Trailblazer Leader Meeting

Trailblazer Leader Meeting
Tuesday 24th July at 7.30pm at Jenny’s house (27 Ellangowan Terrace)

If you think being a Leader or a Helper at Trailblazers is something you would be interested in, then we would love to hear from you.  The more people willing to help, the bigger opportunity for the Trailblazer team to attend services.  Whether it’s once a month, twice a month or even once every six weeks, every little helps.  If you would like to chat about it more, then I would love to hear from you, my email is: jenthomasi@yahoo.co.uk or my mobile number is 07894056216.

We hope you all have a great summer whether it is a stay vacation or an adventure further afield.

God Bless
Jenny Thomasi and all the Trailblazer Leaders

Note on Claverhouse Conversation, 16th June 2018

Note on Claverhouse Conversation, 16th June 2018
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” Philippians (2, 3-5)

On Saturday 16 June, we had a “Claverhouse Conversation with Ourselves”. About 40 of us mingled over breakfast and got to know each other a bit better, which many of us really appreciated. We chatted in pairs and at tables, finding ways to open up about our feelings, and many points of view were expressed. Some were positive and hopeful about the future. Others were frustrated, sad, hurt and uncertain – and concerned about the survival of the congregation at Liberton Northfield. There was a lot of honesty about differences and even perceived divisions within the congregation. There were some who needed the traditional hymns and structure; others preferred the more modern songs and flexibility.
Some wanted the congregation to move on, to change. Others wished we could return to how it had been before. There were feelings both of disconnection and of welcome. A real mixture. Some expressed their sense of guilt (“what if I had done more?”) and loss of energy and, at the same time, others felt excited about the future, sensing God being with us in the journey.
Many of us felt relief to be talking about these things, and there a strong desire to learn as a congregation from what had happened in the months before. Perhaps above all we recognised the importance of communicating with each other, fellowship, love and support for each other, of mixing, and acknowledging our diversity and the need for tolerance of different opinions, styles and interpretations. We could see light at the end of what seemed, for some, a rather dark tunnel.
We noted the forthcoming 150th anniversary of Liberton Northfield, taking place in 2019, and the relevance of the words with which the meeting opened: “There is no us and them, only us”. “We have so much more in common than ever divides us”. Others appreciated the words: “We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing.”
It seemed that kindness was the key: “Any good that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to a fellow human being, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it. I may not pass this way again.”

The words: “When you don’t know what to do, do the kindest thing” were a good way to end our morning, as we said the Grace together and gave thanks for the opportunity to spend time in this way.
John Sturrock

Session are grateful to John Sturrock for facilitating this Conversation and look forward to working with everyone in the congregation to build on this over the coming months. The feelings noted in John’s reflection above may well resonate with those of you who weren’t able to attend, and there may be other thoughts to consider also. Session invite you all to spend some time this summer reflecting and praying about the feelings expressed at the Conversation. Session anticipate holding an event in the autumn to take this further forward.
Rev Gordon Kennedy – Interim Moderator
Margaret Padfield – Session Clerk”

For your diaries

For your diaries
Saturday 11th August – Back to school event: 11.30-1.30pm
Sunday 19th August – Back to school family service: 11.00-12.15pm

Film Club

These nights are held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Falconer Hall. We begin at 7.00pm with tea/coffee to get settled for the film which commences at 7.15pm; there is no charge for the evening event and you can bring a friend, or as many friends as you like. If you have any suggestions for a film, talk to Sandy or Marie Sneddon, December is still to be decided!

The July film is:
Tuesday 10th July, Terms of Endearment  (PG)
Terms of Endearment is a 1983 American comedy-drama film adapted from Larry McMurtry‘s 1975 novel, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. The film covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger).

