Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Communion Sunday, 4 June


All welcome - it is the table of the Lord, and he invites us to his feast...

Monday, 29 May 2017

Sunday 28 May - on worship...

READINGS/ Psalm 103;  Acts 2:41-47;  Col 3:12-17

Our theme for morning worship was the matter of worship itself, with the tagline -
'Worship: a guide for the perplexed.'
In our service was asked:
What is worship?
What are the various components within worship?
Why are they were they are in the service?

In a slightly different way of doing things, following the basic pattern of our
worship, we effectively had an instructed liturgy - commentary throughout the service on each element within worship. Given the commentary, there was no 15 minute sermon 'slot', rather, the commentary throughout wove itself around the service and effectively, became the sermon...

Our evening worship was held in Leadhills, where we did a little experimenting:
we held a cafe-style, informal service. Our theme for the service was 'patience'...

Friday, 19 May 2017

Contacts, information, events: 20-26 May

 Due to commitments as a commissioner at the General Assembly, 
the minister will be unavailable during: Sat 20 May - Fri 26 May 

Rev. George Shand
Rev. Elisabeth Spence

Pulpit cover: 
Sunday 21 May: we welcome the Rev. Elisabeth Spence - formerly Minister of Ibrox Parish, and now working as a Pioneer Minister on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Funeral cover:
will be provided by the Rev George Shand who can be contacted on 01899 309400.

For any ongoing parish queries, please contact our Acting Session Clerk:
Ms Heather Watt on 01899 850211.

News, events, and general notices:

Christian Aid Week: This last week, we marked the 60th anniversary of Christian Aid Week. This year, the focus was upon refugees. Thanks to all who contributed to the work of Christian Aid. During the week, the Minister was also involved in school assemblies on this theme, and was seriously impressed by some of the insights, comments, and questions from the children. Together we teased out the difference between immigrants and refugees, heard the story of Faraidoon and Farzad from Afghanistan who had to flee their home. Discovered how many refugees there are currently around the world [65 million] and realised the number was just above the population of the whole of the UK. We also spent time thinking about what two items we might take with us if we had to leave our home suddenly.
If you've not yet had the opportunity to make a donation for Christian Aid Week, you still can online by following this link: Christian Aid Week - donate

Sunday 28 May, 6.30pm: Evening worship will be held in Leadhills Village Hall. All are welcome to come along to this more informal time of worship. We continue with our theme for the year, ‘the fruit of the Spirit’, and this month, we focus upon ‘patience’. Worship will be led by Nikki Macdonald.
Also on Sunday, from 2-4pm, it would be great if we could support our friends at Holy Trinity Chapel, Lamington, who've so kindly let us use their building for evening worship over the last couple of years. It's their annual Book Fair with tea and Lamingtons, with all proceeds going toward to Chapel Restoration Fund.

Sunday 4 June, 10.30am: Pentecost Sunday and Communion Service. We meet together to remember the ‘birth’ day of the Church, and share together in the bread and wine of Communion.
All are welcome, for it is Christ who invites us to his table.

Sunday 25 June, 10.30am: the UCPC Annual Songs of Praise Service is back. This year, in a slight change to our format, you’ll have the chance to vote from a list of selected hymns: the hymns with the most votes will then be used in the service. There will be 7 available hymn slots. A box to place your votes in will be available on 28th May and 4th June. Thereafter, hymns will be tallied, and sent to our friends from Leadhills Silver Band, so they can practice.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday sermon - Christian Aid Week 2017

READINGS/ 1 Peter 2:4-10; John 14:1-14

Let’s pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. amen.

The palm trees have gone,
our ‘Alleluias’ have been taken down...
and over the last weeks, since Easter, we’ve been hearing stories of resurrection:
of new life;
of hope reborn;
of renewed commitment on the part of Jesus’ friends –
to love and to follow him wherever he may call,
and to do whatever he may ask.

In our gospel reading for this morning, we see Jesus in conversation with his disciples.
In answer to Thomas’ question:
‘we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus responds with:
‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.’
And then, reminds his disciples that whoever sees him, sees the Father.
That the Father lives in him...
and, that ‘anyone who has faith’ in Jesus, will do what Jesus has been doing.

