Hello here’s this months magazine, the online edition, hope you enjoy reading it.
Issue 270 June 2020
Scottish Charity Number SC006482
Website – www.arbroathwestkirk.org
Unfortunately, All Worship Services, all Church Organisations and Non-Church Organisations, all Church meetings including Kirk Session and Core Groups are still cancelled/postponed until further notice. We will keep you informed as and when updates are available.
Update from the Clerk
- We now have phased steps from the Scottish government with regard to places of worship and changes do not start yet, they will start at phase 2. In phase 2 we are allowed to open the church for private prayer with physical distancing and hygiene safeguards, and also, marriages and other types of ceremonies could take place with a limited number of attendees. In phase 3 the church can open to extended groups subject to physical distancing and hygiene safeguards. Finally, in phase 4 mass gatherings could resume in line with public health advice, and all ceremonies could now take place with any necessary precautions. The leadership group will be considering and planning for these changes in the light of instructions from the Church of Scotland.
- Rest assured in deciding when we can get back into the church, the safety of the congregation and our employees will be our priority and guiding principle.
- It was good to see the Right Rev. Dr Martin Fair installed as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland even though the General Assembly itself was cancelled! There were some weel-kent Arbroath faces paying tribute to Martin and wishing him well. Let’s hope as restrictions are eased he will be able to do at least some of the planned Moderator’s programme.
- The administration of West Kirk continues and advice from the Church of Scotland, which is constantly being updated, is followed.
- Thank you to Elaine and to Scott for submitting their thoughts and reflections for this magazine.
Bill Clark, Session Clerk.
Right now we are all facing perplexing and challenging times which many of us are finding difficult. We especially think of those who are having to totally self-isolate, cut off from physical contact with family and friends. Many feel isolated and alone, and as I write this article, it is Ascension Sunday when Jesus left his disciples forty days after his resurrection and ascended in heaven. The message right now, at this time of Ascension is so relevant and important. Immediately before Jesus left the disciples ascended into heaven, he told them, ‘And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ Today we all need to remember those words – our Lord is always with us, guiding us, walking alongside us, lifting us up when we need extra help. May that thought comfort and strengthen every one of us in these difficult times.
At the heart of the life of the whole Church on earth and in heaven, is prayer. Here at the West Kirk too, prayer is a fundamental part of our worship. In the First Letter to the Thessalonians we find the words ‘pray without ceasing’. And that is exactly what the Church does. Every second, every minute of every day somewhere in the world prayers are being offered to God. When we pray, we are not only drawing nearer to God, we are also entering into fellowship with all other Christians who are also praying. For me, there are many special moments in the Church’s worship – one is the World Day of Prayer when people all across the world are united in prayer, following a common theme. Another is when Christingle candles are lit at a Christingle Service. Each candle gives a little light but the combined effect of all the candles seems much greater than the sum of all the candles.
The sanctuary is bathed in the warm glow of the lighted candles. I believe it is the same with prayer: prayer bathes our lives and the life of the world in the light of God’s never-failing, unlimited, extravagant love. This month, I ask you to pray every day, remembering that each individual prayer, your prayer, contributes to the spreading of the light of God’s love in our homes, in the community and in the world. Pray especially for people who matter to you, picture those who sit near you in the West Kirk, pray for those working on the front line to help save other and those who are providing vital services such as public transport officials, retail workers, street cleansing operatives, Royal Mail workers and couriers and the countless volunteers who work behind the scenes for example in food banks or phoning folk for a chat, just to make sure they are not feeling isolated and all alone. In these uncertain times, please remember to pray – God hears our prayers and will answer them.
May God bless each one of you.
Elaine McLean, Interim Moderator
Hello my friends,
It’s been a couple of months since we have been able to be together and worship, please don’t feel that I have forgotten you, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am still continuing with the pastoral care of the parish, just a little bit differently. You may get a random phone call with my dulcet tones on the other end.
This is at key moment of our own lives, when the world around us seems to shift so drastically, that we are likely to ask big questions. Do not be surprised, therefore, if you are asking questions about faith, hope, God, life, the universe and everything right now. Perhaps even allow yourself to embrace these questions and spend some time seeing where they take you.
I also, however, offer a word of caution. When you go searching these days, the answer can be at the flick of a finger, the internet can be both a wonderful and a dangerous place. If you go searching there for the “right” answer, you’ll be out of luck. In life, there is no right answer in this search; instead, it becomes a journey of discovery and, hopefully, abundant life. So, if you come across something that doesn’t sit well with your soul, keep looking (warning! by this I don’t mean “this is too inconvenient for me” but “this does not resonate with my experience of life and deep love”).
