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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,
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!
African Children's Choir
at West Kirk of Calder
on Thursday 20th December at 7pm
- only one of 5 venues in Scotland this tour!
Arrangements are falling into place for the visit to West Calder of this inspiring young choir made up of 8 boys and 9 girls from Uganda who are touring the UK with their amazing 80 minute programme of African dance, drumming, traditional instruments and worship songs.
Tickets - £7 for Adults; £4 for Children; £20 for Families - are now available from
Stewart MacRae 01506 872486
Marian Kinsman 07973 305211
The choir scheme, which has been going for 30 years now, is made up of children from Uganda, who, without the Choir, would not have access to good education, food, clothing and discipleship. These talented children are full of joy despite their difficult circumstances, and will capture the hearts of all who see them.
The children will arrive with their own bus in the village around 2pm and initially be accommodated in the church hall and given a hot meal pre-concert.
After the concert they will be staying overnight with local families and before heading south of the border for their next venue, they will sing a song at Parkhead Primary School Christmas service held in West Kirk.
For a flavour of the talent of these children watch the video link
Looking forward to seeing you on the night!
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends”
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.
On Friday 9th November we are having a Sleep Out in Polbeth Harwood Church.
This is primarily for children aged 8 to 16 and we are asking them to spend a night under the stars (provided it is dry) to raise money for Social Bite, a charity dedicated to eradicating homelessness.
We would love as many people as possible to sign up for this event and there is a permission slip attached which we would be grateful if you could complete and return as soon as possible so that we know how many we will have participating on the night.
We are planning to have camp beds or mats for each child but they would need to have a warm sleeping bag suitable for outdoor winter use and warm clothing.
We took part in the big sleep out in Edinburgh last year and can assure you it is COLD so it is necessary to wrap up.
We will have adults on hand patrolling all night to ensure the children are safe and as comfortable as possible.
We will get sponsor forms in the next week or two but in the meantime here is the link to our fundraising page. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/PolbethHarwoodandWestKirkYouthGroups
We have a huge chestnut tree in our front garden. Last week all the leaves were still lush and green, today they are almost all yellow… Beautiful to look at, but also a sign that the seasons are changing. After the amazing summer we’ve had, I guess we shouldn’t complain that autumn is here – a wee warning that the winter is slowly creeping up on us.
Time goes by so quickly. When I tidied up my study this week, I came across a photo of my boys taken 3 years ago. And that sent me on a wee trip down memory lane… They look so grown up now, all of a sudden! How did that happen?!
Since the new school year started I’ve been privileged to be part of so many happy events, and I’ve also cried alongside others: I’ve conducted weddings and baptisms, I’ve done hospital visits and conducted funerals… Life is so short – we should really make the most of every minute we have.
So as the seasons are changing outside, let’s remember that as the seasons of our lives change too, we should always cherish the season we find ourselves in. There is beauty in every single one of them – blossoming flowers in the spring, vibrant greens in the summer, warm colours in the autumn, and the pure white snow in the winter. Wherever you find yourself now in your journey through life, remember the words we find in Ecclesiastes 3:11: God has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time…
May God bless you all this autumn, and always.
West Lothian Foodbank is very appreciative of the 96.1Kg of food which was donated from both Churches today (Sunday 7th October) following the Harvest Thanksgiving services. this will provide approximately 225 meals for those in West Lothian who are in receipt of a food allocation.
If you would like to continue donating to the Foodbank,then, every week, there are collection points at the front of either church.
Here at West Kirk of Calder, West Calder, we invite applications for the post of Organist.
The instrument is a well maintained two manual pipe organ and regular worship commences at 9.45am on Sundays.
The salary offered is in line with Church of Scotland Organists Salary Scale.
Enquiries / applications to our Session Clerk:
23 Westmuir Road,
EH55 8EX Tel: 01506 872486
Opencast are to perform their Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show for the community around West Calder
at West Kirk of Calder on Friday 26th October 2018 at 7.00pm
The show commemorates West Lothian’s contribution to WWI, telling the story through song, poetry, humour and visuals.
How it started…….
“We were clearing out my late aunt’s house a few years ago,” explains Liz Reid, the show’s co-creator, “and came across a bundle of letters addressed to her from a young soldier in the First World War. Tied with a faded pink string, the letters and memorabilia from her sweetheart on the front line entranced Liz and her friend Mary Boylan.
The bundle of letters from David Wallace Dinwoodie stopped short with an almost-inevitable black-bordered envelope announcing his death in action. Liz and Mary had to find out more.
They did some research then visited his grave in France. “Then a few years later they saw a show in Glasgow called Far from Ypres, written by Ian McCalman. Ian made the format of the show freely available to anyone wanting to produce a similar story about the war in their own area.
Mary and Liz decided to research West Lothian’s experience of war in order to tell the story of so many young men, like David, who left their area with such enthusiasm and never returned. The resulting musical show There Was A Soldier… features David as the main character, and incorporates two songs written in an old jotter by Broxburn man, George Coyle, in Flanders 100 years ago.
“Reading his good-humoured songs written on the front line, you can imagine he must have been an inspiring and positive man to be with in those terrible conditions,” Mary says.
The cast features young singers from local secondary schools , who are all of similar ages to the young men who left West Lothian for war.
Now...we’re still looking for stories of local people and pictures (if you have any) which might be able to be used in the show or displayed in the Church Hall after the event.
If you do have anything, or require any additional information, please contact Karen Elliot, Email: email@example.com
THIS GUARANTEES TO BE A TRULY AMAZING AND MEMORABLE EVENING. DO JOIN US
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