Call to Prayer 27th June 2021

Print version The Gospel of Mark records the story of a woman who reaches out to Jesus and does so from the depth of her suffering. She does so because she ‘had heard about Jesus’ and longed to find healing. The Gospel describes how a large crowd was following Jesus ‘and pressed in on him’ and it is from the midst of the crowd that the woman reaches out. In the moment that she does so, Jesus senses ‘that power had gone forth from him’. In response to his question: “Who touched me?”, the woman comes ‘in fear and trembling’ and tells ‘the whole truth’. In response, Jesus affirms that her faith has yielded wholeness and peace. (Mark 5: 21-43)

In times of suffering, we may find ourselves worn out and uncertain as to the strength of our faith. Whether from the depths of the crowd, or; in the loneliness of our isolation, Jesus invites us to reach out and experience the healing and peace of God. We pray:

Living God,
Move among us
And invite us to reach out to your presence revealed in Jesus.
When we are fearful,
Calm our fears and bring us safe into your presence.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Move among us
And invite us to reach out to the One who inspires faith.
When we sense our faith ebbs low,
Renew our faith and reassure that your faithfulness abides forever.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Move among us
And invite us to the place of healing.
When we are broken,
Lift us up and remake us in your image.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Move among us
And invite us to the place of peace.
Where peace seems absent,
Fill the place of absence with your abiding presence.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Move among us
And invite us to step out of the crowd.
Where we are hesitant to do so,
Reassure us that you see us and know us and accept us as we are.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 20 June 2021

Call to Prayer: Sunday 20th June 2021 Prayer @ 7pm

Print version

‘We’re all in this together!’ When we hear such a statement, it implies that we share together in the difficulty being faced. No one is exempt and we all have to face up to the challenge that confronts us. There are times, of course, when we wonder if this is entirely true! Nevertheless, the last months have brought home to us the fact that, in facing up to the challenge of the pandemic, no one is exempt.

In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples find themselves in a boat one evening with Jesus. They have left the crowds behind and are in a situation in which they might have said: ‘We’re all in this together!’ Except, Jesus is asleep even as a storm arises ‘and the waves beat into the boat’ and the boat seems set to be overwhelmed. The disciples are all in this together, but what about Jesus? The disciples ask him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” In response, Jesus rebukes the wind and calls to the sea: “Peace! Be still!” He then asks the disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” It is as if he is asking them: ‘Did you think that I was not in this together with you?’ (4: 35-41)

The challenges of these last months have left us with many questions. However, we may be sure of this: In all we face, Jesus is with us in the boat in the midst of the storm and we can say: ‘We’re all in this together!’ We pray:

Lord of the winds and of the sea,
Be with us today
As we turn to you and listen for your voice.
Whether in the midst of quiet or of storm,
Speak to the depths of who we are.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord of the winds and of the sea,
Be with us today
As we leave behind that which is past
And face the challenges of this day:
Speak your word to us in this present moment.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord of the winds and of the sea,
Be with us today
As we sense the depth of the challenges we face
And fear that we shall soon be o’erwhlemed:
Speak to us in the still, small voice of calm.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord of the winds and of the sea,
Be with us today
As you have been with us
In all the days that the storm has raged:
Speak the words that calm the storm and cease the rage.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord of the winds and of the sea,
Be with us today
As we hear the words you have spoken
And know the peace of your presence renewed:
Speak the words that inspire faith and reassure us of your abiding presence.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 13 June 2021

Call to Prayer: Sunday 13th June 2021 Prayer @ 7pm

Print version

‘Seeing is believing!’ The saying is one that we are all familiar with and it finds expression in music, film and everyday speech. In essence it means: To see is to believe. However, the reality of life is that we see so much that it becomes increasingly difficult to say we believe simply on the basis of what is before our eyes. The multiplicity of images and information that are presented to us threaten at times to overload the senses.

The Apostle Paul offers us a way of seeing things differently. Instead of saying: ‘Seeing is believing!’, it is almost as if he reverses this and says: ‘Believing is seeing!’ Paul was very conscious of the challenges he faced and of the passing nature of what he saw around him. In facing the reality of this in his daily life, he is confident that he has found a way to live that is not dependent solely on what he sees. Rather, he affirms: ‘we walk by faith, not by sight’. (2 Corinthians 5: 7) Paul looks ‘not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen’, and by faith he ‘sees’, beyond the temporary, the way that God has marked out. (2 Corinthians 4: 18) In our daily lives, we seek to see the world through eyes of faith. We pray:

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us that we might walk by faith
And so live for you
That our lives reflect the glory of God.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us the assurance that, as we walk by faith,
We are not alone
And that we walk in the company of your Son.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us the knowledge
That we walk in the company of your people
And in the community of your Spirit.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us that we might see
The complexity of this world
Through eyes enlightened by faith.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us to see, by faith,
The image of God
In each life shaped by your hand.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Whose way is known to those who live by faith,
Grant us that, at the last,
We will come into your presence
And share in the life everlasting.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 6th June 2021

Call to Prayer: Sunday 6th June 2021 Prayer @ 7pm

Print version

‘Are we there yet?’ We can easily picture a small child enquiring plaintively from the back of the car as to whether, or not, the destination has been reached? Indeed, even as we mature, we can all readily identify with the sentiment as we enquire as to whether, or not, our desired destination has been reached? Over the past months, we might perhaps have been tempted to succumb to the frustration of a journey’s end delayed and to rather lose heart.

As one who had journeyed and who continued to journey, the Apostle Paul was not unfamiliar with the challenges of doing so. In response to those whom he sensed were ready to succumb to frustration, Paul affirms the basis on which we should continue to journey and concludes: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart.’ What is that basis? It is the assurance that the One who ‘raised the Lord Jesus from the dead’ will also raise us with him and bring us into God’s presence. We share in the life of the risen Lord Jesus and the challenges we face on the journey are to be set in the light of this. We might not be there yet but, as we share in the life of the risen Lord Jesus, we are those who ‘do not lose heart’. (2 Corinthians 4: 13-5: 1) We pray:

Living God,
Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead,
Be with us on the journey before us.
Be with us when the path is smooth
And the horizon is clear.
Lead us on to the place of your presence.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead,
Be with us on the journey before us.
Be with us when the path is broken
And the way obscured.
Still lead us on to the place of your presence.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead,
Be with us on the journey before us.
Be with us as we face the challenges seen
And those as yet unseen.
In all we face, may your abiding presence remain.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead,
Be with us on the journey.
Be with those who grow frustrated
And who feel disheartened.
Renew us that we may discover your presence once more.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead,
Be with us on the journey.
Be with us that we might share
In the life of the Risen Lord
And the life everlasting in your presence.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to prayer 30 May 2021

Print version

The vision of the Lord offered by the prophet Isaiah is one in which the presence of the living God fills the Temple and we hear resounding from every corner the cry:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; The whole earth is full of his glory.’

The Temple itself is shaken as the fulness of God’s presence is revealed. The prophet Isaiah can do no more than acknowledge who he is before God. Yet, even as he senses his own weakness, he hears the voice of the Lord calling: “Whom shall I send?” In response, Isaiah says: “Here am I. Send me!”

Today, in the midst of all we face, the fulness of the living God is made known to us in Creation and revealed through Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and by the Holy Spirit as our Sustainer. In our weakness, we also may hear the voice of the Lord calling: “Whom shall I send?” In response, we also may say: “Here am I. Send me!” We pray:

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord Almighty;
Living God, may your presence be known to us
Even in our weakness.
May we know you as your presence is revealed
And as your calling is renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord Almighty;
Living God, may your presence be known to us
In all the gifts of Creation.
May we receive these gifts as a sacred trust
And treasure all that you have given to us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord Almighty;
Living God, may your presence be known to us
In the One whom you have sent to redeem us.
May we share in the life of Christ
And in the life of the body of Christ.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord Almighty;
Living God, may your presence be known to us
In the One whom you have poured out upon us.
May we be renewed by the Spirit
And share in the life the Spirit gives to us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord Almighty;
Living God, may your presence be known to us
In our worship in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
May you receive us as we are
And accept us in our weakness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

 

Call to Prayer 23 May 2021

Print version

The Gospel of John speaks of the One who is to come and of the One who is go. Jesus is the One who is to go and he must do so first. On hearing this, the disciples of Jesus are filled with sorrow and he explains to them that ‘if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you’. The disciples fear that they will be left bereft and Jesus reassures them that his absence will be filled by the outpouring of ‘the Spirit of truth’. The Spirit is the One who is to come and Jesus is the One who is to go. (John 15: 26-27; 16: 4b-15)

Who is the Spirit who is to come? In the Gospel of John, the word used to describe the Spirit is variously translated as ‘Advocate’, ‘Comforter’, ‘Counsellor’, ‘Helper’ or simply transliterated as ‘Paraclete’. (John 15: 26) The word used is found in only one other place in the New Testament outwith the Gospel and here it is used to describe Jesus. Jesus is the One who stands before the Father and pleads for us. (1 John 2: 1)

