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March Letter

  • 4 March 2014
  • andre.groenewald

~~Dear congregations
I hope you are all well.
I am writing this letter with the knowledge that this will be my last letter from the Manse that I write in my capacity as Interim moderator. I will be resigning at the end of March 2014 in order for the Nomination Committee to proceed with the calling of a new minister without any conflict of interest that may occur. I have enjoyed being your interim moderator. We have journeyed together over many challenging mountains, we saw beautiful sunsets and experienced together the faithfulness of our Lord and Saviour.

On the 26th of June 2011 I declared the congregations vacant and preached on Jeremiah 28:1-17 in the West Kirk. (In Polbeth Harwood I did not deliver this sermon because the JAM Club already arranged a special service of drama and song.)
I said in my introductory words the following:
“ I have only one task and that is to take care of you as best as I possibly can, spiritually, and pastorally.  I have always felt that to be a minister you are called by God. It is not a job. It is a calling. And to me that was always the case and this is how I approach everything I do – including being your interim moderator. I also feel very strongly about a working relationship between you and I based on the principles of mutual respect, common decency, fairness, truth, integrity, professionalism and confidentiality. I am as you know from Johannesburg in South Africa and therefore you would find me strange in a lot of ways. I do not do gossip. I am a straight talker who calls a spade a shovel. I am not afraid of emotions – either talking about it or showing it. I am also someone who firmly believes in hard work.
My hope for you all is that you will not feel alone and without a minister. I will take care of you. I will walk with you and hold your hand when no one else will. I will cry with you with hope when others have given up hope. I will be your earthly shepherd spiritually leading you to the eternal kingdom of God! Please be reassured: I am available to help you in any pastoral or other capacity.
We do not know what the future holds. We do not know if the Vacancy Procedure Committee is going to allow you to call a minister, because as you all know all the procedures to call has been postponed.
We do not know how long it will be when you get your new minister...but we do know that the Lord God knows you and that He loves his church – you and me despite all our wrongs.
So let us move forward and trust the Lord. Let us all join hands in prayer and thank our Maker for always being there for us. Let us walk together to the future and forget the things that bothered us in the past. Let us sing together like the prophet Habakkuk (3:17-19) who once said:
“17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

Now, looking back, we can all agree that indeed the Lord was good to all of us.
He looked after me as His called servant to your vacant charge;
giving me the strength to persevere in difficult situations;
granting me vision in times of uncertainty;
giving me love to love all unconditionally;
giving me faith when I started doubting;
indeed giving me feet to run over all the high mountains of uncertainty, challenge and strife.
He looked after each and everyone in the congregations.
He became a faithful Shepherd to us all;
giving the congregations new vision, new hope and new faith to stand up once again and be His church as He intended it ;
giving members the love of forgiveness and healing. 
During the vacancy He called new people to come forward and take on responsibilities.
He initiated the Holiday club and blessed it in abundance.
He called more and more people to worship services.
He equipped elders to deal with serious pastoral issues.
He directed each and every member to live in a relationship with Him.
He ensured His servants were on the pulpit every Sunday and on special occasions.
He also provided in all the financial needs.

So as you face the future with new hope and new dreams, may you not forget your prophetic message to each and every one living in the Parishes  - that we have a God in whom we can trust.

I thank all of you sincerely for all the support I have received, for all the cards of encouragement and for all the telephone calls and emails with offers to help.
Our journey together was a team effort and as I bid you farewell, I encourage you to support the new minister as you have supported me.

May God bless you and keep you safe in His loving arms!

All my best wishes for a blessed future,


Inspection of Electoral Rolls

  • 25 February 2014
  • liz.dyer

As part of the procedure required by Church law before the preaching, voting and 'calling' of a minister as Sole Nominee to our linked charge, the Electoral Register must be available for inspection.

The Register is a list of members and adherents eligible to vote and sign the Call for a new minister.

