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Minister's Update

October 2016 Letter

  • 30 September 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

Life is a journey... And the road has recently taken an unexpected turn for me and my family: By this time you've probably all heard that Andre accepted the call to Balerno Parish Church. He will be inducted into his new charge on Tuesday 25th October.

This might mean that I'll now be travelling to West Kirk and Polbeth Harwood by a different road, but that's the only change this move is implying for me as your minister. Living in Balerno won't affect my work here in Polbeth and West Calder, I'll just have a new address and telephone number!

In Psalm 121, a pilgrim on his journey home from the temple in Jerusalem wrote: "The Lord will not let your foot slip..." This pilgrim knew lots about journeying through life, and a very important lesson he's learned through all his travels is that he is never alone. Whether he treads familiar paths or ventures on new ones - God will always be with him.

God is with all of us on our journeys through life too.

I know he will be with my family and all the adjustments we will now have to make to our lives, and he will be with each one of you too, wherever you find yourself on your journey through life today.

And in the same way he will guide every step we take as congregations as well. We are his church, and therefore, we will always be safe in his hands - heading in the direction God wants us to go.

No matter what: The Lord will not let your foot slip.

Safe travels,

Nanda

September 2016 Letter

  • 3 September 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

We had a very special, yet really busy summer.

First, South Africa, where it was nice and warm and sunny through the day, and you only knew it was winter once the sun set; and then we came back to lovely Scotland where we enjoyed a few trips to the Edinburgh International Arts Festival regardless of the weather(!!); and then it was time for the Holiday Club where we cooked up a storm at Rocky's Plaice!

While in South Africa, we one day went to an old railway station, that not too long ago was starting to fall into complete disrepair. Most people drove by and thought that it was a shame that a once busy and loved station was becoming a ruin. But one day someone drove by and saw potential in that old building. So that person bought it, built it up again and changed it into a museum and coffee shop. and once again it is heaving with people there!

And you know, that made me think... I often hear that people think that the church as an institution is past it's best days, coming closer to it's "expiry date", so to speak - just like that train station. But we should never look at the church like that. We should always look for the potential, for what the church has to offer in our society. And we might just be surprised!

On one of the walls at the train station people are allowed to write down "words of wisdom". And I read a quote there that said: "I aspire to inspire before I expire." If we make that our motto as a church this year, we'll no doubt go from strength to strength - for a long time to come!

May God bless you all,

Nanda

July 2016 Letter

  • 26 June 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations,

Here we are at the beginning of the summer holidays again!

It was a full and busy year in both congregations, with lots of exciting things happening. we welcomed new people to our fellowship, and sadly we lost some well-loved congregation members as well. but looking back over the year, I can clearly see God's hand in everything that happened in and around our congregations, and I feel so blessed to be part of this very special church family.

My two boys really enjoyed their visits to Sunday Club and JAM Club this year, and we have good banter in the manse about whether it is more fun at mummy's church or daddy's church!

We are going to South Africa for most of July, and we are all looking forward to spending time with family and friends. Somebody asked me recently whether I was looking forward to going home for the summer, and you know, with all honesty, I could reply that "Yes, I am looking forward to go to South Africa, but home is here in Scotland now." After attending four Gala Days (Parkhead, East Calder, Kirknewton and Polbeth!), I feel more and more Scottish by the day! And in their kilts, my boys even look the part......

So although I can't wait to see my dad and brother and the rest of our extended family, I know that I'll be excited to come home again at the end of July!
 Thank you all so much for making me and my family feel that we truly belong here.

This summer, my wish for you is that "the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace" (Numbers 5: 24-26)

Kind regards

Nanda

June 2016 Letter

  • 1 June 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

As a wee tribute to Bill Russell, I decided to make the theme of my letter this month "music".

I think life is like a big symphony, in which each one of us has a part to play. If we keep our eyes focussed on the conductor, God, and each one of us play our different instruments with all our hearts - read the notes, play when we are expected to play and wait patiently when it's not our turn - life can be a piece of music that takes your breath away (1 Corinthians 12: 12 - 26).

As any musician will be able to tell you, some pieces are really easy to play, and some are extremely hard. But, the more you practise, the better you will be able to cope with the harder pieces. Exactly the same thing is true of life.

No matter how easy or hard, if there is one thing Bill taught me, it's never to give up. he always insisted on singing ALL the verses of a hhymn, no matter how long the hymn would be, because it was written as a unity.

And in a sense, that is exactly how he lived his life as well - full on, from beginning to end, giving attention to every little detail along the way, not missing anything, giving everything of himself until the very last minute.

At the thanksgiving service that was held for Bill at the Mure Memorial Church, the minister read a passage written by George Bernard Shaw. here is an extract of it: "I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. i rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

Now isn't that just so true of our Bill?

And such an inspiration for all of us.

Let's make the most of every single minute we have, because only God knows when the notes we are playing will become silent. But until that moment arrives, let's give it all we've got, because the mere fact that we were chosen to be part of this orchestra is an honour beyond comparison!

God bless,

Nanda

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