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April 2019 Letter

  • 2 April 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

I do not know about you, but for me the longer, lighter days and the beautiful, bright daffodils are just what the doctor ordered! it's as if the world, waking up from its winter's sleep, is making me feel more alive than ever. And the fact that all of this is happening in the lead-up to Easter, when we will celebrate New Life, just makes it so much more meaningful.

I've had so much time to think the last couple of months.... time to reflect on the things I am thankful for. I'm thankful to be able to live in this beautiful country and to once again experience the start of Spring and the joy that brings. I'm thankful for my lovely family, who are supporting me so well during my time of convalescence and who fill my life with a different kind of joy. I am thankful for every single one of you! Your love and support fill me with more than joy - it makes me feel truly humble...I miss you. I miss being at church on Sundays. I miss the friendly faces greeting me at the church door. I miss visiting people. I've missed quite a number of funerals and miss having the opportunity  help people when they are most vulnerable. I missed formally saying goodbye to George, which was really hard for me. But at the same time I am so proud to be the minister of two such thriving congregations. I've heard such good reports of Kirk's Cafe, the Beetle Drive, the Scots Night, of Alison and Suzanne's meaningful sermons....

And all this just brought me to the realisation that being the minister of Polbeth Harwood and the West Kirk of Calder is not my job, it's part of who I am. And I cannot wait to get back.

May God bless you all this Easter, and always,

Love 

Nanda

'Have a Go' Sunday

  • 17 March 2019
  • liz.dyer

'Have a Go' Sunday

With our Stewardship Campaign this year being all about "Talents", both congregations are holding 'Have a Go' services on 24th March.

We are all different and God has different roles for us all to play. No matter how small the job, we can all play a part.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It would be wonderful if we all can give back a little to be supportive of the Christian service our churches provide in the life of congregations themselves and in our wider communities.

To keep our active Church community going, lots of jobs need doing - from cleaning and maintaining our buildings and grounds; arranging or delivering flowers; assisting in worship with bible readings; helping with teas after worship; delivering the church magazine and leaflets; assisting with fund raising activities; to working with young people and visiting the sick or housebound; and helping in essential duties in administration and finance.

What talent did God give you?

Why keep it to yourself - SHARE IT!

March 2019 Letter

  • 2 March 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

This year the season of Lent begins on Wednesday 6 March and ends on Thursday 18 April. This means that Easter will be fairly late. I love a late Easter because it usually means that the earth itself echoes the joyful message of resurrection—the fresh smell of damp soil, and all the buds, and the birds, and the flowers lending a kind of emotional power to the mystery of new life that we proclaim.  According to the ancient plan of the church, Lent begins in the cold and dark, then journeys slowly toward warmth and light.

How many times will you hear people asking others what they are giving up for Lent? Eat nothing sweet – no chocolate.  Put no sugar or cream in your coffee or tea.  Stop eating crisps and the list goes on and on. But what about technologies such as Facebook, Instagram, twitter, internet shopping, using your mobile phone? How many could give up or limit using technology during Lent?

I tend not to ask people to “give things up for Lent.”  I’m much more likely to ask you to take up a good cause for Lent, or a good habit, or a productive activity.  And yet…I’ve got to admit that there’s something powerful about occasionally saying no to our desires. 

There’s something compelling, perhaps even something wise, about practicing resistance against the constant urge to indulge ourselves. When we deny ourselves the luxuries that we’re used to, we learn a liberating thing: we need very little in life.  And though denying ourselves chocolate doesn’t teach us what it’s like to be poor, it does remind us that there are those in the world who struggle to survive, who cannot afford even the smallest indulgences. 

When we deny ourselves the excesses of life, we learn a new appreciation for things we once took for granted.  Most importantly, perhaps, when we say no to our desires, we become their master.  And in a society that is largely ruled by its empty wishes and desires, how peace-giving and empowering it is to become their master.   And all those abstract indulgences like gossip, self-pity, jealousy, … You’ll never regret giving those up for forty days, for after Lent is over, you’ll have learned that you have it in your power to give them up for life, just by consistently refusing them.

Lent is a holy time, a joyful time to discover anew what it means to be spiritual beings, following after the way of the Christ.  I hope you’ll use this time intentionally and well.

In Christ’s Peace,

Alison

 

 

February 2019 Letter

  • 3 February 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear all

This month my letter is of a personal nature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Just a wee update about what’s happening in my life at the moment! On the 4th of February I have to go to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for surgery – I will be getting a full hysterectomy.                                                                                                                                                                                      After this operation I will be out of action for some time to recover.

I am so thankful this is happening at a time when we have so much support available in our congregations!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Between Alison Quilter and Suzanne Dunleavy all our worship services for February and March are covered, and I would like to thank both of them from the bottom of my heart for all their support! Alison will provide pastoral cover as well, and the Rev John Povey will provide back-up pastoral cover.

Everything will just carry on as normal, apart from Office Hours, which I’ll hopefully get back to in April.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I have no idea how long it will take before I am able to drive again, but I am hoping for a speedy recovery, and as soon as I am able I will come to church – even if just to attend a service initially.

I’m also thankful to Stewart and Marian, the members of our Sessions and Boards and also our Pastoral Care Team for standing in for me when needed during this time.

 know that you will pray for me, and I appreciate your support very much.

