Round the Churches

Dunnottar Linked with South Churches

Reverend Rosslyn Duncan warmly welcomed all to the Third Sunday of Advent service.

She began by thanking all who decorated the Church for the Festive Season. Thanks was also extended to those who had generously brought toys which sat beneath the ‘Giving Tree’. The Salvation Army will pass these gifts to local children for Christmas.

The third Advent candle was lit recalling Simeon and Anna and all those in every generation who have waited for the glory of the Lord to be revealed, accepting God’s will and timing.

In Luke 2 v 1-7 we heard of the birth of Jesus. This was followed by a unique telling of the birth of Jesus by the Sunday school children; entitled ‘A Miracle in Town’. This Miracle which would change the World forever was entertainly told by way of song, dance and narration. Several members of the congregation ably assisted the children.

Cyrenians: we continue to collect tinned an dried foodstuffs, basic toiletries and cold weather clothing for the homeless within the city and shire of Aberdeen. Please contribute as you are able. Thank you.

Thursday 17 December: The last Thursday Coffee of 2015. Service will resume on Thursday 7January 2016.

Friday 18 December: 10am dressing of South church for Christmas – all welcome.

2pm: Mowat Court Christmas service.

Sunday 20 December: 10.30am Fourth Sunday of Advent at the South with the Kids Praise Nativity Service and Baptism.

Monday 21 December: 9.45am Dunnottar Primary Christmas service at the South

The church office will be closed for the festive season from 1pm Friday 18 December. It will re-open on Thursday 7 January 2016.

Christmas Eve services: 6.00pm Christingle at South, 11.00pm Carols at Dunnottar, 11.30pm Watchnight at Dunnottar.

Christmas Day: 10am at South

Sunday 27 December: 10.30am at St Bridget’s

Please copy all intimations for both congregations to the Minister by email

RDuncan@churchofscotland.org.uk or by ‘phoning 07899879427 or 01569 762166 Please note new email address.

News from St James & St Philips – 3rd in Advent

Our volunteers and workers are hard at it preparing for Christmas. Not only decorating and preparing the church – the Bethlehem Scene is already up and looking bonny with the windows of the town lit up and a crib just waiting for the Baby Jesus to arrive. But also the children in the Toddlers Group who meet in our Hall are getting ready for their Christingle service, which takes place on Thursday of this week at 11.00. All are welcome to this, which should be a cheerful event. The children have been practising their Christmas Carols, and the adults are making Christingles for the event.

Next Sunday, in addition to our usual two Communion Services, we have our Nine Lessons and Carols, which takes the traditional form, with popular, well-known carols. This starts at 4.00 pm and all are welcome. There will be refreshments afterwards.

This Sunday, Anne, our Lay Reader conducted the services in St James and St Philip’s. The 10.30 service, was an ‘All Age Service’ – informal and cheerful. Anne introduced it by saying it was a kind-of Four Lessons and Carols.

The four lessons were stories and poems that illustrate the meaning of Christmas taken from everyday life and events. The two poems were ‘Mother of God’ by Mary Coleridge, which describes the Blessed Virgin not as a ‘lady’ but as a ‘common woman of common earth’ who was chosen by God for this tremendous task just because she was an ordinary woman. The second poem was an extract from the Christmas poem by John Betjeman that asks ‘And is it true?’ and goes on ‘No love that in a family dwells…can with this single truth compare – that God was Man in Palestine, and lives today in Bread and Wine.’

The first story was about a man whose faith was renewed when he became aware that God created human beings to be like himself and that God’s purpose had always been to save mankind – not by force, bribery or cunning – His only instrument was love and our salvation can only come about with our consent and co-operation. The final story was an article from Readers’ Digest of many years ago, where an American Senator described one Christmas morning in his house.

His youngest child had gone downstairs in the middle of the night and suddenly came into his parents’ bedroom – very excited. The parents thought the child had broken the family rule and had gone down to open the presents alone. But when they followed the child down, the child ran across the room, totally ignoring the pile of presents and the brand-new bike and pointed out of the window to the eastern sky – ‘Look, its, the star, I’ve seen the star’ and promptly burst into tears.

The evening Communion Service took place at St Philip’s, Catterline. The church was looking splendid, since local schools and organisations had put up a host of decorated Christmas trees for the annual Christmas tree festival. The Children from Catterline Primary are holding their Christmas Assembly on Monday morning.

In her address, Anne spoke about the tradition of Chanukah, the Jewish celebration of eight days of renewal and remembrance that came about as the result of the cleansing of the Temple after it had been desecrated by enemies of the Jews in the 2nd century BC. There they wanted to light the perpetual light after the Temple was ready, but had only enough oil for a day or so, but nevertheless sent a rider to buy a fresh supply. Much to everyone’s surprise, the small cruse of oil lasted for a whole eight days – which is why Chanukah lasts eight days. Even today, Jews light eight candles in a candle-holder, one on each night for a week. And the say a prayer as they light each candle, with the refrain ‘a Great Miracle Happened Here’. Chanukah is a period for reflection and re-dedication and has much in common with our traditions in Advent.

Anne then went on to read the Advent Collect (special prayer) which begins by asking that we may have grace ‘to cast out the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.’ We have to arm ourselves against the evil one. And our armour is Jesus Christ himself. And when do we do this?

According to the prayer we must do this ‘now, in the time of this mortal life’. Our mortal life is the one which we have been given to live in this world and which is subject to death. It’s no good waiting for the last fortnight, like children in school, preparing for examinations. We cannot swot up for the final judgement – because we none of us know when that day will be.

West Mearns Parish Church

West Mearns Parish Church held a very successful Christmas Tree Festival in Fettercairn Church, which raised over £1500 for their Fabric Rot Fund. There are 30 trees in the church - each one thoughtfully and beautifully decorated by organisations, clubs and businesses in the village. It is a tremendous effort from a small community. The winning tree was from ‘Encore’ with the Fettery Shoppe being runners up. There were joint winners in the children’s tree section, with The Buzzing Bees group and Fettercairn Primary School sharing the honours.

Everyone who visited has been very impressed and many people have expressed their disappointment at not being able to see them. Such has been the interest that the organising committee have decided to open the church this Sunday, December 20th from 2-5p.m. with a cup of tea and shortie being served in the vestry, to allow those who missed it to come along.

Of course the trees will be there in the church for the Christmas Sunday morning service at 9.30a.m.

Visitors are also very welcome to come along and join in the service and see the trees then if they wish. Teas will be served after this service in the church hall. Do come along and share in the true meaning of Christmas.