THE BELL September 2018
Rector : Rev’d Sarah Shaw
Office : 55 Kerse Lane, Falkirk FK1 1RX
Tel : Office : 01324 623709 Mobile : 07943 405 156
E-mail address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev’d A Smith ………………….. ………..01506 834361
Rev’d Timothy Njuguna …………………..01324 871921
Rector’s Warden Margaret Briggs 01324 623285
People’s Warden Lesley Leishman 01324 551340
Secretary Camayo Hyde 01324 717586
Treasurer Elaine McCaffery 01324 412082
Lay Rep Camayo Hyde 01324 717586
Alt Lay Rep Wendy Pemble 01324 829805
Sally Ibbitson 01324 879589
Ronnie Peebles 01324 623330
Kate Luke 01324 635870
Wendy Pemble 01324 829805
Nonee Mathe 07815 801662
Frank Murray 01324 553913
Dear brothers and sisters,
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be Church. Church is, of course, more than a building – it is absolutely the people, the Body of Christ in a given place. And of course most Church families meet in a building. And perhaps it is no wonder – not just because of the weather we endure/enjoy (delete as appropriate) in Scotland, but because when we think of a family, any family, we might also picture the place of the family – the home.
The building of Christ Church is this Church family’s home. It is where we meet, chat, pray, sing, eat a shared meal, and sometimes even have fun together! It might also be a place where, unfortunately, someone might get upset or cross with someone else (surely not at Christ Church –Ed.). That certainly sounds like a family to me!
There is a family history, too, associated with this place. Only today I got a call from someone who attended this Church in the 80s and is now living elsewhere. He had fond memories particularly, he said, of the Church family, the people – and is interested in getting a copy of the forthcoming Church history book.
At the centre of the family is, of course, love – love that expresses itself in generous hospitality. This hospitality is symbolised in the Communion we share with one another, but is even more apparent perhaps, in the friendships we share, the support we give each other, the visiting we do, and the prayers we say for those who are ill, frail, or simply in need of knowing God’s presence and peace.
Like any family, it is good to be blessed with some new members from time to time. And if you’ve ever joined another family yourself through marriage, for example, or for a holiday, you’ll remember how good it was when people made a special effort to make you feel included and accepted.
So if you see a new face in Church any Sunday, someone you’ve not spoken to before, do make a particular effort to introduce yourself to that person, and go with them for coffee in the Hall. In this family we are all welcomers!
On 23rd September we have a Congregational meeting planned, at which we’ll hear and discuss what has been fed back on the Vision and Mission Statements, and also consider where we are now as a Church family. Please do come – everyone is a valued member of this Church family, no matter how long or short you’ve been around. And let’s keep practising generous hospitality as we pray for God’s leading in the years ahead.
With love and prayers,
Our History Book
This is just a quick note to say that as you read this, the book is being printed. I hope, and pray that copies will be ready in time for the Falkirk Open Doors weekend 15th and 16th September. As I write this we have 85 copies pre-ordered, which is an amazing testimony to the love so many have for our wee church. I’m sorry that the audio book will probably be a bit later coming out, than the physical book as it takes a while to record, and I couldn’t really start until all the editing had been completed.
You may recall, before the summer, we had a box at the back of the church for gathering your old/unused spectacles.
Those glasses were collected by Jan Wallace who gave them to an organisation involved in providing spectacles to people who didn’t have access to the services we enjoy in this country.
This is an ongoing need and if you have new glasses, think about donating your older pairs to the charity supported by Jan.
You may not need to keep your old glasses, but, other people will appreciate your gift.