Dear new friends,

Dear new friends,

It is a wonderful blessing to be able to join your family here at Liberton Northfield. These past weeks, as many of you will know, have been eventful in our household as we welcomed three more children into our family. On 30th May we welcomed Lily, Richard and William into the world. They join Maria (2) and Andrew (4.5) to give us 5 beautiful and adventurous children under 5. We have become that family that everyone talks about!

 

So, who are we? Well, Celeste and I have been married 6 years this year. We met in Amsterdam where I worked for 8 years. After a couple of years in Amsterdam we moved to Edinburgh.  Celeste is a full-time mother and I am in my last year of studies at New College. I have finished all my placements and this year have the time to concentrate on my dissertation.

One of the great things we have found about parenthood is the amazing books that we get to read to our children every day. At the moment one of the favourite bedtime stories is called ‘You are Special’ by Max Lucado. The story follows the life of the small wooden people called the Wemmicks who put golden star stickers and grey dot stickers on each other all day long. Those who are talented, beautiful and liked get golden star stickers while those who struggle to find the right words, are chipped or looking a little worn get grey dots. Punchinello is a sad Wemmick as he receives grey dots all day long and he believes something must be really wrong with him. However, eventually he finds himself at the carpenter’s workshop and while debating whether to go in, the carpenter calls out his name and he is shocked that the carpenter would know HIS name. It is there that Punchinello is encouraged to see himself as special. He learns that the carpenter isn’t concerned with what other Wemmicks think and neither should he be.

Jesus reminds us in the Gospels time and time again that he came for all, he ate with those who society rejected and his disciples were ordinary men, not learned scholars. Throughout the Bible, God uses the unexpected in society and like the carpenter in the story he sees past all that the world finds important to see us for who we really are. We are told in Ephesians:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ.” Ephesians 2:10

We are ALL Gods handiwork, not all of us are called to be artists or teachers or scientists but we are all created by our loving Father and he doesn’t make mistakes. We all have a part to play, we need to turn our focus away from the world and start believing that we are not mistakes, rather we are masterpieces created by an awesome God who loves each and every one of us.

We look forward to our time with you and the adventure that God has for all of us.

With every Blessing,
Iain

Let us Build a House: A Visit to Nepal

Let us Build a House: A Visit to Nepal

In April 2018 I was part of a group of 18 people from congregations throughout Scotland who visited our partner organisation, the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) to see life in communities affected by the 2015 earthquake and how they are responding and rebuilding their lives and their communities.

At 11.55 on 25 April 2015 people in Nepal were getting on with their lives. In rural areas families were working in fields, in the towns and cities people were working and shopping. Many Christians were in church as that is the normal day for worship in the Himalayan country.

A minute later a devastating earthquake struck the centre of the country. The initial quake lasted 45 seconds. Buildings shook, walls cracked, thick dust rose from mountains, roads and bridges were destroyed.  In some areas almost every building was damaged or destroyed – thousands of houses, schools, and clinics reduced to rubble.

Nine thousand people died, another 22,000 were injured in the worst natural disaster in Nepal for over 80 years.

A month later Rev Ram Kumar Budhatokhi was a delegate at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He spoke about how he was leading worship at a church in Kathmandu when the building started shaking and everyone fled in fear. Moved by Ram Kumar’s testimony the General Assembly instructed the World Mission Council to assist our partners in Nepal respond to the emergency.

Each of the Kirk’s 42 presbyteries was challenged to raise £500, the nominal cost of rebuilding a house. World Mission Council hoped to raise maybe £25-30,000. The response was overwhelming. Presbyteries and congregations responded with the largest ever amount of money ever raised for a single project, an astonishing £310,000.

The Church of Scotland was one of the founders of United Mission to Nepal (UMN) in 1954 and is still a partner. UMN quickly swung into action with a relief effort that delivered food, shelter and medical supplies to 12,000 families communities in Dhading District, about a three-hour drive from Kathmandu. UMN has worked there since 2005 so was already well known, even in the more remote parts of the district. During our visit we saw some of the amazing work being done by UMN and its local partners Prayas and HIMS.

