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Minister's Update

Summer 2019 Letter

  • 5 June 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

With summer fast approaching, there are so many exciting things to look forward to in our churches! it all started with the Spring Fayre at Polbeth Harwood Church on 25th May - where the whole community came along to our church for a hugely successful afternoon of games, shopping and afternoon tea.

On the 16th June, after a joint worship service at Polbeth Harwood, we will be heading to Aberdour for our annual church picnic. Please come along and join in the fun!

From 5th to 9th August we will be launching into space with our Holiday Club, and this promises to be an "out of this world" experience!

And then, on the 7th September, we will have a Garden Fete & Fringe like no other at the West Kirk of Calder.

Please join me at any or all of these special events, to make this summer a truly memorable experience!

Fingers crossed the sun will remember to join us too!!

Bur even if the sun  doesn't shine - let's make the most of our summer, because every day we have is a gift given by God. A soldier, who lost both his legs on the battlefield, Sgt Johnny Joey Jopnes, in an interview, said the following: "People ask how I stay so positive without my legs... I simply ask how they stay so negative with theirs." Makes you think, doesn't it?

Let's be positive. Let's focus on everything we have, and not only on things we wish we had; and then, with joy in our hearts, live our lives to the full.

May God bless you all this summer, and always.

Love Nanda

May 2019 Letter

  • 7 May 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

During Easter, I saw this beautiful photo of wild flowers on Facebook, with these words: “When you’re in a dark place, it might feel like you’re buried. Perhaps you’ve been planted.”

And that got me thinking…

 For a flower seed there is always a time of being buried in the dark soil before it’s bursts out of the ground and grows into something so beautiful it makes people look twice and even take out their cameras to capture the beauty in front of their eyes for ever.

During the lead-up to Easter we remembered all the dark and difficult things which happened to Jesus. But now we are celebrating the fact that the darkness of the tomb couldn’t hold him captive; that He broke free from the darkest of all places; and He did this for us. He did this so that not a single one of us would ever have to be stuck in darkness forever.

So this wee letter of mine is about HOPE.                                                                    

If you are finding yourself in a dark place at the moment, if you are struggling to understand why you have to suffer hardship, or if you are simply just not coping with everything you have on your plate – please look around you. Notice all the flowers. And let that be a reminder to you that at one point they were all just tiny wee seeds buried in darkness – and look at them now!

Let’s blossom to the glory of God. Because he planted each one of us for a reason!

God bless,

Nanda

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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