DIARY OF CHRIST CHURCH EVENTS – September 2018
|Sat 1st Sept||10 am||Prayer Group in the St Andrew’s Chapel||Jan Wallace/Sarah Shaw|
|Mon 3rd Sept||7.30 pm||Area Council at St Peter’s Linlithgow||Camayo Hyde/Sarah Shaw|
|Fri 7th Sept||7 for 7.30 pm||Quiz Night in the Hall||Frank Murray|
|Sat 8th Sept||1.00 pm||Scottish Guild of Servers Service & AGM at St Bride’s Hyndland Rd, Glasgow||Scottish Guild of Servers|
|Mon 10th Sept||7.30 pm||Vestry meeting||Camayo Hyde/Sarah Shaw|
|Sat 15th Sept||10 am – 4.30 pm||Church open for Open Doors Weekend||Lesley Leishman/Sarah Shaw|
|Sun 16th Sept||10.30 am||Marriage Blessing for Camayo and Andy Hyde during the service||Sarah Shaw|
|Sun 16th Sept||12.30-4.30 pm||Church open for Open Doors Weekend||Lesley Leishman/Sarah Shaw|
|Wed 19th Sept||2.00 pm||Knitting Group at Margaret Aitken’s house|
|Sun 23rd Sept||10 am||No 9 am service. One service at 10 am followed by Congregational Meeting||Sarah Shaw|
|Sat 29th Sept||10.30 am||Kelpies Canter in aid of Christian Aid, starting at Helix Park||Richard Dyer/Sarah Shaw|
|Sun 30th Sept||10.30 am||Baptism of Luca Martone||Sarah Shaw|
Jack Scott pays tribute to his wife, Ann (12/7/38 – 17/8/2013)
Ann Spencer was born on 12th July 1938 in Liverpool. During the first bombing raids the house was destroyed. The council only had one option – to put them up with another family. After the war they were given a new house. Ann had a first class education – top grades in every subject. And she went on to teach science.
Ann came to Linlithgow on holiday and was told she was to go to Doakes Dancing in Falkirk. We met there, had a date, and the rest is history.
Ann was a perfect mother and wife, and her faith was never in doubt. Justice and peace were uppermost to her. Ann and I did everything as one, making sure one of us was at home all of the time. Ann went on to teach handicapped students, before she retired due to poor health.
Taken to hospital Ann did not improve and wanted home. I asked for advice and was told I should take Ann home. She died 18 days later.
I miss Ann every day and thank God every day for the 52 years that two became one.
Hi Everyone, as some of you know Sarah led a retreat to Iona in March this year. I personally had no idea what to expect but I knew it was something that I just had to do. The retreat by all accounts was a great success and I personally learned to pause and listen. At the end of the retreat I realised that I’d found a calming peace and that was completely unexpected as I’d chosen to make the retreat a very full and busy experience which included lots of laughter and chat. It was a wonderful experience which I would highly recommend.
Sarah has asked me to organise the accommodation for our next Iona retreat and due to its popularity the first available dates (in the summer season) are in June 2020. The plan is as follows –
Iona Retreat 2020
Monday 8.6.20 to 13.6.20
Arriving on Monday 8.6.20, we will stay for 5 nights on a full board basis in Bishop’s House.
During your retreat you will have the choice to join daily Eucharist and Compline services. There will also be led sessions which you can choose to attend if you want (nothing is compulsory). These session will provide a space for you to contemplate, relax and develop your faith. There will also be plenty free time during which you could choose to explore the island or simply relax and be still.
Bishop’s House has the capacity for 23 guests. There are 7 single rooms and 8 twin rooms all with wash facilities. Large bathrooms with showers etc are also located close to the bedrooms. Guests have the use of Columba’s Chapel which is situated right in the heart of the house, a library with an open fireplace, a lounge with beautiful sea views and a dining room where the home cooked meals are served.
Travelling to Iona
Unless you are taking your own car or you have secured a seat in someone else’s, travel will be by train from Glasgow to Oban, ferry from Oban to Craignure on Mull, bus from Craignure to Fionnphort on Mull and finally a Ferry from Fionnphort to Iona.
Members of the Bishop’s House team will meet us at the ferry dock on Iona and they will help us transport our luggage to Bishop’s House.
Please be aware that you will be required to arrange your own travel tickets. However, closer to the holiday I will investigate the available train, ferry and bus times and if we want to travel as a group this can be arranged. Once known, I will also communicate everyone’s travel times to the Bishop’s House team to make sure they know when everyone will arrive on the Monday.
The total cost of the accommodation for our 5 nights stay is £8,475.00 (£73.70 per night inclusive of all meals, if we fill all 23 rooms).
