Latest Photographs

Oh Happy Day! 2019 United Nativity
Nativity Story told by our Carol Singers. 2019
A message from King Herod!
Sweet singing  Nativity 2019
Learning & Sharing Communion Dec 2019
Having a closer look!
Children share Communion Dec 2019

Minister's Update

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

 

 

February 2019 Letter

  • 3 February 2019
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear all

This month my letter is of a personal nature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Just a wee update about what’s happening in my life at the moment! On the 4th of February I have to go to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for surgery – I will be getting a full hysterectomy.                                                                                                                                                                                      After this operation I will be out of action for some time to recover.

I am so thankful this is happening at a time when we have so much support available in our congregations!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Between Alison Quilter and Suzanne Dunleavy all our worship services for February and March are covered, and I would like to thank both of them from the bottom of my heart for all their support! Alison will provide pastoral cover as well, and the Rev John Povey will provide back-up pastoral cover.

Everything will just carry on as normal, apart from Office Hours, which I’ll hopefully get back to in April.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I have no idea how long it will take before I am able to drive again, but I am hoping for a speedy recovery, and as soon as I am able I will come to church – even if just to attend a service initially.

I’m also thankful to Stewart and Marian, the members of our Sessions and Boards and also our Pastoral Care Team for standing in for me when needed during this time.

 know that you will pray for me, and I appreciate your support very much.

May God bless you all,

Nanda

 

December 2018 Letter

  • 30 November 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

 

Special occasions…

I don’t know what your family is like, but for my family it’s really important to always take a photo of a special occasion. But dearie me – to get everybody in, looking at the camera and smiling at the same time is almost as difficult as climbing Mount Everest! But it’s definitely worth it – because every time we look back at the photo’s it brings back special memories.

Two such special occasions are just around the corner now – Christmas and New Year. And everywhere I look I see pictures of “perfect” families – standing in front of the fire place, all wearing their Christmas jumpers or Santa hats, beaming from ear to ear – although I know from personal experience that that photo posted on Facebook is probably the 10th photo they had to take! Because real life is never as perfect as you would like others to believe.

They didn’t have cameras way back when Jesus was born – but can you imagine what it would be like if they had? Our theme this Christmas at our churches is “Picture Perfect”. Please come along and celebrate this most special occasion with me at all the different services and events on our calendar for December.

We might not be perfect – but let’s give the world a picture of how Christmas should be celebrated this year.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a very special 2019!

Nanda

 

 

November 2018 Letter

  • 31 October 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Greater love has no one than thisthan to lay down one's life for his friends”
(John 15:13).

Dear Congregations

This year we mark the centenary of the end of World War I. On Armistice-Remembrance Sunday on 11th November 2018, people in our communities and around the Commonwealth will be reflecting on the lives that were changed irrevocably, and those that were lost.

Some 65 million men were mobilised across Europe during World War I. Nearly a third of them – some 21 million were wounded. Another 8.5 million were killed and some 7.7 million were taken prisoners of war. All of them had family and friends whose lives were changed forever by the events of 1914-1918.

My great grandfather, 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, died of wounds sustained in battle and is buried in a Commonwealth grave in the city of Gent, Belgium. Over the years members of my family have made the journey to see his grave and take time to reflect on his life that was and could have been. My great grandmother was given an opportunity to write an inscription for the head stone – she wrote this:  ‘We loved you, but God loved you more’. As part of our journeys we have also visited the many graveyards and memorials throughout Flanders and beyond. Rows and rows of gravestones in every corner and street in all the villages and towns and the many fields dressed in white headstones, too many to count. The horror and sacrifice of war displayed for all the world to see, yet there is a stillness and peacefulness which envelopes your inner being as you take in what is around you.

During this season of remembrance, and particularly on Armistice Day - Remembrance Sunday, we thank God for the freedoms we now enjoy because of those, who in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts, laid down their lives for our nation and the Commonwealth.

It is important to note that throughout all of those conflicts, our sailors, soldiers and airmen and women have had access to the Bible, having been presented with copies prior to deployment. Over the years, many have testified to the comfort the Scriptures have brought to their lives, while others testify to transformed lives through reading the Bible.

In the New Testament, remembrance is centred on the greatest of all sacrifices that of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ

He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’. And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood’.  Let us never forget His ultimate sacrifice.

The holiness of God that transforms the world from brokenness to wholeness does so by healing. This is the basis for our hope. Peace is not something that you wish for. It is something that you make, something that you do, something that you are, something that you give away. The memories we recall this Remembrance Sunday should spur us forward in search for true harmony and peace throughout the world.

Shalom

Alison

Pages