Coronavirus

(COVID-19)

Please note that St. Andrew's Church will be closed for all worship and other activities until further notice.

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SCOTTISH CHARITY NUMBER SC006235 THE CHARITY LEGAL NAME St Andrews Church of Scotland: Dumbarton

Church News

Wednesday 3rd June

Thought for the Day

Much attention is given in the News at the moment to the unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Deep-seated prejudice and pent-up anger in a country deeply divided over its core values and so much more, has led to widespread protest and violence. On this side of the Atlantic we like to think that we don’t have the same attitudes to race and inequality, that we all share the same values. But do we? What do stories in the News here tell us?

Lord, it is easy to see what we want to see, to have myths and legends about what we are like as a community or country. Sometimes we fail to recognise that the reality is rather different from the myth. Help us to be open and honest about our failings as individuals and as a community, and seek to address both

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                        Canal Bowling Lock to Inner Canal Basin             

                                                                                                  Canal Bowling  Lock to inner Canal Basin 2

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 2nd June

Thought for the Day

We hear politicians say, ‘We’re following the science’, but then hear other eminent scientists disagreeing with the approach government advisers have recommended. People then become confused, and some become sceptical about ‘scientific advice’. There is an old adage ‘What is a fact? Answer: a working hypothesis not yet capable of being disproved.’ That might be hard to get your head round, but it reflects the situation where ‘experts’ (in whatever field) are usually engaged in debate and discussion over experimental evidence or modelling, and adapting and changing their conclusions in the light of new evidence or consideration of other ‘experts’’ critique of their approach. It might have helped if politicians had presented ‘science’ not as some kind of objective truth that cannot be questioned, but rather as a ‘balance of probability in the light of current understanding’. That doesn’t make for easy sound-bites, it might be harder for people to understand, it might even imply that those taking the decisions might not be backed up by unquestionable advice, but it just might help people to understand that we don’t have all the answers. We are where we are, but maybe going forward we need to recognise that neither we, nor the governments, nor their advisers, know everything, but that the advice given is based on years of careful research and review.

Lord, help us to appreciate that we do not know everything about how to suppress and eradicate Covid-19. Help us too to listen to those who have great knowledge and expertise, and follow their advice

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                               Canal at Bowling lock to Inner Canal Basin                     

                                                                                              Canal Bowling  Lock to Inner Canal Basin 1  

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 1st June

Thought for the Day

It has long been said that a good law does not have to be just, simply clear and easily enforceable. It is a concept that readily applies to lockdown restrictions. Total lockdown may or may not be fair, but at least the rules/guidelines are clear and are easily enforceable. Once they start to be relaxed, with changes here and there, then it becomes harder to remember what is permissible and what isn’t (especially when people have been ‘confined’ for a long time, are becoming bored with being at home, and the weather is nice). It becomes a little more complex when there are different steps for easing restrictions across the four nations of Britain. At times the media don’t help public awareness of which rules/guidelines apply when they miss out the words ‘in England’, and imply that moves there apply across Britain as a whole. Whether we like the rules/guidelines that apply to us or not, let’s make sure we know what they are and try to stick to them, being examples to others (without setting ourselves up as judge and jury telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing)

Lord, help us to follow the guidelines as they apply to us

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  Canal Bowling view down river                  

                                                                                                    Canal at Bowling. View down the River     

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Sunday 31st May

Pentecost Service led by the Moderator

A service led by the Moderator of the General Assembly will be online on Sunday 31st May for Pentecost. Details HERE.

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Saturday 30th May

Thought for the Day

Sunny weather and permission to travel a bit further and meet more people will be welcomed by most folk. But there are still quite a number of people who cannot take advantage of either: if they are shielded, and don’t have a garden. Many are ‘weary’ of these weeks of lockdown – though they appreciate that it is for the good of their own health. Let’s remember them, and do what we can to support them through their continuing lockdown

Lord, as many of us prepare to enjoy today’s good weather, and plan to go out (even to the garden) help us to remember those who cannot, and do what we can to support them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                           Paisley Oakshaw Trinity (High) Church                 

                                                                                                    Paisley Oakshaw Trinity (High) Church  

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

CPS After today we go back to Renfrew Wharf and catch one of the black and white funnel steamers to Bowling (‘the Frisky Wharf’, closed 1937) to disembark for a ‘wee dauner’ along the Canal as far as Old Kilpatrick