On this Pentecost Sunday, we give thanks to God for the Spirit outpoured on the people of God. The Spirit comes to be the abiding presence of God in our lives and in the life of the people of God. We give thanks that the Spirit is the One who has come. We pray:

Living God
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour out your Spirit upon us
And fill the hearts of your faithful people.
May your Spirit come as the One who speaks for us
And advocates on our behalf.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour out your Spirit upon us
And kindle in us the fire of your love.
May your Spirit comfort us in our sorrow
And strengthen us in our weakness
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour out your Spirit upon us
And create your people anew.
May your Spirit come to counsel and direct us
And grant to us wisdom in all we face.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour out your Spirit upon us
And renew the face of all the earth.
May your Spirit help us to care for Creation
And to live as those who cherish the gifts you have given.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God
And Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour out your Spirit upon us
And set us free to worship and glorify your name.
Come, Holy Spirit,
And fill our hearts with love for you.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Pastoral letter from Nick Baker

May 18th 2021

Dear Friends

Are we coming or going?  I don’t know!  A bit like sitting at the top of a roller coaster there is that moment of excitement and nervousness (if you like roller coasters – if you don’t then maybe it’s just terror).

By the time you read this letter, things will have changed from the time I am writing and, over the next months (the plan covers June – August) things will have changed again – here endeth my prophetic skills!  None of us know what the landscape will look like in the coming months but in that we put our hand in the hand of God and hold tight.  Unlike any quarterly plan I have ever created (and I had early training sitting with my dad using the large ‘plan’ paper and boards to help him check names and churches before I was even in my teens), this is by far the most challenging.  This includes the time, when as a student minister in Weardale I was responsible for making the plan for 9 chapels with me as a student minister, a total of 4 local preachers and a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  We are living in uncertain times having spent a lot of the past 12-18 months locked down and socially distant.

Research carried out on the impact of the pandemic on the whole Church in Scotland reflects something of our own experience revealing the importance of online church and worship.  It was something we had begun to explore already (with services in the circuit led from Bulgaria) and it was one of those things ‘we should really think more about and act upon’ but got crowded out by all the other things we felt needed doing.  There is now an opportunity.  Both the research (which took place across a range of denominations) and our own Scottish Methodist District urges us to take time and not simply revert to old patterns.  I know from my own experience in this past year that recovery takes longer than I might wish, and time and space have to be allowed for that.

Making the Plan prior to the pandemic was becoming an increasing challenge as witnessed by the creeping number of ‘Own Arrangements’.  Rather than trying to work harder and faster to bail out the water of the sinking boat, perhaps this is the time to get out of the boat and try seeking Jesus on the water.  As we do so, we might find ourselves feeling a bit like Peter (Matthew 14:29-31):

[Jesus] said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I have a huge amount of respect for Peter (for getting out of the boat in the first place) and sympathy for when he became frightened, suddenly realising what he was doing.  It reminds me a bit of one of those roadrunner cartoons where Wile E. Coyote runs off the edge of the cliff and then suddenly realises there is no solid ground underneath him and plunges down (he always survives!).

The Plan is a huge shift for all of us, but I believe Christ is calling to us.  We have made new connections online in these past months that we would not have done in our church buildings.  For the vast majority (though not all) we have been thankful for the technology that has allowed us to connect with one another and carry on being the church regardless of the building – a lesson that the congregations in Montrose and Blairgowrie & Rattray have already shared with us.  One of the things that has been reinforced for me is that whilst I am something of a tourist in the digital world (I don’t spend most of my life there), many people do live there – ask almost any teenager about their smartphone!  We need to ask ourselves what they might want on a Sunday morning, and ask what we, as Christians, have got to share?  And of course, it is not just teenagers but many people of all ages can spend a lot of time there (my mum is very grateful for her tablet not only for keeping in touch with the family but watching the cricket, listening to music etc).

This is certainly not to suggest we should all spend our time online – I for one am very keen to sing some hymns alongside others when we are allowed and share in the Lord’s Supper gathered physically.  Alongside that I recognise physical gathering may also cause nervousness or fear:

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

If you are feeling nervous or fearful, get in touch with someone else from church and chat with them.  As physical places of worship open, they do so, under law and guidelines from government and church (and following government advice encouraging people to get tested, I am also starting to use the free self-test kits which can be ordered online or picked up in local pharmacies).  Measures are in place and will remain so until we are advised differently.  I am truly looking forward to seeing you all in person (in the online worship the preachers and leaders cannot see the congregation and the preachers are missing that connection as well).

