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DUNOTTAR Parish church

The Rev Rosslyn Duncan welcomed all to church on the Sixth Sunday of Easter. Worship began with singing ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, Chisholm’s famous hymn which expresses ‘the strength for today and the hope for tomorrow’ which God brings. The readings were was Acts and the gospel of John. As Rosslyn led our reflections on these readings we learnt of individuals who had embraced change in their lives. When Lydia, a business woman from Philippi heard the gospel preached by the apostle Paul, her life was changed for ever; she, her family and all her employees received Christian baptism and her home became a place of Christian hospitality. The life of a paralysed man was also changed forever when he was healed by Jesus at the Pool of Bethesda. Change will certainly come about on encounter with the living Christ and His gospel. Being aware of how much the gospel of Christ’s love is needed for change to take place in our society today, Rosslyn urged us to pray for all those presently in training as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament and also to be open to the call to ministry in our own lives as we seek continual renewal by the Spirit so that we may better live as witnesses to the gospel of Christ. The congregation responded to these meditations in the singing of Frances Havergal’s hymn, ‘Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated Lord To Thee’. This Sunday, May 8, 10.30am there will be a Songs of Praise service at Dunnottar led by the worship team. All are welcome. Today (Friday) there is the lunch club at St Bridget’s at 12.30pm, £5. Yesterday (Thursday) St Bridget’s office and fellowship coffee was scheduled to be closed as St Bridget’s was to be used as a polling station.

Baptist Buzz

Last weekend was, of course, the May Day weekend and because several of our folks were away, Pastor Nathan decided to briefly suspend the study of Revelation although his sermon from 1 Thessalonians fitted in nicely with the theme that we must see Jesus in all His glory and respond to Him. When we see Jesus for who He is we cannot help but follow Him. In 1 Thessalonians Paul is writing to the Christians who were being persecuted to encourage them. Paul himself was encouraged by the work that God was doing in their lives and called them to follow him as he followed Christ. Paul lived and ordered his life according to his faith, as should we, and we too should invite other people to follow us as we follow Jesus. Using a sales pitch, Nathan suggested we should “eat our own dog food”(!) i.e we should know what we are trying to “sell” and be able to speak out of experience. Nathan concluded with three very challenging questions: 1 Can you invite others to follow your way of life as a Christian? 2 Are you inviting other people to follow your faith and your godliness? 3 Who specifically is following you as you both follow Jesus? And, even more challenging, what kind of Christian would a new Christian become if they followed you? Last Tuesday saw the start of a new series of 3-2-1; an informal discussion group when you can explore Christianity and have all your questions answered. There was no Mainly Music this week because of the Scottish election but the focused prayer group is meeting as usual and the Zone is back at Carronhill on Friday. Please see our Facebook page and website for further details of all our activities. The church office has moved to 28 Cameron Street. Nathan is still unpacking so while you are very welcome to drop in, be warned that you might be given a job to do.

Marykirk WRI meeting

Our president, Mrs O. Henry, welcomed everyone to the April meeting. Our speaker this month was Mr C. Ferguson who gave an enlightening insight into the life of a journalist and the history of newspaper production in Dundee. We also learned how a paper is put together each day, from reporters submitting stories, to finally going to press. The vote of thanks was given by Fiona Roberts. Competition results were: Topical news headline – 1 H. Macdonald, 2 K. Masson; interesting pen – 1 M. Elder, 2 A. Rushbridge; flower of the month – 1 A. Weir, 2 K. Masson.

