FEBRUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER ISSUE 6 Alves Guild cheques out with charity donations Report by ELEANOR BUTLER IT IS with a great degree of sadness that following the World Day of Prayer on March 6, Alves Church Guild will go into abeyance. I first became involved in the movement in 1960, but it had been run for many years before that by a formidable band of women. Even in those far off years, there were efforts to increase the membership, but fashions change, people move, and of course, folks grow old. Afternoon meetings took the place of evening ones, people (like me) now had jobs and that cut out the young and middle-aged. There was a young wives group, but it also found it difficult. I came back to the Guild in 1999 and found there were lots of ideas, with community involvement being encouraged. At their last meeting, members of Alves Church Guild presented cheques to representatives of local charities - reaching out with love and compassion. The movement supported Alves in Bloom and many other ventures, including a bus run for OAPs during the summer, until it became uneconomical. As secular interests increased, Guild numbers dwindled, so we decided to focus on the festivals of the Church - Christmas, Easter, Harvest - hoping to involve the children from Alves School. The most popular community event run by the Guild was the Strawberry Tea, and since 1997 it has raised £24,000. Of this, £10,000 was used to purchase items for the kirk, and £9,000 was donated towards the work of the church. As this chapter in the life of Alves Church closes, members felt that they should reach out to local charities - ‘Reach out and help with love and compassion, give strength and hope to those who are in need’. Although there will not be a Guild at Alves, members hope to take up the invitation to join sister Guilds at their meetings. Through it all, there is still a great passion for the work of Christ’s Kirk, and members have vowed to carry on His work in whatever capacity they can. Joining in prayer across the globe Vigils for peace in Middle East ON THE 24th day of each month, Christians around the world are praying for peace in the Middle East They set apart a time to pray with and for their sisters and brothers in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. The Church of Scotland is joining this movement along with Christian Aid and the Scottish Episcopal Church and in partnership with the worldwide ACT Alliance. In Moray, following a large gathering in November, a short vigil has been organised for Tuesday, February 24, from 4pm-4.20pm. It is to be held in Spynie Kirk, by Elgin, and all are welcome. The vigils will be held regularly, and it is hoped that future ones could be held in other churches. MESSAGE FROM THE MODERATOR Rev DANNY CONNOLLY Forgiveness and God’s special love A WOMAN arrived at the gates of heaven and threw herself down on her knees begging: “Forgive me, forgive me, O how I need forgiveness.” A stern figure bent towards her and asked: “Why do you plead for mercy in such a way?” “I’ve lived the last ten years as a cheat and a fraud sobbed the woman.” “I see you come from England,” observed the saint. “Yes,” she replied. “I’ve lived all my life in St Ives. I’m so proud of my beautiful town. That’s been the problem.” “Tell me what’s troubling your soul.” “Every year for the last ten years, St Ives has been entered for the most Beautiful Britain competition and, for each of those years, I have sneaked around the other shortlisted towns on the day of the final. Elders ordained at Birnie The picturesque and historical Birnie Kirk was the setting for the ordination of two new elders, Viv Wright (left) and Jean Cooper, to the united charge of Birnie and Pluscarden, which is linked with Elgin High. Pictured with the newest members of the Kirk Session is the Rev Stuart Duff, who conducted the service and act of ordination. “I’ve dropped a bit of litter here, kicked over a flower pot there. I’ve sounded my car horn in the most peaceful places, and that’s how St Ives has won the award for the most beautiful town in Britain ten times in a row. O have mercy on me, I need to be forgiven”. A compassionate voice said: “Don’t worry, my dear, you are just the sort of person we want in heaven. There’s no problem at all with you coming in. The woman’s face lit up: “I had no idea forgiveness was so easy to find. Thank you St Peter, thank you.” As the gates swung wide she heard a voice behind saying: “Actually, I’m not St Peter, he’s having his lunch break. “Who are you then?” asked the woman. “I’m St Ive.” Some people are hard to forgive. I remember an elderly man who was a member of my congregation. He was the village grump and was so bad that people used to cross the road whenever they saw him. He moaned about everything, and refused to sing modern hymns. Gearing myself to visit him one day, I rang his doorbell and when he finally answered he kept me on the doorstep until I said, “well, aren’t you going to invite me in?” He did. Our early conversation was tense until I gently asked why he attended church. He told me that he came for the company after his wife died. At that point I realised that God had been speaking to me and I just wasn’t listening. He was saying: “I want you to be a friend to this man because I love him.” God put a special love in my heart that certainly wasn’t there before and I was able to be his friend. He was still as grumpy as ever, but God had changed my heart and that was the point. It was not that his heart needed to be changed it was mine. What about you? Is there someone you find difficult to get on with? It could be that it’s you who needs to change. Fruitfulness on the Frontline HAVE YOU ever wondered how you could use your Christian faith to make a difference - in your workplace, in clubs and societies, among your friends and family? Starting on Wednesday, February 11, St James’s Church, Lossiemouth, will