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Welcome to the URC Synod of Scotland monthly e-news.
Welcome to Synod of Scotland Enews.


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Synod Prayer Cycle 2020

Prayers for churches around the Synod and the world are on the synod website and Facebook Page.  Please join with the rest of the Synod in prayer, and pray for the following congregations

January

24   Annan
2020 began with such high hopes and we rejoiced as the induction of the Revd Alan Poolton heralded a new chapter in the life of our church. Then came Covid 19, lockdown and the closure of churches. With many of our fellowship elderly or shielding we have relied for many months on our telephone cascade to keep in touch.   Twice we have prepared for the re-opening of our buildings only to have this postponed as circumstances changed around us.

In the meantime we look forward with hope for 2021. We have taken the opportunity of closure to refurbish our hall and made modifications to our A/V so that we can share worship over Zoom starting with services for the four Sundays of Advent. Alan is now recovering from major surgery and it is wonderful to have him back in our virtual meetings as we start to think again about how church life in Annan will be in the coming months with the hope of vaccines beginning to make a difference.

Loving God, we give you  thanks for all of those who have maintained witness and support for your people through these difficult times. We give thanks for the signs of hope for better things to come and we pray that your spirit will encourage and  guide us as we strive to understand how you are calling us to respond to these changed and changing times. Amen


31   Augstine United
Loving Creator,
as astrologers once travelled
hopefully
across unknown territory
to an unexpected destination,
unnoticed
in the big picture,
drawn by love,
we pray that we too
will be drawn by
your morning star in a dark sky,
your determined footsteps in an occupied land,
to find our focus
in the big picture,
travelling hopefully
in the light of your love.

We spend a lot of time at Augustine thinking about how we connect with the world around us and also, in these times of restrictions on movement and worship, with each other. Over the past half year or so, members and friends have received cards and letters to let us know we are valued and connected. For Advent, we each received a Jesse Tree pack – string, pegs and thought-provoking cards with which we could participate in a shared act of preparation for Christmas. There’s life in “snail mail” yet.
At the same time, online worship, groups and meetings have become routine in a way we could never have imagined this time last year. Connecting online has sparked our imaginations – how can we do remote worship better, from our building, for instance?
Most exciting, however, has been the way we’ve been joined in our gatherings by members who have moved away; friends who in normal circumstances might only join us on George IV Bridge occasionally; and friends who have taken the opportunity to seek out a worshipping community far from home because it feels right for them. Friends from the north of Scotland, the south of England, from across the U.S. and elsewhere are part of our connected community, and we are the richer for it.


February

7     Barrhead

 Like many of our churches Barrhead is meeting for Zoom worship with pre-recorded Daily Devotions material being made available for those who wish.  Spirits are high and we're looking forward to a Zoom Carol Service in the week before Christmas, a Midnight Communion for Christmas Eve and a Christmas Day morning service.  It has been good to worship with friends across our Cluster since September and we're all getting very proficient with the technology.  It has been good to welcome Lesley Thompson, a second year College student, to work with us during these strange times too.  
Prayer
May the God who causes warriors
to beat swords into ploughshares,
and spears into pruning hooks,
bring us peace.
May the God who wakes sleepers
with the good news of salvation,
bring us joy.
May the God who comes like a thief in in the night
to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable
bring us hope,
and God's richest blessings,
surround us as we wait this Advent.
Amen.    


14   Bathgate
2020 has been a difficult year for all of our churches in the Synod as we try to adapt to the ever changing situation due to Covid 19. We have manged back to worship on two occasions only to find ourselves in tier 4 where we are only aloud 20 people for worship which include the Minister/Preacher and organist, and as a Church Eldership agreed to close for the period of the time we are in that particular tier. Who would want to stand at the church door and say to the 21st person sorry you can’t come in to worship as we are up to our recommended quota. Our Lord Jesus Christ welcomed ALL and that’s what we wanted to do too , and not to turn anyone away.
Since the beginning of January 2020 eight of our membership have sadly passed away four in the past six weeks. They all held a special place in our hearts, and have gone on to their eternal rest. We don’t know what 2021 will hold for us at Bathgate, but we do know that God will be with us.


Prayer
Loving God, we thank you for this day and all it speaks of your promise of old to send a Messiah to your people, fulfilment of that promise through the sending of your Son, the realisation of those long years of expectation, the glad tidings proclaimed by the angels, the wonder, and mystery of that first Christmas. For all this we praise you.
 
We thank you for this season’s power to move, inspire and challenge, to gladden the hardest of hearts and most broken spirits, to stir our minds and capture our imagination. For all this we praise you.
 
We thank you for the special things we associate with Christmas- the spreading of goodwill, the sharing of friendship, the longing for peace, and the expressing of love. For all this time means and will always mean we praise you.
 
But above all we thank you for the truth behind this day- the message that you have come to us, that you love us, that you have shared our humanity, and that you want us to share in your everlasting life. For all this time means and will always mean, we praise you.
 
