A Spirit of Thankfulness
Here's something I learned in the last week and am sharing with you in the hope that it it will take root in my own life and heart. 1Thesselonians 5:18, "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".
Sometimes we are naturally happy, but sometimes we're most definitely not and negative feelings can range from a general greyness or grumpiness of mood to a circumstance that has reduced us to tears or even heartbreak. Thankfulness becomes hard to achieve, we wonder how do we get there and we wonder if we should bother even trying. But I am increasingly convinced that it is worth the effort. And we can do it in just a few simple steps.
Step 1.You know what's said about New Year resolutions; "start with one thing". As we look at our own circumstances can we find one thing to say "thank you" to God for? Find that one thing and focus on that today and spend time thanking God for it.
Step 2. Having sown the seed of a thankful heart, look around and see the huge need in our communities and take one small action (pray for; listen to; give) to express our own thankfulness for God's blessings in our own lives.
Step 3. There's a result! The spirit of thankfulness brings peace; "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful" (Colossians 3:15).
This is the Spirit of Thankfulness. It brings peace and is God's will for us.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
Karen Gillon, Associate Secretary
Making a Fresh Start
St Andrew Blackadder Guild has recorded a Guild Video Meeting, with worship, prayers and a Bible reading.
It includes interviews with employees of two Church of Scotland charities: Steps to Hope, which works with sufferers of addiction, and Fresh Start, which helps formerly homeless people to take up a tenancy.
Successful National Council Meeting
It was great to have so many members of the National Council meet for their regular February meeting to agree the budgets, begin the process of selecting a new National Convener and arrange our Project and Resource Coordinator Conferences for 2021.
They also had the opportunity to meet in regional breakout rooms and begin to develop a series of regional events for the spring and summer of 2022. We are so excited about the opportunity to meet up again. We hope you are too!
World Day of Prayer Service
This Friday, 5 March we will celebrate the World Day of Prayer with sisters and brothers across the globe. Augustine United Church in Edinburgh is hosting a virtual World Day of Prayer service, written this year by the women of Vanuatu. The service will include women, men and young people from all over Scotland and it will be led by musicians of Augustine United Church.
For joining details visit the World Day of Prayer website, or the World Day of Prayer Scotland Facebook page or use Zoom:
Webinar ID: 895 9398 3883
If you do not have internet access you can join using a landline 0131 4601196. And you will be asked for the above webinar ID and passcode. There may be a cost for the call.
The service will then be posted on the World Day of Prayer Scotland website and Facebook Page if you cannot join on the day.
On these cold chilly days, we thought we would take you to the warmer climate of Bolivia and remind you of the lives that were transformed as a result of the solar oven project we ran with Christian Aid.
For many women this project changed their lives in unimaginable ways and opened up so many new opportunities thanks to the Guild and the money we were able to raise. Thank you for all you do.
Life and Work Lenten Reflections
In a reflection for the first week of Lent, the Rev Tommy MacNeil, looks at Jesus' baptism and subsequent period in the wilderness.
Be Thou My Vision
Be thou my vision was a lectionary hymn this week and we found this rendition recorded virtually in Ireland that we thought you might enjoy. Oh and as Karen celebrates her wedding anniversary on the 13th and it was sung at her wedding, she thought you would enjoy it too.
Pray This Week
AIM AND PURPOSE
The Guild at Fetteresso is a movement within the Church of Scotland nationally which invites and encourages both women and men to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and enables them to express their faith in worship, prayer and action.
Our Guild has a leadership team who coordinate the various aspects of the Guild.
Every three years a strategy with three annual themes is decided by the Guild. The Guild also decides on a discussion topic every year. See below for the current theme, topic and strategy.
Strategy 2018 - 2021: One Journey, Many Roads
Theme 2019: Companions on the road
Annual themes were introduced to encourage Guilds to plan their programmes more effectively. These resources were introduced in the 1950s to give a focus for Guilds but are sufficiently broad to allow for imaginative planning.