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Friday 29th May

Thought for the Day

There’s a Wild Goose song that begins “O where are you going, and can I come with you?” It sounds like a good theme song for today, as Lockdown restrictions are slightly eased. The official answer would be something like “Not more than 5 miles away, and provided we are not from more than 2 households, not more than 8 in number, and remember to keep 2 metres apart”. But that doesn’t fit easily to the tune Laredo/ The Bard of Armagh! Some would like the restrictions eased quicker, some are wary of any easing, some will see no real difference because they are shielded, some are confused because the message relating to Scotland is often drowned out in the media with information relating to England. Let’s try to keep within the guidelines, always remembering that our over-riding concern is to avoid doing anything that risks infecting our family, friends, neighbours, or the wider community, or undermines the vital work key-workers are doing.

Lord, thank you that we see a glimmer of hope in the slight easing of restrictions today. If we are able to take advantage of it, help us to do it sensibly and responsibly – and we ask that others would do the same

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                         Paisley Coats Memorial Church               

                                                                                                             Paisley Coats Memorial Church 

                                                                                                         Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 28th May

Thought for the Day

Some people have been furloughed because of the Covid-19 crisis, some have been made redundant, or were self-employed and are not able to work. Other are working from home. There can be benefits in working at home: no commuting, a more relaxed dress code, less risk of catching other infections such as colds. There can be challenges too: children who interrupt the video-call to tell you they are bored, the elderly relative that does the same to say that they have lost something, the neighbours who all decide to cut their lawn or do DIY with hammer and drill at the same time. Some people live in nice big houses in rural areas where there is not only quiet but plenty of space for everyone to have their own working area. Others live in flats, or on roads busy with traffic. It appears that home-working may become much more common as lockdown restrictions are eased. Let’s remember those living with the challenges (is there anything we can do to help?), and hope that employers/ governments recognise that those who are home-working need support in all sorts of ways

Lord, thank you that there is technology available for people to work at home. It can be a great blessing for many, but can also come with many challenges. We pray for those who are struggling to work at home. Help us to be ready to offer help if we can. We pray too that employers and governments will recognise that those who are home-working may need additional support, and will be willing to provide it

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                                 Paisley Robert Tannahill's Cottage Shawl     

                                                                                                Paisley Robert Tannahill’s Cottage Shawl  

                                                                                                  Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 27th May

Thought for the Day

Following on from yesterday’s theme, there are many younger people worried about what their future job prospects are – and more immediately income/cash flow. Many young folk have jobs in the hospitality sector (through the year in take-aways, restaurants etc) and particularly over the summer (hotels etc). It gives them extra cash (especially students) and some ‘job experience’ to put on their CV when seeking other employment. Which sector is expecting to be hit especially hard? But there are others too. What are the longer term job prospects for young people? And don’t let’s forget that they are the ones who will pay the National Insurance to keep the health service, pensions etc going in future years. Life is all inter-connected – what affects someone else affects us too

Lord, help us to remember that we are not alone and unaffected by other people’s difficulties. But that shouldn’t simply be a matter for selfish concern. If nothing else, the last couple of months have reminded us of the benefit of working together, being a community. We think particularly of our young folk and their job prospects. May they be able to fulfil their ambitions, and realise their potential

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                 Paisley Abbey Mill and Hamills                          

                                                                                                        Paisley Abbey Mill & Hamills

                                                                                                    Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 26th May

Thought for the Day

How to restore/ revive/ save the economy is a recurring theme in the News, and a very real issue. We have heard of companies going into administration and employees being laid off, of whole sectors from airlines to tourism to football clubs worried that many businesses will not survive, and of governments seeking to limit the scale of a recession. A business closing has many implications: for employees, for the community, for the supply chain that served it, to mention a few. But it isn’t just about financial figures. It can mean hardship for individuals, disappointment, disillusionment, the end of hopes and dreams. Let’s pray that those in power take the appropriate decisions to support people and communities

Lord, helping businesses to come through this crisis and be able to operate in the future is a complex matter. It also involves the lives of individuals, families and communities. May those in positions of power make decisions that take those considerations into account

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                 Paisley Town Hall 2                                  

                                                                                                                Paisley Town Hall

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 25th May

Thought for the Day

Over the weekend the media have been full of the Dominic Cummings story. This is not the place to discuss the rights and wrongs of the behaviour of certain advisers and politicians, but it does illustrate for us all that we are all ‘role models’. Whether it is in connection with adherence to the lockdown guidelines or in any other aspect of life, whether we realise it or not, other people look at us and consciously or unconsciously note what we do and copy us. As any parent with a small child could tell you!. Let’s try to remember that, particularly as we approach the beginning of Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown restrictions, later this week.