May God bless you all,

Nanda

 

December 2018 Letter

  • 30 November 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

 

Special occasions…

I don’t know what your family is like, but for my family it’s really important to always take a photo of a special occasion. But dearie me – to get everybody in, looking at the camera and smiling at the same time is almost as difficult as climbing Mount Everest! But it’s definitely worth it – because every time we look back at the photo’s it brings back special memories.

Two such special occasions are just around the corner now – Christmas and New Year. And everywhere I look I see pictures of “perfect” families – standing in front of the fire place, all wearing their Christmas jumpers or Santa hats, beaming from ear to ear – although I know from personal experience that that photo posted on Facebook is probably the 10th photo they had to take! Because real life is never as perfect as you would like others to believe.

They didn’t have cameras way back when Jesus was born – but can you imagine what it would be like if they had? Our theme this Christmas at our churches is “Picture Perfect”. Please come along and celebrate this most special occasion with me at all the different services and events on our calendar for December.

We might not be perfect – but let’s give the world a picture of how Christmas should be celebrated this year.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a very special 2019!

Nanda

 

 

African Children's Choir Concert

  • 22 November 2018
  • liz.dyer

African Children's Choir

at West Kirk of Calder

on Thursday 20th December at 7pm

- only one of 5 venues in Scotland this tour!

Arrangements are falling into place for the visit to West Calder of this inspiring young choir made up of 8 boys  and 9 girls from Uganda who are touring the UK with their amazing 80 minute programme of African dance, drumming, traditional instruments and worship songs.

Tickets  - £7 for Adults; £4 for Children; £20 for Families - are now available from

Stewart MacRae 01506 872486

Marian Kinsman 07973 305211 

The choir scheme, which has been going for 30 years now, is made up of children from Uganda, who, without the Choir, would not have access to good education, food, clothing and discipleship. These talented children are full of joy despite their difficult circumstances, and will capture the hearts of all who see them.

The children will arrive with their own bus in the village around 2pm and initially be accommodated in the church hall and given a hot meal pre-concert.

After the concert they will be staying overnight with local families and before heading south of the border for their next venue, they will sing a song at Parkhead Primary School Christmas service held in West Kirk.

For a flavour of the talent of these children watch the video link

       https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7Lm567AWqE

Looking forward to seeing you on the night!

 

 

November 2018 Letter

  • 31 October 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Greater love has no one than thisthan to lay down one's life for his friends”
(John 15:13).

Dear Congregations

This year we mark the centenary of the end of World War I. On Armistice-Remembrance Sunday on 11th November 2018, people in our communities and around the Commonwealth will be reflecting on the lives that were changed irrevocably, and those that were lost.

Some 65 million men were mobilised across Europe during World War I. Nearly a third of them – some 21 million were wounded. Another 8.5 million were killed and some 7.7 million were taken prisoners of war. All of them had family and friends whose lives were changed forever by the events of 1914-1918.

My great grandfather, 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, died of wounds sustained in battle and is buried in a Commonwealth grave in the city of Gent, Belgium. Over the years members of my family have made the journey to see his grave and take time to reflect on his life that was and could have been. My great grandmother was given an opportunity to write an inscription for the head stone – she wrote this:  ‘We loved you, but God loved you more’. As part of our journeys we have also visited the many graveyards and memorials throughout Flanders and beyond. Rows and rows of gravestones in every corner and street in all the villages and towns and the many fields dressed in white headstones, too many to count. The horror and sacrifice of war displayed for all the world to see, yet there is a stillness and peacefulness which envelopes your inner being as you take in what is around you.

During this season of remembrance, and particularly on Armistice Day - Remembrance Sunday, we thank God for the freedoms we now enjoy because of those, who in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts, laid down their lives for our nation and the Commonwealth.

It is important to note that throughout all of those conflicts, our sailors, soldiers and airmen and women have had access to the Bible, having been presented with copies prior to deployment. Over the years, many have testified to the comfort the Scriptures have brought to their lives, while others testify to transformed lives through reading the Bible.

In the New Testament, remembrance is centred on the greatest of all sacrifices that of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ

He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’. And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood’.  Let us never forget His ultimate sacrifice.

The holiness of God that transforms the world from brokenness to wholeness does so by healing. This is the basis for our hope. Peace is not something that you wish for. It is something that you make, something that you do, something that you are, something that you give away. The memories we recall this Remembrance Sunday should spur us forward in search for true harmony and peace throughout the world.

Shalom

Alison

Wee Sleep Oot

  • 20 October 2018
  • liz.dyer

On Friday 9th November we are having a Sleep Out in Polbeth Harwood Church.

This is primarily for children aged 8 to 16 and we are asking them to spend a night under the stars (provided it is dry) to raise money for Social Bite, a charity dedicated to eradicating homelessness.

We would love as many people as possible to sign up for this event and there is a permission slip attached which we would be grateful if you could complete and return as soon as possible so that we know how many we will have participating on the night.

We are planning to have camp beds or mats for each child but they would need to have a warm sleeping bag suitable for outdoor winter use and warm clothing.

We took part in the big sleep out in Edinburgh last year and can assure you it is COLD so it is necessary to wrap up.

We will have adults on hand patrolling all night to ensure the children are safe and as comfortable as possible.

We will get sponsor forms in the next week or two but in the meantime here is the link to our fundraising page.  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/PolbethHarwoodandWestKirkYouthGroups

 

 

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