The 150th Anniversary of Liberton Northfield Church

The 150th Anniversary of Liberton Northfield Church
Editor’s Note: Margaret has been tidying and discovered a very interesting book in the vestry titled ‘The Kirks of Edinburgh’ by A. Ian Dunlop, 1988. It cover’s church information from 1560 to 1984 and verifies the foundation of our current building in June 1869. Here is the Liberton Northfield information contained in the book: Liberton Northfield The church is on the south Side of Gilmerton Road at the corner of Mount Vernon Road. It is a plain building on a SW/NE axis with a stone
tower and spire at the north corner. Two low transepts to seat 500 were added after the building was erected in 1870. A raked floor has above it an interesting timbered roof. The two-manual organ (made in Britain, probably by C & F Hamilton and then used in a Huguenot church in France) was installed in 1903 on the SW wall and in front is a pulpit slightly off-centre to the west with a communion table and oak furniture on the shallow dais. There is no stained glass.
Behind the church is a suite of halls – a small one erected shortly after the church was built to which extensions were made by Basil Spence. The manse is 9 Claverhouse Drive.
The Rev. Walter Fairlie and many of the congregation of Gilmerton QS joined the Free Church at the Disruption. They worshipped first in a hall at Gilmerton and in 1844 a church was opened for them in the village of Stenhouse. The remain of this building may still be seen. There was a school in the basement. The foundation stone of the present church was laid in June 1869. The architect was J. W. Smith. Transepts and hall were added later by Peddie and Kinnear in 1873. There was fire damage in the vestry in 1962. The hall facilities were extended towards Mount Vernon Road after the Second World War. The first manse was at the junction of Ellen’s Glen Road and Lasswade Road (1858). Then a move was made to 270 Liberton Drive and another to 320 Gilmerton Road in 1956. The present manse was purchased in 1967.
A hall was built at Walter Scott Avenue in the Inch housing scheme and dedicated on 17th June 1956. It was sold to the Roman Catholics in December 1971. Gilmerton Free became Liberton Free in 1856, Liberton UF in 1900, Northfield in 1929 and subsequently the name was changed – about 1956 – to Liberton Northfield.


150 years – Commemoration and Celebration
Although we probably won’t have a minister at the start of 2019, that should not stop the church family from commemorating and celebrating this significant, exciting landmark in our churches history. Session have instructed Billy Gordon and Ian Messer to form a
‘steering committee’ to produce a plan of events in 2019. It’s a blank canvas just now. Briefly, the first step is to form a Steering Committee of approximately 15 people. Don’t be upset or disappointed if you are not on this committee as the vision is for this committee to split into numerous sub-groups to organise specific events. Step 2 is a survey form going to the congregation asking members to write down their top 3 event suggestions. The committee is then tasked to, along with their own suggestions, produce a 2019 calendar of events. The vision is to involve all church organisations and organisations using our halls, and all age-groups in the events during 2019.
Ian Messer
Film Night

Evening Services September to end November 2018

Evening Services September to end November 2018: Unity, Diversity and the Apostle’s Creed
Our Evening Services will be starting up again on 2nd September at 6:30pm in the Falconer Hall. We have a mix of worship, Bible reading, teaching, discussion and prayer followed by tea and coffee and all are welcome to come along. Sometimes we have a Bible Study format, other times we draw inspiration from an Iona Community style of service, and on occasion we have more traditional format.
Before the summer we were exploring some of the paradoxes of our faith (if you are interested I can lend you the book, Paradoxology by Krish Kandiah, that we were following). During this next period of time until Advent (to end of November) we will be exploring the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed is a statement of faith with content which can be accepted as being “orthodox ” (correct belief) among a wide and diverse range of Christian churches.
As we explore the Apostle’s Creed and what its statements of faith, we will also be reflecting on its use in keeping us true to the Gospel whilst allowing us to celebrate diversity, and how we might maintain “unity without uniformity” and “diversity without fragmentation” in an age of “anxiety and divisiveness”. We will also explore its application to our lives – not just in terms of what we believe (orthodoxy) but also in terms of how we behave (orthopraxy). In addition, we will be using one Sunday evening each month to reflect on what we have been learning during the Morning Services. During the first of these (mid September) we will be reflecting on what we have been learning from the Book of Ruth, including how we might be ruth-full rather than ruthless!
Alistair Lawson

