Preparations for our Mary’s Meal Coffee Morning started long before the event itself on 30 July. The Knit & Natter group formed at the beginning of July and involved friends, family as well as church members. Great response girls – thank you! Our Coffee Morning was a very happy event with all the knitters, growers, bakers, refreshment stall makers and servers mixed together with more than a sprinkle of visitors and locals from across our island responding generously in support of Mary’s Meals. Donations banked totalled £1087.02! Thank you Arran
Hoping to lose those unwanted pounds you’ve gained over the Festive Season? You are invited to come along to a weekly weigh in to help you stay on track and remain focused.
£12.20 feeds and educates a child for a year!
An Initial Registration Fee of £2 plus a minimum weekly donation of £1.
All proceeds are going to Mary’s Meals.
Weigh in day is Thursday
Lamlash Church Hall
Brodick Church Hall
It’s an exciting time to be in Scotland with the independence referendum just a few weeks away. Here’s a document outlining the Church of Scotland’s position:
And here is a short video posted to YouTube by the Church of Scotland on that very topic.
I said in the last Newsletter that I had been appointed by Ardrossan Presbytery as Interim Moderator for Kilmory and Lamlash and I have now been in position since the beginning of February. Your previous Interim Moderator was Mr Alan Saunderson, Clerk to Ardrossan Presbytery and he was with you for just over one year. However, in talking to folk in the congregations and communities, some are still unsure what an Interim Moderator is. Having a minister in charge he or she is Moderator of the Kirk Session and folk understand that but not the position of Interim Moderator.
I have been asked to explain and hopefully this will help partly to clear up the matter. (I will quote now from the guidelines to explain).
“An Interim Moderator is invited by the Presbytery to serve in a vacancy. Although the work maybe time-consuming, it should be found as a worthwhile experience. An Interim Moderator has a dual role to discharge. On the one hand, being the Presbytery’s appointee, the Interim Moderator is expected to help in representing the views of Presbytery to the congregation.
On the other hand, as the congregation’s minister for the time being, the Interim Moderator may be called on to help in representing the congregation’s views to the Presbytery. It shall be the duty of the Interim Moderator to preside at all the meetings of the Kirk Session and to preside at all congregational meetings in connection with the vacancy, or at which the minister would have presided had the charge been full.”
Although I have only been with you a few times in taking the service on a Sunday, I am responsible for the ‘Pulpit Supply’ making sure you have someone to lead you in worship each week. I am also responsible for, not just presiding at meetings but ensuring that all the business and affairs of the church run as smoothly as possible and according to the Laws of the Church.
However, in saying this I do not do that on my own. Your Office Bearers are well experienced in their own areas of service and all carry out their duties efficiently and of course your Session Clerk, Ian Watt has a heavy workload as well. Everyone in the congregation has a part to play though.
I am with all of you to help in this time of vacancy and as you seek the minister of God’s choosing for your congregation. This time should be seen as a time of challenge and of renewed commitment and vigour.
Unless there is some ‘vision’ of what the congregation is, where it is going and what it hopes to do, then the task of finding the ‘right’ minister can be much more difficult.
Some of you may feel that you have been in a vacancy for a long time but we have to be patient. I can assure you the Nominating Committee are working tirelessly on everyone’s behalf even if sometimes it may feel to you that the wheels are turning slowly. There are procedures that have to be followed, and at each stage you will be informed by intimation through your Session Clerk.
This is a time more than ever that you are encouraged to meet regularly for worship on a Sunday. First and foremost you come to worship God and to seek His guidance, secondly in support of one another in the fellowship and thirdly to know what is going on through the intimations and how you can play your part as the people of God of Lamlash Parish Church.
In the Letter to the Hebrews we read these words
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
As well as your Interim Moderator, I am also serving as your Locum for one day’s pastoral work per week (seven hours).
My contact details are below if you need to get in touch with me or if you would like to.
