Happy Birthday to the Church!!
This day of Pentecost is a time for celebration where the gift of the Holy Spirit was given; the guide, the counsellor, the supporter, prompter, innovator, the small inner voice we call our conscience, all these and more. Normally we would have had a celebration service in the church but this year, the church like everyone else has to have a muted celebration. The Churches of Grangemouth were hoping to have a big service somewhere in the town, to mark the day, however we are still unable to be together and sad as this is, we have had a different Service on Grangemouth Churches live, with the clergy, students and worship leader, and also on the Church of Scotland web-site which the Moderator invited us all to watch- the link for which was posted on our website last week.
I know many are missing church life, the sense of well-being felt after a service, that time of peace and lives refreshed and renewed, the coffee and chat and fellowship after worship- friends met- for some that’s the highlight of the week, but on a positive note we can worship together online, and that has been so important for you all. Next Sunday we will share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion online, so please have your bread/ biscuit and juice/tea or coffee to hand, and once again we can share in the sacrament.
The Spirit of Pentecost is sweeping through us- it has helped us all to understand that though we could not see the wind or rush of air, we can see it in action- in the changes in our worship. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but can sense it and see the outcome of the Spirit’s influence.
In the Book of Acts we read how the Spirit showed its Presence – with sound [a rushing wind] and with a visual effect [the tongues of flame] and the outcome that everyone could understand was being able to hear the speech of the Apostles in their own language. In these the people saw the Spirit in action, for suddenly the Apostles were overjoyed, Spirit-filled, they talked of Jesus and His Saving work. They were so excited and so joyous that they were accused of being drunk.
This was the moment when Peter came into his own, he stepped up and delivered such a sermon which touched the hearts of so many that about 3,000 were baptised that day. Simply because of what they saw and what they had heard and convinced by the Spirit. These were the followers of Jesus who were doing this, talking boldly about God and His love, telling everyone about Jesus.
These were the same followers who not long before had abandoned Jesus in His hour of need, Peter denied knowing Him three times. The same followers who had gathered in a locked room fearful for their lives with Thomas demanding to see the scars of Jesus before he would believe. The same ones who stumbled along while with Jesus never quite getting the point of His teaching.
They moved from darkness to the light in a flash of time, they now understood all that He had taught, they were confident and bold and could communicate with anyone and everyone. They were the same people but now they were filled with the Holy Spirit and found themselves serving in a completely different way far above their own expectations.
The Holy Spirit has not gone away with the passing of the Apostles and the early Christians. The Holy Spirit has not gone away because we can’t worship in a building together; The Spirit is around us now; helping, guiding, prompting, showing us all new ways of worship and communication. The use of Websites and Facebook, “Zoom” and “Facetime” [and the rest] for meetings and catch-ups, the use of the phone for Pastoral Chats, thoughts and prayers on our web-site have all been thrust upon us as church leaders but in each case we have found a way of reaching people. Is it a co-incidence or a God-incidence that technology has been so well developed and has been such a comfort to many?
The Spirit has been at work in our lives, in the friendly phone call, the blessing of good weather so that we can get some fresh air and see the wonder of nature, in our gardens or in the gardens of others, if we are stuck in a flat; the small blessings we see every day and the realisation that we have taken so much for granted.
The Holy Spirit brings joy to our hearts as we give thanks for the church, so, let’s celebrate and say, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHURCH”.
LET US PRAY
Almighty, God, we seek refreshment of our souls in Your Presence, we stop to “Be Still” and to be refreshed as if we were walking by a living stream. The sound of water running by, takes away our cares and we leave them with You, all the burdens we carry, anxiety, guilt, unhappiness, despair, all are laid at Your feet. You take these burdens and simply blow them away and we are left refreshed and renewed.
We thank You for the action and support of the Holy Spirit, for the new way of communication, for the loving support everyone has shown to one another, for the Hope we have in Jesus Christ our Saviour. for the inspiration of the Spirit which maintains our faith in difficult times and strengthens us to face the challenges we have come through and have yet to bear in the coming months.
We pray for our nation, for the Queen and the members of the Royal Family at this time. We pray for the leaders who have difficult decisions to make and we pray for everyone who has to comply with the awkward way of life which we shall find in the future.