After an orientation session with UMN staff in their Cluster Office eleven of us piled into 4 x 4 vehicles. It took four hours on dirt roads and river beds to travel 45 KM to Dundure where the road ended.

We adjusted our walking poles and set off for Kalangmarang, a small hillside village where we would spend our first night. We walked for four hours. A torrential downpour meant we couldn’t visit a drinking water scheme as the path would be too muddy and slippery. We were relieved to reach Kalangmarang just as it got dark as we had been walking up steep paths for most of the afternoon.

Next morning, we saw around the village – even that was hard going as the village was on the side of a steep hill so visiting the two new schools, drinking water scheme and church was tiring. We were introduced to Menja Tamang, a village elder who had donated land for the new Middle School. He was delighted with the smart new building, calling it “a palace” in comparison to the previous building which collapsed in the earthquake. We met a young woman whose leg was crushed when the church wall collapsed on her. She still hobbles around on crutches.

For four days we trekked up and down steep paths, several kilometres of them rebuilt by UMN and their local partner HIMS. We crossed the Mankhu River three times on rebuilt footbridges. We passed a rehabilitated micro hydro power plant that powered a sawmill and rice mills. The government of Nepal has asked UMN to rebuild 55 schools and we saw several buildings and classroom blocks, each built with an earthquake resistant designed. Each school also had a new latrine block to improve hygiene.

In villages we stayed in and passed through we saw more evidence of UMN’s work to improve the lives of the communities in north Dhading. New cash crops like cardamom had been introduced, each household was encouraged to build their own hygienic latrine, safe drinking water supplies had been installed – we always took the chance to fill up our water bottles when we passed a tap.

One highlight was the church service in Eve. There was a real sense of fellowship as we joined the local congregation in the rebuilt, if not quite finished church building. One of the ministers in our group, Stuart Duff, was asked to preach. We were asked to sing a song and we gave a rendition of Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart. Immediately we finished the congregation sang the same song in Nepali! Although we couldn’t understand each other very well we knew we shared the same faith and worshipped the same Lord.

Eve Church Service

Our accommodation on the trek was basic by Scottish standards. We slept on mats on the upper floors of houses, used outdoor Asian squat latrines, maybe managed a wash in cold water in the morning. We ate simple Nepali food – rice, lentils, vegetables – served to us by our hosts. We experienced a little of what life is like in isolated communities in Nepal. The trekking was arduous at times, some of the group struggled with the limited diet, but we were always aware of the immense privilege of being able to visit these communities.

Most of the places we visited are not even on the map. Yet in Kalangmarang, Tawal, and Ewe we saw churches and schools, families and farmers. We saw resilience and resourcefulness. We saw people rebuilding their lives and their communities. We saw United Mission to Nepal and HIMS using money sent from Scotland to train people, to rebuild infrastructure and communities.

The View North Towards Ganesh Himal
Sandy Sneddon

Prayer and Meditation

Prayer and Meditation
Editor’s Note: With a Try Praying banner located on the railings of our church, this article from the Priestfild Church March newsletter is very appropriate.

Instead of worrying, pray

“DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING,
BUT PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.”
Philippians 4:6

The Bible teacher writes:
‘The pressures of our times have many of us caught in a web of the most acceptable, yet energy-draining sin in the Christian family:
worry. Chances are good you woke up this morning, stepped out of bed, and before doing anything, strapped on your well-worn backpack of anxiety. You started the day not with a prayer on your mind but loaded down by worry. What a dreadful habit! Jesus challenged His followers with the question,
“Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:27

Worry solves nothing. It creates unrest and uneasiness, and if left unchecked it can churn our waves of anxiety into a perfect storm of emotions. Add a little imagination and creativity, and our worst fears come to life in Technicolour brilliance. The stress from worry drains our energy and preoccupies our minds, stripping us of our peace ….
We fret over big things and little things.