Lord, help us in everything we do or say to strive to match our words and actions, and to try to live up to what we believe are the highest standards and the most caring and inclusive values. Help us too to admit when we get things wrong, and to come to you seeking your forgiveness

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                              Paisley Abbey      

                                                                                                              Paisley Abbey

                                                                                              Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 23rd May

Thought for the Day

For those who haven’t braved the Scottish Government document, what it says about worship returning to church buildings is:

Phase 2: Places of worship open for private prayer under physical distancing rules and hygiene safeguards. Allow marriages and civil partnerships and other types of ceremonies to take place with minimal number of attendees

Phase 3: Places of worship open to extended groups subject to physical distancing and hygiene safeguards. Relaxation of restrictions to attendance at funerals, marriages and civil partnerships beyond “close family”.

Phase 4: All ceremonies can take place, with improved hygiene and other precautions.

We will receive guidance from ‘121’ and Presbytery how and when Church of Scotland buildings can re-open. But in the meantime, we can still worship: online, by radio/television, by telephone, or in private prayer, and we’ve had the OK to celebrate communion online on Sunday 7 June. God is accessible everywhere

Lord, thank you that you are accessible everywhere, that you are not confined to specific buildings. Though we are missing seeing friends and acquaintances in church, help us to remember that we are part of your family that spans time and space. Help us to feel part of that family – and to be proactive in contacting others

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Dtw 6 Approaching Dumbarton  

                                                                                               Doon the waater 6 Approaching Dumbarton

                                                                                                    Click on the picture to see it enlarged

Our journey ‘doon the waater’ has taken us past the piers at Partick and Govan. Next week we’ll get off at the old Renfrew Wharf (closed 1939) and either take the train to Abercorn station or a Corporation tram to visit Paisley

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Friday 22nd May

Thought for the Day

Yesterday the Scottish Government issued a paper outlining four phases for the easing of lockdown restrictions (you can download a copy – only 46 pages!) It gives us a better idea of whether we can resume doing things sooner or later. For some people the question is not ‘What?’ but ‘When?’, with regard to going back to school/work, meeting with friends, giving Granny a hug etc. The dates are vague because timings depend on keeping the infection rate low – something hoped for, but not guaranteed. Living with uncertainty, with not knowing ‘When?’, is always difficult (see yesterday’s Bible reading about the Ascension). Hard as it can be, sometimes it is better not to know what lies ahead, but to cope with it when it comes, and instead focus on making the most of ‘Today’.

Lord. Thank you that we now have a ‘road map’ for the easing of restrictions. Many are weary of lockdown. Help us to keep going. Help us too to live with uncertainty, with not knowing the answer to ‘When?’. Help us to make the most of today – not just for ourselves, but for others

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                    Dtw 5 Erskine Bridge & Old Kilpatrick ferry terminal                   

                                                                                  Doon the waater 5 Erskine Bridge & Old Kilpatrick Ferry Terminal

                                                                                                    Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 21st May

Ascension Day Service

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  Dtw 4 BAE Scotstoun (Yarrow) 

                                                                                        Doon the waater 6 BAE Scotstoun (Yarrow Yard)

                                                                                                  Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 20th May

Thought for the Day

Yesterday we noted the difficulty people here have with politicians, ‘experts’ etc voicing different opinions and ideas about how we should go forward, when and how we should ease the lockdown restrictions. But at least here the politicians, ‘experts’ etc all have a common view on the threat of Covid-19 to society, on the need to ensure that relaxation of restrictions does not lead to a second spike of infections, and prefer at this stage to debate strategies rather than hurl insults or blame. It is not like that everywhere in the world. In countries like America and Brazil it has become a political issue, with little common ground between the different parties. In parts of Africa and the Middle East groups like Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab spread stories of the virus and advice like social distancing being Western interference in their culture. Let’s try to stop it becoming a ‘political’ issue here, and pray for people in divided places to seek ‘truth’.