Yours in His service
Tel No. 01770 860380
HERE’S A STORY THAT SAINT FRANCIS ONCE CLIMBED UP INTO THE PULPIT TO PREACH. HE LOOKED DOWN AT THE HUSHED AND EXPECTANT FACES BELOW HIM AND SAID ‘GOD HAS NOT GIVEN ME ANYTHING TO SAY TO YOU TODAY’. HE THEN BLESSED THEM AND SAT DOWN AGAIN.
YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW CLOSE THAT CAME TO BE FOR TODAY. HOWEVER ON REFLECTION YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET OFF THAT LIGHTLY.
SO WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY TO YOU TODAY I COULD HAVE STUCK TO THE SUBJECT LAID OUT IN THE LECTIONARY, BUT I DO NOT FEEL QUALIFIED TO DELIVER THAT MESSAGE. WHAT I PROPOSE TO DO IS TO LOOK AT A LESSON FROM AN OLD HOUSEGROUP SYLLABUS ENTITLED ‘THE COURAGE TO COPE’. THIS SYLLABUS COVERS SEVERAL ASPECTS INCLUDING THE COURAGE TO COPE WITH CHOICES, THE COURAGE TO COPE WITH STRESS, THE COURAGE TO COPE WITH FAMILY PROBLEMS THE COURAGE TO COPE WITH DEATH.
THE ONE I WANT TO LOOK AT TODAY IS THE COURAGE TO COPE WITH LONELINESS. NOW IF YOU HAVE HEARD THIS BEFORE, I MAKE NO APOLOGY AND YOU CAN BLAME THE INTERIM MODERATOR FOR HAVING TO HEAR IT AGAIN.
THE DICTIONARY DEFINES LONELINESS AS BEING ISOLATED, SOLITARY, AND COMPANIONLESS, AND I SUSPECT THAT FOR MANY OF US, THE THOUGHT OF BEING IN THIS STATE IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES US, AND THREATENS TO FRAGMENT US. HUMAN BEINGS, EVEN BEFORE BIRTH ARE PART OF ANOTHER PERSONS BODY. AND WE ALL GROW UP IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS, SHARING OUR LIVES AND EXPERIENCES WITH THEM.
HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HEARD SOMEONE SAY I COULDN’T POSSIBLY LIVE ALONE? THE IDEA OF BEING ENTIRELY BY OURSELVES CAN MAKE US FEEL FRAGILE, INCOMPLETE AND UNFINISHED. THERE’S A VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORDS OF GOD IN GENESIS CHAPTER 2 V 18. IT’S NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE, TO THAT OF THE ANCIENT MARINER DECLARING ‘ALONE, ALONE ALL ALL ALONE ON THE BIG WIDE, WIDE SEA’.WE MAY BE TEMPTED TO THINK THAT LONELINESS IS ONLY REALLY EXPERIENCED BY AN OLDER MAN OR WOMAN, WHEN THEIR WIFE OR HUSBAND HAS DIED AND THEY ARE FORCED BY CIRCUMSTANCES TO LIVE BY THEMSELVES. PERHAPS EVEN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES. BUT THIS CANNOT BE SO.
WE CAN ALL BE LONELY, AT ANY TIME, AND AT ANY STAGE IN OUR LIVES THE LITTLE BABY LEFT UNSTIMULATED.THE CHILD STARTING SCHOOL. THE YOUNG MUM IN A NEW TOWN EVEN STANDING UP HERE IN FRONT OF YOU THIS MORNING. EACH OF US IN OUR OWN SITUATIONS AND THE STRUGGLE TO COPE WITH THE EMOTIONS AND BEHAVIOURS THAT ARE PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF LONELINESS IS SOMETHING WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH. BUT DO WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT IT AND DARE TO MENTION IT TO OTHERS.THE BIBLE CONTAINS MANY ACCOUNTS OF MAN AND HIS LONELINESS.
THE PSALMS ARE FULL OF EXAMPLES OF MAN CRYING OUT TO MAN AND TO GOD TO COME AND BE WITH HIM, AND ALLOW HIM TO BE SAFE AND WHOLE AGAIN.
