Easter is fast approaching and we are having a number of events (some shared with Langside Church). We warmly invite you to any or all of these.
Monday 16 April—Clincarthill Parish Church—10am-3pm
This day will be an opportunity for older people and their carers to find out about local support and advice on a range of subjects. There will be a free drop in cafe as well. I would encourage all in the church to invite a friend or neighbour to this event.
The event is free and to date the following agencies will be there:
Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare
South Seeds Energy advice
Solicitors ‘re advice
Clincarthill lunch club
Cathcart Trinity Dementia Project
Food Train and more
We are looking to get a good turn out of local people so any help to let your neighbours know would be good.
‘So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11: 9-10)
2018 has been a busy year, so far. Throughout January, along with the usual demands of parish ministry, I, along with the Kirk Session and Congregational Board, completed the initial stages of the Local Church Review (LCR) process.
LCR replaces what was known as the Quinquennial Visit. Over several meetings, we filled out parts 1, 2 and 3 of the paperwork. We were encouraged to reflect on the history of our congregation, and be honest about where we are at the moment. These were submitted to Presbytery: we now wait for them to send a team to us, which will help complete part 4. This is the most important part because, when complete, it should give us a 5-year mission plan for our congregation. All these documents are available for viewing – if you are interested, please just ask!
March is showing no signs of being any less busy. Not only are we now building towards Holy Week and Easter, we are also reaching the stage when we need to finalise and present the 2017 accounts, and organise our congregational AGM. While these may seem quite dry and boring things, they are actually vitally important: these things give us an opportunity to reflect on the year which has passed, realise how things are going for our congregation, and decide how we wish to proceed.
While the accounts are still to be finalised, a draft which was shown to me gives the rough estimate that, if our finances continue in their current state, we will run into serious problems in around 5 years’ time. While this is somewhat alarming, I cannot help but notice the correlation in numbers here.
God willing, by the end of the LCR process, we will have a 5-year plan for our congregation: a plan which is, essentially, God’s way of saying, “this is what I need you to do if you are following and serving me”. If we follow God’s plan for our congregation, in 5 years’ time, we will see the fruits of our labours. If, however, we ignore this plan and continue as we are, the accounts give us a prediction: we will not be able to continue as a viable congregation.
I am sure we all want our congregation to succeed for God. So, how do we go about ensuring we follow His plans for us? We do so by praying!
Using Jesus’ teaching above, when we pray about this, we should:
ASK: ask God to show us the way forward for our congregation.
SEEK: God’s will and His plans for our church.
KNOCK: at the right doors, the ones which God is opening for us.
Once we have done this, and the door is opened, we then need to have the courage and wisdom to walk through! Only then will we definitely be following the path God has set for our congregation: only then will be succeed for Him!
There are some tough times ahead: but Jesus never said the road would be easy. It will, however, be rewarding!
May God bless you, Stuart
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.
Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church
to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise them up.
If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5: 13-16 NIVUK)
The beginning of 2018 has not been easy for many of us in Clincarthill Church. Several people have been ill; others have either spent time in hospital and are now home, while others are still in hospital. Saddest of all, a number of our church family have been bereaved over these past few weeks.
These are difficult times for many of us. I am please, however, to hear how well people feel supported and cared for in our congregation. I am grateful that we make a point to look after one another in our church family; especially as it takes me time to personally get around everyone, to see them and make sure they are supported.
The support we receive from people can be invaluable. There is, however, another avenue of support which we must not forget: that of prayer. James, when he was writing his letter, emphasised how important and all-encompassing prayer is, and how it can offer us real help and support in times of trouble.
Firstly, James encourages us to pray for our own circumstances. If we are in trouble, if we are happy, if we have a confession to make, then we are to pray. If we give these things over to God, He will help us in difficulties, celebrate with us in our happiness, and give us assurance of His forgiveness and grace.
Secondly, James highlights that we are to pray on behalf of others. James describes a very specific situation: one which, I think, we would do well to explore more and take more seriously in the Church today. The principle of this situation can be applied more broadly: as Christians, we are called to pray for one another. What an encouragement it can be to have someone pray for you!
Whether we pray for ourselves, or for others, our prayers can be both “powerful and effective”. Let’s be praying then, especially as this year is off to a difficult start for some of us.
May God bless you, and keep on praying!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
(1st Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIVUK)
Change is an inevitable part of life, and in recent decades, we have seen the speed of change increase dramatically.
Even I, as a 27-year-old, have been surprised how quickly our world has changed. I remember my first games console, my first mobile phone, the early days of dial-up internet. These things, which were the pinnacle of technology just 15 years ago, are now dated and obsolete. I can, therefore, only imagine how challenging the pace of change is for some who are much older than I, especially when these things feel beyond our control.
How we respond to change is something about which we need to be incredibly careful in the church. On the one hand, it can be very easy for us to resist any kind of change: Church is familiar, something over which we can exercise control. We can, therefore, ensure that Church is kept constant, “the way we remember it”, while everything else changes.
On the other hand, the Church can fall into the trap of “change for changes sake”: in other words, thinking that the only way to share our Christian faith is to ensure we are changing as quickly as the world.
Throughout 2017, our theme of the year was asking “what kind of Church does God need us to be in this parish?” I think the answer we’ve arrived at is that God is calling us to be a Church which:
- Serves Him;
- Serves our community/parish;
- Is healthy and growing.
Achieving these things means we will need to face change. Doing things the way they are always done won’t work; but neither will change for the sake of it. Anything we do needs to be considered carefully, and in 2 ways: is it what God wants, and is it something which will help achieve one of the above?
For this reason, our theme/verse for 2018 is simple: “pray continually”. If we want to get these three things right, we need to be praying. Prayer is our way to talk to God, and His way of responding. By ensuring we have a solid foundation in prayer, we have a much higher chance of ensuring are doing things His way: i.e. the right way!
All of God’s people are called to pray. So, may I humbly ask that, as part of your prayers in 2018, you would pray for His Church? God bless you
Join the angels on Christmas Eve as they learn of God’s plan for the very first Christmas – you won’t be expecting this! Come along for our family candlelight service at 6.30pm on Sunday 24th Dec (Christmas Eve) – all ages welcome.
We invite you to join us to welcome in Christmas Day … starting at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve and continuing until just after midnight.
We have three events on Christmas Eve … the first of these is our ‘Lessons and Carols’ service at 11am when we will be singing new and traditional Christmas Carols; and hearing readings telling of the birth of Jesus.