Round the Churches

Dunnottar linked with South Church

Rev Rosslyn welcomed all to the First Sunday in Lent. The Lenten theme was ‘being covenant people’.

In the children’s address Rosslyn focused on the story of Noah’s Ark. Those in the church family are often described as ’Rainbow people’. We are all different and we work together. All need rain and sunshine. Whatever we do God is still loving and caring for us.

Rosslyn began the sermon by explaining that during the Season of Lent we would be considering all Covenants in the Old Testament.

She explored the meaning of a covenant. The reading from Genesis told of God’s covenant with Noah. Covenants, in everyday life are made between at least two parties. When one breaks the covenant then the agreement is broken and all are released from the covenant. No matter how we behave, God remains faithful to his promises. God’s promise is for the whole of Creation. God finds us when we are lost, heals us when we are hurt and will bring us back to him.

Fairtrade Fortnight is February 23 – March 8. Fairtrade goods will be on sale: Sunday, March 1, after morning worship at South church. Sunday, March 8, after morning worship at Dunnottar church.

Today (Thursday), Fellowship coffee 10–11.30am, Craft Group – South Conservatory 2–4pm.

Friday, March 6: World day of Prayer at 10.30am at South Church. Theme: Do you know what I have done for you? ( John 13: 1-17).

Lunch Club: St Bridget’s Hall at 12.30pm. Donations will go towards The Big Dinner, an event raising funds for children in Africa who have lost limbs.

News from St James

Last Wednesday, February 18, was celebrated as Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, and our 10.30 service was conducted by the Bishop of Brechin, Nigel.

The service was a little different from our usual quiet, rather contemplative service, inasmuch as we had hymns, but also the traditional Imposition of Ashes with the invocation ‘Remember that from earth you came and to earth you will return.’

In his address, the Bishop talked about the tradition of ‘giving up’ something for Lent – such as chocolate, alcohol or other indulgences. But he said how much more worthy it would be to ‘give’ something for Lent. He referred to the BBC television programme ‘The Gift’ where people are assisted to find folk to whom they owe a debt – either to thank them for some special gift, or to ask forgiveness for some harm they had done to another person.

The gift he referred to was the gift of a bone marrow transfusion given by an ‘ordinary’ man which saved the life of a woman who suffered a particularly aggressive form of leukaemia. The woman wanted to have the opportunity to thank the man, who had made this gift without any thought of thanks, and had indeed forgotten the event. Nevertheless the moment when the two were brought together was extremely emotional for both of them.

So, in conclusion, the Bishop asked our members to think, not so much of’ giving up’ for Lent, but ‘giving’ for Lent.

On Sunday the 10.30 service was celebrated as Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.

Lay Reader, Anne, welcomed Dr Peter Smart, Warden of Readers, who came to celebrate and to preach at this service. During our period of vacancy, while we seek a new incumbent to take care of our churches, Peter will be coming to lead and preach at services, as well as advising and encouraging our own Lay Readers as they maintain our worship.

Not surprisingly, Peter also preached on the Lenten ‘fast’. The Gospel reading was Mark’s account of the baptism of Christ. This is a much shorter account than the versions in Luke and Matthew, almost like a newspaper headline and first paragraph. The headline was ‘He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan’ – and he drew on this to talk about the wilderness days that many people suffer. He spoke of victims of violence and warfare in the Middle East, people who cannot find work and have to rely on the Benefits system, children who are abused and cannot find anyone to listen to them. He also reminded us that many of us have suffered ‘wilderness days’ and have come through them thanks to the help of others.

Not surprisingly, he then echoed the Bishop’s thoughts about not ‘giving up’ for Lent, but ‘giving’ something extra for Lent. He gave as an example the short Lenten Study course that Lay Reader, Anne, would be holding on Wednesdays after the 10.30 Eucharist. For those who are able, this would be a way of ‘giving’ - giving extra time and effort to learn about leading Intercessions in public.

This Lent Course begins on Wednesday, March 4 and runs for four weeks. We start after the 10.30am Eucharist and each session will last for about 30-45 minutes – or ‘as long as it takes’. Folk can come to the service, then leave, or come after the service to the study group – which will begin at about 11.30am. Details can be found in our Newsletter for March, or on our website www.stjamesandstphilips.co.uk.

Baptist Buzz

This week we continued the series on the seven deadly sins, and our pastor Nathan taught us more about the struggle with the sin of greed.

Greed disguises itself so we usually don’t recognize that we sin in this area, although we can easily spot it in others! Greed can be defined as: worshipping, trusting, loving and pursuing worldly treasures rather than God. Paul warns that the love of money (not money in itself) is the root of all kinds of evil.” Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”. (1 Tim 6:10) Many griefs indeed!

Think of Judas, the trusted treasurer of the group of Jesus’ disciples. He loved money more than his master and betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Later, when he regretted it, he threw the money away and committed suicide.

Jesus taught us that it is better to give than to receive, and Paul writes the secret of true riches: godliness with contentment is great gain! (1 Tim 6:6).