Category Archives: Special events

The last newsletter

Welcome to 2021!   A new year to look forward to, an opportunity to review our lives, and to consider our life’s journey.    Superficially, we make resolutions to “do better” or to “do more”, or to “do less”!   Whatever we think of, we look to change something.    At the end of 2020 there was much talk about a new beginning in 2021, throw off the disappointments and frustrations of Covid dominated 2020, and get on with our lives properly in 2021.   Well here we are – New Year, new lockdown – I have felt quite stunned at this reversion to our limited activities, our closed homes and so little social contacts.    But…. we have learned a little of how best to organise our lives in this “new normal”, we hear of the roll out of the vaccine, and the increased understanding of how best to treat those infected, so there is definite hope in our hearts for a better time ahead.  

One aspect of our situation which saddens me is the growing adoration of “science” as the saviour from our woes.  In the media, “Science” has taken on a personality – we trust in “the science” to get us out of trouble, to defeat the “virus”, to heal our people.   Now I agree – science is a wonderful system of research and study, many people have discovered thousands of amazing and life saving techniques by applying a scientific system to studying our world, but it is a system, not a “being”. 

It is people, not “the science”, who by applying their gifts of thinking and designing who are making the discoveries and inventions which we can use to overcome Covid and so many other terrible diseases.  

What wonderful abilities we have as people.   People mysteriously made in the image of God.  As we consider the clinicians and researchers who developed the Covid vaccines, as we give thanks for the new treatments and skills of our doctors, nurses, and other medics, remember to give the ultimate thanks to God, the ultimate clinician and technologist, who gave us the abilities and curiosity we have to learn through scientific systems, give thanks to Jesus Christ, whose life and love have opened the way for our lives to be complete and fulfilled with Him, and give thanks to the Holy Spirit whose inspiration and guidance have led into such an abundance of knowledge and discovery. 

I have been considering this weekly Newsletter for a few weeks now.   Should I restart as previously?   This was begun in March last year as a vehicle for communication to the congregation of North Knapdale, and I expected it to be for a month or two.   It has gone on a bit longer.   It was also something which I thought would keep things “ticking over” until we could get back to normal.   This was really a forlorn hope, and we can safely say now that North Knapdale Church, and all churches across Scotland and beyond, will never get “back to normal”.

If we can let this “normal” go, and look forward and trust that God is doing something more, something different with his people, if we can stand back and allow Jesus to build His church in His way and then join in, then I think we will see wonderful things happening in the Kingdom of God – here and elsewhere.

Twice this week I have been drawn to readings where God’s people are told to “be still” and let God get on with it.    Both are in times of trouble and anxiety, in times of fear and uncertainty. 

The first is in Exodus Ch 14 verse 13.   The Hebrews have escaped from Egypt, but their initial euphoria at freedom and victory has been dashed by the reality of coming up against a new challenge – the Red Sea.   The old enemy, the Egyptian army is pursuing them from behind, and ahead it looks like their freedom has been dashed by the barrier of the Red Sea.   Trapped between the army of their foes, and the impassable waters.    They are worried, and fearful and rushing about trying to do something, anything, to get out of their situation – go back to captivity, give in to Egypt, no apparent way ahead.   

This is what Moses says: 

 “Do not be afraid.   Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He shall accomplish for you today….”    

What a promise this is – and an instruction.  When we are uncertain, when we are anxious, when the past seems to be coming back to get us and the future is a big barrier – “Stand still”.    Stop rushing around, calm your activities, the situation is beyond you, but wait and see what God is going to do.    God opens up the sea, and they walk across in the dry land.  

How many Hebrews saw that coming!     There are times when standing still is all you can do – and trust in what our amazing God will accomplish.

The second reading is in 2 Chronicles Ch 20 vs 15 to 22, and it is too long to write here so look it up to read yourselves.   Again the Hebrews are stuck with an overwhelming enemy army coming to get them.   They don’t know what to do or where to go – and the Spirit of the Lord says through one of the leaders: 

“Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s……..you will not need to fight in this battle…”

This is a time, I think, for us to “Stand still” to wait to see what God is doing.   To recognise that the battle is not ours, but God’s.   No rushing about, or bright ideas, or quick solutions, for us and our church.     

We wait, and pray, and praise, for we do know that God is working and will bless us, as we wait.

Sometimes it is difficult to stand still, but let’s do that and see the amazing work of God for his Kingdom.

As part of that standing still I am going to stop this newsletter as a regular item.   I will send out important information, and items of interest when they come in, but for the moment I will be silent, and I would ask that we all, together, listen and look out for, and welcome the ways that we see God working as we stand waiting – who knows how we will see the Red Sea parting!

Cheers

David

A first footing prayer

This day is a new day That has never been before. This year is a new year The opening door. Enter, Lord Christ – We have joy in your coming. You have given us life And we welcome your coming.

I turn now to face you,

I lift up my eyes.

