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Minister's Update

Summer 2014 Letter

  • 27 June 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

At my induction service, worship was led by the Rev Angus Kerr from Whitburn South. The theme for his sermon was: “Are we there yet?” (2 Samuel 7:1-11 & Ephesians 2:13-22).

I don’t think he could have come up with a more appropriate theme for our situation! Because the linked charge of Polbeth Harwood and the West Kirk of Calder has been vacant for 3 long years. The Nominating Committee most probably felt like parents trying to get everything ready for a long and exciting journey, but then one thing after the other happened, causing delays. It wasn’t an easy job getting the car neat and tidy and packed with everything that might be needed on this trip, it took planning, head scratching, soul searching, organising, repacking, calming down of impatient passengers on the one hand and trying to prevent others from getting bored and wandering off on the other.

But, of course, as always, God had a plan. And now, at last, the job is done – the car (or bus!!) is packed, and we are ready to embark on a new journey together. Just in time for summer!

But this isn’t just any journey – it’s a journey of faith…

I, for one,  am very excited about this journey we are now undertaking. Thank you very much for inviting me along, for giving me the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat. I can’t wait to show you some amazing sights and tell you some interesting stories about others who have travelled here before us. But just like on any other journey – we’ll need each other to make it worth our while. There is such a huge variety of talent here – we have people who can entertain us along the way, so nobody gets bored. We have people who will provide snacks and flasks of tea and coffee, without which no trip is fun; we have people who will be able to fix the bus when it brakes down, to adjust the brakes when we are going too fast and to keep their eyes on the petrol gage to make sure we never run close to empty. We’ll have people who’ll be able to assist injured passengers, dry off tears and give hugs, advice, or just a quiet nod if needed, and if ever we get stuck, if we all get out and push together, we’ll be off again in a  jiffy.

So – are we there yet? Well no, we’ve just departed. I don’t know about you, but I’m not in a hurry, I want to enjoy every single minute of the trip. And if there is one thing I’m not worried about, it’s getting lost – because we have God as our sat.nav, and He never makes mistakes.

So please enjoy the ride, because I’ve got it on good authority that our destination is quite some place!

Hope you have a blessed summer.


June Letter

  • 8 June 2014
  • gordon.jamieson

Dear Friends

On Sunday 8th June we gather round the Lord’s Table to celebrate Holy Communion – the family meal of the church. On that day we shall also be celebrating Pentecost – the third great festival in the church’s year. Pentecost is the day when we remember the Holy Spirit coming to the apostles in Jerusalem. It was the coming of the Holy Spirit that gave the apostles confidence to go out into the streets and proclaim the gospel, the good news of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen.

Throughout the history of the church the Holy Spirit has empowered people to proclaim the gospel with their words and in their lives. The Holy Spirit guides, strengthens, encourages and inspires all who are willing to be led in God’s way. It is the Holy Spirit that has led people in new ways, to new places, when that has been God’s will for his people.

Ten days after we celebrate Pentecost we shall be celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in the life of our congregations as we gather, on Wednesday 18th June, for Nanda’s induction. This should be a wonderful occasion when we look forward with hope and expectation.

Through the Holy Spirit, God will lead Nanda as your minister. Through the Holy Spirit, God will lead you to support Nanda and follow her lead. As I said in the April ‘Link’, these are exciting times for Polbeth Harwood and the West Kirk of Calder!

Yours sincerely


May Letter

  • 2 May 2014
  • gordon.jamieson

Dear Friends

Easter is past for another year – or is it?  The eggs may have been removed from the supermarket shelves, and Easter bunnies and cards may no longer be prominently for sale, but Easter is not just a day or a weekend for the church.  Easter is always at the heart of our faith and our mission.

We are not a community of people who follow the teaching and example of a great man who died over two thousand years ago.  This would mean that Good Friday was the end, and we would be GOOD FRIDAY PEOPLE.  No, we walk with one who is risen and alive – one who walks with us every day of our lives, just as he walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  We are EASTER PEOPLE – crucified with Christ and risen with Christ.

It is Easter faith which gives the church optimism and confidence as it faces the future, even though it is a difficult future with the majority of the population showing little or no interest in the Christian faith.

The month of May begins with Nanda leading worship as the sole nominee of the Nominating Committee.  Then there is Christian Aid Week, which once again challenges us with the plight of the poor in so many parts of God’s world.  The second half of the month brings this year’s General Assembly – a gathering where it is easy to think that we are managing a church in decline.

As EASTER PEOPLE, we should approach everything believing that our glass is more than half full and not more than half empty.  Jesus is risen!  He is alive!  He is with us today and every day!

Yours sincerely


April Letter

  • 7 April 2014
  • gordon.jamieson

Dear Friends

I feel that I can call you ‘friends’ as I have been coming among you for the best part of three years as one of your occasional preachers.  From 1st April I have a new role – as your Interim Moderator and part time Locum Minister until the vacancy is concluded.  This has become necessary as your Nominating Committee has chosen Nanda to be their sole nominee for the vacant charge.  To enable the formal procedures to take place - her preaching as sole nominee and being elected as your next minister – it is important that neither she nor Andre continues to be involved in any other capacity in the meantime.

I look forward to leading worship on most of the Sundays between the beginning of April and the date in June when we hope Nanda is inducted as your new minister.  The Locum arrangement is that I am employed for one day per week plus a Sunday.  The one day has to have a certain amount of flexibility as my priority will be to conduct funerals as these are required.  I shall also be available for other urgent pastoral matters.

As we move through the month of April, we move towards Holy Week and Easter.  At this time of year we are especially conscious of the extent of God’s love for his world in Jesus’ death on the cross.  We are also aware of God’s gift of new life in the resurrection of Jesus.  This year we celebrate this gift of new life in the context of eagerly awaiting the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of Polbeth Harwood Church and the West Kirk of Calder.  These are exciting times!

I look forward to being with you as Interim Moderator and Locum Minister over the next few months.

Yours sincerely