In light of the ever-changing situation, some of the church groups have taken the decision to suspend meetings for now. These are the Boy’s Brigade, Men’s Group and Guild. Other groups are reviewing their positions. The Presbytery meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 March (Three Towns Mission Meeting) has been postponed.
Other changes which will come into effect next Sunday. Collection plates will not be passed around during the service but will be left at the door for your offerings as you come in to the church. You will also be asked to collect a hymn book and intimation sheet as you come in to minimise the number of people handling them. Our kitchen is already maintained to the highest standard but from next Sunday only individually wrapped cakes and biscuits will be available.
A small team is being put together as an emergency committee to deal with the changing requirements precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts are being made to obtain hand sanitiser for use at the doors and as a supplement to hand-washing.
If you are unable to come into the service, please know that you are in our thoughts. It would be great if you joined an online service on a Sunday. HERE IS A LINK to various Church of Scotland online services. Not listed but also available is West Kilbride Parish Church or the totally online Church of Scotland community at Sanctuary First.
Next week (22 March) will be a Family Service including a Baptism . There will be a meeting for both Board and Session after the service.
We continued reading about the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, in Acts and our first introduction to Saul, who approved the killing. There was considerable and understandable distress amongst Christ’s followers as persecution escalated and they dispersed across the region. Saul we bent on destroying the church, pulling people from their own homes and imprisoning them.
The believers who fled took the Good News with them and rather than the message becoming suppressed, the faith expanded.
Philip, who like Stephen was one of the originally appointed deacons, became more missional and preached in Sumeria, which had become a safe refuge for fleeing Christians, where there was a good relationship between them and the Samaritans. This was possibly helped by the earlier experiences they had with Christ (see John 4: 4-42).
Many in the congregation responded to the request last week to wear something yellow or orange. Very cheerful! Next week, go with pink or red if you can.
NOTICES The Men’s Group meet on Thursday coming (12th March) and their speaker will be Archie Kerr who will take us on a spoken journey to explain his work and where it takes him around the world. it should be enlightening and a chance to get to know Archie better. All are very welcome to come along.
THIS MORNING’S SERVICE During the informal time of this morning’s service the children continued with their garden drawings, this time including something yellow. After a little collective thought, the sun and daffodils were suggested and possibly orange trees. While the children were busy, the minister held up an orange which has become a symbol from Alzheimer Research to demonstrate the damage to a brain with Alzheimer’s which can leave it weighing 140 g less than a healthy one. That’s about the weight of an orange. (You can find out more HERE#ShareTheOrange) There will be a fundraising coffee morning in St Cuthbert’s Church Hall on Saturday 28th March – more information soon.
Today’s readings (Acts 6: 8-15 & Acts 7: 51-60) told some of the story of Stephen – the first Christian martyr. Acts 7: 1-50 provides a useful summary of key parts of the Old Testament, which Stephen used as his defence and criticism of the Sanhedrin. We realise that the other new Christians must have been shaken by Stephen’s death and frightened for their own safety but most had the courage to continue to spread the Gospel, as still happens in parts of the world today where there continues to be persecution and even stoning to death.
Today many children and adults remembered to wear or hold something green. During the children’s address we talked about “being green” – caring for our world where green usually represents life. We looked at the Christian Aid “Count Your Blessings” material and considered how different things might be for families living in Kenya. The children then started creating pictures of a garden which will develop during the Lent period.
The Adult version of Count Your Blessings is available and can be accessed HERE. Please be aware it is a large file and may take a little while to download.
NEXT WEEK: PLEASE WEAR SOMETHING YELLOW OR ORANGE.
Our readings this week were from Exodus (Chapter 18: 13-23) and Acts (Chapter 6: 1-7) which both looked at sharing responsibilities amongst the faithful.