When I wrote to you all in the last paper edition of our magazine, I didn’t expect that it would be another 4 months before we would be allowed to distribute another one!
The second lockdown, effective from 4th January has inevitably restricted me from meeting and getting to know people but it is amazing what is still possible, even then, with the hard work of many folk.
Though our building has been closed, thanks to Ian and Vicki for being prepared to continue recording melodies, to Malcolm for giving up time to record in advance for the radio and to Audrey for faithfully videoing me, we have been able to offer worship either online or on the airwaves each week.
Thanks to Myra, working from home as offices remain closed, we have still been able to produce monthly communication via the internet, to hold our usual Session and core group meetings and, with the help of Audrey, Bill, Derek and David, complete and submit the returns of annual statistics and accounts.
Ruth has done a wonderful job supporting a wide variety of folk with flowers and Ross has also faithfully been completing all the checklists that were required for insurance and health and safety purposes to maintain the building.
As a result, I’m delighted that, once the green light was given, we were able to open for worship in the building for a maximum of 50 from Palm Sunday and enjoyed 2 services on Easter morning. Alleluia indeed!
Though it is likely that the current guidelines will remain in place for some time, current data continues to look encouraging.
In this magazine, therefore, we are looking forward, attempting to begin to return to items that would be a part of our usual annual calendar, albeit in a slightly different form. You will therefore find that you have 2 envelopes – for the AWK annual stewardship event and Christian Aid. We recognise that the last 12 months has been really tough for many people and wouldn’t want you to feel any pressure to make contributions to either, but, if you wish to do so, they are there. Sadly, the needs of others, at home and abroad, remain very real. Social guidelines mean that door to door collections for Christian Aid are tricky and including the envelope with the magazine is a safer means of distribution. More details on both events are included in the magazine.
At Christmas time I reflected on what hope might look like as the restrictions are relaxed. Almost 4 months later, having experienced again the emotional journey of Holy Week and the joyous celebration of resurrection life, we are reminded that coming out of lockdown is not an ending but a new beginning. As we go forward, I pray that we will make time to get used to the new freedoms and possibilities and share with you now a reflection that formed a part of a letter to all ministers just before Easter from the faith Nurture Forum on the use of that time.
Make time to think – it is the source of power.
Make time to play – it is the key to freedom and relaxation.
Make time to read – it is the gateway to knowledge.
Make time to worship – it washes the dust of earth from your eyes.
Make time to help and enjoy friends – no other happiness matches this.
Make time to love – if you don’t it will fade away.
Make time to laugh and pray – these are two things that lighten life’s load.
Make time to be alone with God – He is the Source of everything.
May joy and hope be yours this Easter season,
How lovely it is to have our Church doors open once again and it has been great to see so many of you back in the Sanctuary over the Easter period.
Hopefully, all being well, we will remain open in the coming months. Restrictions are still in place with only 50 allowed to attend which means we are still asking you to book every second week please. The Church office is still closed with Myra working from home. To book a place, please phone Myra on the Church office number (01241 434721)
During our time of closure, Mrs Ruth Ferguson has been delivering flowers to those of our congregation in need of comfort which have been greatly received by all knowing that they have been in our thoughts and prayers. I would on behalf of the congregation like to thank Ruth for continuing to deliver this vital part of our pastoral care throughout this time. If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving the Church flowers or indeed a Pastoral telephone call from the Minister then please let us know. If you are attending Church then there are cards in the vestibule for completion and can be popped into the “wee green” box as you exit the Church after the Service. You can also contact myself or the Minister.
May you all continue to keep safe and look forward to seeing you.
Audrey Shepherd, Session Clerk
Now that our church building is open, these are the ways to access our services…
- Come to worship at 11am in the building. Social distancing requirements mean that the building is open for a maximum of 50 people. Please book in advance with Myra in the office. Please also be aware that it may not be possible to book for each week as we can sometimes exceed the maximum number.
- The weekly service is also recorded and is available from 11am every Sunday on YouTube or Facebook. If it’s easier to receive an email with a direct link to the service, please let us know and we will email it to you on a Friday.
- We are very fortunate that we are still able to record a service for Radio North Angus and that’s still broadcast each Sunday at 3pm.
In order to reduce the time taken recording the service in advance in the next few weeks we’ll be looking at ways to run a live broadcast of the service, which is also recorded, for those who prefer to watch online.
We may be indifferent places, but we are still one church family, worshipping together.