Also, it can be scary to think that everything we do has consequences, most of which we won’t know or realise. We often don’t think in this way, either because it’s far too anxiety-inducing or because we are too busy. This doesn’t reduce the impact of our actions, just our awareness. In a time when many of us (and I acknowledge absolutely not all) are ‘doing’ less, there is an opportunity to reflect a little more on actual or potential consequences. Many of us have more space just now to pause and reflect before we act….can we see this as a gift?
Health warning: don’t over-analyse everything to the point of utter inaction and mental torment!! Instead, invite a spirit of love into the equation and see what happens. Or imagine that God is the recipient of what you are about to do and see if anything changes. This pause, and reorientation, gives you time and choices….the invitation is to choose love.
Speak to a range of people. Converse with people of faith and those with none. Read. Sit in silence. Listen to music. Enjoy art. Contemplate creation. See what bubbles up for you. If you want to speak with a fellow traveller and wonderer, give me a shout.
Enjoy the questions, for it is there that you will encounter the Divine.
A few years ago, when my life felt like it was falling apart and the road ahead looked uncertain, a person who is very dear to me, sent me a postcard. It was one of the old ones that you used to get that is a blank piece of white card. On it was written the following verse.
‘Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.’
Blessings be upon you and your loved ones,
Help us to be strong during these difficult times and help us also to be good neighbours in our communities.
Lord, we are not used to living with the restrictions as we do now. Give us the strength to do as our Governments and Medical Professionals ask us so that we can take the steps of easing lockdown confidently and in safety.
We pray for all those who work so very hard to help bring this about. Be with them as they continue to seek a way forward.
Bless all those who have covid19, their families and those who care for them.
Comfort the bereaved and strengthen them.
Let us all look forward to seeing some reduction in our present time of isolation.
Be close to us all.
In Jesus name we pray this
History of Our Congregation (5)
Lady Loan Free Church is part of the family tree of West Kirk. It was opened on 19th November 1845, as a result of the Disruption of 1843. The Minister of Lady Loan Parish Church, the Rev Alexander Leslie, gave his allegiance to the Free Church and almost all of his congregation followed him out of the Church of Scotland. Unusually, they were allowed to keep possession of their church in Lady Loan until the beginning of 1845 when a new site was chosen on Mount Zion Brae and the foundation stone of Free Lady Loan Church was laid by David Duncan, of Greenbank, which became the North Sea Hotel and is now St. Vigeans House. David Duncan, an early pioneer of the textile industry in Arbroath, was a philanthropist contributing large sums of money towards the building of churches, manses and schools throughout the country. When he died in 1868 he left thousands of pounds for the maintenance of the ministry, for educational purposes and for the poor of the town. Additionally, he left five hundred pounds for congregational mission which was used to build a Mission Hall in East Grimsby. This hall became the Mayflower Hall a social club for Webster workers. David’s son George left funds for the building of the Hall and Vestries behind the Church. In Arbroath Abbey cemetery, the grave of David Duncan and his wife Janet has this inscribed tribute:
“They were liberal benefactors to the Free Church of Scotland specially the Free Presbytery of Arbroath the poor of the town and to the various religious and charitable institutions.”
The Duncan Trust exists to this day, making grants annually to Arbroath Churches that have a Free Church connection, which includes West Kirk because of Lady Loan Free Church, and to students for the ministry, with a preference given to those born or educated within the bounds of the former Presbytery of Arbroath. West Kirk now has another Free Church connection because Knox’s Church was originally a Free Church. It is no surprise that David Duncan was a major contributor to the cost of building Knox’s donating £500, a large sum at the time. At the celebration evening on the opening of the church the treasurer stated that David Duncan’s ‘liberality to the cause of Christ is known throughout the church’.
I am continuing to deliver the story online, on the Sunday School and Faithfinders Facebook page. I will be going live to tell the story every so often, the first one was on 24 May. For anyone that is interested the link to the page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/360812631053238/
Leza Gibson, Tel: 872467
ARBROATH WEST KIRK, KEPTIE STREET, ARBROATH, DD11 3AZ
Tel: 01241 434721
Please note the office is operational at this time however, not the set hours as before. The phone is being checked regularly for messages, I am checking emails and updating the website from home also so if you need to get in touch where possible, please do so via the website or the email address and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Change of Address
If you have moved house recently, or are about to move, either within or out-with the town,
please fill in the address slip below either email your details to email@example.com
or post through letterbox in the Church hall. Thank you.