WE READ IN PSALM 22. ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME, WHY ART THOU SO FAR FROM HELPING ME FROM THE WORDS OF MY GROANING. O MY GOD I CRY BY DAY BUT THOU DOES NOT ANSWER AND BY NIGHT I FIND NO REST’
AND IN PSALM 69 WHICH GILL READ TO US EARLIER ‘SAVE ME O GOD FOR THE WATERS HAVE COME UP TO MY NECK, I SINK IN A DEEP MIRE WHERE THERE IS NO FOOTHOLD’.
AND SO IT GOES ON. AT OUR MOST LONELY, THIS CAN BE DISTORTED AND WE CAN BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE BEEN DESERTED BY PEOPLE AND EVEN BY GOD. AND WHEN WE REALISE THAT THOSE WORDS FROM PSALM 22 ARE THE ONES THAT JESUS HIMSELF CRIED OUT FROM THE CROSS, WE DARE TO BELIEVE THAT EVEN JESUS FELT THAT TOTAL DERELICTION AND DESPAIR AND SAW HIMSELF AS BEING TOTALLY ALONE. BUT THIS ONLY PART OF THE STORY. BECAUSE THERE IS A GREAT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING LONELY AND BEING ALONE. BEING ENTIRELY BY OURSELVES DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FRIGHTENING AND IN FACT CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT. WE NEED TO FIND THOSE TIMES AND THE SPACE WERE WE CAN BE OURSELVES, AND USE IT TO COME TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US.
WE CAN READ FREQUENTLY OF THOSE TIMES WHEN JESUS WENT AWAY TO BE BY HIMSELF.TIMES HE WOULD USE FOR THINKING AND PRAYING AND COMMUNICATING CLOSELY WITH GOD. PERHAPS MORE THAN ANYTHING IT’S A QUESTION OF BALANCE WHEN WE THINK ABOUT JESUS ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS FOR 40 DAYS FACING TEMPTATIONS, SEEING HIM STRUGGLING WITH HIMSELF AND WORKING THROUGH IT. AND COMING TO
UNDERSTAND MORE FULLY HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH AND TO THE FATHER.
AND WHAT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS HE NEEDED TO DO WHEN HE CAME BACK AGAIN LED BY THE SPIRIT.HE WENT AND FOUND HIS DISCIPLES AND SAID. I HAVE CHOSEN YOU TO BE WITH ME. HE NEEDED TO BE WITH PEOPLE,PEOPLE THAT HE COULD CARE ABOUT AND SHARE WITH. PEOPLE WHO COULD BE WITH HIM, AND WITH WHOM HE AND THEY COULD GROW.
SOMETIMES CIRCUMSTANCES CAN CAUSE US TO BE OUT IN AN ISOLATED POSITION CIRCUMSTANCES NOT NECESSARILY OF OUR OWN MAKING OR CHOOSING. AT OTHER TIMES OUR OWN ATTITUDE MAY BE PART OF THE PROBLEM AND WE MAY EXACERBATE OUR OWN PROBLEMS. PERHAPS WE HAVE BECOME TO INVOLVED IN TAKING AND EXPECTING FROM OTHERS AND SADLY SUCH BEHAVIOURS MAKE DEMANDS WHICH ARE SO GREAT THAT PEOPLE ARE ALMOST FORCED TO LEAVE US ALONE. AND OF COURSE SIMPLY THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO STOP US FEELING LONELY. THE LONELINESS AND ISOLATION FELT IN A CROWD OF “HAPPY PEOPLE” CAN OFTEN BE WORSE THAN BEING ALONE. ALL WE WANT TO DO IS TO ESCAPE AND BE BY OURSELVES.SOME TIMES OUR NEEDS WILL BE MET AT A HUMAN LEVEL AND SOMETIMES THIS CANNOT BE.THE ACCOUNTS OF JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMENE ON THAT AGONIZING NIGHT GIVE US SOME IDEA ABOUT WHY IT IS THAT HUMAN BEINGS MAY BE UNABLE TO BE FULLY WITH SOMEONE ELSE IN THEIR TOTAL ISOLATION. AND THESE ACCOUNTS ALSO REMIND US THAT GOD’S RESPONSE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE AND AVAILABLE. WE CAN NEVER BE TRULY ALONE REACH TOWARDS GOD, WITH PRAYERS AND OPENNESS, EVEN IN OUR ANGUISH. AND IF WE CAN WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT HE IS ALREADY REACHING FOR US.