Discussion Topic 2019 - 2020: Our journey, past, present and future
Topics offer a chance to explore a particular issue of current concern, possibly leading to some local action.
Continuing the three-year, themed cycle of work which has seen its members reach record levels of giving, the focus of the Guild's work is to journey together with our communities, nation, and world, both in sharing our faith and resources, and in doing everything in our power to bring about positive change.
Throughout the year September to March The Guild meets on alternative Tuesday evenings. The programme is varied from speakers to crafts, music and fellowship opportunities.
Please check our calendar for meeting dates, times and topic.
Further information can be found on the Guild Website
In normal times, this week we would have been holding our Project Coordinators conference when all of our project partners would join us to provide us with an update on what they had been doing over the past year. That is not possible but we hope you find the short update from each project useful and informative.
'Growing the Future' - Malawi Fruits
We give thanks for the support that has been given to young farmers over the past two years. We have been able to support young farmers by providing support to grow cash crops, enabling them to access a solar irrigation pump which allows them to grow a variety of crops and have an additional harvest each year. This year, with your support, our aim is to support farmers to grow sunflowers and tomatoes that would then be processed locally and sold in shops and at the market. Again this will add value to the crop and produce some profit for the farmer.
Can you “go the extra mile” and join us in praying for Malawi? There are two particular challenges which we want to bring to God:
The political situation in Malawi is difficult just now. A general election was held in May 2019 and the sitting President and his party won this by a narrow majority. However, there were accusations of vote rigging and there have been regular, and sometimes violent, demonstrations in the cities. The opposition party went to court to challenge the result and on 3rd February 2020, the court made a landmark ruling that the election result was unsafe and new elections should be held within 140 days. This is a victory for democracy but the situation remains unstable.
- for a peaceful re-run of the election and that all the people will accept the result.
- for Malawi Fruits staff and farmers, that they will be safe through this difficult period, particularly in this time of lock down that they will be able to access food.
- coronavirus is a global threat and with Malawi now having its first deaths pray that it will be contained quickly. However, the country has a very fragile healthcare system and millions of people whose immunity is low through malaria and HIV, so it is potentially very serious.
- for the poorest people, who now have no access to markets for food because of a lock down and have limited supplies themselves.
- for the health service, that they may learn from the World Health Organisation and others who can provide expert advice.
- for the Malawi Government, that they will have wisdom in dealing with this threat.
Faith in young people - Boys' Brigade Scotland
Since our last update, we have made progress in several areas of our work that are being supported through our partnership. We have also had to adapt in the last month to how we continue to do and to be Boys’ Brigade in the current circumstances.
Everyone feels greatly blessed by our partnership with the Guild and we want to take this opportunity to thank the Guild for your fellowship and support as well as pray for the health and wellbeing of all Guild members in these difficult times.
Our partnership is allowing us to work more closely with and support our dedicated and committed volunteer leaders.
We had two leaders roadshows in Scotland earlier this year, with great attendances in both Aberdeen and East Kilbride. Feedback that we received from those who attended on the days was very positive. We provide training on areas including mental health and young people. A separate event was held in Stirling to provide those same opportunities for our younger leaders.
Mini Grants Scheme
Our Mini Grants Scheme continues to go from strength to strength. In our second round of Mini Grants we are pleased to report that grants have been awarded to a further 12 BB Companies, totalling over £11,000. These grants will be used for a variety of purposes, including supporting the purchase of new equipment enabling Companies to provide a more varied programme of activities for young people.
Due to the Coronavirus/Covid 19 crisis and in line with Government guidance, all our face-to-face BB activities and events have been suspended. We have launched an alternative BB programme called #BBatHome – this is allowing us to continue to offer opportunities to children and young people to learn, grow and discover in their living rooms. BBatHome ensures we can continue to provide and support children and young people with high quality learning opportunities over the challenging weeks and months ahead.
