Pastoral letter from Nick

As we travel into Lent, we are mindful of the challenges on the way ahead.  All of our churches in the Circuit and the District have been thinking about their calling as part of the conversation about being Methodist in our Christian life. These are not easy conversations and on our Lenten journey we are reminded of the cost of discipleship. Beyond Good Friday we witness disciples on the road to Emmaus who are clearly downcast – not only have they experienced the loss of a friend but also the loss of hope, the loss of a future and maybe even felt betrayed or let down by Jesus.  Why did he let things get that far?  But then something changes in them.  Jesus doesn’t come back to life as such, rather he is raised to new life in a way the disciples don’t initially grasp.  It is in sharing a meal with a stranger that they suddenly encounter this new life of Christ.

Church is changing and ways of being church are dying even as new forms of church emerge and it can feel like we are in an alien land. For example, how many of us are confident in our use of social media like Facebook, twitter and Instagram or the confusion around Brexit, or the shocking growth in Foodbanks and our own clothing projects,  and the changing nature of belief…

That is both painful and hopeful for us and a challenge comes in not simply continuing our discipleship but actively pursuing and allowing that to grow.  The theme taken by the President and Vice-President of Conference, Revd Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam is that of Radical Grace and Transforming Hope. Remembering, embodying the grace offered to us and to all, invites us to respond with love to the needs of our neighbours.  As the prophet Jeremiah (29.7) advises “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”  At such times it is good to sing our songs (we are Methodists after all) and explore together.  One such opportunity presents itself when the President and Vice-President will be visiting the District, hosted by this Circuit.  On Sunday 31st March all are invited to share in the Big Sing at Perth including a tea and addresses by the President and Vice-President.

With love

Nick

 

 

Worship Consultation – points to note

At the recent open gathering, discussions covered

  • feedback from Advent & Christmas, including suggestion that this year the decoration of the tree form part of a more social gathering (post-Service lunch & Tree Decorating Event on Advent Sunday)
  • worship & porch / window display during Lent to link with the worship liturgy theme of “Longer Tables, Lower Fences” (hospitality, removal of barriers) using material prepared by Methodist Women in Britain;
  • further thoughts on ways to help widen participation in worship;
  • decision to use only Gluten-free Bread in Communion .
  • Next meeting – Wednesday 15th May, 1pm.

Visit of President and Vice-President of Conference

The Rev Michaela Youngson and Mr Bala Gnanapragasam will be in this Circuit during their visit to the Scotland District on March 30th-31st.  The President will preach at the Sunday morning service in Arbroath, the Vice-President will be in Blairgowrie.
On Sunday afternoon (31 March)there is to be The Big Sing in Perth Methodist Church, with sandwich tea from 4pm and from 5.30pm – singing of favourite hymns, plus presidential address.

A warm invitation is extended to all to this event in our Circuit.  Arrangements to coordinate transport later.

Building relationships among churchless Christians

The Rev Nik Wooller is stationed in our Circuit on an 50:50 basis with the District since she is in receipt of Connexional funding for her role to build relationships alongside ‘churchless-Christians’.  As part of this responsibility, she is visiting churches throughout the District to explain something of what her work involves – next Sunday is “her District visit to Dundee”.

Fundraising for Malawi

“I am currently on the ferry home from Hoy!  ……, I am home this weekend in time for Church.

 Starting on Monday, Martin and I are starting a fundraiser for the hospital I worked at in Malawi last year.  It’s a 6-week “10k a day” cycle!  All the money we raise will go to the hospital, which is a charitable Presbyterian Mission hospital.

 …. We have an online sponsorship page, and I will bring a sponsorship form to Church.

 Best wishes and looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!”

Moira

The Church Stewards

The governing document of the Methodist Church (CPD) says that

‘Church Stewards are corporately responsible with the Presbyter…for giving leadership and help over the whole range of the church’s life and activity...’

As part of that responsibility, the current stewards – Sue, Mary, Fiona and Sue  meet together regularly to discuss matters of church life.  It is really helpful to us to be able to reflect the wishes and thinking of all church members and those attending worship – so please feel free to approach any of us, at any time, with thoughts, suggestions, information, concerns etc.

We will next meet with Rev Nick Baker at the Manse on Tuesday at 10am.

Can you help?

I am contacting those who regularly serve as collection counters, door stewards, and coffee servers.  The quite small group of people who form these teams, would welcome (are in need of?) “an infusion of new blood”.  Please contact me or a Church Steward if you think you may be able to offer help on Sundays – albeit maybe on an infrequent basis.  Thanks, Jenny Easson.

Upcycle Event for Clothes Bank

Not all donations to the ClothesBank prove suitable for clients’ needs, so it is proposed to make such surplus goods available to others, for suitable (eg craft) use through the above Event
in Marketgait
on Saturday 2nd March
from 10am to 3pm.

  • Items will be sold as £1 or £2 bagfuls.
  • Proceeds for ClothesBank funds

Please give support as you are able:

  • Come, search and buy!
  • Ask friends,neighbours, colleagues for any kind of fabrics they might be getting rid of – clothes, tablecloths, duvet covers, sheets, curtains, doilies, napkins, broken costume jewellery (– even unbroken costume jewellery!), buttons – all these are much sought after by crafters…

Broughty Ferry Churches Group concerns

BFCG agreed to express their concern for refugees, here and abroad, and also for persecuted Christians, through 2 donations from available Group funds.  Donations have been made to

A presentation “Large Cheque” was handed to a representative of Dundee Refugee Support before last Tuesday’s BFCG meeting – keep your eyes on local press!

Persecuted Christians world-wide

  • 1 in 9 Christians encounters persecution
    – 1 in 6 African Christians
    – 1 in 3 Asian Christians
  • Algeria shows the highest year-on-year increase
  • Pakistan and Nigeria, followed by Central African Republic, had the most violent records
  • Iraq and Malaysia recorded the most significant improvement

Perth’s Musical Tea Party

Everyone is invited to share in this social occasion at Perth Methodist Church on Saturday 16th February, beginning at 2.30pm.  The afternoon will include a performance by Perth’s U3A Ukulele Band, items by two of Perth’s own musically talented members and a tea party!

There is no charge but donations to PMC’s 2019 Malawi Project will be gratefully received during the course of the afternoon.