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October 2018

November 2018 Letter

  • 31 October 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Greater love has no one than thisthan to lay down one's life for his friends”
(John 15:13).

Dear Congregations

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.

Shalom

Alison

Wee Sleep Oot

  • 20 October 2018
  • liz.dyer

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

 

 

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October 2018 Letter

  • 7 October 2018
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

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.

Nanda

Food Bank Harvest Thank You

  • 7 October 2018
  • liz.dyer

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.

Many thanks

Douglas