At present we are provisionally booked, however, to secure our holiday we are required to pay a deposit of £1,695 by the end of September 2018. The final cost per person will depend on the number of people on the retreat. If you or a friend would like to come please let me know by Monday 17.9.18. Once we have our final numbers, I will then contact you to confirm the deposit amount to be paid. This deposit will be non refundable and has to be paid to me by 26.9.18.
If you have already put your name down please could you now either telephone, email or text me to confirm your preferred method of contact for future information regarding the retreat.
Once the deposit is paid we then have to pay 50% of the final bill by 7.6.19. I’ll be looking for a second payment from you by the 31.5.19. The remainder will be paid on arrival at Bishop’s House.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to speak to me.
My Email is A.S.Bryans@sky.com.
My Telephone number is 07814 173021.
In September I shall be enjoying a weeks holiday in the Aran Islands off the Galway coast in Southern Ireland
There are 3 islands of Inishmore – Inisheer, Inishmann and the largest Inishmore, which is only 5 miles long and 3 miles wide
It was only as recently as 1978 that the islands had an electricity supply introduced. Undoubtedly it must have been a hard life long ago.
I have rented a cottage for 500 euro and all bills are included. Activities on the island are walking and cycling.
There is one church, a Roman Catholic church, and the Mass is in Irish with no English translation nevertheless I am always welcomed
The journey to Inishmore entails a train from Dublin to Galway, bus to Rossaveal and a 45 minute ferry voyage to Kilronan. While I’m a non-drinker I do enjoy a half pint of Guinness each evening during my break – as the ad goes “Guinness is good for you!”
On behalf of Warren and myself I give thanks for all the prayers, cards and good wishes that we have received since I’ve been ill. They are very much appreciated and so encouraging through some dark days.
Collect in Christ Church/Collected on High Street
Almighty God, you sent your Holy Spirit to be the light of your Church.
D’yi no think it’s getting awfae dark, but?
Open our hearts to the riches of your Grace.
A wis that hertbrok’n, A just wantit tae greet.
Grant the unity and peace we have tasted in this Eucharist
Yis’ll need tae wait tae A’ve been tae the Food Bank
And may we bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.
A’v nae idea whit yir oan aboot, buddy.
Wanted urgently – Bible translators to communicate to Falkirk Bairns
Dear Friends and Others
I’ve been researching the “ Flying Scotsman”, Eric Liddel.Here’s some stuff I found you might find interesting or even inspiring:
You will probably know the “Chariots of Fire” quote from the film (not actually EL’s words but inspired nonetheless)
God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run I feel His Pleasure.
Another good yin is:
The secret of my success over the 400 metres is that I run the first 200 metres as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200 metres, with God’s help, I run harder.
A fan reported:
At the Scottish Amateur Athletics Championships at Hampden on 14th June 1924 Eric ran the last 440 yards of the relay race with a gap of 40 yards to make up. When making his effort he had a habit of jerking back his head. I remarked to a bowler hatted Glasgow man next to me, who had been following the racing with the keenest attention all afternoon, that Liddell would be hard put to win. My neighbour, an observant fellow, replied,
‘His heid’s no back yet.’
With that, back went the head and Liddell left his opponent standing to win by 20 yards.
When compelled to make a short speech, after being carried aloft by cheering crowds and fellow students to the doors of St Giles Cathedral for the University Service following his Olympic Gold Medal in Paris, Eric said,
Over the gate of Pennsylvania University are inscribed these words,
‘In the dust of defeat as well as in the laurels of victory
there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”
Drs Billy and Dorothy Toop were retired medical missionaries we met when we first moved to Falkirk in the 1980s.Tim and Hannah were just babes in carrycots when we all went to St Andrews church and at the entrance Billy famously examined their heads and pronounced Hannah and Timothy’s fontanelles healthy! So their heads were probed by the hand that shook the hand of Eric Liddell!
You’ll find Billy’s rather rambling but interesting account of his encounters in China with Eric Liddell, his Sunday School teacher on this website:
The Sunday Bairns will start back on 9th September after our summer break. We’re looking forward to seeing all the children again! These are our plans for the upcoming 6 months; we’ll continue our theme of visiting countries around the world, looking at life and Christianity in those countries, as well as talking about how we can care for Gods Beautiful World.
