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Minister's Update

July / August 2018 Letter

  • 29 June 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

At last! Summer is here! And the better weather is making everybody smile.

At the church our summer started with our trip to Silver Sands Beach. We had a lovely picnic, and the day was filled with fun, games, laughter, and even a paddle in the sea!

My own family holiday starts on the 4th of July, when my 3 boys and I will be going to South Africa. We will return on the 3rd of August, and we are looking forward to spending time with family and friends. It might be winter in South Africa in July – but I won’t be surprised if it’s going to warmer there than here! We’ll be back just in time for the Holiday Club, which is yet another highlight to look forward too.

Whether you are going away on an exciting adventure, or staying at home to enjoy the lovely long summer’s days, please remember one thing:

God never goes on holiday.

He takes care of us wherever we are, and he never stops doing that. So let’s praise him, not only for giving us this special summer time to take a break from our normal routine, but also for loving us every minute of every day…

I hope that all of you will have a lovely summer and that the sun will shine brightly on you every day. 

May God bless you all,

Nanda

 

 

June 2018 Letter

  • 31 May 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

For one whole week during the month of May, George Stott, Liz Dyer and I were commissioners at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It was a week of early mornings, late nights and long afternoons! We sat there in the Assembly Halls with more than 800 other people, attending the longest and biggest meeting I have ever been to! (And us ministers attend plenty meetings!)

Now I know this might sound a little daunting, or even boring – and I won’t lie to you – there were moments (especially after lunch on a warm afternoon) that I struggled to keep my eyes open, never mind concentrate! But it was really amazing to be part of something so BIG. To meet so many other people who do what we do in other places all over the country (and even abroad), and to hear about the difference the church is making in so many people’s lives. Did you know that the Church of Scotland is the largest body of volunteers in the country? And we are a part of that!

ut it wasn’t all listening to reports and debate. On Sunday morning we attended an amazing service in St Giles Cathedral, where the church burst out of its seams and the singing lifted the roof! Then there was Heart and Soul in Princes Street Gardens, where it was lovely to see thousands op people celebrating our Church in an informal setting. On Tuesday we celebrated the fact that 50 years ago the 1st female minister was ordained in the Church of Scotland, and to me that was a very heart-warming experience. Suzanne Dunleavy came along to join lots of other women walking up the Mound, and we listened to inspirational stories told by special ladies. On Thursday evening we attended a beating retreat and reception at Holyroodhouse Palace, where we were treated almost like Royalty. And then on Friday Alison Quilter was introduced to the General Assembly along with all the other new ministers.

The moderator, the Right Rev Susan Brown, a small woman with a big presence, led the meeting splendidly and with her good sense of humour she had us all in stitches every now and again. No doubt she will lead the church to new heights this year.

I thank God for the opportunity to not only be the minister at the very special West Kirk of Calder and Polbeth Harwood Church, but also for the fact that we form part of a Church that isn’t afraid to look the future in the eye and bring much needed change when and where we can…

The theme of the Assembly was “Peace be with you” – and it is my prayer that the Peace of God will be with you all – always.

Blessings,

Nanda

 

May 2018 Letter

  • 30 April 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

During April I got the opportunity to look at Scotland through fresh eyes again… We had South African guests over, and I was so proud to show them this beautiful country we live in. All of us might have complained about the late snow we had, but they were delighted to pelt each other with snowballs for the first time in their lives. And then… The daffodils started blooming in all their glory! And the sun actually made an appearance too!!

 

Driving around in the car, we spoke about Scotland a lot. About the Loch Ness Monster, Haggis running around in the hills, Unicorns and Kelpies. But the creature that fascinated them most, was the Hairy Coo!! We had to stop and take photo upon photo of these cows with their fringes hanging over their eyes…

 

We climbed millions of steps in old castles, and we learned more about the people who walked in this land many many years ago. And that just made me aware again of how amazing God is. God was with everybody who lived here before us, and he is with our friends and families all over the world now. He is BIGGER than all these breath-taking things he made, and still he cares about each one of us. About you and about me.

 

So wherever you are on your journey through Scotland and through live – just look around you, and be reminded that God is with you. Seasons might change, times might change, but God’s love for us will never change…

 

Blessings,

Nanda

 

April 2018 Letter

  • 9 April 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

This month our letter is written by our Ordained Local Minister, Alison Quilter

 

It is said that inspiration comes from the strangest of events and is to be found in the most unusual of places. How true these words are! 

Whilst standing outside the George Hotel recently, my friend and I found ourselves rooted to the spot as our eyes caught sight of the signage on the outside of the “Hard Rock Café”. 

Like the first Easter disciples who appeared at the empty tomb, we were dumbfounded at the sight. The words emblazoned on the front of the café were what we refer to as our call to discipleship – “love all, serve all”. Through those words we were reminded once again that God meets us in the unlikeliest of places. 

Yet why should we be surprised, it happened to the group of women who arrived at the tomb; it happened to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus; it happened to Saul and Thomas and countless others throughout the ages. 

All whom God has revealed himself to were charged to take forward the message of discipleship and to transform the world through the power of the Risen Christ. It is a call to “love all, serve all”.

As we reflect upon the story of the resurrection, and the disciples whose ‘eyes were opened’ to the reality of God’s presence among them, may we be transformed by the message of Easter and respond to God’s call to “love and serve all”.  May you know the resurrection gifts of hope, peace and love and I pray that the gift of hope is never extinguished in your heart.

I finish with ‘Thank You’! Thank you for making me feel so welcome.

Shalom.

Alison

 

 

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