Lord, we pray that we do not experience here the ideological/ political divisions over response to Covid-19 found in some countries. Help us to focus on seeking the truth and working together. We pray for countries where there are deep divisions among people that threaten finding an effective way of coping with and moving beyond the virus

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                            Dtw 3 Glenlee & Transport Museum   

                                                                                                      Doon the waater 3 Glenlee & Transport Museum

                                                                                                            Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 19th May

When the process of lockdown began there was general consensus, among politicians, ‘experts’, the media, employers and employees, and the wider public that this was the right way to go. As time has gone on, we have heard debate among those different groups on how and when to ease the restrictions. We have also seen different parts of Britain ease restrictions at different times and in different ways. In some ways it is ‘natural’ and healthy to have debate and differences of opinion, particularly as this is an unprecedented experience – we cannot simply look up a textbook to find out exactly what steps to take. It may also be appropriate to ease restrictions at different times according to the circumstances in different areas. It can however be very confusing for the wider public, who are looking for certainty not debate, and are worried both about catching the virus and about the effects of lockdown. There are also a small minority of individuals and groups that want to exploit differences for their own ends. Hard as it is, we have to understand that it is OK for ‘experts’ or politicians or whoever to disagree – it may well be beneficial in the long run. We also have to watch that at the same time we all remain committed to eradicating (or at least controlling) the virus, and restoring life to a new normality.

Lord, it is hard to cope with lockdown, and hard to cope with the debate and disagreement over easing the restrictions. Help us all to keep the key objectives in mind, and to keep trusting each other, and those who are working out how we go forward.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                      Dtw 2 The engines            

                                                                                                       Doon the watter 2 The Engine Room

                                                                                                       Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 18th May

Thought for the Day

It is very easy to think that the only thing happening in the world at the minute is Covid-19- it’s all you hear about in the News. But there are other things that affect many people’s lives – climate change, poverty, difficulty accessing clean water/ safe sanitation/ education/ health care, warfare, prejudice/ discrimination/ hatred of minorities, lack of respect for human rights, abuse, living as refugees/ internally displaced people, unemployment, unsafe working conditions etc etc. Covid-19 has come on top of all these issues, exacerbating many of them, both here and overseas. Even when (if?) Covid-19 goes away these other issues will still be there – and in many cases will be worse. Let’s remember them, pray for those affected, those trying to help, and use our voice to work for change.

Thanks to all who supported Christian Aid week. Well done Andrew with your sponsored walks (695 before Gift Aid, 855 after)

Lord, help us to see beyond our own particular problems and challenges to the depth of need on our doorstep, and right round the world. We pray for all who are in need, and those working to help them. Help us too to find our voice and use it to demand action

 

Picture of he Day

                                                                                                        Dtw 1 Armadillo Bells's Bridge & Squinty Bridge    

                                                                              Doon the Waater 1 From the Bell’s Bridge The Armadillo and the Squinty Bridge

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Sunday 17th May

You can still watch this video on Facebppk

Heart and Soul Sunday 17th May 2:00 - 4:20pm

on Facebook

fb.me/churchofscotland

heartandsoul

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Saturday 16th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid

Reflect: In the Sabbath we find a radical alternative to the current economic thirst for more. It emphasises the need for restoration for people and the Earth, Rosalia understands the need to restore the land. She has planted 120 trees. ‘Now that we have a waterpoint nearby, even children can come and fetch water’, she says. ‘The grandchildren grow trees at home.’

Respond: Where are your nearest trees? Do you appreciate them for thie rootedness, shelter and habitat? WE often seek rest and relaxation in nature. As well as admiring the beauty of creation, how might our rest help restore the Earth?

God of the Sabbath, forgive us for ignoring the rhythms of nature for overextending the Earth and each other. Instil in us sustainable ways of resting and enjoying the goodness of creation, and protecting the Earth with all our sisters and brothers.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                             geilstonthirteen  

                                                                                                             Geilston Gardens (thirteen)

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Different theme for the pictures next week – Doon the waater!

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Friday 15th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid

Reflect: A vast array of creatures, including human beings, share a home on planet Earth. In the stories from Kenya we see families and their livestock thriving when there is plentiful water. Donkeys have strength to carry water. Goats and cows provide milk for breakfast, helping children to concentrate at school. Rosalia used to collect water from 6am to 6pm but now it takes her just 30 minutes to the nearby dam. She is a climate change champion. She says, ‘We are making ourselves the first in the frontline of climate change. I feel that it’s y earth dam, so I am happy.’