host a Lenten series of studies and sermons about how each one of us can make a difference where we are. Hopeman labyrinth AT THE beginning of Holy Week, a labyrinth will be laid out in Hopeman Kirk, with the church open to offer a space for reflection and prayer. It will also be open on Monday, March 30, from 10am-noon and 5pm-8pm, and Tuesday, March 31, from 10am-noon. This may extend during the week. Each Wednesday, a short film clip from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity will be shown, and this will be followed by a Bible study and discussion. It will be held twice, at 3.30pm and 7.30pm. The Rev Graham Crawford said: “We extend a warm welcome to all who wish to join with us in this journey through Lent.” Who’s we are and Whom we serve From the streets of Elgin to the warmth of Malta MEMBERS of Rathven Guild are enjoying meeting in the new church hall, as it is warm and has plenty of room to spread out. This session, a varied programme has been enjoyed by the members, and our minister, the Rev Isabel Buchan, was the speaker at the opening meeting and told of her life and experiences before being called to Buckie North and Rathven. Another ‘member of staff’, OLM trainee, Sonia Palmer, also spoke about her life before commencing training as an ordained local minister. Two Street Pastors from Elgin, Sarah Johnson and Margaret Murray, gave us an insight into the much appreciated work they do at the weekends in The Rev Shuna Dicks the Moray capital. Proving very popular are the members’ afternoons, where the ladies can choose what they do or speak about, and these have proved very informative and interesting. There have been demonstraST GERARDINE’S High Church Guild meets every week tions on quilting, during the winter months and enjoys talks on a wide range and, later in Febof subjects. Topics this session have covered orphanages ruary, there will in Romania, Covesea Lighthouse and healthy cooking. be a silk painting We are hosting the World Day of Prayer on March 6, and demonstration. five congregations from the town have been invited to take The Rev part in the service. Following the worship, a cup of tea and Shuna Dicks is cakes with a flavour of the Bahamas (pineapple and coco- visiting Rathven nut) will be served. Guild at the beA Daffodil Tea will take place on Saturday, March 14, ginning of March and a warm welcome is extended to members of other when she will upguilds to come along and enjoy, not only the treats, but a date us on one of friendly chat and fellowship. the Guild As part of of our Partner Guild Exchange, a day trip to projects - Out of visit St Nicholas Guild, Kincorth, is also planned. Africa into Malta Our season ends on a high note with a celebration of - and the memHoly Communion conducted by our minister, the Rev bers are very Geoff McKee. Following the service we round off the much looking forevening with a fish supper. ward to that. Iona Kielhorn Ann Grant The Rev Gillian Morton, convener of the Presbytery’s Mission and Service committee prepares to welcome representatives from a number of churches in Moray to the Mission Resources Day, held in Bellie Church, Fochabers. There were three workshops Congregational Twinning, led by Karen Gillon; Fresh Expressions with David McCarthy, and Visiting the Bereaved led by Margaret King. The day was enjoyed by all who attended, and as well as learning a great deal, the fellowship, sharing and interaction between Christians from different churches was most uplifting. And he said to them: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” DATE FOR YOUR DIARY FRIDAY, MARCH 20 at 7.30pm presents ON SUNDAY, January 11, the Moderator of Moray Presbytery, the Rev Daniel Connolly, conducted a service of worship and celebration to mark the uniting of Bellie and Speymouth churches. The charges were linked in 1959, when the Rev Alick Hugh Macaulay was minister, and following the service an elder at the church remarked: “This long and happy engagement became a marriage on January 1.” During the celebration, the Moderator presented certificates to four elders - Frank Low, George Nicol, Peter Cromar and Peter Dawson - in recognition of their long service and dedication to the kirk, three of whom are retiring from the ruling eldership. The name of the newly united charge is Bellie and Speymouth Parish Church. Out of Africa ON Sunday, January 18, a Songs of Praise was held in St Giles Church, Elgin The African themed service was entitled ‘Needing a Neighbour’ and focused on the plight of refugees in South Sudan. During the worship, an offering was uplifted for the work of the church in South Sudan. During morning worship on Sunday, January 11, at Bellie and Speymouth Parish Church, four elders were presented with long service certificates by the Moderator of Moray Presbytery, the Rev Daniel Connolly. From l-r are the Rev Daniel Connolly, Frank Low (retiring after 42 years service), George Nicol (retiring after 61 years), Peter Cromar (52 years long service) and Peter Dawson (retiring after 50 years). Also in the picture is the Rev Alison Mehigan, minister of the charge. Picture by Anne Murray Presentation THE Rev Stuart Duff, minister of Birnie and Pluscarden linked with Elgin High had the great pleasure of presenting four elders from the united charge of Birnie and Pluscarden with their long service certificates. The four who received their certificates, signed by the Moderator of the General Assembly, are George Cruickshank (45 years), Bill Craig (44), Bill Knox (37) and James Gordon (30). THE KIRK OPEN EVERY FRIDAY 10am-4pm CHURCH GIFTS BOOKS Cds dvds It is well worth a visit to The Kirk Shoppie, and here, Bill and Dorothy McGoldrick, two of the volunteers who help to run the outlet show Neil Sutherland (right) a selection of the many books they have in stock. Right: A wide range of CDs and DVDs is also available.
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