We pray today for those who are ill for any reason, the dying who cannot see their loved ones, and families unable to comfort each other; we ask you to comfort all those who mourn.
We thank You O Lord for the good work of those who are supporting our young people, praying for all children and young adults at this time when so many worry about their future hope of a career, or worry about missing school. We thank you for those who are pulling out the stops to keep us in contact with each other and with you.
Lord we place all these hopes and fears into Your Loving Hands and ask a blessing on each one we have prayed for today.
We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
As lockdown is easing at this time, we are aware that none of us are in the same circumstances (medically high risk child/family member or a business about to go under, etc.). We must all stay in our own lanes and keep the judgment down as we begin to reopen. No one should feel pressured either way.
Just a thought…As government are trying to figure out how to ease back into normal, please remember:
? Some people don’t agree with opening…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some people are still planning to stay home…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some people already lost their jobs and businesses. Be Kind.
?????Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job…that’s okay. Be Kind.
? Some will wear masks for weeks…that’s okay. Be Kind.
?? Some people will rush out to get their hair or nails done…that’s okay. Be Kind.
?? The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be Kind.
We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home…But Be Kind .
If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and Be Kind!
Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, Be Kind.
The Church building will not open up for some time, and even then there will be so many restrictions. Please remember you are the church, and as God’s church of Scotland, always reforming, always moving on- and this has proved to be that time, beginning changes throughout the land.
I read that “It’s hard to go back to normal, when normal has disappeared,”- that’s sadly, so true. And whenever we can worship together, it will have changed, and so we will have to change our mindsets, not to expect it to be as it was.
I am missing you, and you will be missing each other. It’s not only life that has changed, but ministry has changed and will never be as it was- prior to Covid-19. Ministers have to get their heads around that too. Meeting people at difficult times; organising funeral services; going to the Crematorium- these have all changed and not for the best. Visiting people, listening to them, praying beside them has gone-and instead praying over the phone. Meetings rather than being face to face, can and have been online, on zoom- which in themselves are more straining and difficult to guage. However they continue.
Just some changes, and so in these strange times, when we have to adapt- “May the God of grace go with us along the road of life. May the God of goodness deal kindly with us as we seek to be a blessing to others, and may we meet our Creator at every turn.”
Keeping in contact;
If you need anything, both physically and spiritually, please contact Alison, by phone, via the website or message me on Facebook. Each day are daily live reflections at 11.30am from the worship team in Grangemouth- on Grangemouth Churches facebook page.
Each week, there is a service on our individual congregational pages or on Grangemouth Churches facebook page.
Bible Study- Every fortnight at 7pm on a Thursday on Zoom.
Quiz- Beginning on Thursday 4th June at 7pm on Zoom.
If you would like information, please contact Alison at home.
Congregational General Fund update
During these unprecedented times no-one will be surprised to hear that our congregation is facing what will be one of our biggest financial challenges ever.
The last time we were able to meet in church for worship was Sunday 15th March. The financial consequences of no freewill offering envelopes or open plate collection since that date are significant considering that approximately 45%-50% of our monthly offerings are normally given this way. In the period April to June we would have expected to receive around £10,500 from envelopes and open plate.
This is a concern shared by many people in the congregation and there have been various enquiries about how to make freewill offerings whilst staying at home or shielding.
One option if you are willing and able is to set up a standing order. This can be done either by online or telephone banking or by manually completing a standing order form and posting it to your bank. A standing order form can be e-mailed to you and is available from members of the finance committee or from your elder. Details of the church bank account, sort code, account number appear on the form. If it would be easier a printed form can be sent.
Another option is to send a cheque made payable to Zetland Parish Church either to the manse or to the treasurer. (Name and address appear in previous magazines).
These options may not be appropriate for everyone and you may prefer to continue to fill your freewill offering envelope week by week. We are very grateful for this commitment however, due to current circumstances, it may not be possible to arrange for collection of envelopes until a future date, but they will of course be gratefully received at that time.
As there have been no weekly intimations over the last couple of months due to coronavirus, the Church website has had a different look about it but it continues to be well used during the current lockdown period with an impressive 997 views during the month of April 2020 alone.