The Registers will be available to view at both congregations between 2nd and 16th March for anyone unsure if they are eligible to vote. Please check these lists and speak with an elder if you have any query or concerns.

After 16th March, any amendments will be made if necessary and the Register forwarded to presbytery so they are legally informed of everyone allowed to vote and sign the Call when Rev Dr Jonanda Groenewald later preaches as Sole Nominee.

Sunday Club - Winter update

  • 5 February 2014
  • lorna.graham

Have you checked out the pictures from our joint Nativity service? All the children who were able to join us on the day made this service extra special.

We are now back in full swing on Sunday mornings, and the boys and girls had great fun last Sunday as they learned about Jesus being tempted in the desert. They were then set a jam, ice and decorate biscuits without licking their fingers or eating the toppings. It was a tough task but great fun!

All children from 3 years to P7 are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings.

Please note: Sunday Club will be on holiday on Sunday February 16th only.

Date for your diary!   Saturday March 1st  -  Sunday club and friends will be staffing the Candy bar in the West Kirk Church hall and we have some fantastic special events planned for children so watch this space for more information coming soon.

Holiday Club - Scripture Union Training day

  • 5 February 2014
  • lorna.graham

2014 is going to be a very significant year for Scotland in so many ways. Scripture Union Scotland has now published Fit for a King, a mission resource written with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in mind. SU training teams wish to give church Holiday Club teams in Scotland every opportunity to meet with those who have been involved in writing and piloting this resource and have planned  LaunchPad events across Scotland for 2014 in order to offer training to those involved in Holidays Club and teenage outreach this year. Details of the Edinburgh venue is given below and further information on the event can be found on the attached flyer.

SU are in partnership with More than Gold, Youth for Christ and Christians in Sport to make these events doubly successful. In addition to seminars on all the usual skills required for Holiday Clubs, there are three seminars  throughout the day, specifically geared to training for outreach to teenagers. The attached flyer gives details of all seminars that are being offered.

For all four events:

·         Time: 9:45am – 4.45pm

·         Cost: £5 per person

·         Tea/coffee available

·         Lunch is provided

Date and Venue:

·         Saturday 15th March, Davidson’s Mains Church, Edinburgh

These events fill very quickly so if you would like to attend please contact Lorna Graham asap so we can get our group booking in and seminar selection completed early.


File Attachments: 

February Letter

  • 23 January 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

~~Dear congregations

As you all know, this time of year Robert Burns is the talk of the town. And people remember “Scotland’s favourite son” by means of sharing a special meal together – haggis, neaps and tatties (and just in case you wondered – even us ex-South Africans do that!). During this meal some of Burns’ poems are usually read or recited. And by means of this tradition, we keep the memory of a very special man alive.

Have you ever wondered why we always eat when we celebrate something? Birthdays, weddings, baptisms, even funerals… It’s either a meal or at least some cake, but there will always be food involved! I don’t know why we do that, but I do know that it’s been done for many many years.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 we read: “…The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” So we also remember Jesus and what he did for us by means of a special meal, around the communion table, while we read words that he spoke or stories of his life. People have been doing this for countless years, to keep the memory of Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross, alive.

Maybe it’s easier to remember something if you feel part of it…

Every time I see haggis, I think of Robert Burns. Wouldn’t it be great if we could think of Jesus every time we see bread? Because then we will think of him very often.

I hope you all enjoyed your Burns’ Suppers, and I want to invite you to come enjoy the Lord’s Supper in church on the first Sunday in March.

Let’s celebrate the life of Jesus, for auld lang syne, and as often as we can, because He is the one person we never want to forget.

May God bless you all.


