Thanks for asking; yes, we had a lovely time at our Christmas Dinner.
The food was great, the staff at the Station Hotel were very patient with us (we need to get out more often!), and although most of us are rather competitive the quiz losers accepted defeat graciously.
One benefit of celebrating Christmas in March is that we don’t have too long to wait till Easter, especially since it is early this year. As well as meeting with our friends in the other churches, we will celebrate Easter Sunday with breakfast together followed by a special family service. More details next week.
Last Sunday our service was led by Andy Vinten. Looking at Ephesians 1, Andy’s sermon was entitled “A mystery revealed - whodunnit and why? That title certainly got our attention. Andy pointed out that a good murder mystery has some common themes : the crime, the culprit, the solver, the answer revealed, and justice. Ephesians 1 has a criminal - in this case we are the guilty party, our crime being that we think we are king of our own destiny. The mystery is how God can fit us for heaven and the answer is revealed as being the wonderful Christian doctrine of adoption into God’s family. Andy took us through the passage and showed us how the adoption was planned, accomplished and applied. He challenged us to become what we already are - God’s sons and daughters and encouraged us to share this wonderful news wherever and whenever we can.
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At morning worship at Dunnottar Church last Sunday, Reverend Rosslyn Duncan baptised Imogen Aisha Smiles, daughter of Alan and Nicola and sister of Amelia.
Her godparents Emily, Richard, Laura and Craig were also there and, as is the custom at Dunnottar Church, one of the godparents lit the baptismal candle, which burns throughout the service and is given to the parents at the end of the service. The baptismal candle is lit from the fifth candle from the Advent ring, the one which is lit on Christmas Day and which is lit for every Sunday service in Dunnottar Church.
Rosslyn said that the reason why we light the candle is to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. She asked the children in the congregation what symbols they could see on the baptismal candle. There is a Cross representing the Easter story, a dove as the symbol for peace, and water as the symbol for baptism.
In her sermon, she spoke about Martha and Mary, two very different women but as sisters connected by the bond of family. Mary was highly regarded in the community and she knew she was loved by Jesus who was a friend, a teacher and a healer to Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus.
She wanted to show people how much she loved Jesus and set aside her pride, dignity and reputation to pour valuable perfume over his feet and wipe it away with her hair. She didn’t care what others think, she didn’t care how public it was, or how much it might humiliate her. She was there to worship Jesus and she didn’t let anyone get in her way. Rosslyn recalled preaching about Martha in Dunblane at the time of the massacre at Dunblane Primary School.
The message then and now is that we should always tell people how we feel about them, as we may not get the opportunity to do so later. As Christians we are called to show the world how much we love Jesus and be prepared to give all that we have and are for Him.
This Saturday morning, 19th March, Dunnottar Church is holding its Spring Sale and Coffee Morning in St Bridget’s from 10am-12noon.
There will be a range of stalls-Cake & Candy, Match the Numbers, a Spring Stall with a Green and Yellow colour theme, Books+, Arts and Crafts and a £1 stall. Entry is by silver donation and tickets for a cup of tea or coffee and home baking are £2.50 for adults and £1 for children, available at the door. So make a note in your diary to come along to St Bridget’s on Saturday!
Newtonhill Kirk Easter celebrations start at the beginning of Holy Week on Palm Sunday, 20th March with our service at 10.00 am.
On Thursday 24th – sometimes called Maundy Thursday - we have a Communion Service at 7.00 pm, celebrating the Last Supper Jesus had with His disciples before His betrayal and trial.
The following evening - Friday 25th March - we commemorates the passion and death of Jesus on the cross, with our Good Friday Evening Service at 7.00 pm. On Easter Sunday - 27th March - we welcome the risen Lord with our early morning open air Easter Service on Newtonhill Football Pitch, at 8.30 am. This is followed by the long standing tradition of tea, bacon rolls and fellowship in Church. Shortly after this we will complete our celebrations of Holy Week with the Easter Service in Church at 10.00 am,
The Church will also be open for prayer and reflection on Tuesday 22nd March from 2pm to 4pm and on Wednesday 23rd March from 2.00 to 4pm. All are most welcome to pop in for a few moments or stay longer and have a cup of tea or coffee.
News from St James & St Philip’s
Today was the fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly known as Passion Sunday, when the forthcoming passion (suffering) of our Lord is rapidly coming towards us.
The 9.00 service was conducted by Peter Smart, Diocesan tutor to Readers and the 10.30 by Anne, our own Lay Reader, who also delivered the address.
The congregations were reminded about forthcoming services, especially the Holy Week services beginning with Palm Sunday in this church, followed by our own weekly Eucharist on Wednesday, and evening worship by Stonehaven churches together at St Bridget’s Hall at 7.30 from Wednesday onwards in Holy Week.
Anne’s address took up the theme of Mothering Sunday (which was last week) and began with a children’s story about a big brown bear who had to teach her cub to fend for himself, and then led into a talk about three women from the Bible who are archetypal mothers: Hannah from the Old Testament, who conceived in her old age and gave us Samuel; Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist and finally Mary, Mother of our Lord. All who gave up their sons to the Lord. Mary in particular whose soul was pierced when he was led up to Calvary to face his crucifixion. Three mothers making a sacrifice as great as giving up their own lives – giving up their sons’ lives as an act of love and obedience for God.
Anne then led into the idea that the resurrection is a sign of the ‘greater-than-mother-love’ of God. To show that no-one is forsaken. That this Mother-love of God loves the child that is you, and the resurrection of Jesus is a token of this greater-than-Mother-Love of God – and a symbol of hope.
The evening Eucharist at St Philip’s, Catterline, was special because Bishop Nigel came to consecrate and to lead our worship. He preached on the theme of the supper at Mary and Martha’s house and the different characters seated about the table. He asked ‘Which of these guests would you most like to sit next to?’
Next Sunday, Palm Sunday, we shall have a visiting priest as Celebrant, and the service will follow traditional lines; first the Palm liturgy and presentation and blessing of palm crosses, a procession, the dramatic reading of the Passion according to St Luke being the focus of the celebration. All are welcome.