LET ME LEAVE YOU WITH A COUPLE OF QUOTATIONS.
JOSEPH F. NEWTON SAID
‘PEOPLE ARE LONELY BECAUSE THEY BUILD WALLS INSTEAD OF BRIDGES’
‘WE NEED OTHER PEOPLE, PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, WE NEED THEM IF WE ARE TO KNOW ANYTHING EVEN OURSELVES’.
_Lord God, we meet you in the mystery of life, the sudden silences, intensity of presence that makes us stop, catch our breath, lift up heads high to catch the glory of your moment; and then, bow low, lost in the misery of our meagre selves. So small, so weak, so far from you._
_God you are of a grandeur and glory I long after and shrink from._
_Have mercy! In your glory let your pity and understanding touch each one of us._
On Thursday last in Lamlash school we spoke about remembering special people. Who are the people that are, or were special to you? I’m going to ask you to take a moment now and to close your eyes and think about someone who has made a difference to you. Maybe it’s the person who brought you to Christ, the first person you met when you came to Church. Maybe it’s someone who was your best friend, someone you could always count on or confide in. Maybe it’s someone you don’t actually know personally but whose influence and example you have followed. Or maybe it’s someone you don’t like or who has hurt you badly but who has caused you to change direction for the better. Think of them now in this quiet moment. We’ve just passed All Saints and All Souls, the 31st of October, All Hallows Eve and the 1st of November, All Saints and we don’t really pay much attention to it in the Church of Scotland and I think that’s a shame!
In past times there would have been special services of preparation organised. All Saints Day is just what it says, the day when the Church celebrates all the Saints both known and unknown and all Souls Day, the 2nd of November remembers all the faithful departed. Nowadays it is all rolled into one celebration and it has been hijacked, so it’s up to us to claim it back and remember to celebrate this special festival of remembrance. All Saints day, Thursday last, the first day of November heralds the beginning of the Season of Remembrance in the Church. Remember, remember, not just the 5th of November but all of it, the 1st and the 2nd, the 11th, Remembrance Sunday.
And for us today, this feast, this memorial feast. Is that what it is? A memorial to a dead saviour? It used to have that kind of feel to it, with elders dressed in morning suits and black or white ties, sombre faces and communion served only to those who had passed the test set to them by the elders and minister. Do you know your catechism? Has your life been without stain since the last communion? Who could ever be good enough? Very few in fact in the past. Most of the congregation would simply be there to watch the select few being passed the bread and wine. A memorial to a crucified God, a funeral feast in memory of the broken body and spilt blood of Jesus Christ? No, most emphatically. NO! It is rather a celebratory feast of life, life in all its fullness and the invitation is for all, the good, the not so good, the sinners, all whose hope is in Jesus Christ.
I’ve always loved November. It’s full of celebrations for me and it should be full of celebrations for us all, even if it causes us to shed some tears. Tear for lost loved ones, tears for lost years, tears for those war zones still littering our world, tears falling like poppies do at the Albert Hall.
Jesus knew all about tears and loss as we have just heard in the story about the death of his good friend, Lazarus. Jesus wept because he had not been there for those he cared about. He wept with the bereaved and felt their pain and his own. But the raising of Lazarus is a sign and a symbol of real hope. Whatever it is we have lost in our lives we will have returned to us through the love of Jesus Christ who shares all our tears. We never have to face our difficulties on our own whatever they might be.
