Claverhouse Conversation with John Chalmers

For our next Claverhouse Conversation we welcome the Very Rev John Chalmers, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

John will talk not only about his time in leadership in the church, the people he has met and the future of religion, but also his other life-changing experiences such as the dreadful injuries sustained by his son JJ as a marine in Afghanistan – and the impact on John and his family.

John is a great story-teller and wise observer of how the church is faring in the modern world. Not to be missed!

Great food from 9am and fellowship to be enjoyed. All welcome, regardless of where you come from and what you believe.

Date: 17 June
Time: 9-11am
Place: Liberton Northfield Church, 280 Gilmerton Road, EH16 5UR
Cost: recommended donation of £5, but don’t let that stop you coming along.
RSVP by text to 07479985075, or email libnorthpc@gmail.com

Why Didn’t We Have This Conversation A Year Ago?

Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why Didn’t We Have This Conversation A Year Ago”?
Or maybe you can’t bring yourself to have the conversation and the relationship slips away.

If you say “Yes” to any of the following questions, maybe this event is for you.
• Have you got someone you find it difficult to talk to?
• Do you worry about offending people and avoid raising important matters?
• Have you ever felt hurt or angry and unable to say so?
• Is there a difficult family situation which needs talking about?
• Or a neighbour you haven’t spoken to for years?

We all experience strained relationships from time to time, so we invite you to join us on Saturday 27th May for breakfast and some coaching from John Sturrock about having better conversations in those difficult situations.

John spends his professional life helping people deal with tough conflicts and unresolved disputes. He will lead us through this workshop with plenty of practical, real-life tips- and a few stories too.

Date: 27 May
Time: 9-11am
Place: Liberton Northfield Church, 280 Gilmerton Road, EH16 5UR
Cost: recommended donation of £5, but don’t let that stop you coming along.
RSVP in the comments, or email libnorthpc@gmail.com

An introduction to Tenebrae

The Tenebrae service which we participate in this evening has been celebrated since early in the 4th century. Tenebrae is a Latin word and it means either darkness or shadows. It speaks of the shadows which closed in on Jesus as the evening passed into night, and the new day brought death on the cross, deserted by his followers. The lighted candles are used as symbols of the disciples who were with Jesus. The darkness and shadows represent the darkness that covered the earth when Jesus died.
The evening starts with a cup of tea and fellowship, catching up on the news and sharing a joke.
The reason we do this is that this is exactly how things started on the night Jesus was betrayed. He went into the Upper Room with his disciples where they sat and ate dinner, enjoying being together, enjoying each other’s company.
In this atmosphere of fellowship, as they sat around the dinner table, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion.
After he served Holy Communion to his disciples, Jesus stripped off his outer garments and took a bowl of water and washed his disciples’ feet. You may well feel anxious about having someone wash your feet this evening, even in the Upper Room Peter felt anxious, but remember what Jesus said to Him, “Unless I wash your feet you can have no part of me”.
As we allow our feet to be washed, we are surrendering to being a part of the body of Christ.
After he had washed his disciples’ feet, Judas left and Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane.
After the foot washing, we will light the candles on the table and turn out all the lights. As the readers read to us the biblical record of that night, they will extinguish the candles in front of them to symbolise the advancing darkness, the encroaching shadows that overcame Jesus, due to the increasing hatred of his enemies, the collapse of loyalty among his disciples, and the looming shadow of suffering and death.
At last the central candle, which is known as the Christ Candle and symbolises the life of Jesus, will also be extinguished. This symbolises the death of Jesus. It is the moment of truth for us as we contemplate Jesus’ death for our salvation. It is a time when we face our own need for repentance and renewal.
In the darkness we will listen to a solo woman sing, and we remember that it was the women who cared for Jesus who were the last to leave as he was laid in the tomb of one of his followers, all alone.
After a brief pause the Christ candle will be lit again in prophetic hope of the coming Easter dawn.
After it is relit, we will leave the church in silence and sombreness.

Tenebrae

Come join us on Maundy Thursday as we journey through the events of the night that Jesus was betrayed.

Come join us on Maundy Thursday as we journey through the events of the night that Jesus was betrayed.

February Newsletter

.facebook_1486122006204Dear friends

I have probably said it a hundred times and will possibly say it a few hundred times more: “I love being a parish minister”.

Perhaps the main reason that I love being a parish minister is that this incredibly privileged position means our focus is already beyond the walls of our church, beyond the care of those in the congregation. This means I am a de facto missionary sharing and proclaiming the reign of God in this place, and on all the earth. By the same token, we are a congregation of missionaries sharing God’s love with the parish entrusted to us.

We do this through sharing our lives with our neighbours. We also do so financially. From time to time I hear people saying, “We ought to support missionaries financially” and as a congregation of the Church of Scotland, we consistently do so.

Each year, as a congregation we contribute to the Mission and Ministry (M & M) Fund of the Church of Scotland, from which money is drawn to pay stipends to ministers not only in Scotland, but throughout the world. In addition to paying stipends and overheads, somewhere in the region of 14% of what congregations contribute to the M & M Fund is used directly for worldwide mission work. Through your contributions, we contribute and are part of the wider work of the church.

To be fair, Liberton Northfield’s contribution to the M & M fund is lower than what we draw from the fund, and so in reality we are being subsidised by other congregations who invest in us as the church’s missionaries to this parish.

Apart from supporting other people in mission, we are missionaries ourselves. As a parish church, we are entrusted with fulfilling the Mission of God to the people in our parish, and the broad Church of Scotland stands with us and give us support and resources to achieve that mission. We are not just here to get people to sign up to go to heaven when they die. We are called by God to help to bring heaven to earth in this life.

As a parish minister, I feel humbled by the opportunity to engage with the breadth of religious belief in the parish. We are a broad church. The majority of funerals I conduct are to families with no fixed connection to Christianity or the church. In the sombreness of a family’s living room, we share the weight of grief together. As a parish minister I am also available to minister and support people of other faiths, without trying to proselytise them.

There are everyday things we can do to share God’s love and make people’s lives a little easier. Every once in a while I get to put my neighbours’ wheelie bin away. It may seem silly, but I want them to see that they are loved by us as ambassadors for God to the world.

What I find beautifully fulfilling about being a parish minister is that I have the opportunity to join in worship with Christians from a very broad range of traditions. We do not exclude folk who have Christian beliefs different to our own personal beliefs. We have space for conservative Christians, but we do not define ourselves as conservative. We have space for liberal Christians, but we do not restrict ourselves to being liberal. We embrace people from Free Church, Baptist, Congregational, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Charismatic and a range of other Christian traditions, and are richly blessed by that diversity.

As a broad, national church, we have an obligation to foster opportunities for all these voices to be heard and respected. Rather than trying to drown out all the voices that don’t sound like our voice, we are to adjust our voices so that other voices may be heard. Our maturity as a national church is possibly most noticeable in our ability not only to tolerate those with whom we differ, but to deliberately honour and love each other.

Thank you for being a vital part of this amazing church.

Mike