Be blessing my face, Lord

Be blessing my eyes.

May all my eye look on

Be blessed and be bright,

My neighbours, my loved ones

Be blessed in Your sight.

You have given us life

And we welcome your coming.

Be with us Lord

We have joy, we have joy.

This year is a new year,

The opening door.

Be with us Lord,

We have joy we have joy.

May we all know the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as we move into a new year – 2021.

Help for malawi

The Mid Argyll Churches Malawi Twinning Group sent £4000 out to our friends in Kasamba Church to help them with protective supplies for the Covid Pandemic. The minister of their church, Rev. Custom Kapombe, whom some of you will have met, has sent this report on how the money was spent. There are lots of lovely pictures in the report and a breakdown of where the money was spent.

Heart and soul 2020

We’re delighted to announce, as part of the ‘Big Weekend’ for the Church of Scotland, a special ‘Heart and Soul 2020’ event will take place (online) on 17th May 2020. The current crisis has meant that the original event, scheduled to have taken place in Princes Street Gardens on that day, has had to be cancelled.

However, a number of features from the event in Princes Street Gardens can be transferred into an online format, and we’re going to screen an abridged ‘Heart and Soul’ at 2.00pm on 17th May – when the original event would have taken place. The programme will run until about 4.20pm.
A recording of the event will be available soon afterwards. You will be able to watch the event live on the Church of Scotland website (www.churchofscotland.org.uk) and live on the Facebook page (fb.me/churchofscotland).

Hosted by our usual presenters, Rev Ken Froude, Seonaid Knox and Rev Justin Taylor, the event begins with a replay of the service of installation for the new Moderator, Rev Martin Fair. Without giving too much away, the event features a mix of worship, music, stories and some exciting ‘In Conversation’ guests.

Heart and Soul regulars ‘Fischy Music’ will lead a special segment for all ages, and we hope that you’ll join in all the actions from home!
Spread throughout the afternoon will be some very special conversations:
Hugh Pym will be in conversation with Prof Jason Leitch and Viv Dickenson from CrossReach, discussing how they have all been tackling Coronavirus and also how their own faith has helped them.
Very Rev Susan Brown will be in conversation with Ross Greer MSP and Tara Shannon from COSY discussing climate justice.
Prison Chaplain Anne Stewart will be in conversation with Hospital Chaplain Mark Evans talking about chaplaincy as a career and the impact of Coronavirus in their places of work.

No Heart and Soul would be complete without some hearty singing, and we’ve chosen some highlights from the archive over the last ten years of Heart and Soul, the Guild Big Sing and the General Assembly to round things off.

A Message from the Moderator of Presbytery, Mr Douglas Allan.

Friends,

These are not easy times. With the latest guidelines from the Government regarding church services and other related activities we are now facing an unprecedented challenge. No one I have spoken to recently can ever recall a time when they were not able to attend a church service on a Sunday morning or visit a needy neighbour in their Elders District. Some folks I have spoken to have made comparison to wartime experiences and the kind of fear that invoked in people. For the Christian community this is a serious challenge to our faith but one that we should be well equipped to rise above. 

I was preaching last weekend and heard about a local initiative being set up in Furnace on the shores of Loch Fyne that would ensure that no one would go without and I am sure there are many other examples throughout Argyll. The local church needs to be at the forefront of this serious challenge and we all need to play our part, however small this might seem. There are guidelines being issued on a regular basis as the situation unfolds and it is important we all adhere to the latest version of these. However, there is something more the church needs to consider and which I put to you now. We need to generate a groundswell of prayer and I am proposing that at 12 noon every Wednesday starting from the 25th March that everyone stop and have a moment of prayer. Prayer points will be emailed to all on the Presbytery mailing list immediately prior to each prayer time and I hope you will join me at that time. Of course, if the timing doesn’t suit please feel free to use the prayer points at another time. 

The Moderator of the General Assembly has called for this Sunday to be a National Day of Prayer and I commend this to you. As an Interim Moderator of a vacant parish I am planning to send a short message and prayer to my congregation each week and invite them to consider this at the regular worship time on Sunday. If anyone would like a copy of this do let me know and I will happily share.

We all need to place our trust in God at this time and positively look forward to the time when the virus is defeated and we can retake our seats in the churches we love so much and to share fellowship with those whom we have missed. With God’s care and our concerns rooted in prayer that time will come, and all will be well again.

With every blessing

Douglas Allan
Moderator

House Group

House group is generally hosted by David and Louise on a Tuesday evening at 3 Braeface. Each evening is different with sometimes a dvd, sometimes discussion, questions, prayers, songs and always tea and cake. Everyone is welcome to join in, just phone first to confirm it’s on.

Tuesday 3 March we have a guest, Rev Alan McWilliam, former minister of Whiteinch Church of Scotland. Alan will be talking about the Biblical model of church team leadership based on Ephesians 4 v 11 – 13. Come along and find out about APEST!