Loving God, accept our praise receive our thanksgiving, bless our celebrations, and may the wonder of gospel come alive in our hearts this day through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


21   Carluke

28   Clydebank Morison Memorial

On 18 November 1886, Clydebank became an official burgh of Glasgow.  During the growth, of course, houses of worship began to spring up throughout the area.
By 1892, three shipyard staff and the future Manager of Clydebank’s Co-operative Society having sympathies towards the faith and practice of the Evangelical Union of Scotland (begun in 1843 by Secession church preacher James Morison, known as “the Scottish Charles Finney”), decided to organise an E.U. congregation in the new town.  However, by the time the present and only building was finished in 1896, James Morison had died in 1895 and the Evangelical Union was in the process of merging with the Congregation Union of Scotland, formally completed in 1897.
During the Clydebank Blitz on the nights of 13 and 14 March 1941, though the church roof was badly damaged and repaired by the local fire brigade, the late-Victorian Gothic structure in which we worship now stands as the oldest surviving building in the town, now situated between the Town Hall and Library.


Approach
Lord God as we come together to worship today
We are certain in our faith that you are here with us
 We come here as your family to be as one with you
In company with our Savior, Lord and friend your Beloved Son Jesus

Whose life gave his life that we may be set free
From the sins of this world and given your Glory
To live our lives as your chosen people

With your light and grace shining from us in our lives
That all who we meet may who we are and whom we serve
Lord God we humbly ask this as we come together to say the words Jesus taught us
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be they name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom
The power and the glory
For ever and ever
Amen                                                    

 

Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College

Enquirers’ Event
Saturday 27th February 2021

10am – 3pm online
Register with ministries@urc.org.uk
to receive Zoom details
Ministry Enquirers’ Event
to help you think about God’s call to Worship Leading, Lay Preaching, Ministry with children and young people, the Ministry of Word and Sacraments or Church Related Community Work.
What is God
asking of
YOU?
Please register for our event on 28 January 2021. It is the launch event of our ecumenical worship resource of refuge and migration: God with Us. Please find the invitation attached and here is the link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lc-mgpzwqHNaw-v_WnhV0sHpH7rB5R7OBP
Update of the work of
Synod Committees:-

 
The Pastoral Committee last met in  December and welcomed Dr Ewen Harley as our new convenor and the Rev'd Paul Whittle as our new Moderator.  The Rev'd Nicola Furley-Smith, Secretary of the URC Ministries Committee, attended for the discussions on deployment and pastoral supervision.
 
We were pleased to see revised deployment figures indicating the Synod will have 14 full time equivalent posts available to us in 2021 (we currently have 12.25 in post) noting this target will lower to 13 by the end of 2022 and 12 by the end of 2024.  These figures are a little higher than we had previously been led to believe.  The Moderator will work with Sarah Moore, Ewen Harley and myself to bring some strategic plans to the February meeting which may include another Special Category Ministry post, lay pastoral workers, the possibility of another Church Related Community Post and a Council for World Mission missionary.  
 
The Committee agreed to work with the College to publicise the new model of Non Stipendiary Ministry seeing that as a tremendous gift to the Church.  
 
We noted the new URC equirement for ministers in a pastorate or URC post, in non-stipendiary service in a recognised ministry post, or working for another organisation (eg a chaplaincy post) to have pastoral supervision at least 6 times a year.   The cost is paid by the local pastorate but 50% can be refunded from the Ministries Committee in London.  The College will organise a day next summer to reintroduce pastoral supervision and explore the URC approach to it.
 
The Committee resolved to explore what Place for Hope might be able to offer the Synod as a more contextual conflict resolution service for local churches than the Northerly Synods Listening Service.  
 
We, noted with regret, the decision of Avonbridge URC to close after  many years of faithful service and witness.  Thanks and a small gift were sent to the Church Secretary, Mrs Georgie Baird, for her many years of dedicated service.  The Finance and Property Committee will now be asked to sell the land and building.  
 
The Committee received, with thanks, the report from a team looking at the scoping of the Fife and Tayside Cluster.  A review, at year four, had been built into this post which was, initially, for five years.  We were mindful of a number of factors - the closure of Dundee and the decision of Dunning to close, the ecumenical possibilities being explored at Newburgh and Dunfermline as well as the significant amount of work done for the Synod by the Rev'd Alan McGougan outwith his scoping.  The Committee are all too aware of the effects of the pandemic on planning and so resolved to extend Alan's current Terms of Settlement, and therefore, the scoping of the pastorate by a year until the end of 2022.  It is hoped that over the next year our deployment situation, and the ability to plan, will become clearer.  
 
We received an update on the progress of dissolution of the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen noting that worship will cease by the end of the year and the building will pass into the care of the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland.  
 
The Committee authorised Ms Catherine Crosbie to be a marriage celebrant in the hospice where she works as a lay chaplain.  
 