9th September – The Sea
14th October – Norway
11th November – Remembrance Sunday
9th December – Nativity Practice for Christingle
13th January – Charity / The Childrens Society
10th February – New Zealand
We’re also going to start putting some of our pictures / craft on one of the pin boards at the back of Church as well as in the Hall. Keep an eye out for it and do feel free to ask questions!
Camayo, Eleanor, Caroline and Nonee
|Sun||2||The Pastoral Visiting team|
|Mon||3||Area Council, meeting this evening|
|Tues||4||The Diocesan Finance and Management Committee and St Hilda’s Committee, meeting today|
|Wed||5||The clergy of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh|
|Thurs||6||Rev. Dr. Jenny Wright, being instituted as Associate Rector at Christ Church Morningside today|
|Fri||7||Fun and fellowship at the Quiz Night this evening|
|Sat||8||The Scottish Guild of Servers; their AGM today|
|Sun||9||Our Sunday Bairns and their families|
|Mon||10||The Vestry, meeting this evening|
|Tues||11||The staff and students of Falkirk College|
|Wed||12||Our local refugee families|
|Thurs||13||Those attending our Communion service today|
|Fri||14||Holy Cross Day|
|Sat||15||All those who will visit Christ Church during this Open Doors weekend|
|Sun||16||Camayo, Andy and Eleanor Hyde, and all who will celebrate Camayo and Andy’s Marriage Blessing today|
|Mon||17||Workplace and Forces Chaplains|
|Tues||18||Christine Barclay and the congregations of St Peter’s and St. Columba’s|
|Wed||19||All who are homeless in this area|
|Thur||20||The work of FDAMH; all who suffer mental ill-health|
|Sat||22||All who have suffered abuse, for the healing of their minds and bodies|
|Sun||23||Our congregational meeting today|
|Mon||24||All in poverty or in debt in this area|
|Tues||25||The work of Family Mediation; the families who use our Hall|
|Wed||26||Rev. Jonathan Livingstone, being priested today at St Mary-the-Virgin, Hamilton
|Thurs||27||District nurses and Health Visitors|
Glen 2018 – from a Leader’s perspective
Glenalmond Youth Week is the summer youth camp of the Scottish Episcopal Church, held each August. It’s named ‘Glen’ as it’s held at Glenalmond College, near Perth. This is the second time that Willie and I have attended as leaders, and both times we’ve found it enormously inspirational and fun – as well as exhausting J. Around 60 young people from all over Scotland came this year. The young people have to be attending secondary school in order to be there.
Each year the Week has a different theme. This year it was ‘24/7.365 Yesterday, Today and Forever.’ The idea was about God not just being there in holy places or at holy times, like Church. God is with us all the time everywhere, in the sacred and in the secular. And God is infinite, beyond time. Added to that, each day had a theme within the main theme. All of the young people were in house groups, one of which I was leading. There would be two sessions a day in house groups, where we’d explore the theme together, using the Bible, and getting creative with art and words, the media, music, and prayer. Every young person is encouraged to treat Glen as a ‘safe place’ to discuss things – everyone’s views are to be respected and listened to. In addition to the two sessions in house groups there are many activities to choose from to fill the rest of the day. And each evening there is a whole camp activity – such as a Ceilidh, or a Film Night.
One of the things the young people really seem to enjoy is getting the opportunity to plan the evening worship themselves. Each group gets one opportunity in the week to design a worship service with the support of their House Group Leaders. My group chose the story of The Good Samaritan which they acted out, then did a prayer activity which involved each person making an origami shape to hang on a Prayer Tree. Each person was asked to write on their shape a time when they wished they had helped someone and to ask for forgiveness on one side, and a person or situation they wanted to help now.
One of the things I as a Leader particularly enjoyed was spending time with the young people and hearing about their own experience of God and faith, and about the difference they felt God makes in their lives. I look forward to the day when some of our Sunday Bairns are older and able to go!
