With Christmas approaching, Aberluthnott and Laurencekirk Parish Churches are aware that this is a difficult time for the bereaved and their families. This can be so, not only for those who have lost loved ones this year, but also for those who have suffered a bereavement in the past.
The festive season can often feel like an ordeal, rather than a time of joy and celebration.
Towards the end of November, and the beginning of December, when everyone seems to be caught up in the bustle and busy-ness of Christmas, a special service is to be held in Laurencekirk Church of Scotland, on Sunday 29th November, at 2:30 p.m.
All are warmly invited to come along to remember loved ones no longer with us. Is there someone you miss? Come and remember them with thanksgiving, and hear God’s words of hope and comfort.
During the service, there will be an opportunity, if you wish ,to light a candle in memory of your loved one. For those who wish to stay afterwards ,tea and biscuits will be served. If you would like someone to come along with you to the service,
or should you require transport, then do not hesitate to contact Phil and Madeleine Smith on 01561377665.
News from St James
Following the atrocities in Paris just two days ago, our service on Sunday morning was a sombre one. The votive candle stand was set up in the Lady Chapel, with bouquets of flowers on a table with standing candles behind. By the time the Liturgy had begun, already half the votive candles had been lit by members of the congregation.
Anne (Lay Reader) explained why these were set up, as a memorial to the many citizens – mainly French but also from other parts of Europe - who had died in the shootings and bombings. During the playing of the post-Communion hymn, those who had not yet lit a candle paused to do so.
In his address, Dr Peter Smart, Diocesan Warden of Readers, explained how he had originally intended to preach on the gospel reading from St Mark – but in the event this proved to be appropriate. As this is the start of the apocalyptic portion which leads Jesus to foretell the destruction of the temple and then moves on to talk privately with Peter, James , John and Andrew about the signs that will signal the end of the world. A difficult topic and unsettling to read and to hear.
This Apocalyptic reading is the kind of passage that street-corner preachers tend to latch on to with their banners proclaiming ‘the end of the world is nigh’. Even now, there may be those who refer to current world affairs, to the wars which are tearing apart whole nations or the barbaric acts in Paris on Friday evening, to recent earthquakes or the famine in Ethiopia as signs that Jesus mentioned.
They do not acknowledge the rest of the teaching of Jesus, that there have been wars and famines throughout history - and that Mark’s gospel teaches us that these do not predict the end of the world. Jesus says that neither the angels in heaven, nor even Jesus himself, knows when that day and hour will come, only the Father knows. Against all the truly depressing events, he also says that the end time will not come until the good news has first been proclaimed to all nations.
At the end of the chapter in Mark, Jesus says ‘Beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come.’ And here Jesus tells the parable about the man going on a journey, leaving his servants in charge at home. They must keep alert – his exhortations to the servant is ‘Keep awake’.
So we too, must keep the faith despite the terrible events we witness.
In the intimations, Anne reminded the congregation of the forthcoming Book Browse on Saturday, 21st November. Also, next week is the Festival of Christ the King, when the Bishop of Brechin, +Nigel, will be coming to preach.
Sunday, 29th November sees our ~Annual General Meeting which will follow the main 10.30 service. A sausage-sizzle lunch is available – please sign up at back of church.
Anne and David are on holiday from Tuesday 16th to Thursday 25th November.
Dunnottar linked with South Churches
On Sunday Reverend Rosslyn Duncan welcomed all to Worship. On addressing the children she produced a handful of paper money which on examination proved to be a bundle of £5.00 notes with a variety of pictures, some of the notes were quite new while others had been around a bit.
She said that although people would prefer to possess the nice new notes, each note was in fact all of the same value...they were all worth £5.00. Humans were also like this, we were all very different from the outside, yet we were all individuals valued and treasured by God. The congregation reflected on God’s universal love while singing “He’s got the whole world in His hands”
Throughout worship we meditated on the importance of caring for others and standing alongside those working for Christ through Crossreach (The Church of Scotland social care service). Within Stonehaven we were encouraged to get involved with Clashfarquhar and The Bungalow. Rosslyn’s message was enhanced as the congregation sang that powerful hymn of Christian service “Brother, Sister let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you”.
Reading from the gospel of Matthew on the parable of the sheep and the goats where Jesus is identified as the Judge in Glory but at the same time identifies Himself with the “least of these members of my family”. At the beginning of Prisoners’ Week it is right to stop and reflect not in a spirit of judgement on those whom society has imprisoned but in a spirit of forgiveness and compassion on our brothers and sisters whom Christ loves and calls us to stand alongside. Worship was concluded with the congregation singing “To God be the glory”.
Next Sunday 22nd November Morning Worship 1030 at Dunnottar Reverend Rosslyn Duncan
Saturday 21st November 1000-1130 Guild Coffee Morning at St Bridget’s (Tickets £2.50 adults; £1.00 children)
Friday 27th November The Bungalow presents Strictly at Stonehaven Town Hall. Tickets £30.00 for 2 course meal at 7pm
Spectator tickets for dancing £10.00 at 9pm
Tickets available from The Bungalow Arduthie Street or Fetteresso Church Bath Street.