Respond: Water is so essential to life, it is no wonder that Jesus says he is living water and invites whoever is thirsty to come to him. We pray that Jesus’ words will speak to the thirsty parts of our soul and our societies.  What is this unquenchable thirst that keeps the global economy consuming more and more resources which perpetuate the climate crisis? Pray that the global economy may stop driving climate change and that, together, we may be able to tackle the roots of inequality, allowing life on Earth to thrive. What can we do?

Water of life, who quenches all our thirsts, become in us a spring that gushes up to eternal life, flowing through our giving, acting and praying that all may drink deeply from your abundance and all of creation may thrive.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                          geilstontwelve  

                                                                                                               Geilston Gardens (twelve)

                                                                                                      Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 14th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid

Reflect: ‘Rain is God’s wish, so we are expecting it. If it rains we will celebrate. We will dance. The people, the livestock, even the birds become happy. All creatures celebrate. ’Take a moment to consider how your wellbeing is intertwined with creation and with all those you may never meet.

Respond: Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminds us, ‘We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.’  COP26 has been postponed from this November till next year, but keep praying for it.

Creator God, thank you for the community of creation, for the wonder of sea creatures, for the magnificence of birds in flight, and for the whole family of humanity. Transform our individual isolation into natural interconnection for the flourishing of all and the glory of your name.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                               geilstoneleven      

                                                                                                                   Geilston Gardens (eleven)

                                                                                                          Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 13th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid

Reflect: The prophets of the Old Testament stepped back and took a long view of things, and we must raise our prophetic voices as they did. Global heating threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction. It could push more than 120million people into poverty by 2030 (UN Human Rights Council Climate Change and Poverty report, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming: Summary for Policymakers)

Respond: Allow the bigger picture to challenge you to raise your voice in the climate crisis. Christian Aid’s partner in Kenya helps people raise their voices about the drought and become climate change champions in their local communities. What climate action could you take?

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                        geilstonten          

                                                                                                                Geilston Gardens (ten)

                                                                                                      Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 12th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid

Reflect: Florence lives in Kyeng’e village, in a dry part of Kitui county in Kenya. Her community built a dam with help from Christian Aid’s partner, Anglican Development Services – Eastern. The water in the dam is helping her to change her life. ‘I have been sustained by the earth dam. My life has changed. It has helped me to start beekeeping, plant a garden and keep chickens because the water is nearby.’ Everything in Florence’s story is interconnected, just like the world we live in. With water in the dam, bees pollinate Florence’s flowers and she sells the honey. In the midst of stories of the climate crisis, we find glimmers of hope that adaptation is possible.

Respond: How will you, your church and community respond to the climate emergency affecting our global neighbours?

God who called the stars into being, challenge, awaken and inspire us to raise our voices with the cry of the Earth, the prophets throughout history, and the prophets of today, in our call for justice: climate justice for all.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                             geilstonnine  

                                                                                                             Geilston Gardens (nine)

                                                                                                      Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 11th May

Thought for the Day - Christian Aid Week       christianaid                                            

Reflect: In Kenya people pray for rain. Rose has to walk 8km to collect water with her donkey. She says, ‘Fetching water takes me six hours because I am old and can’t walk very fast. The drought had been severe. We are suffering.’ Rose is living with HIV and struggles to eat well because there isn’t enough water to grow crops. She is the sole carer for her six grandchildren.

Respond: When the time is appropriate, join in calling on the Government to take steps ahead of the COP26 Climate talks to address climate justice

Creator of the seas and sky, in this time of climate crisis, as we pour out our feelings, pour in your Spirit of hope and renew our resolve to work together to stop this climate crisis

 

Heart & Soul - Celebrate online         heartandsoul                      

Heart and Soul 2020 - Sunday, 17th May - 2:00pm – 4:20pm

         There will be a special service to install Rev Dr Martin Fair as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Saturday, 16th May at 11am. This will be a very special moment in the history of our Church, and will also be an event where we can be assured of hope and inspiration in these challenging times.

         As part of that ‘Big Weekend’ for the Church of Scotland, a special ‘Heart and Soul 2020’ event will take place (online) on 17th May 2020. The current crisis has meant that the original event, scheduled to have taken place in Princes Street Gardens on that day, has had to be cancelled.

         However, a number of features from the event in Princes Street Gardens can be transferred into an online format, and we're going to screen an abridged ‘Heart and Soul’ at 2.00pm on 17th May - when the original event would have taken place. The programme will run until about 4.20pm. A recording of the event will be available soon afterwards. You will be able to watch the event live on the Church of Scotland website (www.churchofscotland.org.uk) and live on the Facebook page (fb.me/churchofscotland).