Ministers Message

ear friends, This week I had the pleasure of popping into Toastie Tuesdays down in the Church hall. If you haven’t been I would highly recommend it. It is a wonderful example of God’s love in action. There was no Bible reading, no hymns or praying, just a team of committed Christians with a heart to feed young people. I have no idea how many people were fed while I was there, but it must have been over 100 high school kids that came in. Kids from around the world, some with faith and many without probably. However, they came into the church and they were made to feel welcome. It reminded me of the words of Francis of Assisi when he said;
“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
We can get so caught up with what we say and how we say things, that we at times can forget that actually our actions speak louder than words. That God wants us to be us, and He wants us to reach out to all. Those kids who came in to eat on Tuesday probably would never set foot in a Church normally, but they got the chance to see that the Church is a warm and welcoming place. It was a place where they are recognised and accepted as they are, a place where they will never be turn away from, and one where they can feel safe. There was even a boy who had left the High School and was at College but came back for his Toastie as it was comforting for him, it was normal and it most importantly it was safe.
What a perfect example of what Church should be, and one that we so often fall short of. We are not faultless as humans, and we all carry our pasts with us. It makes us at times quick to judge, when perhaps we need to give a second chance, or even a first chance. The person sitting next to us on a Sunday or the person sitting at the desk across from us at work, or even our ‘weird’ neighbour, all of whom we try our best to ignore. The Bible reminds us time and time again that we are loved by a God of second chances and He takes us as we are. Just think of how Peter denied Jesus three times yet was welcomed back and became the rock on which God built His earthly Church. Or Jonah who ran away and
was given a second chance, or Nicodemus who cheated everyone and yet was welcomed back by Jesus. We too have been welcomed back by Jesus despite everything that we have done in our lives.
Perhaps it is time that we love as we are loved by our Father in heaven. As we reach out let’s remember that we don’t need to have the right words, just the right heart. Perhaps today is the day that we talk to that ‘weird’ neighbour or the work colleague who irritates us, or even the person in Church whom we dislike. As we do, hold onto the words of Peter when he reminded us that God is patient and will wait for us;
Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. 2 Peter 3:9 (The Message)

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving
Our Harvest Thanksgiving service will be on Sunday 23rd September. Donations will be given to the Tron Moredun Church foodbank. They still run this foodbank and would be grateful to receive gifts from us.
If you are stuck for donation ideas, the Rev. Cammy Mackenzie mentioned that the items they usSep 23, 2018 11:00e most often are tinned tuna, beans, ham, corned beef and soups.


Welcome back after our unusually hot summer. We hope you have had an amazing time and are settling back into School/Nursery well.
Thank you to all who attended and helped plan our Back to School Service it was a lovely relaxing afternoon and enjoyed by all.
Sunday 2nd Sep – Theme: Barnabas
Sunday 9th Sep – Theme: Apollos
Sunday 16th Sep – Theme: Timothy
Sunday 23rd Sep – Family Harvest Thanksgiving service (No Trailblazers)
Sunday 30th Sep – Theme: Praise the Lord
Trailblazer Groups We have had to condense our previous four groups into three with the reduced number of children attending the older groups. Note the changes below
Sparklers – Preschool
All Stars – P1 to P4 (Children who have just gone into P1 will move up after the October break)
Older Group – P5 to High School
Sparklers Due to a lack of volunteers Sparklers will not be able to run one Sunday a month. Sunday 9th Sep there will no Sparklers, the Sparklers room will be open, a copy of the story and worksheets will be left on the table if parents would like to take their own children through them.
Trailblazer Library Corner Children now have their own space in the main church building. The Trailblazer Library Corner is for the children to use before and after the service under their parent’s supervision. Trailblazer leaders take the time before the service to set up for the group times. If your child is using the Trailblazer Library Corner, it is all parent’s responsibility to help keep this area tidy. After the service the Children are welcome to use the Trailblazer Library Corner but as the church is also used for prayer could we ask that parents keep it as a quiet space.
Children without parents in the church If you do not plan to stay in the church building during the service, we will now need you to sign for your child at drop off and pick up. Please bring your child into the main church building where a leader will provide the sheet for you to sign. Children should not be dropped off before 10.50 and will need to be picked up by 12.10 every Sunday. No child should be left on their own in the Falconer Hall.
The Pioneers and Explorers had 2 lovely sessions potting at Helen and Jeff’s house over the summer. They have made some amazing creations from clay. Thanks to Helen and Jeff for hosting this.
Thank you for all your support and cooperation.
God Bless all the Trailblazer Leaders/Helpers

October Holiday Club’18

Details of this year’s October Holiday Club are available on


` Liberton Northfield Holiday Club
280 Gilmerton Road
Monday 15th- Friday 19th October
9.30am – 12.30pm
Families are invited to the Holiday Club finale service on Sunday 21st October at 11am

Visit a tropical island and meet some crazy pirates.
Find out about Paul and his adventures with Jesus.
Have some fun and adventures of your own.
Free & available to any child of primary school age (P1-P7). Registration form in advance from or complete on the day

Forian – to go, to journey; to set out

In October 2015 I was ‘set apart’ as a Reader in the Church of Scotland. During my training I was involved in ministry in several churches where I gained a broad range of experience leading services, organising worship, running Bible studies, visiting schools and doing pastoral care.  Readers are usually attached to a charge, working regularly with one congregation but they can also engage in chaplaincy work or act as a locum during vacancies.

