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As we met last Sunday we were on the cusp of a New Year. For his sermon, Pastor Nathan turned our thoughts to Hebrews 4 : 12-13. He pointed out that while we can often put too much emphasis on resolutions, the start of a new year is a good time to, for instance, commit to reading the bible with a systematic approach. We are commanded to read the bible. We have a culture where we have easy access to the bible yet it is seldom read, sadly, even by Christians. Nathan encouraged us to fill our souls with God’s word, and with that in mind handed out material to get us started. I trust we will all accept the challenge and with God’s help it wont have fallen by the wayside by mid-January; like so many resolutions.

News from St James – Christmas 2015

Christmas was celebrated, as usual, with great joy. Following the Nine Lessons and Carols last weekend, this week gave us the Midnight Mass, conducted by Rev Jane Nelson, which was received with its usual enthusiasm. The service began with the lighting of the fifth, white, candle, signifying the arrival of the Holy Child. The infant Jesus, who until now had not been seen in the Bethlehem scene, was carried in procession by Lay Reader, Anne, and placed in the crib. Jane then blessed the crib. The atmosphere was electric.

On Christmas morning, there was only a small congregation – but, as you will read elsewhere in this newspaper, some fifty people congregated in the Church Hall for the Christmas Lunch, organized by Scott, of Stonehaven Cares. At least twenty helpers gave up their Christmas morning – and most of the afternoon – to preparing, cooking and serving lunch to those who would otherwise have been eating alone. An article on this, together with photographs, appears elsewhere in this newspaper. As a member of the St James Worship Team, Anne was most humbled by the way that people worked together – not only our own volunteers, but people from throughout Stonehaven and district. The event was made possible by the generosity of local restaurateurs and traders, not to mention taxi-drivers who collected guests to bring them to the lunch, and a small brass ensemble who played to entertain the diners. This was truly an example of ministry in action. Our thanks go out to Scott of Stonehaven Cares.

On Sunday we had our usual services of Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. Anne conducted the 9.00 service, while Peter Smart conducted the 10.30 service, at which Anne preached, on the theme of St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

This coming week we have our usual Eucharist on Wednesday at 10.30, ad next Sunday there will be a baptism – which will be a wonderful occasion and to which all are invited.

Dunnottar linked with South

On Sunday, Rev Rosslyn Duncan welcomed the congregation to the service in St Bridget’s Hall.

It was the First Sunday of Christmas and the reading was from the Gospel of Luke 2:41-52. It tells us of Jesus as a 12 year old boy who goes missing on the return journey from Jerusalem after Passover. Mary and Joseph are frantic when they realise he is not with them and find him three days later back in the temple. The teachers in the temple welcome his questions and are impressed at the promise he shows. Unfortunately those same teachers will later condemn him for asking questions.

Jesus is starting to become more self-aware and developing his own sense of purpose. He is aware that the growing sense of calling he has, means that he will have to prioritise his relationship with God, above the one with his parents.

Mary and Joseph, as parents, painfully realise that their son’s character and role for the future, which was implied at his conception and birth, is way beyond their understanding.

As we approach the New Year, none of us know what the future will bring. What we do now is that God is always with us in all our earthly troubles and he loves each and every one of us.

Rev Dr Flora Munro. B. D - A Poem by J. E. T

Her induction to the Church was Feb. 2004,

Now that was when she first got her foot in the door,

As she brought up five sons she wasn’t one to shirk,

Elders thought her an ideal candidate for their Kirk.

Now to tell you the truth I was wary of a woman Minister,

I like many men thought the idea was a bit sinister,

But she proved us all wrong so dedicated to her flock,

People’s anxieties were more important than the clock.

Flora’s like most woman ministers the pulpit is taboo,

It makes them feel aloof from their flock me and you,

Introduced a radio mic all set up so everyone can hear,

By adjusting the sound her voice comes across clear.

Now with all her charity work is an inspiration to us all,

You see nothing would stop her not even a brick wall,

She did a bike run from John O’ Groats to Lands End,

Everywhere she stopped she made a brand new friend.

She did a lot for the youths gave them all sound advice,

They’d great respect for her they never were told twice,

She had the uncanny way to goad them to do their best,

To give them her time, power of the bible to do the rest.

Now with the manse to run plus the church and the hall,

It is absolutely impossible for Mrs. Energetic to do it all,

Up stepped her right hand man Bill Hutcheon Esquire,

To fulfil all her instructions and plus all she did require.

Many climbers have bagged Munros gives them a thrill,

But we’ve a Munro that’s conquered the Kirk on the hill,

With her great personality and her loyal service to God,

I wonder how she was feeling when she first got the nod.

Did many grave side duties through rain snow and sleet,

Now a more pleasant loyal woman you’re unlikely to meet,

She has left a great legacy behind one is our Jubilee Hall,

She arranged and conducted the transformation of it all.

I hope her final Christmas at Portlethen is a special one,

With heavy hearts we’ll enjoy the excitement and the fun,

You know you will leave a terrible void Rev. Flora Munro,

Portlethen and their congregation are so sad to see you go.

Ay! This enthusiastic woman will be so difficult to replace,

With her boundless energy and her constant smiling face,

Kirk Elders have a dilemma must form a debating huddle,

Here’s me just worried about missing my Sunday cuddle.