Each week new BBatHome resources will be shared online with six activities provided for each of the three age groups that the BB works with – Anchors (5 - 8 yrs), Juniors (8 – 11 yrs) and Company/Senior (11+). The exciting new resources and activities are open to all children and young people, not just those who are already involved in the BB. We have also developed new video devotions as part of this programme.
Find out more about #BBatHome
Journeying Together - Faith Impact Forum
March has been a very exciting month at the project. five girls have begun midwifery training, 50 new girls have joined the project and we have enjoyed a week together with the girls in Kanyama and visitors from the Guild.
Wow – what a week! We were a little apprehensive as we entered the Calvary Church Compound in Kanyama and were greeted by the girls, but by the end of the week there were tears as we said goodbye to each other. The group from Scotland were very soon absorbed into the group as ‘aunties’, ‘grannies’ or ‘sisters’. The first day was spent getting to know each other, sharing a little and learning a lot! We were sucked into the rhythm and sound of ChiBemba and ChiNyanja songs and soon Scottish hips were swaying in ways perhaps we did not even realise they could! Equally as strange was the opportunity to show our new Zambian friends a few Scottish dance moves.The week was not just about having fun and the more serious business of sharing skills which could be developed into opportunities for small business ventures including biscuit baking, card making or small sewing projects such as aprons and hair scrunchies were undertaken. We shared basic First Aid and also some educational children’s crafts and games with the girls and all the while allowing us to get close and to develop trust where stories could be shared – look out for these in future resources.
We also were able to open doors for Mable, the Project Co-ordinator, allowing her to share the needs of the Project with groups of the Women’s Christian Fellowship and other folks – already she has elicited some new volunteers with skills to share. One woman who has just retired from a job in banking offered to help girls with business plans for example. A visit out of Lusaka to Chipembi Farm College, together with 25 of the girls enabled Mable and her team to talk about placements for some girls on courses at Chipembi and already this is being acted upon.
As the group sat and chatted to a group of the girls, they were sharing their future ambitions with us.. One wanted to set up a small restaurant, another wanted to be a teacher, another a doctor and the last one wanted to be a hairdresser. All of these young mothers were aware that without
the project, these aspirations might not come to fruition but being part of Journeying Together meant hope for their future. But the project is more, much more than fulfilling ambition, it is about having mentors and friends to offer support, it is about giving the girls knowledge and skills to look after themselves and to care for their children, it is about being able to say ‘no’ to unwanted advances, it is about giving hope in sometimes desperate situations and it is about putting smiles on young faces! The Guild, through supporting Journeying Together is allowing Mable, and her coworkers Helen, Carol and the volunteers at Kanyama to do the best that they can for the girls on the project.
The project has now recruited its second group of 50 young women who will begin going through the programme, please pray that they will settle in quickly. Pray too for the initial group of 50 girls remain as part of the project and their children that they will see their dreams fulfilled.
Please pray for the girls, for their children and for Carol, Helen and Mabel as they support them.
Join up the dots - Crossreach
In this unsettling period, it is important that we have time to reflect and celebrate the
fantastic work we have been able to achieve because of you enabling us to 'Join
Up the Dots' to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
Through 'Seeking the way ’, we invited you to bake CrossReach Grey Cakes to open up conversations. A person's true colours (unique talents, interests and aspirations), can be hidden by a dull grey fog of anxiety or depression.
As 'companions on the way ’, you have enabled us to work with many communities across Scotland. Some examples include:
- Little Marvels, a group for toddlers with additional support needs
- expand our Befriending Initiative in Inverness
- run more intergenerational initiatives
- increase provision of advice and support at Perth Sheriff Court.
