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December 2017 Letter

  • 1 December 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations,

Believe it or not - Christmas is just around the corner! If we can manage to look past all the bright festive lights and tinsel, we see the long, cold, dark nights....

All those years ago in Bethlehem, all they could see was the dark.It was dark, not only in the night sky, but also in people's lives. Nobody had hope for the future anymore. But then, on what seemed to be just another ordinary night, everything changed. There was a star so bright it made the darkness disappear; even the angels started singing! That was the night on which Jesus was born. The night that changed everything....

This will be our theme all throughout Advent and the Christmas season: The night that changed everything.....

Please join me at the church to prepare yourself for, and to celebrate, the night that changed everything - to once again help us look past the festive lights and tinsel - to NOT see the  darkness - but the hope that Christ brought to the world.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a very special 2018!

Nanda

How about a REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR this year?

  • 13 November 2017
  • liz.dyer

How many of us have an Advent calendar hanging in our house during December?

Do you look forward to opening the wee windows on that calendar every day and seeing what lies behind each?

Does yours have a picture? Does it have a little verse? Is there a gift? Or a sweet treat?

For some, an Advent calendar is a luxury that is out of the question. For some, even the most basic of items are unaffordable.

This is why, this year, our churches are asking you to make a 'Reverse Advent Calendar'.

How does it work?

Each day, instead of getting something for yoursself, we would love if you would put one item of food into a box.

On Christmas Eve morning (Sunday 24th Dec 9.45am at West Kirk or 11.15am at Polbeth Harwood Church) you can bring that box of food with you to church and put it under our tree. After the service, all the produce collected will be taken to our local Food Bank to ensure that many families will have something cheerier to look forward to over the festive period.

If you don't want to collect food, then you could put aside a coin each day and bring this along. Any funds collected will go to the Food Bank too.

Let's make Christmas great for as many people as possible this year!

November 2017 Letter

  • 1 November 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

This time of yeaR is filled with R’s:

Reformation,
Remembrance, Red leaves
falling to the ground…

 It’s a time to Remember:

  • to remember the history of our church;
  • to remember those who gave their lives for their country during wars and time of unrest;
  • to remember, as we look at the changing seasons, that God is in control of our lives.

In the church; in the world; autumn, winter, spring, and summer – God is always in control. In the times when we can see it, and in the times we can’t; in the times when we feel His presence, and in the times we don’t…

We had such a lovely family holiday in Majorca during the October break. They boys played on the beach for hours, they swam in the sea and they made lots of new friends. And it reminded me so much of family holidays when I was a wee girl.

Nothing was the same – I grew up in a different country; the first time I set foot on an aeroplane was when I was 20 years old; my parents had a caravan so we never stayed in a hotel; yet it all felt so very similar. Laughing with my family, getting sand between my toes, eating ice cream almost every day… Many happy memories that I shared with the boys, and also new memories made for them to share with their own families one day.

But the anniversary of my mum’s death also falls in the October break. That’s also something I will never forget. But as the years move on, its different things I remember, and share with my boys – what an amazing person their granny was; how she would have loved their good sense of humour. I remember how sad I was at her funeral and how hard it was to get used to not having her around, but these things pale in comparison now to all the amazing things I remember doing with her and learning from her.

And that’s why it’s important to remember – so we can see how God helps us to keep going in the hard times, and how there are never only hard times, but plenty of good times too.

Seasons change, life changes, but the one thing that always stays the same is the love of God. It’s this love that gets us through the hard times, and this love that makes us enjoy the good times.

So let’s REMEMBER that this month.

May God bless you all.

Nanda

October 2017

  • 1 October 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

This month I would like to introduce you to a lovely girl who will be volunteering at the church for 20 hours as part of an award (Caritas) she is working towards. She will be doing a little bit of everything, so please welcome her in our midst. I feel really special that she chose our churches, and I hope that she will be able to not only give her time, but also gain a lot from being involved in such an amazing family of believers.

I’ll let her introduce herself:

“My name is Bianca, I am a 17 year old student studying at high school. In my school we have many opportunities and one of them I couldn't resist to take up was Caritas! I can imagine some of you are thinking what is Caritas? Well let me tell you all about it.

 Caritas translated from Latin simply means love of humankind. For me this meant I could help others while practicing my faith. The caritas award asks people to find their faith and use their talents to help people to the best of their ability.

I hope to be able to spread kindness and make a difference in the church. Kindness is the power to help someone, the power to inspire someone. When you start helping one person with kindness you never know how far it will go. It only takes a spark to start a fire.”

May having Bianca with us remind us all that in Christ we are loved, and therefore we should love others too.

With love,
Nanda

September 2017

  • 19 August 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

 

Dear congregations

 

We had an amazing time in South Africa! I wished more than once that I could take all of you along and show you some of the awesome sights we’ve seen… We spent quality time with family and friends, and we also spent some time close to nature. We stayed in a Wild Life Reserve, where we saw beautiful wild animals.