We also received reports from the East, North and West Links, from the Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer, from the Transition Champion and from the Rev'd Mitchell Bunting in his role of covering for the Moderator regarding the care and movement of ministers.
 
Finally, we set dates for our meetings for 2021 in the hope that by the middle of the year we might be able to meet in person.  We next meet in February.
 
Andy Braunston
18th December 2020

Deadline for next e-news
is 12 February 2021. 

Adventures in Faith
To receive the newsletter email adventures@dioceseofedinburgh.org or visit www.facebook.com/DioceseEdinburgh
To sign up to the Eco Congregation Newsletter click the link below

http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org

 
JPIT
to receive the Joint Public Issues Team newsletter http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/whats-new/newsletter/
The latest newsletter from the Scottish Churches Disability Group is available on their website
For more information visit: http://www.placeforhope.org.uk/events

 
URC Update and Newsletter
Please click here to join the URC Newsletter.

Supporting Communities Safely 
from Public Health Scotland


The website gives advice for Community Groups, Organisations and Volunteer Networks fighting Covid-19
 
https://www.scdc.org.uk/supporting-communities-safely

URC Children & Youth Newsletter

The bi-monthly newsletter can be downloaded here.
Christian Aid
 https://www.christianaid.org.uk

 

Gathering 2021 Save the Date – 16 February  
We might not be able to gather in person quite yet, but we’ve discovered how much we can do online! Join us on 16 February to hear about some of our amazing partner work at the virtual Gathering.  

We’re delighted to welcome staff from Christian Aid Ethiopia. Netsanet Feleke and Solomon Woldetsadik will speak to us about the impact of climate change, locusts and conflict on vulnerable communities.  

We’re also excited to find out about new ways of celebrating Christian Aid Week. We’ll hear from supporters who tried new ways of fundraising in 2020. We’ll look forward to COP and think about how we can all be involved in the fight against climate change. And you’ll meet some of the new faces on the Christian Aid Scotland team.    

We hope to run an interactive session with opportunities to ask questions of our staff and other supporters. 
 
Please do save the date and invite others to join us.  
Email to register and receive the joining instructions: edinburgh@christian-aid.org 

 

Get your kilt on! 

Want to fundraise for Christian Aid and get 50% extra added on? This year’s annual Kiltwalk will be virtual, meaning that anyone, anywhere in Scotland can take part! Every pound raised will then be topped up an extra 50% by The Hunter Foundation. The virtual event will take place over the weekend of 23rd- 25th April 2021. Our traditional Bridge Crosses can’t go ahead as normal this year, so we're asking supporters to participate in the Kiltwalk on behalf of Christian Aid instead. Stick on a kilt (or a Christian Aid t-shirt), chose a local walk and ask friends and family to sponsor you! Once you register you will be invited to set up an online giving page that can be shared with contacts. Lauren will be delighted to support people get set up lmcfarland@christian-aid.org  

Sign up now at https://www.thekiltwalk.co.uk/ 

 

Christmas appeal - thank you! 

We want to say a big thank you to all those who took part in our Christmas appeal, whether by singing carols, sharing on social media, or giving online. We really appreciate your support, especially when we can’t be together in person. Thank you for helping us build hope this Christmas. 

 

Keep up to date with the work of Christian Aid in Scotland 
In the latest edition of the Christian Aid Magazine we look back to an extraordinary Christian Aid Week, discover how coronavirus has impacted communities around the world and we speak with Rev Dr Martin Fair. To get your copy, email our church engagement officer Charlie Meiklejohn: cmeiklejohn@christian-aid.org.uk 

Our bi-monthly enews focuses on ways you can give, act and pray in your local area. In each edition, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, Sally Foster-Fulton, writes about how we can live well with our local and global neighbours. You can sign up via our website: caid.org.uk/Scotland 

Scottish Churches Housing Action newsletter
 
All the latest news from See Me is available here...

See Me have launched a new resources for young people - "It's Okay". This includes: a video (clean version), a downloadable "What's on your mind" card for young people suggesting ways to explain how they're feeling and places can turn for help and tips to identify good listeners to approach for help and resources for adults and linked to curriculum for excellence including activities that could be used with groups of 11-18yr olds in the 'What's on Your Mind?' pack.
World Interfaith Harmony Week is taking place from 1st - 7th February and we have decided to hold our next Interfaith Buddies event on Wednesday 3rd February from 7 - 8.30pm to mark the week. At the event we will have speakers from different faiths on the theme of 'Connecting through Conversations' before heading into breakout rooms for our one-to-one conversations. Each event is 'stand alone' in that anyone can sign up to attend. Those who have been before are guaranteed a new buddy each time and we try to match participants with someone from a different faith or religious denomination if possible.  
 
To register for the event fill in the Google form at https://bit.ly/3qePOnH giving your name, belief and gender by Friday 29th January. You will be sent the Zoom link for the event on Monday 1st February. We do ask that if you need to cancel your attendance that you let us know as we do spend some time in advance pairing up the buddies to create the best combinations that we can!
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