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: 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).

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

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.’

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.

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’.

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

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

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