And that made me think of Job 39, where God speaks to Job about the animals in nature and how unique God made all of them…

It was very special to see wild animals up close, but on our last day in the Resort we got a little TOO close to one of these wild animals! To a baboon… And might I add – a HUGE one! I was busy packing our bags when the boys came running towards me, shouting for dear life: “There is a baboon in the kitchen!” And so there was. A huge big baboon, taking it’s time to open the pantry door, eating our fruit, and then opening all our chocolates and biscuits one by one before eating it and lickings it’s lips afterwards!! Just showing enough teeth to keep us all far away! At last André plucked up the courage to go and chase it away, and although we all got the fright of our lives, it just reminded me once again how amazing God is, how cleverly he made all the different animals, the baboon, and all of us too. He gave us so many gifts and talents…

And if a baboon can cleverly open a packet of biscuits, throw the wrapper away and eat the biscuits to its heart’s desire, just imagine all the things we can do!!

One of these things is West Kirk’s Garden Fete, which will be taking place on Saturday the 2nd of September. I’m super excited about this!

Let’s show our communities what an amazing event the church can pull off!

So please come along on the day to support us, or if you are able to help in any way, please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

I can’t wait to see you all there.  

 

Blessings,

Nanda

 

Garden Fete and Fringe

  • 23 July 2017
  • liz.dyer

A date for your diary!

On Saturday 2nd September from 11am till 3pm there will be a fete and fringe entertainment held on the West Kirk church premises.

This event promises to have something for everyone!

In the grounds will be gazebos with a variety of craft stalls; bottle stall; face painting and tattoos; raffle; a variety of games to suit young and not-so-young; some requiring skill, others just a bit of luck. And who will be unlucky enough to be in the stocks??

If you thought you had to go to Edinburgh for The Fringe, you could be proved wrong. In the church itself, there will be a series of 30 minute musical  entertainments covering a wide range of interests including for a younger audience. Admission for any or all of these sessions is by donation.

Then, of course, there's the food. Refreshments of soup & sandwiches, then coffee / tea and cream scones will be available in the hall whilst outside ice cream and a BBQ cooking burgers will be on hand throughout the event.There will also be a cake and candy stall in the hall where you can take away some more goodies to enjoy at home.

The organising committee are looking to the congregation  not only for donations, but also volunteers to assist in setting up, manning events, and dismantling and tidying up after the event. All help will be gratefully accepted.

 

Holiday Club: Landlubbers Ship Sailing

  • 13 July 2017
  • lorna.graham

We are now fully subscribed but like to have a few names on a waiting list should anyone call off!

Should you wish to add your name to this list please complete and submit a form.

We set sail on Monday August 7th, when we hit land and go on a wonderful adventure exploring a paradise island in search of treasure. So" Me Hearties", come dressed ready for fun and many wonderful challenges!

Holiday Club: Landlubbers Filling Fast!

  • 19 June 2017
  • lorna.graham

If you wish to join us for our fun packed week on our "Polbeth Paradise Island" you better get your get your skates on and book your place now, as we have a limited number of spaces still remaining!

We set sail on Monday August 7th 2017 at 10am

June 2017

  • 1 June 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

WORD OF LIFE

At the end of May the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland took place. Although I wasn’t a commissioner at the Assembly this year, I followed bits and pieces of the debates via live streaming, and I attended Heart & Soul in Princess Street Gardens on the Sunday. The theme of the General Assembly this year was “Word of Life”.

 

Each year HM The Queen appoints a Lord High Commissioner as her representative to the General Assembly, unless she attends in person. This year, Her Majesty appointed HRH The Princess Royal. I was very fortunate to meet Princess Anne briefly at the West Lothian Presbytery Tent and I was extremely impressed by her speech. She said that if she had to choose a “word of life”, she would choose “love”. Because love is what she saw and experienced during her week at the Assembly.

 

And you know, that made me really proud to be a member of the Church of Scotland. Because in this broken world, we need nothing more than love. And anybody who ever has anything to do with the church, should feel and experience nothing but love. If there are divisions and in-fighting and gossiping going on in the church, how on earth will we be able to get the love of God spread to the outside world?

 

If there is one thing I love about the General Assembly, it is the fact that it reminds us that we are not alone here in West Calder and Polbeth Harwood. We are actually just a very small part of a huge national church, which is in turn part of a massive world-wide Christian movement…

So, if we start locally to let our lives as members of the Church of Scotland be ruled by love, this love will spread nationally and internationally. And to me, love is like glue – if we use it correctly, we will be able to mend the broken world we live in... Jesus took the first step, let’s follow his example!

 

With LOVE,

Nanda

Holiday Club: Registration - "Landlubbers"

  • 30 May 2017
  • lorna.graham

Registration is now open for this summer's holiday club "Landlubbers" which runs from 7th -11th of August.

It is open to all children who are age to start the school this August, right up to children who are currently in P7 going into S1 in August. This is an action packed week and it's free!

Registration forms and post boxes are located in Polbeth Harwood church, The West Kirk church hall and Parkhead Primary school.

Or you can download the form, complete and save it, then email it to: clovenford@gmail.com

Spaces fill up very quickly so don't delay, book your place today on our Paradise Island this summer!

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