We are delighted that the Irvine Old Parish Church has set up Umbrella, in North Ayrshire. This group meets twice a week and is a place for people with a mental health issue to come and feel safe, socialise and talk about the issues they are experiencing. This project launched on the 3rd March 2020 and was a big success, with lots of conversations about how we will improve the lives of people with a mental health issue in North Ayrshire. With 1 in 3 adults in Scotland experiencing depression or anxiety at some point in their life, CrossReach's initiatives to restore mental wellbeing underpin much of our work.
- for all, children, young people and their families; may their lives be deeply enriched. May parents feel empowered, and their children feel nurtured and loved. Thank God for new projects being developed, particularly for Little Marvels' supporting families with very young children with complex needs; may this develop into a supportive community.
- remember the families of prisoners, who often feel they serve the sentence too; for safe journeys and the strength to help visiting, sometimes for years. For the mental and physical wellbeing of those serving a sentences; may they use the opportunities to learn new skills and lead positive lives on release.
- that in everything, the staff of Cale House would be shining examples of Christ: that they would treat everyone as individuals and do so with the compassion He shows. Remember those who have moved on from Cale House and now live in their own accommodation: for their safety and protection as they remember their time in Cale House and the tools of recovery found there.
- during this period of lock down for all who struggle, through isolation or loneliness, that they will know the love of God particularly close to them at this time.
Seema's Project - Free to Live Trust
Seema reports that more and more children from the city of Pune’s red-light are coming regularly for their evening meal. While Avril Duncan, co-founder of the FTLT, was visiting the project in February, Seema held an Inauguration Day when 60 children attended. Already, Seema has admitted some of the children to the centre at Bori, well away from the risk of abuse.
Covid 19 is in India too. There are curfews and lockdowns across the country. This means that the opportunity to grow the project at this time is limited but as here in UK ‘this will pass’ and life will return to normal in the months ahead. The mothers of our children at Bori are prostitutes of Pune’s red–light district and are especially at risk as many are in poor health with sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. They have little or no access to decent health care. Social distancing of course, is an impossibility when your life is controlled by a madam!
Their undernourished street children will also be in danger. Coronavirus will result in further ill health and possibly deaths in this deprived, marginalised community.
Please pray for the women and children of Pune’s red-light district during this pandemic.
We are delighted to report that Laxmi, a 17 year old girl rescued from one of the brothels, is doing well at college. Her story is a real encouragement and shows what these young women are capable of given the opportunity.
Over the next year, with your support, we will continue to develop our feeding programme, support girls escaping prostitution and develop training opportunities for our teenagers.
The red-light district of Pune is a very oppressive and dark place. A dangerous place not only for the street children and the young prostitutes but also for Seema and her staff. This is an evil place where awful crimes are committed. However the Bible tells us in Romans ch12 v 21: ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ You are doing this through your financial support and through your ongoing prayer support. Please continue to pray for Seema and her staff as they seek to rescue street children and sex workers from all who would exploit them.
A Chaplain for our Ports - Sailors' Society
A huge thank you to all the Guild members who so generously give their money and time to Sailors’ Society. Thanks to members who are knitting armfuls of woolly hats. The seafarers we meet are so touched when we present them with these lovingly made hats to keep out the cold, or with toys to send to their children.
The weather’s not been the only thing on seafarers’ minds this winter, however. The spread of coronavirus is having a huge impact on the shipping industry, with ports closed, cruise ships quarantined and seafarers anxious about their health as they spend months in a confined space with colleagues from around the world. Our chaplains are available to counsel seafarers who are worried about the spread of the virus, or the impact it could have on their jobs and their families’ finances. We’ve also been sharing public health information and giving crews posters showing them how to protect themselves and prevent the virus from spreading..
It’s been an exciting few months for Becky Haldane, our Chaplain for the West of Scotland, who as well as visiting ships in Greenock is chaplain to the City of Glasgow College’s nautical cadets. She and the other college chaplains have been setting up drop-ins for cadets, with Becky also running Bon Voyage events for them before they head off to sea for the first time. At these events, they can meet current and retired seafarers and ask them questions about what life is really like on board.
