Round the Churches

Baptist Buzz

Between our Communion service and the family service we had breakfast together - a lovely and welcome surprise. It was good to spend time, sharing food and drink together.

Our worship service today was indeed a family service involving the children of the Sunday school. Pastor Nathan focused on Deuteronomy 6 where guidance is given to parents on how to bring up their children by teaching them scripture and talking to them about the truths of the bible. Talk about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road. Sunday school does not take the place of teaching about Christianity in the home.

The children have been learning the catechism including no less than 46 questions and answers, and their memory was impressive. Traditional Scots of a certain age will know of the Westminster shorter catechism which used to be familiar in Scottish churches and houses but alas has been neglected, ignored and forgotten.

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You are very welcome to join us at Carronhill on Sundays from 10am and on Thursdays at the church office for focused prayer, from 7.30 pm.

If you are in S1 - S6, or at college, the Zone is at Carronhill on Fridays from 7.15pm.

Please see the website or contact the office for further details of all our activities.

Dunnottar linked with South

Morning worship in Dunnottar Church last Sunday was the annual Harvest festival service and as people arrived at the church, the first thing they saw was a wheelbarrow just outside the doors loaded with all the produce you associate with the harvest. It certainly made people stop and admire the display! Once inside there was further harvest themed decoration and a table for people to leave their harvest gifts of fresh produce which is distributed to the elderly in the various care homes. tinned and dried goods for the Cyrenians and donations of money to Christian Aid’s appeal for Bolivia. The singing was led by the Granite City Brass ensemble who were making a welcome return to play at the service…and it certainly helped the singing of the various hymns. Rev Rosslyn Duncan had planned the prayers, readings and short reflections around the themes of Creation-the gift of life, Recreation-the gift of fellowship and Re-creation-the gift of healing and wholeness. It was very appropriate that the service ended with the hymn ”You shall go out with joy”.. which summed up everyone’s mood!

On Sunday afternoon, there was the annual service for the elderly and housebound in St Bridget’s. Arrangements had been made to transport those who wish to come to the service and after a short service of worship, there was afternoon tea with lots of home baking on offer.

Last Thursday, the Friendship coffee morning was organised to support the Macmillan Cancer Worlds Biggest Coffee morning. Margaret Coutts who organises the coffee morning received a call from the charity to tell her that the Thursday coffee group had taken part in this fundraiser since 1995 making it one of the groups who have supported Macmillan in this venture for the longest time. The amount raised last Thursday was over £300 so a very big thank you to everyone who supported this event. The coffee morning takes place every week in St Bridget’s from 10-11.30am and is open to anyone to go along and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some homebaking.

News from St James: Harvest Festival – September 27 2015

Anne conducted the Harvest Festival from the Reserved Sacrament, and began with sincere thanks to Pam, who stepped in at the very last minute to play the organ on behalf of our regular organist who had become ill overnight. Then she thanked all who had been involved in any way in decorating the church and preparing for the Harvest Lunch which was to follow the service. Gifts from the congregation were generous and would be passed on to the Cyrenians for distribution to the poor and homeless in Aberdeen and the Mearns.

She then reminded all who would ‘qualify’ that the Harvest Celebration, with afternoon tea and a fine piece, for all our elders would take place in the Hall on Wednesday. We would be expecting visitors from the care homes for the elderly in Stonehaven, as well as our own congregation.

She then preached on the theme for the day: thankfulness: beginning with a quotation from the Quran:

God is he who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water from the clouds, then brought forth with it the fruits as a sustenance for you…and he gives you all that you ask him, and if you count God’s favours you will not be able to number them. Surely man is very unjust, very ungrateful.

Now a lot of people nowadays think that Harvest Thanksgiving is a bit old-fashioned. After all we – ordinary people – don’t have to worry about our local farming difficulties – there are always supplies from other parts of the world. Even with our Harvest Thanksgiving service – we don’t necessarily bring fresh fruit and vegetables as our offering – we can just take it for granted. Well, let’s just think about this taking-for-granted business.

What we have among some of the fresh foods are foods wrapped in tin cans or modern packaging. We don’t worry much about the harvest – even if our farmers are still feeling anxious about the harvest – either its in or its ruined and not worth worrying about. But us? Well, a quick visit to ASDA and we can lay in supplies for the winter. Look here – tins containing pulses, vegetables, cereals, meats. And the cans themselves – iron taken from the earth itself, refined and coated with tin, another of the earth’s treasures. And on the altar: a beautiful embroidered frontal comprising threads woven from the earth’s produce o cotton, silk, and dyes from earths and vegetable extracts, as well as man-made fibres and chemical dyes.

And another of the earth’s bounties – from far-flung corners of the earth – the hardwood timber that is used to make roof trusses for the new estates of houses springing up round and about. And of course, the bounty of the sea – fish, of course, but also oil and gas..

All of this, produce of the earth – work of human hands.

What this illustrates is that we enjoy the fruitfulness of the earth – but only when we work at it. Working with God, for good.

So what we are talking about is partnership with God. Working together for good, and acknowledging that we are dependent on God’s goodness and kindness for the basic ingredients – of life, of love, of land, of the produce of the mines, of the growth from the earth, and cattle on a thousand hills. And that it is by working with God that we are sustained. And it is when we really begin to think like this that we are so overwhelmed with gratitude that we say to ourselves ‘But how can I repay God for his goodness?’ Well, one way is to share his goodness round.

Do you remember Band Aid – the enormous charity event that raised gifts for the starving people of the horn of Africa back in the eighties – Bob Geldof and all that? There was a tv clip: this reporter spoke to an Ethiopian man, totally emaciated, with eyes sunk deep in his skull. He was wearing a Christian cross on a leather thong round his neck. The reporter asked him: ‘Are you a Christian, then’ ‘I certainly am’ replied the man. ‘How can you have faith in a God who lets you starve like this.’ ‘’God is good. He provides food enough for all. But his messengers – they have not brought the food to us.’

So this is why we give at Harvest-time. We are God’s helpers, his messengers. We are created in the image and likeness of God. And one of the God-like features of our human nature is our ability to create. Whether we are creating nourishing meals for our families – for community meals such as Lynn and the Social Committee are creating for us now, whether we are writing letters, sewing curtains, knitting vests for the Fish and Chip Babies – everybody creates. For when we work, we glorify God. And that is what our Harvest thanksgiving is about: Glorifying God and praising him for his goodness – and working with God to spread his goodness to those who need. So that we may show that we are not ungrateful, we do not take God’s goodness for granted.