Without the ability to distribute paper copies of the magazine, communication with everyone has been more difficult. I’m very grateful to Myra for providing contact details and to the elders who made telephone contact with as many members as we could in January and February. I know that both the folk who made the calls and those who received them enjoyed the opportunity to catch up. If you didn’t receive a phone call, it may be that Myra doesn’t have your contact details on her database, so please get in touch with her with contact numbers and email addresses so that we can keep our records as up to date as possible.
For those who have the internet, our weekly services are available from 11am each Sunday on YouTube and updates on all our activities and events are on Facebook. The links for both are over the page.
Zoom has also been a really helpful way of keeping in touch. Leza and Caroline have continued to meet with Sunday School every other week in this way. The bible study group continue to meet every Wednesday evening at 7.30pm by Zoom, and there has also been an opportunity to chat together after the service at 12 noon every Sunday (1pm on alternate weeks now that the church building is open). We have even run a couple of online socials – a quiz night and an evening of Pictionary and name that tune, thanks to the preparations of Joan. From my point of view it has been lovely to see so many faces, without masks, on screen and I feel like I am getting to know some folk despite all the restrictions. Though our need for Zoom will diminish as time goes on, we will still be using it for the next few weeks so please feel free to join us. Both Myra and I can provide details.
Report from David Spink, Church Treasurer
As you know I would normally present the accounts at the annual stated meeting, as that won’t be possible this year I thought I should let you know by
this means what happened financially in 2020. I won’t go into too much depth, just enough to give you a flavour, if you do want to know more please contact me.
As we know 2020 wasn’t a normal year and the fact that the buildings were closed for so long, and numbers at services for a large part of the year were limited when we were allowed to hold them, all had a dramatic effect on our income. The normal income was down from £112,669 in 2019 20 £81,278, a reduction of £31,391. There were a number of reasons for this, less givings, less income from the use of halls and Church Organisations, less return on our investments and of course no Fayre in November.
We have been fortunate that many of the Congregation give by way of standing orders and this has given the Church a steady regular income. I believe we will fare better in 2021 as a good number are making up for what they were unable to give by letting us have bulk filled envelopes and more setting up standing orders.
On the outgoings side we did see a reduction there too, down from £160,105 to £148,838, £11,267 less. Although there were restricted opening times the Church still had commitments by way of Ministry and Mission payments, maintenance and repair of all the buildings and other costs in running the Church. I had predicted a deficit in the budget for 2020 which was prepared before Covid was in our daily vocabulary, unfortunately, this was much greater than anticipated and was in fact £49,993.
I am looking forward to a healthier financial year for 2021 during which time I hope our income will increase, should we be able to reopen fully again, and our outgoings reduce with less work being required on the buildings.
During 2020 we did manage to make contributions to Christian Aid, Church of Scotland HIV programme through Souper Sunday, Shelter and Dunfermline Samaritans, the chosen charity of our accounts examiner who continues to do so much work for us.
The accounts have been approved by Kirk Session as Trustees and also by Angus Presbytery.
I look forward to presenting a far healthier report at this time next year.
David Spink, Treasurer
As you know Gift Day did not take place in February and we are now enclosing an envelope for you to make a donation to the Church with this magazine. If you should wish to make a donation this can be handed in any Sunday at the Service or put in the letter box in the door of the Church at the old hall entrance.
If you have signed a Gift Aid form we can reclaim the tax on your donation. If you are happy for us to do this please put your name and address on the Gift Day envelope. Although the Church has been closed for a good deal of the past year if you read the note from our Treasurer you will understand how our finances have been affected.
The Stewardship Group look forward to your support in this very important event.
During this time of lockdown Guilds, including ours, have still been sending their last donations to the six projects we currently support. To date the amazing sum of over £520,000 has been raised and we have been able to learn about what each Project is doing in their situations. A new set of Projects for the next 3years will be announced on April 15th. We hope that it will not be too much longer before we can meet up again as a group.
Perhaps we will be able to meet again over the summer for a catch up chat and cuppy. As they say “watch this space”
Best wishes to all from the leadership team.
Christian Aid Week 2021, Monday 10th – Sunday 16 May
The latest edition of the Christian Aid magazine has a front cover headline that reads “Against All Odds, Celebrating the Best of Humanity.”
What a positive message, especially after the last year which has proved to be one of the most difficult in living memory. Together, supporters across the country raised nearly £4 million during Christian Aid week 2020. Thank you so much to everyone who helped raise what is a remarkable sum, considering all fundraising was moved online.