January’s Bon Voyage was the most well attended yet and Becky has reported a number of helpful conversations through her work at the college.
Pauline Robertson, our Chaplain at Leith, isn’t often lost for words, but the crew of the Rever Sapphire left her speechless with their generosity. When they left the ship in January, they donated their £700 welfare fund to Sailors’ Society in recognition of Pauline’s support. The crew also donated the remainder of their food supplies – enough to feed more than 40 people for two or three months. Pauline, helped by the crew and some of the crew from another ship in port, distributed the food to various ships, local community cafes and food banks. “It was so important this food found a use, as the crew were very concerned it would all be wasted,” Pauline said. “By the end of today everyone was very pleased. It would have been truly an injustice if all this had gone to landfill!”
In February, Peter Donald, Chaplain for Dundee and Montrose, had a great chance reunion with seafarer John when he recognised him in the galley of his ship. The two men first met seven years ago when John saw his new baby for the first time by Skype in our Montrose centre. Peter and John saw each other again in 2014 – and this year, he was delighted to again see photos of a very grown up Nathaniel and his sister Sophia. “I’m so pleased to have shared photographic memories of these happy occasions with John over the many years,” Peter said.
Drew Anderson, Chaplain at Invergordon, brings smiles to seafarers’ faces by offering them lifts to the seafarer centre, church or the shops, where they can stock up on SIM cards, chocolate and other items they can enjoy on board ship. One happy cargo crew visited Invergordon for the first time in February. “After taking four crew to the centre and returning them to their ship, I spent a very enjoyable visit with the Captain and the rest of the crew,” Drew said.
We’ve been following advice from the ports as we continue to visit ships. We are also able to offer virtual chaplaincy over the phone or social media, so even if our visits become more restricted, our ministry will continue.
Please continue to keep us, and the seafarers we serve, in your prayers during these challenging times. We will hold you in our prayers too.
Check out the current Newsletter which can be found here
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With Guilds now off and church buildings closed many of us are looking for new ways to stay in touch and share in worship together. We are updating the Guild facebook page regularly with ideas and links to worship. A great deal of worship has moved online and you can be part of worship with people all over the country.
Weekly news 27th April
Where will our journey take us?
The Covid 19 pandemic is clearly the biggest challenge our society has faced since Second World War. Within that, it is also a huge challenge in terms of our church and of our faith. Many will be asking where God is in this and many will be looking for comfort and hope as they contend with insecurity, anxiety, illness, concern for others and, sadly, bereavement in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
Christians around the world are praying for deliverance from this 21st century plague and that is the right thing to do. Faced by such an overwhelming and invisible threat, it is easy for us to feel helpless. There is the risk of us wanting to hide away and leave the solutions to others, be they governments or health workers.
However, the Guild is actually in a strong place to do its bit, now and in the longer term and the clue to what we can do lies in the four tenets of our movement …Worship, prayer, action and fellowship.
We can join in worship, be that online, through radio and TV, sharing with our fellow Christians, often in new ways. Through that we continue to be part of the body of Christ, feeding our faith and uplifting each other. A crucial element of worship is….
Through prayer we ask God for protection and hope, but we also ask for guidance and the answer to prayer can often lie in our own hands. What the world needs, what people need, is care, be that medical, pastoral or practical. Prayer seeks God’s intervention, but much of that intervention can happen through our….
We cannot all be front line health or care workers or service workers or shop staff or any of the roles that are essential just now.
Even if we are not, though, we can act. We can check on our neighbours and friends. We can collect and deliver food and other items. We can play our part by social distancing (preferably called physical distancing). No doubt there are many other ideas to add to this short list. We can, through our actions, create places of…
The nature of lockdown is the opposite of social contact, literally and metaphorically creating gaps between us.
The Guild is largely defined by its fellowship and now the need for such fellowship is greater than ever. Let’s look at ways in which we can sustain our fellowship despite the practical challenges. Through phone calls, online contact, emails - even good old letters and cards - we can give our fellowship a hugely important place in keeping people well and connected.
