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

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.

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.

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?
    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?
    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?
    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?
    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?
    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?
    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?
    My engagement ring, had to have the claws repaired recently – they were worn.
  8. What luxury item would you take to a desert island?
    My shower!
  9. What do you do to relax?
    Watch a good film – cycle, walk or swim – or do a bit of gardening.
  10. What is a favourite quotation?
    ‘To thine own self be true.’ – Shakespeare but first heard from my mum!
  11. What kind of music do you listen to?
    Whatever John is playing loudly!! I enjoy a wide range.
  12. How would you like to be remembered?
    As being loving and kind, oh and fun!
  13. What gets you up in the morning (apart from your alarm clock)?
    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

Christmas Services 2017 – all welcome

Sunday 10thDecember 11.00am Gift Service
3.00pm Carols at Tressilian
Sunday 17thDecember 11.00am Nativity Service
6.30pm Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 24thDecember 11.00am Family Service
11.00pm Watchnight Service
Monday 25thDecember 10.30am Christmas Day Family Service

A Christmas Prayer


I don’t know why I kept the newsletter for 30th December 2007, but I do think this article’s message is timeless, just change the places mentioned in the ‘joy’ paragraph for the many places plagued by war, terror, famine and natural disasters in 2015.
At our Christmas Day Service (2007) the following thought was shared with us regarding what we wanted for Christmas, and as we prepare to start a New Year, it would be good to hold on to these thoughts.

What do I want for Christmas?
Lord, the list is endless; so many things I wish for, so much my heart cries out for.
Here is my list, Lord.

First is hope.
I want hope to be reborn in so many weary souls, in a community sunk in apathy. I want hope in the holding centres of Zimbabwe, in the terrorised refugee camps of Darfur, on the winter slopes of the shattered mountains of Pakistan, on the fear-stalked streets of Baghdad, in the forgotten famine of Niger, in all places of despair – I want hope.

Next on my list is joy.
It’s a scarce commodity, Lord, but I want it to bubble up from way beneath the depths of the anguish, pain and grief that shape the stories of so many lives. I want joy for children who never have had cause to celebrate, and joy for those grown old and lonely. In place of sadness, grief and mourning – I want joy.

And then there’s peace, the most sought after and perhaps the most elusive gift of all, peace that is the healing balm for broken hearts and troubled minds, peace for countries torn apart by civil strife, peace between nations, a decommissioning of minds and hearts, so bridges may be built and new communities based on trust, respect and friendship may herald the dawn of a new day for our world. I all places of discord – I want peace.

You ask me what I want for Christmas, Lord. I want hope and joy and peace, but most of all it’s love I want, love for myself, for others and for You. Without it, all other gifts are rendered impotent.

I pause in my requests and in the stillness hear a voice,
“Why do you ask for what already has been given?
For Love was born at Christmas, and is forever present in my world, but you must first receive it before you pass it on. It is a gift that grows by sharing.”

At last I understand – I no longer have a list, just one request.

‘All I want for Christmas, Lord, is YOU.’

(Prepared by Rev. Doctor Ruth Patterson OBE)
Ian Messer