In making the Plan I have tried to take account of the different currents that are flowing and allow some flexibility using the resources we have.  Where D appears on the plan for ‘digital’, each church will need to decide if it wants to meet physically that week and use the online material or worship at home as we have been doing for so much of this past year. I have also put a note on the Plan – don’t forget to Pray!  It can be so easy to be swept along that, like Peter, we get overwhelmed and forget to seek the presence of Christ.  Time and time again, God says to the people in the Bible ‘Fear not’ (why not see if you can find a verse that says this or, ‘do not be afraid’).  Whether we are coming or going Christ is present and prayer helps us to put our hand into the hand of God.

Please pray for the circuit, the churches and the preachers at this time.  May the Spirit breathe through us to be a blessing of love and peace in our homes and our communities.

With love

Nick

Call to Prayer 9th May 2021

Print version

“In the Gospel of John, the ‘new commandment’ to ‘love one another’ transforms the idea of a ‘commandment’. In fulfilling the ‘new commandment’, we are called to give of ourselves in order that we might follow the pattern and example of Jesus. We love because we have first of all been loved, and to do so is a mark that we are a disciple of Jesus. (John 13: 34-35)

“The ‘commandment’ to ‘love one another’ is taken up again in the Gospel and we see that the love of Jesus expressed to us is a love that flows from God: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.’

“As an illustration of the ‘commandment’, Jesus says: ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ To be loved by God, though Jesus, is to be changed by the experience of being loved. As we are embraced and affirmed, we are changed and called a ‘friend’ of the One who has loved us and given His life for us. (John 15: 9-17)

“In our fragile world, we are called to follow the pattern of Jesus and to love because we ourselves have first been loved.”

We pray:

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know that love abides in you
And is expressed in your love for the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know the depth of your love
In the contemplation of the life and death and resurrection of your Son.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we hear the call to live by a new commandment
And so bear the mark of a disciple.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know what it is to be embraced and affirmed
And called a friend of the One who has given his life for us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we, who have been embraced and affirmed,
Reach out to the lonely that they might know true friendship.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know the abiding presence of your love
In the life we share in the community of the Risen and Ascended Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer Sunday 2nd May 2021

Print version

We live in a world in which questions of identity are much to the fore. The questions range from that of personal identity to those of communal identity. Such questions are important and from our understanding of who we are there will follow, in large measure, the pattern of how we engage with others.

In similar fashion, the way in which we understand the nature of God will enable us to better understand the pattern of how God engages with us. Scripture speaks of the identity of God when it affirms: ‘God is love’. We understand this to be the case because: ‘God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world that we might live through him.’ (1 John 4: 7-21) We see something of the identity of God revealed in the self-giving of God. In the self-giving of God, we see revealed the truth that: ‘God is love’. In the light of our understanding of this truth, there will follow, in large measure, the pattern of how we engage with others. We pray:

God whose name is Love,
We see your love revealed
In the giving of your Son.
May we embrace the offer of your love And live in response to your generosity.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose name is Love,
We see your love revealed
In the One who shares in our humanity and who suffers on our behalf.
May we live as those who share a common humanity
And in the suffering of the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose name is Love,
We see your love revealed
In the community of your people and in all who are made in your image.
May we share in the life of your people
And recognise your image in the life of others.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose name is Love,
We see your love revealed among us
In the places where love is known and fear is cast out.
May fear be cast out and love be known
In the community we share and in the spaces we shape.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose name is Love,
We see your love revealed among us
In the resurrection of your Son and in the promise of your Spirit.
May we live as those who share in the hope of the resurrection
And in the life of your Spirit.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:
Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland

Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church

Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church

Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland

Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland) Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army

Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene

Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God

Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)

Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer Sunday 25th April 2021

Print version

The imagery of the ‘shepherd’ is woven into Scripture and offers to us a picture of how God relates to us. When we read the words of Jesus in the Gospel: ‘I am the good shepherd’ they create in our mind’s eye a picture of the One who ‘lays down his life for the sheep’ in order that we might be shielded and guarded. The ‘good shepherd’ lays down his life because he knows those whom he cares for. In similar fashion, those who are cared for know who the ‘good shepherd’ is and they listen for his voice. (John 10: 11-18)

The imagery is nurtured by the words of Psalm 23 which, especially when paraphrased and sung, resonate deeply in the hearts of many:

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me:
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.

When we strip away all that clouds and confuses us in this life, there remains that which abides forever: the Good Shepherd who will journey with us into the deepest depths and who will lead us safe home. We pray:

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he is the One who will guard us and keep us
And lead us safe home.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he has spoken to us throughout all our days
And still he speaks, even amidst the clamour of the day.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he has nurtured and provided for us
And lifted us up, even when we have fallen.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he is the One who has laid down his life for us
In order that we might have life, even in the face of darkness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For your goodness and mercy still follows us
And you shall lead us safe home, even at the end of our days.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)