Unfortunately many of us were unable to donate or to take part in our usual CA week activities. Here in Arbroath we were left with no coffee morning, no Tay Bridge Walk, no envelope dropping through the letter box.
To address this, we at the West Kirk thought it would be good to give you all the opportunity to donate this year. To enable you to do this we are enclosing a Delivery Only Envelope with this month’s magazine. We hope you think this is a good idea.
Our priority would be for the envelopes to be returned to the church during CA Week at Sunday morning worship or, delivered back to us via the letterbox which is situated on the door of the “small” hall. If you are unable to do this, then any time during the month of May would be lovely.
We are also pleased to announce that we have a group of walkers who are planning to take part in this year’s virtual challenges: the Kiltwalk and The 300,000 Steps in May. Many of us are being sponsored to complete these challenges – an extra incentive for all involved. Of course the main incentive will be the raising of vital funds. Together with supporters from all over the country we will be helping to build a world in which everyone can thrive. Our church community at the West, is challenging itself. This truly is love in action.
If you would like more information on either of the challenges, whether that’s to take part or to offer support, then please contact me.
Thank you so much,
Pastoral Call & Flowers
If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving a Pastoral Telephone call or the Church flowers, then please can you complete the Pastoral Call/Flowers cards which can be found in the Vestibule. The completed card can be placed in the box situated at door as you exit the Church. Thank you.
Remembering those we have loved…
On several occasions in the past year, we have been asked to light candles to remember. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families and friends.
Risen Lord Jesus, in this Easter season as we reflect on your death and glorious ascension, may the hope that we have in You bring us comfort as we remember those we have lost. May the peace you shared with your friends and followers be a presence with us now, supporting us through times of sadness and grief. May those who mourn know your loving arms surrounding them in the care of family, friend and stranger.
|April 2021||May 2021|
|02nd Team 09 – David Langlands|
|18th Team 07 – Lavinia Gibson||09th Team 10 – Audrey Shepherd|
|25th Team 08 – Alistair Ferguson||16th Team 01 – Moira McIntosh|
|23rd Team 02 – Barbara Cargill|
|30th Team 03 – David Spink|
|April 2021||May 2021|
|2nd – Jean Cruickshank|
|9th – Joyce Beattie|
|18th – Pat Anderson||16th – Maureen Fairbairn|
|25th – Alison Cresswell & Mary Ramsay||23rd – Agnes Beattie|
|30th – Pat Croall|
Cups of Friendship
As I’m sure many of you are aware, the Kirk Session were delighted to support Lily White with her “Cups of Friendship” initiative in early February. To quote the Church of Scotland website, “Lily White used money set aside for her cancelled birthday party to fill them with teabags, coffee sachets, milk, packets of biscuits and cakes for two…. Lily said: “God tells us to share with others, to care for one another, be kind and use our gifts and talents to do ‘His’ work. “We have all taken things for granted and lockdown has made us all think about what is important. “Church is important to me and I have missed seeing my church family each week and I am sure they have missed me. “I worry about people who are on their own, they must feel lonely and isolated, and I want these Cup of Friendship boxes to make people smile and to show that someone is thinking about them.”
Thanks to Lily and some generous donations of postage we were able in those first weeks of lockdown to reach out to many folk isolated and/or living alone. A team of volunteers has filled a further 100 boxes and we are in the process of distributing these to church members and to the wider community.
Lily’s vision was for this cup of friendship to continue and expand seeking further ways of reaching out in friendship to the community. If you’d like to suggest ways in which we can develop this, please get in touch. THANK YOU Lily.
Agnes Beattie would like to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to the Minister and the congregation for the cards and well wishes she received during her recent period of ill health, it was greatly appreciated. She is feeling much better and hopes to be attending church very soon.
Knit & knatter
It’s been a year since our last Knit and Knatter meeting, but we are looking forward to meeting up again when it is safe to do so. We hope everyone is keeping safe and well. We don’t have any projects ongoing or planned for the future, but feel free to share your crafty creations on our Facebook group page. Have you have learnt a new skill during lockdown? Please share that with us to! We love all crafts, not just knitting! Please also check the Facebook page for any information, covid updates and future meeting dates – find us on Facebook: Knit & Knatter Arbroath, or contact Angela on (01241)871328.
This is a key worker teddy knitted by one of our members during lockdown. (photograph supplied by Angela Pagan)