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March 2018 Letter

  • 2 March 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

This past winter is the coldest winter we have had in years. The last time it snowed so much was in 2010, when my wee boy Nehan was just 1 year old. I’ll never forget how he fell over in the snow and almost disappeared completely! After which he hated the snow with a passion… Until he was old enough to start enjoy sledging – which instantly turned snow into something to look forward to!


I was so excited when the first snowdrops appeared, because these lovely wee flowers hold the promise that spring is just around the corner! But as I am sitting here typing this letter – it’s snowing again!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And that made me worry about the snowdrops. Will this late cold snap make them die? Break them completely?                                                                                                                             So I read up about snowdrops, and discovered that although in very cold spells of wintry weather, the snowdrops collapse to the ground, and might even look dead, they are nothing of the kind! When the temperatures rise, they will resurrect themselves unharmed. In layman’s terms, this is because snowdrops have built-in anti-freeze!

Isn’t that just a lovely metaphor for what happened to Jesus at Easter time?

He died, but at the right time, God resurrected him!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 And because of what God did for us through Jesus –exactly the same thing is true for all of us too:                                                                                                                                                 We sometimes have to go through hard times. Times so bad – that we might even think we are broken - that the damage is irreversible. But our faith is like the snowdrops’ “anti-freeze”. It can change our winters into spring. Sometimes even when we least expect it…

So don’t be discouraged if you get snowed under by worries or problems or sadness. The sun WILL come out again, because Jesus is alive!

May the love of God shine brightly on your faces this Easter.

Many blessings,



Weather disruption

  • 1 March 2018
  • liz.dyer

Due to the bad weather, the following meetings / events have been cancelled or re-scheduled

Thursday 1st March  West Kirk Board & Session meetings have been re-scheduled for Thursday 8th March

Friday 2nd March     Local  World Day of Prayer service has been cancelled

Saturday 3rd March  Candy Bar at the West Kirk has been re-scheduled for saturday 10th March, serving coffees from 10am and lunches from 12 noon

Monday 5th March    West Kirk Guild meeting has been cancelled


Traidcraft Update - February 2018

  • 25 February 2018
  • church_admin

Traidcraft continues to go from strength to strength, supporting Damasi, our sponsored child through Compassion UL. He lives in Tanzania.

Have you seem our real Easter Eggs? They include an Easter story activity book as well as two varieties of chocolate - Swiss chocolate chunky buttons and a egg made with 35% fair trade cocoa.

Don't forget - the table is available each Sunday morning before and after worship.

Thank you for your continued support.

West Kirk Annual Stated Meeting

  • 13 February 2018
  • liz.dyer

The Annual Stated Meeting of the West Kirk will be held on Sunday 18th March 2018 following morning worship.

The attached file contains the minutes of the 2017 ASM should you wish to read through and refresh your memory before this year's meeting.

File Attachments: 

Induction of Ordained Local Minister

  • 3 February 2018
  • liz.dyer

On 11th February 2018, at 7pm at Polbeth Harwood Church, Revd Alison Quilter will be inducted as our Ordained Local Minister.

We would be delighted if as many of you as possible attend this service to welcome Alison to our linked charge and parishes, followed by teas in the cafe area.

Alison has been assigned by West Lothian Presbytery to our charge to assist Nanda in the ministry to our parishes.The work of Ordained Local Ministers (who are fully qualified and ordained  within the Church of Scotland) is "non-stipendiary" i.e. they receive no pay for the support they provide assisting with the ministry in a specific locality.  As our Ordained Local Minister, she will be available 10 hours a week to help in various aspects of the faith life of our congregations as well as sometimes having to be available for presbytery duties.

Alison, we are delighted you will be joining Nanda in her work among our congregations and parishes, and wish God's blessings on you both for a happy and fruitful ministry 


February 2018 Letter

  • 31 January 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

I cannot believe that we are now in the second month of the year 2018 already! TIME flies! TIME is a valued commodity, and this month, during our Stewardship campaign, we will focus on TIME.

I know that the word “stewardship” and “steward” are not words that we commonly use today. Therefore, I want to review the definition of stewardship: A steward is a person who manages and administrates what has been entrusted to him/her by another. In our case, a steward is a person who manages what has been entrusted to him/her by God. God has entrusted us with talents, TIME, and money. Therefore, stewardship of time is the careful and responsible management of the time God has entrusted to our care.