Stonehaven Surgery snippets

Hello from Stonehaven Medical Group. Spring is upon us and so we can now all look forward to the better weather to come. If only we could do something about the haar that ruins many a warm day! Remember that many conditions can be worsened by seasonal changes and it is important to start taking medication to prevent this earlier rather than later. We have a very busy snippets sectionfor you: Staff update – Dr Caroline Bates recently completed her third spell of maternity cover but will continue to work one day per week with us for a few more months until she is ready for her own maternity leave. I would like to thank her again for her hard work over the last few years and we wish her all the best. Dr Claire Johnstone will be returning from maternity leave in late April and we are looking forward to having her back. One of our practice nurses, Julie Cromar, has just gone on maternity leave too. We have recently appointed a new nurse to work in the practice. Solna Pender has joined us from the Denburn practice in Aberdeen and will be training to be an advanced nurse practitioner. During her training, which will take about 18 months, Solna will also work alongside our practice nurses. We are delighted to welcome her to the team and are excited about helping her to achieve her aim of being an advanced nurse practitioner. Patient Participation Group (PPG) – The PPG continues to meet on Monday evenings 6-7.30pm every two months. If you are unaware of what the PPG is for, then you can have a look at a video filmed by members of the Stonehaven PPG by the Scottish Health Council which can be found on its website. We are very proud of the excellent relationship that the PPG has with the surgery and firmly believe that talking to patients about surgery matters helps us to develop and improve with the patients at the very centre of what we do. We would like to develop the PPG further and are keen to have a Virtual PPG who would be contacted by email every so often for opinions or comments on matters that come to the attention of the PPG. If you are keen to be involved in this then please contact the surgery. Likewise, if you would like to attend PPG meetings then please contact the surgery to find out the date of the next meeting. A recent PPG logo competition was a great success and we would like to congratulate Lauren Fowlie form Arduthie Primary on her winning entry. We are always keen to get feedback about how we can make the patient’s experience at the surgery better – if you have any thoughts or comments please write to us at the surgery or find us on the PPG Facebook page Health and social care integration – As of April 1, health and social care integration has officially landed. Stonehaven Medical Group continues to be at the forefront of trying to get the most out of the changes this has brought about. We will continue to provide the highest quality of care possible but, in addition to this, will be exploring new ways to try to improve health and wellbeing. Health and social care integration is a fantastic opportunity to think about patients in a much more holistic way than previously and to recognise the important interactions between social and health matters. We are excited about the potential to do things differently in the coming months and years. Appointments – Being able to see the right healthcare professional at the right time is of fundamental importance to patients. We agree with this and are always trying to find the best balance of appointments to achieve this. This has led to us exploring different ways of providing appointments and communicating with patients and there may be some changes to the way things are done over the coming months. At the moment we continue to offer three main types of appointments for a GP – those that can be booked up to 12 weeks in advance, those that are bookable on the day, and a sit and wait surgery every morning. It is important that if you have an issue you feel needs to be dealt with that day that you phone the surgery early to get an appointment as the sit and wait clinic runs from 10.30am until lunchtime and if you call later than this then you may have to wait until the following day. We continue to lose a lot of appointments to patients who do not attend for them. Unbelievably this can even occur for appointments booked earlier that day. While we recognise that there can be genuine reasons for missing appointments we would still ask patients to try and call and cancel an appointment if they no longer require it. Repeat offenders will be contacted by the surgery and may be limited in the type of appointments that they can book. Ultimately the only people who suffer as a result of this are patients. Waiting times to see a GP are longer and waiting times for other services such as minor surgery procedures or joint injections also get longer. With around 2000 appointments (333 hours of time) wasted every year this is a figure we need to urgently improve. Repeat prescriptions requests – The surgery deals with well over 20,000 repeat prescription requests per year. We aim to deal with these requests as quickly as possible so that you do not have to wait too long to get your medication. To try and improve our efficiency and turnaround time for prescriptions we are now asking all patients to submit their repeat prescription requests through one of three main routes. The first of these is by ordering online through Vision Online Services – this is the most convenient and straightforward method of ordering your medication and once you have registered to use the service it can be used at any time of day or night and from anywhere that you have internet access. Registration forms are available from reception or on the practice website. The second route is to put your repeat request slip into one of the local pharmacies who will then deliver this to us. The final route is to use our repeat prescription post box located in the waiting area of the surgery. This is emptied several times per day. We will not accept repeat prescription requests at the reception desk. By reducing the amount of time spent taking these requests over the telephone we expect to be able to reduce the waiting times on the phone lines and also to improve the turnaround time for your repeat prescription requests. Remember to only order what you need and to order your medication before your previous supply runs out. Acute prescriptions – An acute prescription can now be requested through a new dedicated email – An acute prescription is an item which is not currently on your repeat prescription. Please remember to include your name, address and date of birth on the email as well as the details of the item you are requesting.