Some of us have a laundry list of concerns that feed our addiction to worry. It’s a very unattractive addiction, yet we somehow manage to make a joke out of it. I’ve heard people say with a smile, “If I don’t have something to worry about, I get worried about not having something to worry about.”

Anxiety has become a favourite pastime we love to hate. And worse we’re passing it on to our children. As they see the worry on our faces and hear it from our lips, we’re mentoring them in the art of anxiety.

So, what’s the answer?

‘Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything.’

Film Club

 

These nights are held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Falconer Hall. We begin at 7.00pm with tea/coffee to get settled for the film which commences at 7.15pm; there is no charge for the evening event and you can bring a friend, or as many friends as you like.
If you have any suggestions for a film, talk to Sandy or Marie Sneddon.

The May film is:
Tuesday 8th May, Risen (12A)
Risen is a 2016 American biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds; it was conceived from a screenplay written by Reynolds and Paul Aiello.
The Plot: Roman military tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) remains set in his ways after serving 25 years in the army. He arrives at a crossroad when he’s tasked to investigate the mystery of what happened to Jesus (Cliff Curtis) following the Crucifixion. Accompanied by trusted aide Lucius (Tom Felton), his quest to disprove rumours of a risen Messiah makes him question his own beliefs and spirituality. As his journey takes him to places never dreamed of, Clavius discovers the truth that he’s been seeking.

COMING SOON:
Tuesday 8th June, Alone in Berlin (12A)
Alone in Berlin is a 2016 war drama film directed by Vincent Pérez and written by Pérez and Achim von Borries, based on the 1947 fictionalized novel Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. The novel’s characters Otto and Anna Quangel are based on the real lives of Otto and Elise Hampel. When their son dies in France, the couple start writing postcards to urge people to protest against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The film stars Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, and Daniel Brühl.

Tuesday 12th July, Terms of Endearment  (PG)
Terms of Endearment is a 1983 American comedy-drama film adapted from Larry McMurtry‘s 1975 novel, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. The film covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger).

Tuesday 14th August, Gran Torino
Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood’s first starring role since 2004’s Million Dollar Baby. The film features a large Hmong American cast, as well as one of Eastwood’s younger sons, Scott. Eastwood’s oldest son, Kyle, provided the score. Gran Torino opened via a limited theatrical release in North America on December 12, 2008, and later to a worldwide release on January 9, 2009. Set in Detroit, Michigan, it is the first mainstream American film to feature Hmong Americans. Many Lao Hmong war refugees resettled in the U.S. following the communist takeover of Laos in 1975.

FUTHER OUT:
10th September, God is not Dead (2014)
9th October, War Room
13th November, Journey’s End
11th December, TBC
8th January 2019, 2001 A Space Odyssey – 50th Anniversary

Pentecost family service

Sunday 20th May will be our Pentecost family service where the children will be in the church for the whole service.  The children are very welcome to sit together at the front of the church but as this is a family service it would be nice for families to all sit at the front together.

Getting to know you….Fiona Sturrock

Born in Wick in 1958 (so 60 this year!)  and grew up on a mixed farm with lots of family around.  The farm provided a great learning for life and fun spending time with my father and uncle, sisters and cousins working at all the seasonal jobs.  I can drive a tractor, once running alongside a combine as it disgorged all the grain.  I can lamb a ewe and love feeding lambs.  Spring was a special time. I haven’t shorn a sheep, but I can roll the fleece for packing.
Farming is a much harder job these days and I do have sympathy for all those trying to make a living.
I headed off to Aberdeen after school, to study pharmacy at Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology, then followed by a post graduate year in Woking Surrey training with Boots the Chemists.  While I enjoyed sojourns into London at weekends, it was too far from Scotland, so I returned north to Boots in Kirkcaldy.
One weekend I was invited to a cousin’s party in Edinburgh and there I met John Sturrock.  We were married 16 months later (now 34 years ago).  We then headed over the Atlantic to live in Philadelphia while John studied for a Masters in Law.  I worked as a pharmacy technician in the University hospital.  Part of the scholarship which John had was to travel all over America.  Hard though it was we had to fill 10 weeks travelling at will round the whole country, a great experience!