So today is a time for celebration. Celebration of all the good things that have happened here in this place. A time to remember all the people who used to inhabit these pews, the people who climbed the steps to the pulpit. The people who have kept the church in good order for years and years. Time to remember Saint Molaise and Saint Columba and Saint Ninian, all those who brought the message of Jesus Christ to our shores. These people were just like us. And some of them were not always saint-like. They did terrible things that had to be atoned for. Saint Columba started a war over a book that killed thousands of innocent people. Coming to Scotland was his penance. There is a wealth of gory stories about these men and women who were followers of Jesus Christ. They were not up there on pedestals, they were fragile creatures just like us.
We are God’s saints in this place and at this time. Our lives are a sacrament, a holy thing, and just like this simple meal we are about to share we too in faith and hope can together change hearts and minds for the better.
###A prayer from the Scottish Liturgy of 1560
_Almighty God, we offer unto you most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful graces and virtues which you have manifested in all your saints and in all other holy persons upon earth, who by their lives and labours have shined forth as lights in the world, whom we remember with honour and commemorate with joy. For these and for all your other servants who have departed this life with the seal of faith, we praise and magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord._
Still the voices that laugh at our faith
And stay the hands that would hinder us
Grant us integrity and wisdom, compassion and love
That in all things we should live the life Christ has offered us
Impossible though it may seem
Forsaking the promises of the world
For the eternal gifts of the kingdom
In the name of Jesus, Teacher, prophet and saviour
Our Gospel reading today is not so much about being rich or poor as it is about integrity and honesty.
Integrity is a word that is well-used but I wonder how many of us really achieve it in our lives? What does it really mean to have integrity as a Christian? Well I suppose it means that we are what we appear to be; that if we say we are (or believe) something, then that thing can be seen in our lives; that we’re not hypocrites, that we are whole people. Wholeness is a common word in health terms nowadays. Holistic treatment is treatment that looks at every aspect of a person, not just the part that is ailing. It looks at spiritual and emotional health and also the social circumstances surrounding someone. Have they any worries or fears? Who cares for them at home? What are their beliefs? For we all have beliefs of some sort. A person who acts with integrity is a whole person, someone whose life reflects their own values. That should be a very peaceful way to be, don’t you think? A person who is at peace with themselves.
For Christians integrity means that we say we are followers of Jesus and so we try to do his will, to mirror his life and example in the way we live our lives. It means we are committed to loving in a sacrificial way, not just those we know and care for, but the whole world, and not just the people of the whole world, but all of creation. That’s quite a tall order; it’s not always easy or comfortable but we should feel that we are at peace within the struggle. God’s peace is offered to us to help us with the discomfort of trying to live our lives as Christians with integrity, trying to follow the sometimes seemingly impossible demands of Jesus Christ.
The encounter in Mark’s Gospel that we heard read is one that makes many of us feel uncomfortable. Jesus said a lot of uncomfortable things and we are very good at avoiding these. Often we would rather not tackle these subjects at all. We have a look at the text and think, ‘Oh well, I might leave that for another day and look at something that fits better with things as they are at this time. ‘
We can’t really do that; we can’t pick and choose. We need to engage in some way with it all and somehow we need to engage with those things that he didn’t give direction for. We need to try to extrapolate from what we do have, what it is that God wants us to do when there isn’t any specific direction in our Bibles. Some of the things that Jesus says or did seem to contradict other things and there are a heap of things that he didn’t say anything about at all. So how do we deal with it?
Many people have simply given up! When the going gets tough, the tough get going? For Christians, when the going gets tough, our faith points us to Jesus and says ‘follow him’, he didn’t give up.
The story of the rich young man seems uncomfortably clear but of course what does it mean to be rich? How well off do you have to be to be rich? In some parts of our world to own a goat makes you rich! In some parts of our modern cities, the posh streets of Edinburgh or Glasgow or London or New York you’re not rich until you have accumulated an obscene amount of money it seems, but of course it is all relative. There will always be someone much better off than you are. Was it that the young man’s riches were so important to him that put him at fault? He just couldn’t let go of them for anyone or anything, not even Jesus. No wonder he was sad. The things he had owned him instead of the other way around.