So let’s take the TIME this month to reflect on how we use our TIME; what we do with the TIME God so graciously gives us. And this is really important, because TIME is the one thing we can never get back – once a minute has ticked past, that minute is gone forever. So we should be really careful how we use our TIME…

My youngest son, Nehan, has been obsessed with time ever since he was about 3 years old. He always wants to know exactly how long something will take, exactly how many minutes he has to wait until something starts, exactly how long it will take before we reach our destination. And don’t think you can fool him – if you say that we’ll be there in 10 minutes just to keep him quiet, when really it will still take 30 minutes to reach your destination, he’ll be very upset, and complain about it for the next 20 minutes!! But the positive side of this is - if I tell him that he has 5 more minutes to play before we leave, he uses all 5 those minutes to play. He literally doesn’t waste a second, and he is never late for anything. To be truthful, he keeps our whole family (and his teacher!) on time. And I think we can all take a leaf out of his book – if you have 5 minutes to spare – USE it, don’t just sit and wait till it’s over.

Let’s use every minute we have to live our lives fully to the glory of God. This month, and forever.

May God bless you all,


December 2017 Letter

  • 1 December 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations,

Believe it or not - Christmas is just around the corner! If we can manage to look past all the bright festive lights and tinsel, we see the long, cold, dark nights....

All those years ago in Bethlehem, all they could see was the dark.It was dark, not only in the night sky, but also in people's lives. Nobody had hope for the future anymore. But then, on what seemed to be just another ordinary night, everything changed. There was a star so bright it made the darkness disappear; even the angels started singing! That was the night on which Jesus was born. The night that changed everything....

This will be our theme all throughout Advent and the Christmas season: The night that changed everything.....

Please join me at the church to prepare yourself for, and to celebrate, the night that changed everything - to once again help us look past the festive lights and tinsel - to NOT see the  darkness - but the hope that Christ brought to the world.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a very special 2018!


How about a REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR this year?

  • 13 November 2017
  • liz.dyer

How many of us have an Advent calendar hanging in our house during December?

Do you look forward to opening the wee windows on that calendar every day and seeing what lies behind each?

Does yours have a picture? Does it have a little verse? Is there a gift? Or a sweet treat?

For some, an Advent calendar is a luxury that is out of the question. For some, even the most basic of items are unaffordable.

This is why, this year, our churches are asking you to make a 'Reverse Advent Calendar'.

How does it work?

Each day, instead of getting something for yoursself, we would love if you would put one item of food into a box.

On Christmas Eve morning (Sunday 24th Dec 9.45am at West Kirk or 11.15am at Polbeth Harwood Church) you can bring that box of food with you to church and put it under our tree. After the service, all the produce collected will be taken to our local Food Bank to ensure that many families will have something cheerier to look forward to over the festive period.

If you don't want to collect food, then you could put aside a coin each day and bring this along. Any funds collected will go to the Food Bank too.

Let's make Christmas great for as many people as possible this year!

November 2017 Letter

  • 1 November 2017
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

This time of yeaR is filled with R’s:

Remembrance, Red leaves
falling to the ground…

 It’s a time to Remember:

  • to remember the history of our church;
  • to remember those who gave their lives for their country during wars and time of unrest;
  • to remember, as we look at the changing seasons, that God is in control of our lives.

In the church; in the world; autumn, winter, spring, and summer – God is always in control. In the times when we can see it, and in the times we can’t; in the times when we feel His presence, and in the times we don’t…

We had such a lovely family holiday in Majorca during the October break. They boys played on the beach for hours, they swam in the sea and they made lots of new friends. And it reminded me so much of family holidays when I was a wee girl.

Nothing was the same – I grew up in a different country; the first time I set foot on an aeroplane was when I was 20 years old; my parents had a caravan so we never stayed in a hotel; yet it all felt so very similar. Laughing with my family, getting sand between my toes, eating ice cream almost every day… Many happy memories that I shared with the boys, and also new memories made for them to share with their own families one day.

But the anniversary of my mum’s death also falls in the October break. That’s also something I will never forget. But as the years move on, its different things I remember, and share with my boys – what an amazing person their granny was; how she would have loved their good sense of humour. I remember how sad I was at her funeral and how hard it was to get used to not having her around, but these things pale in comparison now to all the amazing things I remember doing with her and learning from her.

And that’s why it’s important to remember – so we can see how God helps us to keep going in the hard times, and how there are never only hard times, but plenty of good times too.

Seasons change, life changes, but the one thing that always stays the same is the love of God. It’s this love that gets us through the hard times, and this love that makes us enjoy the good times.

So let’s REMEMBER that this month.

May God bless you all.