A group photo taken during the week of our holiday club!
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)
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
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.
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.
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!
At morning worship on 22nd May 2016, four members were presented with certificates to mark forty years' service in the congregation at West Kirk.
Stewart MacRae, Session Clerk, and George Stott, senior elder, have both served as elders for that period, during which they have given dedicated commitment to the congregation and continue to do so in their current roles.
Margaret Greenhorn and John Moffatt have been stalwart, dependable members of the West Kirk choir, Sunday by Sunday, over these forty years.
Congratulations to all four on reaching this incredible milestone.
The late Bill Russell had also been due to receive a similar certificate to mark his service as an elder for over forty years, which in latter years had also included convenership of the pastoral care committee.
This summers holiday club is now fully booked, all seats have been reserved and we busy drawing up the menu's for a really exciting week! If you are able to travel to East Calder they are running a holiday club the same week at the same time, so all is not lost, and they have a few empty seats still available but don't wait too long. For more information or to book a place check out www.knec4jesus.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The funeral of Bill Russell will take place on Wednesday 11th May at 1pm at West Kirk, followed by the interment at the cemetery at 2.15pm.
All are welcome back to the church hall for a buffet tea afterwards.
The end of April delivered a few highs and lows - with Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday celebrations probably the biggest high and the death of the pop star Prince probably the lowest low...... I find it quite ironic that on the very same day that the Queen turned 90, Prince died ( at a mere 57 years of age). There's even some word-play involved here; "Queen" x "Prince"
That's just the way life is I guess: Somebody's big, special day, is always, somewhere, somebody else's hard, sad day. Lots of people all over the world celebrated this very special milestone with the Queen; while, on the same day, lots of people all over the world mourned the loss of their icon, to a much-too-soon death.
Life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and most of these are unpredictable. The only thing we can know for sure is that none of us will be here on earth forever; that life is short. In Psalm 130: 15 - 17 we read: "The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone...But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him..."
The fact that life is short shouldn't make us feel depressed, it should make us pro-active. We should make the most of each minute. We need to LIVE every moment we have, so that one day, when our time is up, we won't have any regrets. Here, the Queen is setting a fabulous example.
And you know, although we don't know how many years we'll have here on earth, we know - without even the faintest shadow of a doubt, that for every single one of them, we'll have God by our side.
What more can we ask for?!
May God bless you all,