The Welcome page continues to be the most popular page as it is the ‘landing page’ but, since the lockdown, it’s content has changed and there is now a lot of up to date messages with what is going on in our Church here in Grangemouth as well as the wider Church in Scotland.
As you are probably aware the three Church of Scotland’s in Grangemouth came together to create a youTube channel that produces a Sunday Service every Sunday morning. There are links to this youTube channel on the Church website and it is well used by people to connect to the channel.
A new section on the website called ‘Thought’s & Prayers’ is proving to be very popular. In this section there are two items that are updated daily. The first item is a daily prayer by Evelyn Robertson that is very much written from the heart and also thought provoking The second item is a daily story from Tom Robertson. Tom’s wee stories tend to be about life in general and have a local flavour and I find them very interesting and I would recommend that you have a wee look at this section of the website.
Another new section has been popular and it is called ‘Hope In The Time Of Coronavirus’. This item was written by Sally, granddaughter of Mrs Kerr and is worth a read.
We now have our own Zetland Church youTube channel! There is only one video on it at the moment but we hope to make more use of it in the future. To access the channel, go to youTube and type in Zetland Parish Church into the search box.
For the first time, due to the pandemic, we are going to publish the June edition of the Church Magazine on our website. This is due to the difficulty of compiling the usual paper copy of the magazine and also the restrictions of Church Elder’s delivering the magazine to people’s homes. If it proves to be popular, we could continue to publish future editions of the magazine on the Website.
If there are any items that you would like to see in the website please get in touch with us.
Although we might not manage physical contact, we can stay in touch by phone, text, social media. We are not alone and in time we will emerge together. We are God’s Family and He will look after us. Stay safe. Keep in contact. Be brave. This will soon pass.
Love to all my Zetland family. Missing you and look forward to seeing you all soon.
This is such a different report. No planting has been done due to the restrictions put upon us due to the virus. But now things have eased a bit Morton and I have started to catch up on the weeding of the flower beds and the surrounding paths. I would like to give a big thank you to Hugh for keeping the lawns cut and feeding them, It is a big job, so thanks again Hugh Meikle. I hope everyone is keeping well and hopefully next year we may be able to plant and tend the gardens as usual.
Social & Fundraising
The members of the social committee,
Work hard throughout the year,
That’s why this horrible lockdown,
Is very hard to bare.
We can’t hold any of our events,
Because we can’t go near,
Our friends and family in the church,
We’re social distancing because of fear.
No coffee mornings in the hall,
No home baking, raffles and stalls,
We have so much time on our hands,
We are stuck within four walls.
We really all look forward to,
A time when this has passed,
Who knows when this will happen,
When it does we’ll have a blast.
So keep your chin up one and all,
We’ll soon be serving teas,
And when we’re reunited in the hall,
The committee will again be as busy as bees.
Hope all the boys and girls are keeping busy with home schooling and having fun in the sun!
How things have changed since my last update – Easter without the church – was hard for us all – as I personally really enjoy that time in the church and then at home with the family! We did manage to get the Easter Bunny to drop off some eggs at grandchildren and other small members of the family and followed up with a family zoom call. We had a family zoom version of Roll the Stone with music and actions and Easter bonnets very funny!!
Hopefully you’ve managed to watch the various video clips recorded by the Sunday School teachers – and pulled together by the very talented Karen Weir – cos I’d not have managed that – far too technical for me! Anyway, think that my neighbours think I’ve gone mad!!! But was good fun! Keep watching – you never know what we will do next!
I know that all the teachers are really missing the boys and girls – and pray that we can get back together some time in the future – as by that time – we’ll have so much to catch up on – Easter party/summer party…. Lots and lots of fun to be had!
Missing you all loads – take care – and keep smiling!!
7th Grangemouth Boys Brigade
I am sitting here wondering what to say, it has been such a hard time for us all with this Covid 19 Virus. We had our last meeting on the 10th March, but our Boys Brigade has not stopped thanks to Craig and Cliff who set up a WhatsApp for us to keep in contact with the boy’s parents and what a blessing it has been.
The Boys Brigade set up BB at home giving us tasks to do and thanks to Craig (I tried but failed miserably ) who managed to put them on WhatsApp the boys took up the challenges and sent pictures of their achievements, I wish you could see their smiley faces and looking so proud.