Rotary Club

The speaker at last Wednesday’s lunchtime meeting was Rotarian Kath Pope who spoke to members about her job as a forensic handwriting and document examiner. She had worked for 10 years with Grampian Police and in 1998 she had set up her own company. With her considerable experience in this field, she has appeared as an “expert witness” in court cases for the prosecution and the defence for the past 27 years and she finds out through an email or a telephone call what her next case will be. Often a sample of handwriting is required from the person at the centre of a case for comparison with documents being submitted as evidence. If the person involved is not willing to supply this, it may be necessary to track down another piece of their handwriting. She described what she looks for when comparing two pieces of handwriting. It is not only how the letters are formed, but also how the person sets out the words, the spacing between letters and words and the use of punctuation such as exclamation marks. While she cannot speak about much of what she does because of confidentiality, Kath went on to describe her involvement in a case in 1994 known as Operation Klondike in which a 25-year-old Spanish sea captain was convicted and jailed for 30 years at the High Court in Glasgow for his part in Britain’s biggest maritime cocaine smuggling plot. He tried to smuggle half a ton of Colombian cocaine with a street value of pounds £100m into Britain through Ullapool with the help of some local men in January 1991. Customs officers in the area had intelligence reports that a cannabis smuggling operation was planned but it was an off-duty Ullapool policeman, who saw a heavily-laden van in a lay-by and contacted customs officers. The van was intercepted on the A9 and the customs officials, who had expected to find half a ton of cannabis, were shocked to discover enough cocaine for more than a million ‘scores’. The Scots involved were arrested and jailed but it took over three years to conclude the case against the Spanish sea captain. He had fled but was captured and jailed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While in jail, he tried to commit suicide and, what proved to be his undoing, wrote a long suicide note to the judge. Although he refused to give a handwriting sample, Kath was able to use the suicide note in her expert witness testimony. The vote of thanks was by Rotarian Malcolm Pope. On Thursday, April 21, Stonehaven Rotary Club organised a meeting for any men interested in the establishment of a Men’s Shed in Stonehaven. An encouraging number of people went along to the meeting and nine of them volunteered to form the steering group to get this project up and running. Men’s Sheds are social and workshop spaces where men can get together and work on DIY projects and socialise and Aberdeen Voluntary Action Men’s Shed development officer,

Jason Schroeder, was the speaker at this event. Stonehaven Rotary Club is organising a fundraising “Black Tie” casino night for Rotary charities at the Station Hotel on Saturday, May 14. Tickets are still available for this event and are priced at £25, which sets you up with a stack of chips to bet with and includes snacks. Contact Rotarian Joe Samson (tel 01569 740660) for information.

