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October 2014 Letter

  • 25 September 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations
Change. Something most of us aren’t very fond of… But where there is no change, there is no growth either.
This time of year lots of changes take place in nature – the leaves start to change colour and fall down from the trees, it’s starting to get much cooler outside and the nights are drawing in. Walking my boys to school the other morning, I said (with a sigh in my voice): “Winter is almost here guys – I can’t believe the summer is over!” But I guess when you are 5 or 7 years old, you are still able to see the positive in every situation, because they jumped with joy and said: “That means Christmas is getting closer!!”

Summer, autumn, winter, spring. Change.
In order to grow as people, we need to change too. In order to grow as Christians, we need to allow God’s Spirit to change us. But that’s not always easy. Just like nobody is keen to put their sandals away and look out their gloves and scarves again, nobody really likes to change old habits. But this is the time of year to let go of all the things that shouldn’t be part of a Christian’s life. We should let go of these things like a tree sheds its leaves in the autumn. And then we should bear the fruit of the Spirit – all year round.

In Galatians 5:22 we read that “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

With the Scottish Referendum now behind us – this is not only a time for change within us, but also for change around us. Because we are all on a new journey now – a journey towards our future together. Let us be the bearers of the fruit everybody around us need to sustain them on their path ahead!
May God bless you all in this season of change.

September 2014 Letter

  • 3 September 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

What a busy summer it’s been! I think we have been really lucky with the weather – most days it actually felt like summer! My family and I had a lovely time. I always enjoy the summer, because then I get to spend lots of time with my boys (all 3 of them!). This summer Andre’s mum visited us with the purpose of babysitting, so we could work. But we also took her on a wee trip up North and she absolutely loved it! She thinks that Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world.Then of course there was the hugely successful Holiday Club (which I enjoyed just as much as all the kids who attended) and we also had a trip to the south of France – lots of adventures there! Hope you had a good summer too.

My younger son, Nehan, started school after the summer, and Henro is in P3 this year. Where has the time gone?! André is still enjoying very much being minister at Kirknewton & East Calder, and I am absolutely loving being the minister here in our parishes!

Since everything is back to normal now, I would just like to share a few administrative details with you. From 23rd September onwards in school term time, I will have office hours once a week at both churches. This is an opportunity for people to see me locally (due to the fact that manse is in East Calder). I will do this for a trial period up to the Christmas holidays, and then review the situation. So every Tuesday, from 10:30 – 12:00, I will be at Polbeth Harwood, and every Wednesday from 10:30 – 12:00, I will be at the West Kirk. Please pop in for a cuppa and a blether!

I have an open door policy – please feel free to contact me any time about anything. I now have my own telephone number in the manse: 01506 884 802. André and I have decided to take a Monday as our day off – but please don’t hesitate to contact me in a crisis.

I’m looking forward to this new session ahead of us, and I hope all of you are too! Time goes by so quickly, we should really make the most of every single minute. Just like all the farmers are making use of the good weather to get their harvests in, we, as children on God, should do the exact same thing. My boys LOVE looking at the tractors pulling huge trailers full of hay bales – “wow mummy, that’s awesome!” they would say every single  time we see one!   

In Proverbs 20:4 we read: “A sluggard does not plough in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” That should never be true of us. As labourers in the fields of God, let’s sow the seeds of faith everywhere we go – starting right now – so God’s harvest can be plentiful.

May God bless us all to do just that!


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