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.

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

Dear Friends

Last night I went to a Presbytery meeting in Edinburgh, and felt like a kid dazzled by all the lights. I love Christmas, the sights, the sounds, the smells. This year for the first time in my life, we will sing carols about snow and sleigh rides and it will actually be cold with the potential for real snow.

Last night I was deeply moved as I listened to a report about the first 50 refugees who have been welcomed to Edinburgh. The report said that about half of those people are children. I can only imagine the horror those poor people have experienced in their search for safety and a chance to live normal lives. We have provided them with homes, medical care and placed them in schools. It is planned that 50 more people will arrive in January.

Last night I was very proud, of you. I felt so honoured that you are my neighbours, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Jesus. I was so proud to live in a city where caring for refugees is not seen as a chore that needs to be accepted, but rather as a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of real people.

Last night as I listened to that report, I heard an echo of Jesus from Matthew 25 where He said that when we feed the hungry and clothe the poor, we are actually feeding and clothing Him. I know that acts of kindness such as these are not without difficulties, and that they come at quite a high price. Our human nature is to ask, “What is in this for us?” Perhaps the cost of this expression of love with no immediate promise of reward is precisely what makes it so fantastic.

This Christmas, may God bless you as you have opened your city to others in the true spirit of Christmas.

Grace and peace.
Mike

Gift Day Service 13th Dec

SUNDAY 13th December

As we have done for the last two years, for the Gilmerton Family Centre, gifts should be suitable for children and for Bethany its gifts suitable to adults.

Services in December

Date Service
6th December Advent services at 11am and 6.30pm
13th December Gift Day Service at 11am, Carol Service at Tressilian Gardens at 3.30pm
20th December Family Nativity Service at 11am, Carols by Candlelight Service at 6.30pm
25th December Christmas Day Family Service at 10.30am
27th December Family Service at 11am