Round the Churches

Dunnottar linked with South Church

Reverend Rosslyn Duncan warmly welcomed all to Christian Aid Week service on Sunday. The service was preceded by the annual sponsored walk through Dunnottar Woods and ending with a breakfast in the Upper room of the church.

During the service, Sunday school children and adults viewed videos of what life was like for young girls and women in Ethiopia. Girls uneducated and expected to marry and have families of their own before they had reached maturity. The lives of two women were viewed. Loko and Adi’s lives were brutally hard. Women in Africa can be outcasts. Christian Aid addresses these unbearable truths by providing money for education. This in turn allows women to plan for a future. Christian Aid provides animals which feed families and convey status in the community.

The gospel according to John 15 V12 ‘Love each other as I have loved you’.

Examples, in our community, of this love in action has been evident recently; Rosslyn thanked all who contributed to the Emergency appeal for Nepal where £120 was collected; The Christian Aid sponsored walk raised £155; The ‘Be Creative’ coffee morning saw all churches in Stonehaven enjoying fellowship and raising, through a variety of means, £1237 – 26. This money, through Christian Aid will be used to provide a future through the gift of education. Focus of coffee morning – raising money for education packs

All this achieved by us working and thinking together as one family of Faith.

Thursday May 14: 10–11.30am Fellowship Coffee at St Bridget’s; 2–4pm Craft Group at South Church Conservatory; 6pm Spotlight deadline: jenniferrmacdonald@hotmail.com.

Saturday May 16: Picnic at Luthermuir for Sunday school and Kids Praise.

Sunday May 17: South scene deadline: JILawson@supanet.com; 7.30pm Stonehaven Chorus’Spring Concert in St James’ Church, Tickets from Jennifer Macdonald or May Arthur.

Any intimations should be sent to the secretary and copied to the Minister.

Contact details, Secretary: dunnottarchurch@outlook.com or 01569 760930; Minister: rosslynpduncan@gmail.com or 01569 762166 or 07899878427

News from St James & St Philips

The 10.30am service this Sunday in St James comprised our monthly ‘All Age Service’ – Lay Reader, Anne, conducted the service, while Arma preached on the reading from Acts, which described the outpouring of the Spirit on believers, many of whom were Gentiles.

She described hoe today thousands of people visit Jerusalem to walk the ‘way of the Cross’, sometimes called the Via Dolorosa (Way of sorrow) – following the route Jesus walked from the place of his trial to that of his crucifixion. They may then visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, where he was buried and then rose again, leaving the tomb empty.

Debates about the genuine sites are immaterial – wherever it was, the tomb was found to be empty and this encouraged the disciples to believe in the resurrection. Without the empty tomb there would have been no Christian church – even the world-wide building of churches shows that word of the resurrection, from the lips of witnesses, has led to the spread of Christian belief.

Belief in the resurrection can also be found in the lives of your friends and acquaintances – when they tell you about their prayers. Prayers, Arma, said, were answered when we look for the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We need to keep praying for these fruits to grow in our hearts – for love to grow in our hearts and make us better people.

The afternoon service at St Philip’s, Catterline, was led by Rev Jane Nelson who also preached. She chose the text from John’s Gospel, ‘…love4 one another as I have loved you. No-one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Indeed, Jesus was on the way to his own execution as the most dramatic example of this point. The cross is clearly in view here, when Jesus goes on to say ‘you are my friends’.

This text was used time and again during the First World War, when young men were sent off to the front line: do what you are told and if necessary die for your country. Tens of thousands did just this. Jane stressed that God honours the self-sacrifice and dedication of those who sincerely and evoutly believed they were doing their duty. BUT – she also believes that God judges those who use texts like this as a convenient ruse to put moral pressure on other people, when the real moral pressure was to ask ‘Why are we doing this at all?’

Ironically, as Christianity became the religion of Europe from the fourth century onwards, both sides in the major world wars of the 20th century were staffed by Christian chaplains praying for victory.

One of the great dangers is the common belief that fighting is a fine thing, that might is right. But, you cannot legislate for love, but God, through Jesus, can command you to love. John gives the secret, that the command to love is given by the one who has done everything for love. And Jesus explains to his disciples, love stems from the Father. ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.’

It is not weakness to admit our need for love. As far as God’s love is concerned, we don’t have to earn it. It is God who first loved us. God loves us not because we are good, but because he is good. We are all made in God’s image and that image is as its best and brightest when we love.

In the intimations, we learned that the Christian Aid event at St Bridget’s Hall, where we saw a wonderful puppet show enacted by the children’s drama group, over £1,000 was raised from donations. This week we have a United service, with representatives from Laurencekirk, Bervie, Montrose and Muchalls to celebrate the Ascension on Thursday at 7pm, followed by refreshments. Rev Jane Nelson will conduct, and Rev Sam Ferguson will preach.