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

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.

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

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