities for working with refugees

·         Arrange public talks, film showings or other events to raise awareness or interest

·         Support campaigns, lobbying or petitions

·         Fundraising through special events or at particular times of the year

·         Publicise and engage with Refugee Festival Scotland


Spiritual suggestions could include:

·         Special services, prayers or meditations on refugee or migration themes or at particular times of the year

·         Scriptural or theological study for members

·         Participate in interfaith dialogue or work on refugee or anti-racism themes

·         Provide services that support integration e.g. language class, befriending, intercultural dialogue

·         Join or publicise events and opportunities such as pilgrimages, interfaith events or share news and ideas from faith-based bodies that produce statements, prayers and stories.

What support would be on offer?

The Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees co-ordinator would be responsible for offering advice and support to the Network.  The website would list what activities had taken place over the last year.


An annual gathering for local representatives would take place to encourage sharing of ideas and building a sense of a movement. Regional meetings might also be arranged.

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees is also working with England- based Christian groups including For Refugees, Quaker Meetings for Sanctuary, Welcome Churches and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland ideas for ‘Churches of Sanctuary’.

Rev Sarah

Lent Groups

‘I Knew a Man’

Plans are underway for singers from Christ Church, St Mary’s and St Catharine’s to participate in performances of ‘I Knew a Man,’ a musical performance related to The Passion, narrated by the Roman Centurion at the foot of the Cross.  It is very singable, and you don’t need to read music to join in.  Recordings of the music will be available.  There are also some solo parts for those who might like one.  The plan is to hold rehearsals during Lent, with a view to offering three performances of about an hour, one in each church, during Holy Week.  Participation in every performance is not obligatory, if that’s not possible for you.  Please come along on Sunday 11th February at 2.00 pm in the Hall to find out more.


The Community Bible Experience

The Community Bible Experience offers a new and refreshing way of reading Scripture.  We’re planning to read Luke – Acts during Lent, over four weeks beginning Wednesday 28th February, with the last one being on 21st March.  The Lent Groups will be at both Christ Church and at St Catharine’s Bo’ness.  The St Cath’s group will start at 2.30 pm and the Christ Church group will start at 7.30 pm.  You can come to whichever one suits you each week.  Sign up sheets will be available at the back of the Church from 28th January as we will order a copy of the book for you – £5 each.


And in other news….

Falkirk Trinity Church are hosting an evening with John Bell of the Iona Community – ‘Holy and Humourous,’ on 16th February.  This is in aid of Iona Abbey, famously restored by Rev George Macleod and volunteers in the 1930s and 40s. Fundraising is for a major building project.  See Trinity Church’s website for more details



Celebration of Hope

The grandson of Billy Graham, Will Graham, is coming to Falkirk   Stadium from June 15-17th for a ‘Celebration of Hope.’  Churches across the Falkirk area and beyond are invited to pray for and publicise this event, and to encourage people to invite their family and friends along to Falkirk Stadium.  The Vestry will discuss how Christ Church can support this at the next Vestry meeting.  More to follow… In the meantime do take a look the Youtube clip to get a flavour of Will Graham and his ministry:




 Christ Church’s website has had a draft makeover – we’re trying out a new ‘theme’ and would welcome feedback on what you think.  It is still a work in progress – we need to add some more pictures, for example – but in the meantime feedback on the ‘new look’ would be much appreciated!

Any ideas you have for additions to the website would be welcome.                                                                                            Comments can be posted at the back of the Church on the post it notes provided.