Christmas 2013 in the congregations

  • 25 November 2013
  • liz.dyer

Sunday Dec 1st  9.45am & 11.15am

                           — Communion: 1st Sunday in Advent

                             3pm Bereavement Service Polbeth Harwood


Sunday Dec 8th 9.45am & 11.15am  2nd Sunday in Advent 

                              3pm ’Beyond the Kirk Walls’  Stewart Court


Friday Dec 13th    7pm Evening of Christmas Music 

                                            West Kirk        


Sunday Dec 15th 9.45am & 11.15am 3rd Sunday in Advent

                                       Gift Service at West Kirk


Monday Dec 16th  1pm Congregational Christmas Party

                                       West Kirk     

                              7pm West Calder Brass Band Concert

                                       Polbeth Harwood Church


 Friday Dec 20th  9.15am Parkhead Primary School service

                                      West Kirk  


Sunday Dec 22nd   10.30am Joint Nativity Service

                                     West Kirk  


Tuesday Dec 24th 7pm  ’Journey with Jesus’ family worship

                                           Polbeth Harwood Church


                             11.30pm Watchnight Service  

                                             West Kirk


Sunday Dec 29th  10.30am Joint Morning Worship

                                       Polbeth Harwood Church  

     Everyone is welcome at all these events


Christmas Letter

  • 25 November 2013
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregation

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas again… The leaves are falling from the trees, and the Christmas lights are being switched on.

One thing nobody can disagree about, is that Christmas is BIG in this country. I went to Princess Street recently, and although the atmosphere was magical, I could hardly move because of all the people there – huge crowds, everybody wanting their piece of “Edinburgh’s Christmas”. But the real meaning of Christmas is hidden very well behind all the beautifully decorated trees, twinkling lights, festive music, and expensive gifts.

Because you don’t see or hear anything about the wee boy Christmas is all about - about his message of love. In Luke 2:1-7 we read that when Jesus was born, Mary wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


Seeing all those people flocking to Edinburgh, made me think of what it must have been like in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Thousands of people gathered together, without the slightest idea that the Saviour of the world was just born, there among them. Everybody was too busy with what they came to do, to realise what an historic event was taking place, right under their noses!

Are we any different? All those many years ago there was no place for Jesus in the inn. Is there place for him among us now? Although we live more than 2000 years after those people who were all gathered in Bethlehem, have we changed at all? Or are we so busy with our own business – especially at this busy time of year – that we don’t even recognise the presence of Christ among us?


There is nothing wrong with having a special time at Christmas, as long as Christ isn’t pushed to the side. Because without Christ, we wouldn’t have had Christmas in the first place!


My wish for you this Christmas is that every twinkling light will remind you of the hope there is in Christ, every festive tune remind you of the joy there is in Christ, and every gift you buy or open remind you of the love there is in Christ...


May you all have a very blessed Christmas.




Bereavement Service: 1st December 2013

  • 9 November 2013
  • liz.dyer

This year, the special bereavement service for both congregations and communities of West Calder and Polbeth will be held on Sunday !st December at 3pm  in Polbeth Harwood Church. The service will be jointly conducted by the Rev Drs Jonanda and Andre Groenewald, our Locum Minister and Interim Moderator.                                                                                                                                                          Invitation is made to all those  relatives and friends who have lost loved ones and would like an opportunity .to remember their lives.                 Family and friends wishing to attend should  reply to the Admin Secretary on 871672  and are requested to bring a photograph of their loved one with them to the service.                                                                                                                                                                                  An afternoon tea of cakes and scones will be served in the church cafe after the close of the service.

British Summer Time Ends....Reminder

  • 24 October 2013
  • lorna.graham

With nights drawing in and an autumnal feel to the weather, it is that time of year when British Summer Time officially ends, resulting in clocks going back an hour.

So just a wee reminder our clocks will go back an hour at 2am on Sunday, October 27, 2013, when the country reverts to Greenwich Mean Time.yes


Sunday Club - Welcome Back & Reminder

  • 24 October 2013
  • lorna.graham

As the school holiday week draws to a close, we would like to remind all the boys and girls Sunday Club is back on this Sunday and we have a great adventure to share with you all this week surprise so we hope you can join us!

Remember early to bed on Saturday as the clocks go back this weekend!!