Hosted by our usual presenters, Rev Ken Froude, Seonaid Knox and Rev Justin Taylor, the event begins with a replay of the service of installation for the new Moderator, Rev Martin Fair. Without giving too much away, the event features a mix of worship, music, stories and some exciting ‘In Conversation’ guests.

Heart and Soul regulars ‘Fischy Music’ will lead a special segment for all ages, and we hope that you'll join in all the actions from home! Spread throughout the afternoon will be some very special conversations: Hugh Pym will be in conversation with Prof Jason Leitch and Viv Dickenson from CrossReach, discussing how they have all been tackling Coronavirus and also how their own faith has helped them. Very Rev Susan Brown will be in conversation with Ross Greer MSP and Tara Shannon from COSY discussing climate justice. Prison Chaplain Anne Stewart will be in conversation with Hospital Chaplain Mark Evans talking about chaplaincy as a career and the impact of Coronavirus in their places of work.

No Heart and Soul would be complete without some hearty singing, and we've chosen some highlights from the archive over the last ten years of Heart and Soul, the Guild Big Sing and the General Assembly to round things off.

These are difficult times for many in our Church and communities. We hope and pray that ‘Heart and Soul’ might be a place where people can see that the Church of Scotland is still active, still open and providing hope for our nation. I hope you can help us publicise, and join us, during our very special ‘Big Weekend’.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                          geilstoneight                    

                                                                                                             Geilston Gardens (eight)

                                                                                                      Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 9th May

Thought for the Day

The Prime Minister is to make a statement on Sunday evening regarding the easing of Lockdown restrictions in England, following announcements made by First Ministers for their countries. Hitherto the message has been simple, ‘Stay at home, and only go out if you have to, or for an hour’s daily exercise’. No one can be sure whether taking a particular step to ease restrictions is entirely safe, or carries the risk of further spreading the infection. Retaining social distancing until there is an effective vaccine will be complicated to operate. Some people are worried about the risks of catching the virus if restrictions are eased. Others are desperate to get back to work/ get their business up and running again. Some are desperate to get out and about, and some feel that they are no more at risk the day they turned 70 than the day before when they were 69. The lockdown restrictions will need to be relaxed gradually taking all of those – and other – factors into account. It will be a nuanced approach, with no simple slogan this time. It appears likely too that for the next few weeks and months there will be slight differences in approach within each of the four nations of the United Kingdom. Conveying this to the wider population requires clarity and transparency on the part of politicians, officials and the media. Resorting to political point-scoring, party/ personal/ organisation agendas will not help, and could potentially put lives at risk.

Lord, the next few weeks and months will be difficult for politicians required to manage the easing of lockdown restrictions, and of popular expectations. May they be open to your guiding, and always strive for what is best for everyone. Help all who are involved in informing people what and why decisions are made to strive for clarity and transparency

PS Sunday marks the start of Christian Aid Week, that will shape next week’s Thought for the day

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                         geilstonseven  

                                                                                                             Geilston Gardens (seven)

                                                                                                      Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Friday 8th May

Thought for the Day                                                                                       

There are commemorations today of 75 years since VE Day, the official collapse of the Nazi regime in Europe and end of the Second World War in Europe (albeit that the commemorations are very scaled back from what had been planned). Most people in the country today rely on the stories of over-80s, stories that they heard from people of older generations no longer with us, from the media, or learned in history lessons (!) It was for many a time to celebrate that there would be no more bombing, no more air raids, the beginning of a return to ‘normal’. The post-1945 ‘normal’ was very different from the one that people had known in 1939 – most did not want to go back to the ‘normal’ of the 1930s. They wanted change. There may have been many other feelings and emotions evident that day: those who had lost loved ones, those whose loved ones were prisoners-of-war or missing, those with family still involved in the fighting in the Far East, those wondering how the world could be rebuilt after the horrors of the past 6 years. Maybe we can see some similarities to our situation today, not that we have yet (will ever?) received the total and unconditional surrender of Covid-19

Lord, the Second World War happened a long time ago, though its consequences are still felt. We remember the courage, the determination, the mistakes, the things that were clearer with hindsight. In its aftermath people sought a better world, a world of human rights and a welfare state here. As we look to the future beyond the Covid-19 crisis, give us the vision and determination to create a more just and peaceful country and world

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                    geilstonsix                          

                                                                                                               Geilston Gardens (six)   

                                                                                                    Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 7th May

Thought for the Day

Went for a walk last night to the Pier Park. Very peaceful, no sound of cars, just birdsong. There were voices in the distance that seemed to be coming from West Ferry, across the Clyde. What a change from the usual persistent rumble of traffic along the M8/A8 or various parts of the North Bank. We want to get back to something like ‘normality’, with freedom to work, to see each other, and to meet up. But wouldn’t it be nice if amongst that we could keep the noise and exhaust pollution low, and continue to appreciate silence and birdsong?

