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What can I do?

One of the questions I often get asked, usually with some note of helplessness, is what can I do? The person may feel inadequate, too old, too young, stressed because of other demands on their life but they want to do something to help the ministry of the church. When people ask me I often point to the ministry of Elisha. Now many people know his predecessor prophet Elijah but despite the fact that Elisha actually performed more miracles, for some reason he is less well known, less respected even; which is grossly unfair.
Elisha first enters the picture in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah anoints him as his prophet. for ten years he will live in Elijah’s shadow, following him around, being there for him. he will do little that is dramatic, but what he does is vital. He is Elijah’s companion. He offers advice, he encourages Elijah when he is down. He picks him up when he falls.
When was the last time you said a word of encouragement to your elder, your organist, the Sunday School teachers or bible study leaders? When was the last time you encouraged those taking part in the prayer group, the church tidy up crew or the finance committee? When was the last time you even encouraged your minister?
We live in a very critical society. Often people hear nothing at all unless they have messed something up and someone can be critical of them. Yet how much will a church ever flourish if the only time you hear about your work is when you mess up? And let’s face it, we all do that from time to time, even the minister! We need Elisha’s in every congregation across the land. We need people who are dedicated to a ministry of encouragement, who will not be afraid of telling others, you are doing a good job, keep it up. You can be young, you can be old, you can take just five minutes to do it, with a phone call, an email, a text, it does not take much time. It is truly a ministry for anyone and everyone so how about being an Elisha this year for your church?

Merry Christmas

May I take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. I am sure that like me you will be hoping for peace on earth and goodwill to all people. However it has to start with you. peace on earth can only happen when there is peace at home. Goodwill to all people can only happen when we are aware of the needs and requirements of those around us. If we do not act with compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility and patience in our dealings with family, neighbours, those we meet on the street or in the shops then peace on earth can never be a reality. So let us make sure that we walk the walk in 2017 and not just talk the talk.

Home for Christmas

What a weekend! The church was packed for our unrehearsed nativity on Sunday as our young people, aided by the young at heart acted out the Christmas story aided and abetted by the angel Gabriel and a narrator. It was a wonderful morning and great to have so many young people involved as we worshipped together. However it has to be said that the minister was not at his brightest and best having been up half the night trying to help his older son fly home from college in America. I am glad to say that he did arrive home safely, albeit nearly 12 hours late.
However my son is not the only person trying to get home for Christmas. Planes, trains, buses and cars are going to be full over the next few days as people try to get home to spend Christmas with their loved ones, to go through familiar routines and family traditions and for the most part there will be many versions of the phrase, “it is good to be home,” heard throughout the land.
It is good to be home, yet many people do not understand where they are really at home. I firmly believe that we were created to love and to be loved by God. That is why Jesus said it was they greatest commandments, to love the lord our God with all our heart, soul mind at strength and to love our neighbour as our self. When we recognise that purpose and start to live that purpose then we truly feel at home and we experience peace. If you really want to come home this Christmas and experience the peace of which the angels sang then I invite you to come home for Christmas, to your real home, to your spiritual home. We have services at 11pm on Christmas eve, preceded by carol singing with mince pies and mulled wine from 10.30 and then a short birthday party for Jesus at 10.30am on Christmas morning. There is always a warm welcome at your home in Kinnoull.

From the Manse

One of the highlights for me in the run up to Christmas is watching Bethlehemian Rhapsody. It is the birth narrative acted out by puppets as they sing an adaptation of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody telling the Christmas story. It is so clever and of course, in my mind, the music is not exactly shabby either. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1pbuyGlQ0 it is well worth a visit.
This Sunday we will be having fun at our family service doing a no rehearsal nativity in which everyone will have a part.
There will of course be services on Christmas Eve at 11pm, with mulled wine and mince pies from 1030 and there will be a service on Christmas day at 1030am. So invite Jesus to his own birthday party this year and join us in church on Christmas day.