Earlier this year I approached Fiona Mathison, the chair of the Ministry Committee for Edinburgh Presbytery, to seek her advice as to how I could consolidate and build on the experience I had gained during my training. She suggested one option was to be attached to a church for a period of time. She approached the Reverend Dr Karen Campbell, the Minister at Marchmont/St Giles, and she agreed to take me for ten hours a week for four months. Since I started in May I have been involved in the Sunday morning services, the Thursday Mother and Toddler group, pastoral visiting, leading the Bible study and taking services at St Raphaels’ Care Home. I’ve also provided Pulpit Supply at St Michael’s Slateford and Carrick Knowe Parish Church. The experience has given me the opportunity to see how different churches approach things, especially the Sunday morning service. Karen Campbell has been very encouraging, and I appreciate all the advice and support she has given me as I seek the Lord’s will as to what my next step should be.

Kate Jackson

Film Night

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 August film is:
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.

11th September, God’s not Dead (2014)

God’s Not Dead is a 2014 American Christian drama film directed by Harold Cronk, it was released theatrically on March 21, 2014. Written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, and based on Rice Broocks’ book God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, it received mostly negative reviews, but grossed over $62 million on a $2 million budget.

The Plot:
Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), an evangelical college student, enrolls in a philosophy class taught by Professor Jeffrey Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), an atheist, who demands his students sign a declaration that “God is dead” to pass. Josh is the only student who refuses to sign. Radisson requires Josh to debate the topic with him but agrees to let the class members decide the winner. Josh’s girlfriend Kara (Cassidy Gifford) demands Josh either sign the statement “God is dead” or drop Radisson’s class, because standing up to Radisson will jeopardize their academic future. Kara breaks up with Josh for insisting on confessing his belief in God. Radisson gives Josh twenty minutes at the end of the first three lecture sessions to argue that God exists…. Come and see how Josh gets on!

August Message

Dear friends,
These past few weeks have been some of the hottest on record. We have been baking as a country. Either you will have loved the weather and enjoyed being outdoors, or you have struggled with the excessive heat and retreated indoors. We as a family have been enjoying the weather. We have opened our lounge doors and gained a whole new room to the house as we have let the outside in. Andrew and Maria have particularly enjoyed playing with water pistols and running through the sprinkler to cool off.

Yet there is cost to all this heat isn’t there? As lovely as it is, it is far from normal for us as a nation and certainly not this far north in Scotland. Humanity is having an effect on the planet and we are not taking care of it, as seen in our recent heatwave.

The psalmist wrote:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 24:1

I sometimes wonder how well we look after His creation. We just have to go for a walk in our own neighbourhood and we will find crisp packets, cigarette boxes, cans, paper and who knows what else. Head to the beach and see what has been washed up! Or how about the provoking images from Blue Planet recently that showed us the devastation in our oceans caused by humanity? How are we following Jesus’ commandment to:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
f we don’t take care of His creation and respect all that He gave us? Dropping our litter and ignoring His creation is not loving Him. To love God with all our heart calls us to witness against the destruction of God’s good creation. This planet is not ours, but as the Psalmist writes it is our loving Fathers. We are left to care for it. I know that we can’t stop climate change tomorrow, nor can we change the whole world, however we can change our own little worlds. Why not when we go out for a walk on the beach, along the canal to the shops or even on our way to church, pick up just three pieces of litter? If we all did that, can you imagine the impact we could have especially if three of our friends joined us? As you do it know that you are loving God and caring for His creation with your whole heart! In doing so we will be turning our hearts towards God as we care for His creation and remind ourselves and those around us that:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 24:1

With every blessing,

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!

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.

11th 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

Community Event

On Sunday 26th August, at 4pm, we are having a community event at Liberton Northfield Church. There will be food, including a barbecue, and a chance to relax and talk to people in the community who do not usually come to church. This will be followed by a “Songs of Praise Service” at 6pm.
Everyone is most welcome to come.

Loving the Not-So-Easily Lovable 

Loving the Not-So-Easily Lovable
Editor’s note: On reading the below article I was reminded of two sermons by Robin Taylor on Love and Unforgiveness and its destructive force.

I have just returned from listening to a sermon on “Grace”.  Oh my goodness! – how hard it is to rationalise ‘this mystical gift’ against ‘justice’ and the way so many of us are led to think today.

