Arrangements for Advent and Christmas

Christmas Tree decoration
The Worship Consultation suggested that the Tree be in place for us all to help decorate during Lunch on December 1st. It was also thought that the children might prepare suitable decorations downstairs during worship and hang them on the Tree during Sundays in Advent.

The Nativity Figures are to be displayed in the porch window from the start of December (ie the beginning of Advent). It is also hoped to have an Advent / Christmas themed poem & picture in the window.

Worship on Sunday 29th December
An invitation has been received from Meadowside St Paul’s Church of Scotland to join them and their linked congregation, St Andrew’s, for worship on the Sunday after Christmas. This invitation has been accepted and MStP have expressed pleasure at this; their Interim Moderator, the Rev Caroline Jackson, has also made contact about Methodist participation in the Service.

Faith Lunch

Following on from our decision to share fellowship over a meal on a regular basis – we plan to have a faith lunch after worship on Sunday 1st December.  As previously, everyone is invited to bring something along for sharing and a sheet is available on the table to indicate whether you are able to bring a sweet or savoury dish.  We do ask that – in view of various allergies and food intolerances – you label the ingredients of what you bring please.  Many thanks.

The Church Stewards

Preaching Plans

The preaching plan  for December 2019 to February 2020 has now been finalised. Copies have been distributed by email and some hard copies are on the vestibule table.  Please sign the list or let David Easson know if you wish to receive a copy each Quarter either on-line or in print.  Thanks.

Salem URC Church Closure

Salem URC has made the difficult decision to close. The final service will be next Sunday (24th) at 3pm, and a warm invitation is given to Methodist friends to join them.  Please let Jenny Easson know if you hope to go so she can put in numbers for catering.

Election Special! (But don’t stop reading…)

Not wanting to be part of a larger union, disputes about trade and independence were hugely significant issues in the forthcoming election.  There was considerable division in the country as to how to respond. Some wanted to be conciliatory, others favoured a more aggressive stance.

The year was 1774 and the cause of the controversy was anger in the colonies of America about the relationship with Great Britain – war was looming.  John Wesley was in Bristol where the divisions were keenly felt because of the trade relationships with the new world.  An election was called late in the year and voting began on 7thOctober – closing 23 days later in November!

The day before voting started John Wesley records in his journal (October 6, 1774):

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

This is sound advice as we prepare to vote in 2019.  It is also worth noting only some Methodists could vote – today we all can, and it is our solemn duty to do so.  When the result was announced one of the MPs elected was a man named Edmund Burke. This is what he said in his speech:

“Authoritative instructions, mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote and argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgement and conscience – these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenor of our constitution. Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests … but a deliberate assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole …You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, he is a member of Parliament.” The Works of Edmund Burke – Speech to the Electors of Bristol 3rdNovember 1774

The point Burke made is important – MPs have a responsibility to represent the interests of all of us – they are not delegates for a chosen few. In the Christmas season ‘for all’ is born in the manager.  In Christ, God becomes human taking on the responsibility not just to be one person but representative of all humanity.  It is not surprising therefore that Jesus goes on to prioritise those who are vulnerable, those who have been excluded and marginalised and in so doing asks questions about the society in which he lives.  As the followers of Jesus it is incumbent upon us to ask those same questions in our words and actions recognising our shared humanity. We should also be aware that ‘for all’ is more than just humanity.  In Christ the whole created order is being redeemed – humanity cannot exist apart from creation.   Humanity is part of the gift of creation and again we need to ask questions about this in our words and deeds.  These questions form the basis of our judgement about who we consider to be “most worthy” when we vote.  And when we have voted and the choice has been made, we offer our support and, hold to account, those who have been chosen.  And if we are tempted to tune out the election or the news, or get frustrated thinking does my vote make a difference, remember the difference the birth of a single child 2000 years ago has made in your life and give thanks.

May the peace of Christ abide in your hearts now and in the days to come.

With love


Worship Group

Tuesday those meeting discussed arrangements for Advent / Christmas and early 2020, including:

  • Sun 1st Dec – Lunch and Tree decoration
  • Sun 22nd Dec – Act of Infant Baptisms
  • Sun 29th Dec – no worship in Marketgait – United Service in Meadowside St Paul’s at their invitation;
  • Sun 17th Jan – Lunch after worship led by the Rev Mark Slaney (Chair of Synod)


Redevelopment Group update

The Redevelopment Group learned recently that a structural engineer was unlikely to give a clean bill of health to the concrete cladding on the front of the building.  Based on experience of structures from a similar era, it is likely that metal fixtures are corroded.

The group met a week past Wednesday, and agreed that it would be wrong to ignore this problem.  We decided to ask the architect to incorporate a whole new frontage, much of which could be glass, into his revised designs; the architect suggests this frontage could be ‘substantially’ cheaper than that in the original plans.

The Church Council previously agreed to pay professional fees of about £2,000 to find out whether the plans at that stage were feasible within our budget of £250,000 including VAT.  The intention now is to spend the £2k in testing the latest plans.


Rotas for next Quarter

The rota of duties for Sundays in December to February inclusive will be drawn up soon.  If you are able to join (one or more of) the teams of collection counters, door stewards, or coffee servers, please let Jenny  know.  Offers for even 1 or 2 Sundays will help! Warm thanks go to all who already serve, whether on the rotas or not.