Craig managed to arrange a quiz night which we all went onto The Zoom Meeting Place, Alison managed to come on before the quiz started and said a prayer with the boys, it was great to see their faces and hear their chatter. All the Officers are missing them.
Today 26th May would have been our last meeting and we were going to have a Picnic in the Park, but we have been having them in our gardens thanks to the lovely weather.
The boys have all managed to complete their achievements for this year and their awards have been sent for, we are just hoping that it won’t be too long before they can receive them.
Take care and stay safe.
7th Grangemouth Boys Brigade
The Brigade’s Section of the Girls Brigade had to curtail their work on food during the session.
We discussed food and whether it is best to cook from fresh or buy ready-made. They priced both and of course concluded that cooking from scratch was cheaper and tastier.
We also baked microwave dumpling, yummy. Sponges, very yummy.
We made spagbol, curry and Reheel and his lovely wife came to tell us about their cooking and of course taste it. The girls absolutely loved it and enjoyed interacting with Raheel. He was out voted being the only man with all the females.
We discussed Bulimia, anorexia, obesity self-harming and all the other mental health issues involved with food. Exercise was deemed to be important and we enjoyed Yoga positions.
The girls also looked at body image, and how everyone in the world is different. God made us in his image and loves each of us. Young people today need to have confidence in how they look and not to feel intimidated by social media.
It was sad we could not have our Parents Night; the girls had already given thought as to what we could do.
We hope to meet again as soon as possible as everyone is missing their Monday nights.
I would ask that it would be good if you could pray for our girls at this time, for missing schooling, for their mental health and that they will get back to normal as soon as possible.
Hi, everyone, how nice to have some sort of magazine in this hard time, good on you and my thanks for all your hard work.
The Guild, of course had to close early and there was no time to have our annual Strawberry Tea, but it will come to pass at a later date.
We did manage to have both our Fund Raisers for our Projects so that was a blessing.
As the ladies are aware, our first Fund Raiser was our Quiz Night and what fun that was. I must admit we did not win and my Guild knowledge was woeful! What a disgrace! But the night was superb and we always have to thank Woody for making it fun.
Our second night was our Fashion Show, oh my, were the models not fantastic! We had such a laugh both in the dressing room and during the show. I was not in the dressing room but the laughs coming from it showed everyone was in great spirits. The dressers were hard worked getting the ladies in and out of the finery.
The sale after it for goods from the Hospice certainly had lots of buyers. It has been good as money for all charities has been curtailed, and therefore our contribution certainly went to help.
The Guild will not be opening for a while yet, but always remember that all the members are here for each other. Nothing can beat the ladies of the Guild for keeping their spirits up. We always think of each other and every week pray for every member, and I feel sure each Guild member is still doing this.
Keep our chins up ladies, all of them. Keep praying and laughing, both of which the Guild Is good at.
God Bless from all your committee.
The Stitchers were busy over the time we met from September until March.
Hats and scarves were produced for the Christmas boxes. Tiny hats and jackets were completed for the premature babies at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, along with normal sized hats, as all babies are now given hats. We received a lovely letter of thanks from the baby unit.
I know some of our members are still knitting these, but unfortunately the hospital is unable to accept donations at the moment. However, they may get a bumper bundle in the not too distant future – here’s hoping!
Knitted items for babies and toddlers were produced which were given to the Kersiebank Community Project and a project which helps homeless people into tenancy.
The ladies were also able to use their talents to raise funds for Zetland by producing some beautiful knitted items for the Craft Fair held in Talbot House last October and the Christmas Fair in November.
It seems a long time since we met, and who knows when we will be able to meet again, but I’m sure the ladies will be clicking away on the needles. Not only does it pass the time, but some beautiful items will be produced.
Looking forward to seeing all the handiwork!
Another Stitching Project
In November, at the Christmas Craft Fair in Glasgow SECC, I was attracted to a Stall with some wool/ patterns/information for a-HuG. The lady in charge of this stall had been a Cancer Patient and to help with the neuropathy problems resulting from Chemotherapy a friend had brought her some wool and needles to knit whatever she could manage. Obviously, she could not concentrate on a pattern, so just cast on 26 stitches and knitted and knitted and ended up with a scarf some 150-200 cm long and then started another. When completed she gave one to each of her daughters who had given her lots of hugs during her treatment. That is when the idea of a-HuG was born to give to Cancer Patients to feel the “arms” of friends/stranger’s arms around them during their dark hours.
