Dear Friends in Argyll congregations,
It was one of my predecessors who first wrote an Easter message to the congregations within the Presbytery of Argyll. I am glad and privileged to follow that example. However recent events have challenged me to think not only of the joy of Easter but also the anguish and suffering that precedes it.
As we journey as individuals and as a Presbytery on our Lenten path, I am always reminded of just how much we have. We may make a decision to give up something we really enjoy during Lent – usually chocolate or alcohol. But, with the best of intentions, does that really affect our life in any significant way? Will we suffer pangs of hunger or thirst without a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine? Is this really sacrificial giving, or is it tokenism?
As the horror of the famine in East Africa unfolds before us we can barely take in the suffering the people are experiencing. Twenty million people across Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen are in urgent need of food. Millions are dying and over one million children are acutely malnourished. Across Africa the worst food crisis since 1985 looms for fifty million people.
We hunger for justice and freedom to come to those who are hungry simply for food. The problem seems beyond our control, and we feel we can do nothing. But surely that is not an option for us who are commissioned by Jesus to show his love in this world.
I wonder if, as congregations throughout Argyll, we might consider giving up something extra this Lent. I would like to suggest that each congregation finds a way to make a donation to UNHCR or Disasters Emergency Committee. It would also be good if each treasurer informed the Presbytery of the amount sent, thus giving us a total of the contribution from Argyll. If you feel this would be something you would like to do as an individual (and especially if you are a tax payer), may I suggest using the following link for your donation: https://www.dec.org.uk/appeals.
My sincere thanks for giving this your consideration.
May the one who journeyed through the desert for us and who gave up everything, bless you and walk with you till you meet him again on Easter morning.
With every blessing,
Marilyn Shedden Moderator of Argyll Presbytery, March 15th 2017