Advent

Preparation is everything. Many years ago I was part of a minister’s group that liked to do joint events. When it came time for one of the ministers to organise an event my colleagues and I kept pressing him for information about what we needed to do and what we needed to prepare. He kept saying that we didn’t need to do anything.
As we got closer to the event, I for one, got more and more nervous. I am generally speaking not an off the cuff kind of guy. I like to prepare, I like to write things out, I like to be ready. When we arrived at the event it turned out that the minister preparing things had grand plans about how things would go, but he wanted it to be spontaneous. What he had not realised is that for something to go really well and appear spontaneous it has to be prepared meticulously. If anything it needs to involve even greater preparation than regular events.
The birth of Jesus was not spontaneous. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. God had planned for the salvation of humanity from before creation. He sent prophets to prepare the people for the Messiah. He sent John the Baptist to prepare a way in the wilderness, to make the path smooth and straight.
If you want to really enjoy Christmas this year, you need to prepare as well. You need to prepare your heart and mind through prayer and reading the scriptures, for only then will you be able to joyfully and spontaneously enjoy the birth of the Christ-child like never before.

St. Andrew

According to John’s Gospel, Andrew was a follower of John the Baptists to begin with. John’s mission in life was to prepare people for Jesus and to point them to him. Andrew was one of the first to really get the point. There were obviously some of John’s disciples who did not see this as we hear of some of them later on coming to question Jesus about whether or not he was the messiah, but Andrew got it straight away together with a nameless disciple. Not only did he get it but he went straight away to his brother Simon and told him about this amazing preacher he had met.

So I ask you the question, have you got it yet? Have you recognised that Jesus is the messiah? Sadly, many have not. They might be interested in his teaching, they might admire him as a man but they have not recognised him as Messiah, Son of God, Saviour of the world. To accept him as saviour and Lord, makes a difference, a big difference, it makes all the difference in the world. One of the things that happens when you do accept him is that you feel his joy and his peace, something which dramatically changes your life.

I remember a story about four ministers who were working in a town. Things were not going well ad so one day when they met up for coffee one said to the others, I think we should spend a bit of time in prayer and confess our sins to God. The others agreed and they bowed their heads. One confessed, I am a dreadful one for the gambling, if there were two rain drops going down the window I would bet on which would reach the bottom first. Confession is good for the soul, I’m glad I’ve told you. The second confesses as well saying that he was an awful one for the women. Couldn’t keep his eyes off the, he was glad he had confessed and he felt much better. The third then started telling of his struggles with drink. He could never have any alcohol in the house or he would drain the bottle, he was glad he had confessed. At that point the fourth gets up to leave. They all look at him and say, hey, wait a wee minute, we have all confessed our sins, are you not going to confess as well. Aye well you see, he said, I’m an awful one for the gossip and I’m dying to get out of here!
If you have good news to share, you are always going to want to be out of there so you can tell others. When I became an uncle, got engaged, became a father I could not wait to tell people the good news we should be just excited about the good news of Jesus once we have recognised him for who he is and put our faith in him. Andrew could not wait to tell his big brother so that Simon could enjoy getting to know Jesus as well. Who have you told that you have found the Messiah?

Christ is King

One of the most powerful realities of the Christian faith is the Holy trinity. The fact that even before the creation of the world, God existed as three persons in a relationship of love. This shows that God is not a God of power, might or even detached indifference. God is first of all love, he is love, he created in order to have an object for his love and he wishes to love all of creation – and that includes YOU. God loves you and wants you to experience and share that love. God is therefore not going to rule in the conventional sense of the term but he is going to love us and urge us to share that love with one another. So the best way to show that Christ is King is to love one another as he loves us.

Manse Musings

Sometimes in the midst of a busy day a word will come to you, a word from God, a word of encouragement. On my blog I hope to keep you updated with such words at least on a weekly basis. A word to cheer you in your daily walk with God. Today, I simply want to assure you that nothing can separate you from God’s love. I think one of the most amazing passages of scripture are these words of encouragement from Paul so take them to heart and carry them with you through your day. You are loved and nothing will keep you from that love. Romans 8:- 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A Christmas invitation to you

Church Christmas EventThe members of Kinnoull Parish Church wish to invite you to our special Christmas services taking place this December. Please come and join us and bring children, family and friends to our services where we will sing well loved carols as well as listening to the wonderful story of that first Christmas, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Come along and hear the Christmas message and experience the joy and love of this wonderful season.