(That day the lady in question had been declared as cancer free- a big real hug was given)
Some of the Stitchers have taken this project on board and to date 30 a-Hugs have been despatched and I have another 25+ ready to go when it is safe to go to the Post Office! The parcels go to a depot where the a-HuGs are sanitised and packaged individually together with a wee note for the recipient. If anyone knows someone undergoing treatment who would benefit from a-HuG then one would be sent from the Depot directly to either the recipient or to you to pass on yourself.
Our Hospitals are also aware of this and can also request these.
Some information for anyone who would like to knit a-HuG. Many cancer patients have a heightened sensitivity of touch and smell, including skin irritations so cotton, cotton blends (minimum 50/50 cotton acrylic), bamboo, PREMIUM acrylic, some wool blends, double knitting/4 ply/or chunky, are recommended. Quantity for each a-HuG 150 grams and should be 150-200cm long, approx. and 15-20 centimetres wide– 30 sts. approx I am happy to parcel up and send the a-Hugs off but should anyone like to do this individually then the address is
aHug Bear Drops
9 Millbank Crescent
(A-HuG – everyone is looking forward to the real thing when the Pandemic restrictions are lifted)
Zetland Baby Group
Since the last church magazine so much has changed in this surreal world and the Baby Group and Toddler Groups have not met since the last week in March before lockdown was put in place, at the time myself and the leaders of the toddler groups did wonder if we were making the correct decisions however the right decisions were definitely made. However who at the time would have never in their wildest dreams have thought what was forthcoming not just for our the Mums/Dads/Grans and their babies who come along on a Tuesday morning to Baby Group but the effects on the whole world.
We have volunteers who willingly assist and feel privileged too as from time to time they have great pleasure of “cuddles” with the babies at the invitation of the Mums/Dads/Grans when “Elevenses” are served and allowing them fellowship over a cup of tea/coffee with home baking whilst their babies interact with each other in their own baby like way – such a rewarding and encouraging picture. Occasionally I speak to the ladies who volunteer on the telephone and all are missing their Tuesday morning at Baby Group and I dare say so are the Mums/Dads/Grans.
I imagine some of the babies will be ready for the Toddler Group when we resume but there is one thing sure there is always new babies being born into this world! who will be made most welcome at Baby Group. Being positive and looking forward to Baby Group resuming we have to wait and see what and when the road map being issued by the Scottish Government will allow us to resume in our safe environment. Therefore keeping watching this space or contact via Facebook.
Myself and all the ladies of Zetland Baby Group send their best wishes and we hope you are all well and you and your families stay safe during these times.
See you all soon’ish!!
CAN YOU HELP?
You can still collect the following and keep at home until the pandemic is over and the Church Hall is open again to bring the articles you have collected along for me to deal with.
Spectacles – I am still collecting used spectacles to be sent to countries where people require them The frames can be used and the lenses altered. Leave them at the bookstall.
Used Stamps – I realise not as many people write letters now, but please save your stamps off any you receive. The stamps are handed in to the Centre in Camelon and are used by the R.N.I.B..
We are still sending Bags for Hope to the Polmont Prion along with any toiletries you may not require. When a woman leaves the Prison she gets a handbag and a few toiletries to start her off. It is not a lot but gives the woman a feeling of worth. A woman’s handbag is a most important part of her life, mine is like Mary Poppins, full of rubbish!!
Mary’s Meals – I am always collecting for this charity. T- shirts, shorts, skirts, toothpaste, toothbrush, cake of soap, pencils rulers coloured pencils, a ball, a soup spoon, a notebook and of course a backpack to put them in. The clothes and the backpack do not need to be new, just in a usable condition. The children also need a hand towel, again new just able to be used. Thanks to everyone who has contributed in the past.
Ladies I am sill collecting used bras. These are sent to underdeveloped countries where wearing underwear discourages rape of young women. As long as the bras are clean and not torn, they will of use to this charity.