We returned to Edinburgh and have been here ever since.  We have 3 ‘children’, now well into their twenties and all working in London.  We head off there as much as we can to visit.
I was baptised and brought up in the Church of Scotland and had a very happy church community.  I enjoyed singing in the junior choir and took part in all the Sunday school activities eventually helping to teach in the primary section.  While in America John and I attended a city centre Presbyterian church and was delighted on hearing the minister on our first visit was very definitely Scottish.  Ernest Somerville had ministered in Alabama during the Civil Rights actions of the 60’s and then fortunately for us served in Philadelphia in his later years.
We returned to the church of Scotland in Edinburgh attending Mayfield Salisbury, but then joined St. Paul’s and St. Georges of the Scottish Episcopalian Church.  This was as we believed to provide our family with the teenage support young people need.  When we moved house in 2015 we also moved to Liberton Northfield being just over the road!  We have had such a warm welcome and feel much at home over the last couple of years.

  1. What is a favourite hymn, and why?
    A.
    Oh – difficult – I love so many both modern and traditional. It rather depends on words, which resonate at the time and so too the melody.
  2. What is an early church memory?
    A.
    Aged 6 or 7 during a sermon leaning back against the church pew, raising my straw hat up and down in competition with my sister, to our mother’s horror!
  3. What’s your earliest childhood memory?
    A.
    On the farm where I grew up, being outside on my own and bringing back new born mice on a shovel for my mum. The farm hands were threshing barley and found them!
  4. In an alternative life, what job would you have chosen?
    A.
    Definitely nursing – it was my first choice – but finally chose pharmacy and headed to Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen.
  5. What are you reading at the moment?
    A.
    The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian McLaren. Dipping into this again – always refreshing and encouraging; and Death of a Gossip – a Hamish MacBeth mystery passed on by an American friend who loves Scottish crime novels.
  6. What would be your ideal holiday?
    A.
    Somewhere warm – along with a pile of books, near a swimming pool or nice beach. John can come too!
  7. What is your most prized possession?
    A.
    My engagement ring, had to have the claws repaired recently – they were worn.
  8. What luxury item would you take to a desert island?
    A.
    My shower!
  9. What do you do to relax?
    A.
    Watch a good film – cycle, walk or swim – or do a bit of gardening.
  10. What is a favourite quotation?
    A.
    ‘To thine own self be true.’ – Shakespeare but first heard from my mum!
  11. What kind of music do you listen to?
    A.
    Whatever John is playing loudly!! I enjoy a wide range.
  12. How would you like to be remembered?
    A.
    As being loving and kind, oh and fun!
  13. What gets you up in the morning (apart from your alarm clock)?
    A.
    Good coffee! Enthusiasm for life and the day ahead which always includes contact in some form with family and friends.

Life and Work now in Hall of Friendship

Back issues are now kept on the table in the Hall of Friendship for members to read and return when finished.

The May issue has many interesting articles, three of which are:

  • 50 years of woman in ministry – The Rev Dr Margaret Forrester reflects on the journey which led to the ordination of woman to the ministry of Word and Sacrament within the Church of Scotland.
  • Reports to the 2018 General Assembly
  • Minute Vacations – The Very Rev Dr John Chambers appeals to readers to arrange ‘holy moments’.

Dear Friends

The name Peter Drucker may be familiar to you if you are a student of business or economics. To put it simply, his books made a big impact by the fresh way he looked at things. His writings include Managing for Results, The New Society and The Effective Executive. For over a generation he taught in the leading universities of America but his writings were well known in Europe and further afield.