Prayer Tree in the Chapel at Glenalmond
Things for your Diary (please see also the Diary of Christ Church Events)
Sunday 9th September at 3.00 pm at Trinity Church, Falkirk. Ayman Jarjour, the renowned Syrian classical guitarist, will be giving a concert in order to raise funds for our local Syrian refugee families. Entry is free but there will be a retiring collection. Ayman has played in many countries of the world and has performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Please come and hear some beautiful music and support this good cause.
Sunday 23rd September at 10 am – Congregational meeting. On Sunday 23rd September there will be no 9 am service but we’ll meet at 10 am for a shorter Sung Eucharist followed by a Congregational Meeting. Everyone is encouraged to attend.
Also: Sunday 23rd September at 6.30 pm. Sung Evensong for Harvest at St Catharine’s Bo’ness, with the ABI Singers. All welcome.
Advance Notice: Remembrance-tide
This year we’ll be making more of Remembrance as it’s the centenary of the end of WW1, and also because Bill Mitchell’s book on our unique war memorial is coming out shortly. This is what we’re planning:
Sat 10th November – the Church will be open from 2-4 pm so that people can view the Memorial, hear about Bill Mitchell’s book (Bill has agreed to be there), read about some of the men commemorated there, pray (prayer cards to be available), and lay a momento if they like in memory of someone they have lost because of war.
Sun 11th November am – Sung Eucharist as usual, with Act of Remembrance. The Air Cadets will be joining us. Sunday Bairns will be involved too!
Sun 11th November at 3 pm – service of prayers, readings, silence and hymns, followed by refreshments.
Raymond Carver, the famous, American short story writer and poet, was an alcoholic. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and went sober. But, unfortunately, despite his first wife having done everything to support him, their marriage ended.
Later he met the poet Tess Gallagher and they stayed together till he died. He called this period his “second life”. The following, late poem, inscribed on his gravestone, celebrates the love he had received during his life.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
Our Sunday reading on 2nd September was from Song of Songs, a human love song which Jews and Christians have used as metaphor for our relationship with God. It contains the lovely lines:
I am my Beloved’s and he is mine, And his banner over me is Love
As God’s children we, too, are invited to consider ourselves beloved.
John the Apostle, who was so close to Jesus he rested his head on his lap, later wrote:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! ( 1 John 3: 1 )
Poster found in a church in France….(translated)
“When you enter this church it may be possible that you will hear “the call of God”.
However, it is unlikely that he will call you on your mobile.
Thank you for turning off your phones.
If you want to talk to God, enter, choose a quiet place and talk to Him.
If you want to see Him, send Him a text while driving”
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without wine,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
…. Then you are probably the family dog !
Copy date for the next edition of
The Bell Sunday 23rd September 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 :
email@example.com or Mobile 07740 502083)
The next edition of THE BELL will be for October 2018
Our new Home Communion set, gifted in memory of Jill McMillan by her family
SC : 017350
|CHRIST CHURCH FALKIRK
|July/August 2018Edit Page|
Rector’s Monthly Letter
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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,
MANDOLIN, GUITAR AND RECORDER EVENING
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.😊😊😊😊
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 email@example.com , or Lucy from Christian Aid on 0141 221 7475 or visit caid.org.uk/walks
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!
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!
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!!
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
Christ Church’s mission is to celebrate God’s love throughout the whole community by what we believe and do.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org):
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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Sat||28||Children of drug addicts|
|Sun||29||All those being married in this summer season|
|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.|
|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|
|Fri||24||St Bartholomew, apostle|
|Sat||25||The work of Family Mediation|
|Sun||26||All who will worship in Christ Church today|
|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
DIARY OF CHRIST CHURCH EVENTS – July and August 2018
*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!
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).
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.
Courtesy of the wonders of modern technology
Church of England offers prayers read by Amazon’s Alexa –
Copy date for the next edition of
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 :
( email@example.com or Mobile 07740 502083 )
The next edition of THE BELL will be for September 2018
The BELL FEBRUARY 2018
The Church Magazine appears bi-monthly.
Mine eyes have seen thy salvation
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.
DIARY of CHRIST CHURCH EVENTS : February 2018
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!
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?
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.
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
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.