The Church is closed at the moment. The coronavirus pandemic means we are unable to host church services.
Watch out for our 2020 Summer Newsletter landing soon!
The Church is closed at the moment. The coronavirus pandemic means we are unable to host church services.
Watch out for our 2020 Summer Newsletter landing soon!
Unfortunately, due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, we are unable to host our weekly Coffee Mornings until further notice.
A wee snippet for those who didn’t manage along to the recital given by Douglas Bruce on Sunday afternoon.
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._