He once wrote: “Progress is obtained only by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. When you solve problems, all you do is guarantee a return to normalcy.” It is a statement worth pondering. Most of us spend most of our time solving problems, and in so doing, we think we are making progress. In actual fact, merely solving a problem only returns us to the status quo. The same is true of every human endeavour. We spend most of our time solving problems and wondering why we don’t make any progress.

It is no less true when we come into the church. The biggest part of our energy is spent solving problems, putting out fires and sticking our finger in the dyke to hold back the onrushing water. Problem-solving is important, even crucial, but it is not progress. Progress comes only when you exploit opportunities.

This month we will celebrate both Ascension Day (on a Thursday so often overlooked!) and Pentecost. This is when God started to do things differently. Christ’s return to glory, the gift of the Spirit and the birth of the Church would unleash a movement that turned the world upside down. Although its roots were in the past, and it drew from its rich heritage and history in the Old Testament, new ways of working had to be devised almost from day to day. It was not always an easy ride and there was no masterplan to follow. However, the early church had a clear vision of the way ahead.  They knew what needed to be done and simply got on and tried to do it, building up experience and insight as they went. God raised key leaders and the people gladly followed.
May God help us to see the opportunities around us and to have the courage and the faith to seize the moment believing that God will be with us as we go forward in Christ’s name and in the Spirit’s strength and wisdom.

Rev Colin Sinclair, Interim Moderator

Heart and Soul – Message from Rev Bryan Kerr

Minister, Greyfriars Parish Church, Lanark
Dear colleague,
I would like to invite you and members of your congregation to Heart and Soul 2018, taking place on Sunday 20 May from 12:30 – 6pm, Princes Street Gardens. We hope and pray that this eighth annual event will again be a true celebration of the Church within the centre of our capital city. For the first time, as part of the Year of Young People, we are also hosting a free youth event in the Gardens on Saturday 19 May from 7-9pm.

 

Visitors will notice significant changes to the event in 2018. As well as reflections and ideas from organisations and congregations of the Kirk on the theme of ‘Peace be with you!’, those who attend will experience a change to the layout of the park. Instead of tents lining the avenues, several meandering paths into new villages have been created to draw visitors into the tents, away from the avenues. Great care has been taken to ensure that all the villages are accessible for those with mobility issues.

 

We would like to encourage you to invite Sunday Schools and families to join us at our new Family Stage where we will be hosting a giant picnic with Fischy music, games, stories and lots of fun from 12:30 – 3pm. As the theme of the event is ‘Peace be with you!’ we are encouraging everyone to … ‘Bring Your Piece’ and join us at the picnic.

 

The youth event on Saturday evening will be something very special. We are working in collaboration with Powerpoint Scotland and have invited the Christian EDM group LZ7, to play for an event which aims to attract up to 1,000 young people for a mix of live music, enthusiastic & exciting worship and fellowship.

 

In another ‘first’ for this year’s event we are hosting the “In Conversation” tent. It will feature a timetable of interesting talks with contributions from Sally Magnusson; Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood OBE with Louise MacDonald (Young Scot); Ross Greer MSP with Very Rev Dr Derek Browning and Robin Downie; Anna Magnusson with Rev Dr Margaret Forrester; and Scots in Great War London Group. Church Elder and BBC’s Hugh Pym will host “In Conversation”.

 

Add in to all of that over 60 congregation and exhibitors sharing their work and ministry, a packed Main Stage programme of bands and drama, Peace @ St. Cuthbert’s Church, a massed worship service at 5pm in the Ross Bandstand and thousands of people to meet and talk to we hope and pray that there is truly something for everyone at Heart and Soul.

 

I would invite you to share this information with your congregation, children’s leaders, youth leaders and any others you feel might be interested. If you feel able, it would be wonderful if you were able to share some of the information of the event in your weekly sheets, or congregational emails.

 

For more information I would encourage you to visit our website www.heartandsoul.org.uk.