Perhaps there is a wee part of the awful period that we are living through that will allow us to refresh, even rediscover, so much of what the Guild is about and of what it can mean.
We live in dark times, but light destroys darkness… let’s shine ours as brightly as we can.
Guild Week 2021
Folks from Blantyre Old Parish Church, like many others across Scotland, were involved in running a service during Guild week in 2019. We are still thinking about how things might work this year with all that is going on but rest assured there will be something that you can join in with at some point. Watch this space!
A virtual Guild quiz
Collace Guild made great use of our Guild quiz last session and had a great night with a range of people taking part.
Many churches and organisations are holding virtual quizzes online and maybe you want to try this with Guild members and friends using one of the many online platforms. All the questions and answers are provided so it might be a fun way to spend an afternoon and evening with Guild members and friends. Maybe one of your young family members or friends could set it up for you if you aren't confident.
Email us for a copy of the Guild quiz to: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Shetland to Dwangwa with love
The smiles say it all!
Wednesday was a day filled with joy and excitement as the Men's Guild in Dwangwa, Malawi took delivery of 288 Bibles from the Guild in Shetland. In a country where few have their own Bible, the Guilds will use these Bibles to share the Good News of the Gospel in this lakeside area of Malawi with fishermen, subsistence farmers and those who work in vast sugar plantations.
These are challenging times for our friends in Malawi but this visual demonstration of support alongside a mutual commitment to prayer is helping build this relationship between these two rural fishing and farming communities.
Pray this week
Monday: giving thanks for the work of CrossReach and for all who supported the Guild virtual souper Sunday.
Tuesday: today, on International Workers Memorial Day, for all who have lost their life providing frontline care against Covid 19. Give thanks for them and remember particularly those they have left behind.
Wednesday: for all who have been victims of chemical warfare. Praying for those who have survived often with life changing illnesses. Asking that God will intervene in the hearts of the world's leaders and bring an end to use of these barbaric weapons.
Thursday: asking God to encourage those for whom the future is uncertain through furlough, short term working or redundancy. Give them hope for the days ahead.
Friday: those who have celebrated the joy of a new baby, giving thanks for each new life. Pray that God will protect this fragile new life in the months ahead.
Saturday: for Guild members who live in nursing homes. Pray particularly for those known to you.
Sunday: for those in the poorest parts of the world for whom a lockdown will be as life threatening as the Covid 19 virus itself.
Pray at 7pm
Thank you to Ann-Marie Coleman from Inverurie West Church Guild for this photo of her candle as she prayed for the world.
Remember to light your candle each Sunday and put it in your window. Pray for the healing hand of God to be on our world, your community and yourself at this difficult time.
Continue to send us your photos of your candle and we will share a collage in a future edition.
Email your photos here:email@example.com
'Souper' fundraising for CrossReach
Staff at CrossReach are working tirelessly at the moment to protect the most vulnerable people from the Covid 19 virus. During a normal year many Guilds would be hosting soup lunches and sharing with family and friends. Through our Facebook page we hosted a virtual Souper Sunday to raise money to support CrossReach. The response has been overwhelming and we have raised an incredible £3054 plus Gift Aid so far, taking our total to a fabulous £3431.50. Thank you to each and every person who has donated, with more than 260 people joining in.
If you couldn't join on Sunday but would still like to take part then please have a bowl of soup any day this week around 12:30pm and think of those you would normally be sitting with at a Guild or church event. You can send your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are able, and would like to, you can also make a donation to support CrossReach during this emergency situation using the donate button below.
Donate to CrossReach click here
Sharing this newsletter
I know a number of you have been printing this enews and posting it to people or popping in through someone's door on your daily walk but it takes up a lot of ink! If you would like a Microsoft Word copy without the pictures then please let us know and we will get it to you each week.
Email me a word copy: email@example.com