There are at present and always will be arguments and discussions in our Churches around points of doctrine on a number of issues, gambling, sexuality, euthanasia, abortion, in vitro fertilisation. At present it’s gay marriage and soon it will be something else. These discussion are perennial because we cannot find within the pages of our Bibles, chapter and verse for every possible situation in our world. God has invited us to engage our intellects and our spiritual resources to try to work out these things for ourselves and there will always be a tension about that. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews recognised that.
“Indeed the word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow, it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The word of the Lord is more than just a few words scarring a page. Jesus’s life story is not just a text. It is much more than that.
To say that something is living is to admit that it changes and has the power to change. As we grow we all change. We are essentially the same person all of our lives but we change in appearance and in the way we think and act because we react to the world around us. There are very few things about our lives that are completely fixed and unchangeable. Only two things in fact! We are all born and we will all die. We have come from somewhere that we have no memory of and we will go somewhere that we have no knowledge of and the time in between is very short. In the time in between the two we have a lot to do in terms of faith!
The Word of God is not just this book; it is so much more. The Word was the creating force that brought us into being and so the Word can be seen in the pages of the book, in the people around us and in the whole of created order.
The story of the rich young man is different for each generation and will cause heartache and disagreement for many many people like many of Jesus’s encounters is has the power to mean something different to each person who reads it.
What I struggle to gain control of in my life is not the same as your struggle. The things in your life that try to shove Jesus out of your life are not the same as the things that try to push Jesus out of my life or anyone else’s. Trying to maintain our Christian integrity is a constant battle which has the potential to divide soul from spirit and joints from marrow.
Other stories such as Jesus’s acts of healing were much more than they seemed too. They often related to wholeness.
‘Your sins are forgiven, take up your bed and walk. “Go and sin no more.”‘
It wasn’t just the presenting illness that Jesus healed but the whole person. He helped them to regain their integrity as a human being made in God’s image. He offered them peace, the peace that passes all understanding.
I often think of that great (and VERY long book) War and Peace when I think of the Christian life. We are at once at war and at peace. Nothing is comfortable and settled and yet in the darkest and most difficult of times we often feel a certain peace that can only come from beyond ourselves.
In the struggle between God and the Devil
Between sin and virtue
Between dark and light
Between night and day
Between self and the other
Between love and hate
Between right and wrong
Send your peace into the grey places
That our struggles to understand today should become
Rainbows of bright hope to carry us into tomorrow
Prayer of Confession
Forgive us our lack of faith
In your mercy
Forgive us Lord Jesus
Forgive us our selfish need to hold on to all that we have
In your mercy
Forgive us Lord Jesus
Forgive us our fear of failure and our conceit and pride
In your mercy
Forgive us Lord Jesus
Forgive us when we are concerned by the ridicule of others
In your mercy
Forgive us Lord Jesus
A blessing from the Corrymeela community, a group of people who know much about the struggle that life and faith can be.
Deep peace of the running wave to you deep peace of he flowing air to you deep peace of the quiet earth to you deep peace of the shining stars to you deep peace of the son of peace to you
Lamlash Parish Church is set to host one of Tennessee’s finest bluegrass and old-time groups, The Ballinger Family Band. Their concert takes place on Sunday 14 October at 7.30 p.m.
Kris, Dale and Ethan Ballinger perform music ranging from old-time fiddle tunes through gypsy swing to contemporary ballads. Along with their tight-knit vocals, Kris’s guitar work and Dale’s upright bass provide a solid foundation for Ethan to soar on mandolin and guitar.
In addition to several visits to Scotland, Kris and Dale have toured across the USA, Europe and Japan, and have performed at such prestigious venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall. They have also played for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. The Ballingers have a long and distinguished pedigree, having taken the stage with such luminaries as The Everly Brothers, Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash.
Meanwhile, Kris and Dale’s son, Ethan, is one of the world’s finest mandolin players. Still only in his 20s, he has performed with many of today’s most famous musicians in Nashville and is in high demand for his awe-inspiring musicianship. Kris (Mum) and Dale (Dad) say of Ethan that he “was jamming with Chet Atkins, John Hartford and Roy Acuff before the age of two.”