Lord, thank you for times when we can enjoy silence and the sounds of nature. Help us to appreciate it, and as the lockdown is in time relaxed, help us to retain that precious contact with the world around us

Weekly Prayer Diary

Week commencing 3 May: Health services in the parishes

So often we take the Health Service and all who work in it for granted. The Coronavirus crisis has made us appreciate it, and the staff who work in it – in whatever role – in a new way. So we give thanks for it
We pray for all who are engaged in the Health Service locally, whether as doctors, nurses, health visitors, midwives, physiotherapists or whatever
We pray for the Health Board who plan the delivery of Health Services, and the decisions they take
We  pray for all the staff and patients in the hospitals which serve Dumbarton: Vale of Leven, Royal Alexandra, Golden Jubilee and the Glasgow hospitals
We pray for those who need the help of healthcare professionals, particularly if they have long-term needs

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                        geilstonfive                                              

                                                                                                           Geilston Gardens (five)

                                                                                                  Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 6th May

                                                  sienacathedral                                                        sienacathedralunfinishedpart        

Thought for the Day

Two photos of Siena Cathedral in Tuscany, Italy. In the mid-14th century it was a flourishing, prosperous city, and plans were made to more than double the size of the already impressive cathedral. Work started, but the Black Death came, the city’s population fell from about 42,000 to 14,000 and work stopped (they didn’t need a bigger cathedral, and probably could neither get the workmen nor the cash). So today walls of the planned new nave guard a car park. But actually there were flaws in the construction – so it is maybe as well that they didn’t take matters further. Is there a moral here for us? Should we as a country, community and church step back in the light of the Covid-19 crisis and examine whether what we have is enough, and whether some of our grandiose plans need to be re-thought?

Lord, it is good to have ambitions, to think about the future, but sometimes we need to question what our priorities are, and reassess what we are striving towards. Help us as a world, a country, a community, your church, to do that

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  geilstonfour  

                                                                                                      Geilston Gardens (four)           

                                                                                             Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 5th May

Thought for the Day

Owners and managers of businesses are concerned about the ability of their businesses to survive lockdown and a cautious relaxation of the restrictions, but are also concerned how they can operate in an environment with continuing social distancing rules, the fear of being sued for not taking sufficient care etc. Employees are worried about the risks associated with returning to work - proximity to colleagues and to customers/clients, provision of hand hygiene facilities, personal protective equipment, what happens if they feel the arrangements made are inadequate;  arrangements for travelling to work, opening hours of schools, childcare arrangements and so on. It is hard to devise guidelines that cover many very different situations. Most employers and employees will be keen to come to a mutual agreement on the way forward, but there will be a minority of ‘awkward cases’ on both sides. Let’s pray for positive and constructive steps going forward

Lord, easing the lockdown restrictions will not be easy. We pray for wisdom, patience and understanding on the part of all those engaged in planning the way forward – whether at national level or in a local business

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                geilstonthree

                                                                                                    Geilston Gardens (three)

                                                                                           Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 4th May

Thought for the Day

A report published on Friday indicated that the incidence of deaths linked to Covid-19 is higher among poorer sections of society, and in poorer communities/regions. There is a widespread hope (demand?) that when rebuilding the world after Covid-19 there will be a new set of priorities driving public policy: looking at the structure of society and the economy, embracing almost every aspect including healthcare, social care, environmental issues, homelessness, the benefits system etc. Can we really use this awful crisis to bring peace and justice to society and the world, or will we let the opportunity slip by us?

Lord, through the prophets, through Jesus, you spoke of the kind of world you want – a world of peace and justice. In all the difficulties that will be involved in rebuilding the world after Covid-19, help us to have your vision of the kind of world we should be aiming for.

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                          geilstontwo                              

                                                                                                        Geilston Garsens (two)

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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