Below you will see a list of the special events that will be taking place in and around Kinnoull church over the next few weeks, we look forward to welcoming you to any of our services and we offer  you are best wishes to you and yours this Christmas. May this be a special Christmas full of good memories that will be there for years to come and may be a blessing on your heart and your home and all those you love.

With best wishes,

Rev Marc Bircham, Interim Moderator.

 Dates and details of events in Kinnoull Church this Christmas

The Nursery Nativity, followed by refreshments is a great highlight!

Friday 11 December at 10am

“The mid wife crisis”: Nativity presentation from Kinnoull Primary School, Primary 1 to 3

Tuesday 15 December at 2:15pm

End of term Service for Kinnoull Primary School will be notified through the school as it always a complete sell-out for parents, relatives and children

Friday 18 December at 10:30am

Family Christmas Service when ALL are very welcome

Sunday December at 10:30am

Christmas Eve Watch Night Service with refreshments and lots of carols

Thursday 24th December from 11pm

Sunday Services – always with activities and special place for children

Every Sunday at 10:30am

 

More church events can be viewed in our online calendar.

Easter 2015

David Souter, The Minister, Kinnoull Parish Church polaroid photoThis is my last editorial as Minister of Kinnoull Parish Church as my retirement date is now set for mid April. This is  dictated by the sale of our Flat at The Broch which had served as “The Manse” for over four years. During this time the rental from the official Manse at Mount Tabor Avenue has produced an additional revenue stream for the local Church which has been a great bonus and seemed to be a very sensible way to take advantage of our property situation.

This did produce one complication concerning when I was exactly going to retire, having given advance notice last summer that it was our intention to sell our Penthouse and move to a more country  location.  We have been asked the question so often “and when are you retiring?” The answer to which always had to be that retirement needed to occur when the flat was sold. That has now happened and as we will be living beyond the bounds of the Parish I definitely cease to be the Minister of Kinnoull.

Kinnoull now moves into Vacancy. However, during a vacancy, a locum Minister is appointed to provide worship on a Sunday and to do basic pastoral cover for deaths and those ill in hospital and to visit those in greatest need around the Parish on the basis of two further days per week. The appointment of a locum was one of the first matters for the Kirk Session to decide in its initial meeting with the Interim Moderator.

Since I was already being “lined up” to look after various other Parishes it seemed much more sensible to offer to be locum at Kinnoull as we already know each other fairly well. I would obviously take no part in Kirk Sessions, nor Vacancy matters and have agreed to step back clearly prior to any new Minister being elected.

This means that in practical terms, I will continue to do what I have been doing but with the important proviso that, I will not be working full time as your part time Locum. This has been underlined by the Session and by the Interim Moderator Rev Marc Bircham.

Since we will be living at Gowrie Farm just North of Luncarty I am really very conveniently placed to continue to serve Kinnoull. My phone number is published here in the magazine and I can be  contacted and messages left. However as a two day a week locum I will need to “time manage” more carefully. Funerals are  always a priority but there may be occasions when they need to be fitted to my diary. That, in fact, is something that has always happened behind the scenes in conversation with undertakers.

I am looking forward to doing less over the period ahead and  enjoying some time in our south facing conservatory and I have been told that I must make sure that I have the holidays which20150408_155325 become due to me, so the motorcycles which are looking good in the garage in our new home may well have more mileage put onto them this summer.

I feel greatly privileged to have been your Minister for coming up towards fourteen very happy years and now look forward to “minding the shop” in the months that lie ahead. My contributions to the Parish Magazine will no longer be “From the Manse” but “From the Locum Minister.”  A change of title and a change of pace and a time of gradual change for us all.

For Kinnoull, the task of seeking the next Minister now begins, but the vacancy here seems to present a very attractive proposition: A Parish in good heart, sound finances, very well maintained properties and with much to commend itself to the next incumbent.

As I had said on the morning when the date of my retiral was confirmed “I’m no awa tae bide awa” and following the decision of the Session asking me to serve as your Locum Minister that will now be the case.

With every blessing,

Your Minister and Friend

David Souter