Probus Club

For the second time in the month of April, Mearns Probus Club had another lady as speaker. This time it was Louise from “Isabella’s Relishes” a product produced at nearby Edzell’s Old Air Base. Louise is a member of the Myles family who have farmed at Dalbog farm near Edzell and a home in which she had learned many of her skills from her grandmother. Home baking, cooking, jam and chutney making, pastry work and even some confectionery skills were among the many things that she was involved in at the farm at an early age. From Brechin High School to the RG University then on to McPhee’s at Glenbervie after getting her degree, Louise then met with Alistair and Isabella who farmed near Methlick but also produced relishes for retail in their shop in Aberdeen. A visit to the Highland Show with them introduced Louise to the wider side of retailing and supplying large outlets such as John Lewis, Waitrose and Harrods. Their first order was for 840 jars of mustard relish to John Lewis and this continues to present with much larger quantities. Louise took over in 2005 when Alistair and Isabella decided to retire. She then moved the production facilities to the Edzell air base kitchens after the RAF and US Navy had vacated the base. She now employs four full time staff and has extended her range of Jams, Chutneys and relishes. When the GM Summit was held at Gleneagles they supplied most of the breakfast products and have continued to supply this hotel since then. A display of many of their products was shown, and Louise, discussed each product and its popularity and then invited members to try out and sample all the items available. Questions on health and safety, labelling, types of jams used, future products were all suitably dealt with by Louise before completing her presentation. Malcolm McCoig gave a vote of thanks on behalf of club members.

St James’ Church

Looking forward this week, Anne gave notice of the Ascension Day service at St Andrews Church, Brechin, to be conducted by the Rt Rev Nigel Peyton, with the preacher the Rev Roderick Grahame, minister of Brechin Cathedral. This was scheduled to take place yesterday (Thursday), beginning at 7.30 pm. And as many as can make it were encouraged to attend! On Saturday there will be a Scottish evening at St James’ Church Hall, with ceilidh dances called by Gwyne, music by the Swannies, and stovies for refreshment – all for £5 per ticket. This Sunday there were the 9am service of Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, and again at 10.30., both conducted by Anne. The theme for Anne’s address at 10.30 was taken from the Gospel reading – John 5: 1-18 – the healing at the pool of Bethzatha.

Anne explained how John wrote of Jesus’ miracles as “signs” to lead people to faith. The miracle of healing of today’s reading needed closer examination. Anne explained that this pool, known locally as the ‘Sheep Pool’, was a hot springs known as a place of healing – rather like the hot springs at Bath in Somerset. Every now and again the springs would bubble up, and people with infirmities would rush to get into the pool hoping to be healed. But here’s our fellow. He’s been there 38 years. Jesus asks him whether he wants to be healed. Instead of a simple ‘Yes please’ or ‘No, not really’ we get the whining: “Oh, but I haven’t anybody to put me into the pool when the water bubbles and by the time I get there someone else has got in before me.” But Jesus ignores his whining, and simply tells him he is cured, and to take up his mattress, and walk. Now here’s the problem. It was the Sabbath. And the temple police see this man – evidently quite a well-known client for Disability Benefits (charity offerings in those days) walking round with his mattress under his arm. They ask him what’s occurring and straight away he tells on Jesus. He didn’t know who He was, and never mind he had been cured of his 35 years’ disability – he told the lawyers: “It was this man, He told me to do it.” But later Jesus saw him and knew what had been in his mind. “Sin no more,”Jesus tells him. And seemingly the man just resented Jesus – and he went straight to the lawyers and points out Jesus. And this is the purpose of this “sign” in the gospel of John. It leads into a discourse by Jesus of what He is here to do.

He tells His listeners that as the Son of God He does what God does – as the Father is unceasingly at work, so also is the Son. This is part of John’s intention to present Christ as the Son of God. “My Father is working still – and I am working” – simple logic. If God stopped working, the world would cease to be. John’s gospel makes a number of explanations: Jesus is greater than John the Baptist; He is the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. In the following chapters of this gospel we have the famous ‘I am’ sayings – I am the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, the way, the truth, the life. But, Anne asks, are we to think of Jesus as a man who exalts Himself to a position of God-like authority? A demi-god, half-human and half-divine? Is He trying to say He is a rival of the Creator? By no means. Jesus explains He acts only in humble obedience and complete dependence on the Father. He does not claim any power or will or judgement of Himself. He does only what He sees the Father do. This is both a humble statement and a high ideal. And for us, as His faithful followers, we have yet another insight into the character of Jesus, as the One who reflects the glory of the Father, who brings us grace and heals our infirmities.