I thought immediately of my own lack of grace – of any ‘mystical gift’ having been bestowed upon me within the specific realms of loving a particular neighbour who lives very close by to where I do.  I know I should love her, no matter what.  But I find it so incredibly hard to love someone who chooses continually to view the world in a negative light; who remembers wrong-doings with far greater clarity and a vengeance – the unfortunate incidents which have occurred in her life.  She is one who clings onto them ‘lest ye forget’, and when you wave and say ‘Hello!’ to her on a sunny Saturday afternoon, she merely ‘looks through you’ with a blank expression, though I know she has heard me.

The poor old woman is acknowledgeably a genetic wreck, having smoked her way into deep ‘old age’ long before her time, but also assisted by unfortunate genes which leave her looking far older than a woman 15 years her senior.  I am certain that if she allowed herself to see a wee bit more ‘sunshine’ – that is, positivity – looking for the good in life, lifting herself up by reaching up as high as she could to pluck even one tiny ray from that great, generous, yellow ball in the sky – her heart would become instantly warmed; her appearance would soften and – of this I am absolutely certain – she would banish the loneliness that her disposition encourages.  Other neighbours and beyond would seek more willingly to share time with her, listening to stories of her varied life which has really been touched by many blessings….. reaching back to her strong and healthy youth, which, by a large degree, she threw away.  She may even venture to offer you a cup of tea when you pop in to visit her, whilst she sips at her own…..

Mabel is not an isolated case.  There are lots of people out there who are not so easy to love.  They close themselves off and shut the world out.  It is difficult to approach them without feeling somewhat of an intruder in their dark, blurred and lonely lives that often have been self-created through a bad attitude towards accepting the very Gift of Life, even if it is not entirely bursting with vitality.  I am certain that the opportunity nevertheless exists.

I think of my beautiful friend Jesamine, who, at 94, is a true example of ‘grace’.  She is a quiet woman, an essential lady, of very ordinary means, possessing a quality that immediately attracts respect.  She has lived a useful, fruitful life, embracing simplicity, and gratitude for what has been given to her.  Her family adore her; she attracts people to her because of her gentle approach.  You could even imagine her peeping up from under her sunhat to shade her eyes from that brilliant sunshine that finds its way into her heart.  We sing together when I visit her – favourite old hymns that she has chosen – she has a sweet voice – and we pray together.  I take her fragile hand, gnarled with age….a hand that has done a lifetime’s work of every nature (….if only hands could talk!).

She is an essentially quiet woman, similar to Mabel, but she is in no way brooding: she believes that Life is far too short to cling to the adverse elements that will inevitably beset every life well-lived.  As soon as I arrive to visit her, her hospitable nature is at the fore: she offers me a cup of tea and insists on preparing it herself, even though she has difficulty moving without the aid of her ‘walker’, and only has 40% vision in one eye, the other now totally blind.  I have no doubt that the sun finds its way into her heart almost every day of the year – even when it’s snowing outside, and there may be fewer folk for her to welcome in, even for just a couple of hours.  I love Jesamine.  Her memory will live in my heart forever.  She is easy to love.

But one of the BIG challenges of life is learning to love someone like Mabel, which we are really commanded to do:

Going into a home, no matter what its condition – or what it may smell of; doing a bit of homebaking, wrapping it carefully and tying it up with a fresh piece of ribbon, or pretty cellophane that you may have saved from a bouquet of flowers which you bought, or were given; taking a magazine you know she will enjoy, if she is still able to read……. even if she casts it to one side; or taking left-over balls of wool which you may have, knowing she is a knitter and could possibly make use of them.  Offering to wash her windows.  And, the inevitable but always welcome, taking her a bowl of homemade soup – it must be homemade, even if it is from all your leftover vegies from the week!

You could even offer to put the kettle on, and share a cuppa with her – now that would be a first!….

Love – like ‘Grace’ –  is something that one can only define by the way it moves unseen, and touches people’s lives by its profound effect.  Loving the seemingly ‘unlovable’ is something we need to keep in the forefront of our minds, on a daily basis.  We don’t have to move in and live with that person, much less try to convert them.  But I do believe we are called to see them as another one of God’s essential creations, and however hard it may be to love them, just one small deed of kindness towards them – putting self behind for just an hour or two here and there – will help to keep the world turning around in the right direction.

Kathleen Munroe

Community Event. 

Community Event.
We are planning to hold a community event at Liberton Northfield Church on Sunday 26th August – probably a barbecue followed by a ‘Songs of Praise’ service to which the community will be invited.

On the three Sunday evenings prior to this, that is, on the first three Sunday evenings in August, at 6.30pm, we intend to have Community Encounter visits similar to the last two years, when we would go around the parish distributing leaflets inviting people to come to this event.

On Sunday 29th July at 6.30pm we will meet to pray for this event and talk about what we will do.

It would be good to have a good number of people from the congregation coming to this, to welcome and talk to people in the community. Anyone interested in helping with the barbecue/setting up, please see Alasdair Mcleod.