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December 2016 Letter

  • 30 November 2016
  • nanda.groenewald
Follow the Star

Dear Congregations

Our theme for this Christmas season is: Following the Star....

As we journey through life, it's quite easy to lose focus. To forget where we are going.... Therefore we need something we can focus on, something to keep us on track...

That very first Christmas the magi just knew that they had to follow that star - and look where it brought them (Matthew 2)! They got to meet the baby Jesus.

At roughly the same time, somewhere else, the angels told the shepherds that they had to get up and get going, that something amazing had happened, and they started their journey straight away (Luke 2) And look where that brought them!They got to meet the baby Jesus too.

They listened to the angels, they followed the star - and that choice changed their lives forever!

God talks to all of us. He tells us where to go. In different ways, he leads us to extraordinary places.

All we need to do is listen.....

This Christmas season, let's not get side tracked by anything. Let's listen where God wants to send us, let's see what he has in store for us.

Let's follow that star....

If we put aside what the world expects us to do and make it our priority to find Jesus, just as the magi and the shepherds did, we'll never look back.

We'll never be the same again... 

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a fantastic 2017.

Nanda

November 2016 Letter

  • 14 November 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations,

I am taking the opportunity to write Nanda's letter from the manse this month.

She gave me a choice: unpack the boxes or do some admin for me! Not hard to guess which I chose!!

But actually, I wanted to write to all of you to express my sincere thanks for all your support, all your cards and gifts to us as a family during our move to Balerno. It was so heart-warming to see so many of you at my induction - from which I am still recovering. It was a memorable induction service which was made special by the fact that so many of you shared in it with me and my family.

We have now moved into the Manse at Balerno and I am sorry that you will have to memorise our new telephone numbers. But do please come and visit us.

The sermon at my induction was indeed moving and challenging. "Who do you say I am?" Jesus asked.

It is a timely question for us too. We need to ponder and rethink this question in everything we do as followers of Jesus. In fact, our answer needs to be reflected in the way we talk, think and act in the world.

It is here where the real challenge lies, a challenge that we need to take on board. We are missionaries sent by God on a mission to reflect to all people that Jesus is the Redeemer.

May we all become and remain witnesses of His grace, love and endless mercy in our new journey together.

All my best wishes,

Andre

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

Rocky's Plaice

  • 20 August 2016
  • lorna.graham
 Rocky's Plaice, Team and Guests!

A group photo taken during the week of our holiday club!

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

Trip to Ratho Climbing Centre

  • 10 June 2016
  • liz.dyer

This year's school holidays are loooooooong!!

For a bit of excitement and adrenaline rush, the Youth Group have organised a trip to the climbing centre at Ratho on Friday 22nd July.

We'll be meeting at West Kirk at 3.30pm in the afternoon and returning at 6.30pm

Youth Group Invitation Meal

  • 10 June 2016
  • liz.dyer

How many recipe searches are being made?

How much kitchen practice is going on?

On Friday 24th June, we are inviting selected (lucky) guests to the West Kirk hall at 6pm for an entertaining meal, devised and prepared by our own fair hands! Don't panic, guests - Nik will no doubt be supervising us closely.

Sunday Club ~ Why Do We Do That?

  • 3 June 2016
  • lorna.graham

Have you ever sat there and wondered "why do we do that" in Church? On Sunday June 12th Nanda and the children share with us all the reason behind, why we do certain things in church.   A service not to be missed .

See attached file for the answers given to all these questions if you missed this wonderful service.

 

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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