Joining the family for their Scottish tour will be their good friend Mike Whitehead, former US National Flatpicking Guitar Champion, who also plays mandolin, fiddle and banjo.
Lamlash’s minister, the Rev Gillean Maclean, is excited by the band’s visit to Scotland: “If the Ballinger Family Band is even half as entertaining as Craig Duncan & Friends were in 2010, you’re in for an absolute treat!”
Tickets for the concert are available now at Brodick Post Office or online at arranevents.com, priced £7.50. with any spare tickets available on the night.
Download the newsletter by clicking the PDF icon below. If you print it double-sided and fold down the middle, it should all make perfect sense!
Here is Gillean’s foreword to this year’s autumn newsletter:
One of my favourite songs is Autumn Leaves and I especially like Nat King Cole’s version. As I write this letter, it is certainly autumn. The leaves are turning into those lovely colours: bronze, and red and gold. Today I had my first robin at the bird-feeder on my balcony and the calendar on my computer is flagging up dates such as Remembrance Sunday, All Saints and Christmas! It is certainly true that as you get older the time does seem to go faster; perhaps it’s because it is so precious. I remember as a youngster finding the time between my birthday and Christmas dragging terribly, and my birthday is in November! Now I wonder with alarm which birthday is coming next!
Having said all of that, it is important to remember that, without autumn, there would be no spring. Spring and new growth comes only after the death of the autumn leaves and the darkness of winter. When I worked on the Orkney Isles the winter came with alarming speed and the darkness was complete, sometimes from as early as two in the afternoon! The compensation for these winter months, of course, is to be found in friendships and the warmth of home and fireside, time to talk and to slow down a little.
The same can be said of the autumn of our lives. Things can be less frantic and there should be more time for cultivating the finer things in life! Your faith is something that can be put on the back burner when days are busy with work or children, but if you’re approaching your latter years, the wisdom years, then what better time to get back in touch with God? The story is unchanged, although the world is changing all the time. God is not constrained by years or seasons and is always happy to welcome you back. Why don’t you give him a call today and maybe you could get to know each other a bit better as the nights draw in.
Wishing you all God’s blessing.
Download the newsletter by clicking the PDF icon below. If you print it double-sided and fold down the middle, it should all make perfect sense!
Here is Gillean’s foreword to this year’s summer newsletter:
Summer is a time for getting out and about and meeting friends old and new. As I write this the weather is glorious and it has certainly encouraged me to spend more time out of doors, sometimes enjoying the garden or the view or walking with my dog Bramble and during these walks I too have made a new friend. I meet him each evening just as it is getting dark. Same place, almost the same time. He’s an otter and each night on my last walk with the dog he crosses our path coming from the sea into the burn at the bottom of my garden. If I want to see him (and I can hardly describe the joy that meeting offers me at the end of each day), I have to watch the clock and the sky carefully. I have to allow for the slightly later sunset each day and judge the time of my walk with precision. He (or perhaps she) is the most regular of visitors to my garden. He’s utterly reliable and yet he has no watch, no clock, no diary and no visible timetable. There is no electronic beeping to wake him up and no ritual turning of off lights and closing of doors before sleep. We humans are creatures governed by these things. We are at once fascinated and trapped by the relentless hound that is time!
A new exhibit in the National Museum of Scotland is a wonderful timepiece called a Midsummer Chronophage Clock. It was made by the man who invented the switch on your automatic electric kettle! The clock is designed to slow down or even stop occasionally just to remind us that everyone experiences time differently. On the top of the clock there is a huge insect that appears to be eating up the minutes. In my worst nightmares the time consuming insect might swallow me down in one great gulp!
My friend the otter lives in harmony with the times and seasons. The sun and moon and the length of days are his clock. As creatures of the same God we travel very different paths and experience time in very different ways but in the crossing of our paths I have glimpsed something of God’s greatness that can encompass us all and that transcends time.
Timeless and ageless God of eternity, grant us the wisdom to use the time you have given us carefully and thankfully and to set aside just a little of that gift to simply wonder.