Let’s remind ourselves of some of what Jesus had been doing:
teaching – about God’s kingdom:
what life would be like with God at the centre...
no more war,
no more suffering,
no more injustice...
a place where everyone
had their own place
to be,
and to rest,
and to find safety, peace, and love.
God’s kingdom
God’s kin – dom:
a place of belonging,
of community,
of kinship to God as beloved sons and daughters,
and of kinship to one another,
as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus not only taught of the kingdom, and of kin-dom,
he showed it:
in the way he lived his life –
one of compassion...
tending to wounds both physical, and spiritual;
extending the boundaries of God’s grace by welcoming and eating
with those who were considered outcasts;
by feeding the hungry;
and caring for the poor...
Showing God’s justice in action
and challenging injustice;
speaking up for those whose voices had been crushed.
Reaching out,
restoring, redeeming...
rescuing the lost.

As the writer of 1st Peter reminds us:
Jesus is the cornerstone,
the living stone...
and as his friends,
as those who profess to follow him,
we are chips off the block, if you like:
we are his living stones –
people who have been
called out of the darkness and into his marvellous light...
people who have received God’s mercy,
and who continue to live in God’s mercy and grace...
people who are called to be like Jesus:
called to do the work
of welcoming,
of restoring and rescuing...
called to bring others out of the darkness
and into the light...
called to see the image of God in every human being;
called to see Christ in the stranger’s guise.

In the gospel of John, Jesus talks of preparing a place for us:
‘In my Father’s house, are many rooms,’ he says.
Room enough for all.
Welcome...for all.
Enough...for all.
At the beginning of this Christian Aid Week,
we’re reminded once more, of the many who have no place to call home,
of the millions forced into making the fearful, awful choice
to journey into an uncertain future,
rather than live with the certainty of death, poverty, or starvation
should they remain where they are.
And, let’s make no bones about this:
unlike some self-serving politicians who wilfully and appallingly
conflate immigration with asylum seekers and refugees –
as Christ’s followers,
There’s a world of difference between someone moving to a new country
for a change of job, and someone having to flee for their life,
who would, in other circumstances, prefer to stay in their homeland.
Let’s be those people who take our politicians to task each time they make such
reprehensible and inhumane comments
just to stir up fear and unrest for their own political purposes.
For we are called to speak truth to power.

As we think of the refugee crisis, however,
we’re reminded of the scale of it all, and hear of countless millions...
and it can all feel ... overwhelming:
‘What can one person do?’ 
‘How can one person ever make a difference?’
we sometimes find ourselves asking.
You may have heard this story, but it’s a good one, so bear with me:
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work.
Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed
and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see,
stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.
As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer,
the man could see that he was occasionally bending down
to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.
The boy came closer still and the man called out,
“Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied
“Throwing starfish into the ocean. 
The tide’s washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. 
When the sun gets high, they’ll die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied,
“But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. 
I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish
and threw it as far as he could into the ocean.
Then he turned, smiled and said,
“It made a difference to that one!”

As God’s people,
as followers of Jesus,
we are called to make a difference.
As the saying goes:
‘be the change you want to see’,
in Jesus’ name, amen.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Christian Aid Week 2017


Join us as we mark the 60th Anniversary of Christian Aid Week.
Reflecting the first CA Week in 1957, this year, CA focuses once more on the plight of refugees....
This Sunday and the following Sunday, there'll be opportunities to make a donation via the CA collection boxes in the vestibule and hall. Please give generously to support the great work that CA continues to do, 60 years on. 
Also in the vestibule: for reflection and prayer, CA have produced a 7 day                                   devotional booklet for the week. Feel free to collect one - or more - as you leave church...

In the meantime, why not watch Theodor's story...

Monday, 1 May 2017

Contacts, information, events...

 The minister will be on leave from: Mon 1 May - Thurs 11 May 

Rev. Sandy Strachan
Rev. George Shand

Pulpit cover: 

Sunday 7 May: we welcome back the Rev. Sandy Strachan - formerly NHS Chaplain in Dumfries.

Funeral cover:
will be provided by the Rev George Shand who can be contacted on 01899 309400.

For any ongoing parish queries, please contact Ms Heather Watt on 01899 850211.

News, events, and general notices:

Fri 5 May, 7.30pm: Caledonian Fiddlers' Orchestra return to Crawfordjohn hall. The concert is a fundraiser for the church, so it would be great to see a good crowd. Tickets are £10 each, and can be purchased from the following UCPC Social Committee members: Janet T, Isobel T, Anne B, Mary H. Molly W, Jeanette W. and Jenny W.  Offers of help, by way of: baking, furniture moving etc would be very much appreciated. Please contact one the above members of the Social Committee, and thanks in advance!

Sun 7 May: We welcome the Rev. Sandy Strachan as he leads us in worship...

Sun 14 May: Christian Aid Week begins

Stamps: A reminder to you to save any stamps from your mail and bring them in to church.
They are a great way of raising money for mission work. The box for stamps can be
found in the vestibule. Thanks all!