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

Friday 10th July

Thought for the Day

We have new freedoms today! And we must wear a face covering in shops. Freedom is always conditional – my freedom to do one thing is limited by your freedom not to be affected by it. Many of us (but not all!) were brought up - and tried to bring future generations up - to recognise that life is not all about ‘me’ and what I want, what I am free to do, but should take into account the needs of others, and sometimes put them first. It is a deep philosophical issue that plays out millions of times every day – from mum and two squabbling weans, to campaigning groups and governments. It is one of the strange ironies of our faith that we see our greatest freedom is being able to serve others - voluntarily, with only inner compulsion, not someone else forcing us

Lord, we look to the example of the one who ‘came not to be served, but to serve’. You want us to value and care for ourselves, but also to value and care for others. It’s very hard. Help us

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                      Wemyss Bay 5     

                                                                                                                     Wemyss Bay 5

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 9th July

Thought for the Day

Opened the front door yesterday to find a pile of feathers and bits of mud lying on the front doorstep. It transpired that house martins had built a nest in the apex of the gable, but a large part of it had collapsed and fallen to the ground. Don’t know why, don’t know if there were any fledglings which died as a result, but still the birds were flying to and fro to the remains of the nest, looking as though they were bringing food. It may have been an automatic action, which didn’t take account of the collapse of the nest, or it may have been that amid the chaos and disaster life was clinging on and they were doing their bit to make sure their wee one(s) survived. I like to think it’s the latter, and that it is a reminder to us that amid all the chaos and disaster in the world (due to Covid, politics, climate change, etc) there is an innate resilience in people to cling on and struggle to survive

Lord, there are so many people in the world, in our country, in our community, who are struggling to survive. May they have the resilience, the inner strength and determination, to keep going, and may they get the help and support they need. Open the eyes of governments, open our eyes, to see what we can do

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  Wemyss Bay 4             

                                                                                                                     Wemyss Bay 4

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 8th July

Thought for the Day

Young people finishing school or college and looking for a job or apprenticeship, young people still at school or college looking for holiday, weekend or evening work to boost their income and give them work experience for their CV, young people who had already left school or college and were working. It is reported that between lockdown in March and the end of May the number of people 24 or younger on Universal Credit stood at 500,000. It may well be higher now. Some may have family behind them to offer support, many may not. What hopes and dreams were dashed? What stresses created? What will be the longer-term impact? We are to hear today plans to focus funding at the needs of young people. Much of the comment afterwards will be on the schemes and the money. But let’s remember the people. Is there anything that we can do to help them?

Lord, amid all the talk of schemes and sums of money, help us to remember the people, their feelings, their needs. Inspire us to do what we can to help them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                   Wemyss Bay 3             

                                                                                                                     Wemyss Bay 3

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 7th July

Thought for the Day

Ideas have been drip-fed, and the media are speculating, about what the Chancellor will say tomorrow regarding measures to protect/ stimulate the economy. Statistics, prices and interest rates are quoted, but at the end of the day it comes down to people, their livelihoods, money to pay for basic necessities, a sense of well-being rooted in job satisfaction. Let’s hope that amid all the strategic thinking and planning there is also recognition that people’s lives and well-being are at stake

Lord, trying to manage and develop an economy is hard at any time, but especially at the moment, after months of lockdown, the loss of many jobs and fears for the future of others. We pray that those who are making the decisions will have the wisdom and compassion they need, and that those who have lost their jobs/ job opportunities/ income, or who are at risk of losing them, will receive the support they need

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                       Wemyss Bay 2

                                                                                                                     Wemyss Bay 2

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

 

Two Documents from The Moderator of the C of S

WORSHIP WEBINAR, FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2020

ADDITIONAL QUESTION RESPONSES

How many of us finish our online worship with, for example, 'Let's say the grace together'?

Now if I  am one of the many church alumnae or totally new to worship when I am surfing, what am I to make
of that? How do we marry the traditional liturgical lingo to those who have no clue about it?
What a great question. Could it be an opportunity to explain it and frame it to those listening and
watching? Why do we say it? What does it mean? And in explaining our traditions and liturgy we can
share the gospel and more truths about God. We don’t need to be obvious that we’re explaining it;
just a simple introduction. For example, “Let’s say the grace together now, and as we say it we are of
course praying for each other, asking God to bless us. And doesn’t this prayer, the grace, contain such
great truths that we can hold onto as we leave this time together; God loves us. Christ died for us
when we did not deserve it and God is with us by his spirit.” Perhaps we should be doing this whether
we’re meeting in person or online. Ensuring everyone, visitor or regular is included and understands,
teaching children and young people and those new to faith and church.
 

Sue - what did you do with the children practically? Singing, praying and sharing a story is great but
they need interaction, how did you engage?

 

It’s hard! We encourage them to use the chat function on Zoom as they arrive and through our time
together. We make sure we say hello to everyone and let them share their news. We try to make our
stories interactive; perhaps they can run around to find objects to use as we tell the story, or take part
in actions as we go. We don’t sing – it was a disaster! But we do play a song while they type prayer
requests into chat. We ask them questions and give them a couple of minutes to discuss it at home
and then ask them to feed back. Some weeks it works better than others.
 

For those who are using Zoom, do you think there is a practical maximum limit to the number of
participants before it becomes too awkward to handle?

 

For children and young people, I think 20 or so is probably enough. More than that and it is hard to
interact with everyone and engage them all. It becomes more of a performance rather than a group
where they can chat and interact with us and each other.
 

How do we serve the "traditionals", who grieve for what will be lost and what can we "save" from
before?

 

This is so important. I think all of us will grieve for what will be lost. Communication is important, we
need to take everyone on the journey of change with us. Not everything needs to change,
acknowledge the grief, share why we are changing, create new traditions together.
 

Interesting to hear about holding on to the traditions we want to keep. However if congregations
are moving to a union, there would need to be new ways. Any thoughts about developing these
new ways where this transition is happening while buildings are closed and waiting to be able to
open again?

 

Isn’t this a great opportunity to identify our church family traditions and share them with those we
are to join with. What can we keep? What can we adapt to include everyone? What new traditions
can we create? A new welcome routine? A new song to sing at special occasions? Special refreshments
on a particular day? A water slide at holiday club? Fish and chips together after a mission event? Enjoy
creating these traditions together!

 

WORSHIP WEBINAR, FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2020

RESOURCE LINKS

Latest COVID-19 advice for Church of Scotland congregations https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/resources/covid-19-coronavirus-advice

Faith Nurture Forum https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship

Music - https://music.churchofscotland.org.uk/home https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship/music-for-worship https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/resources/children-and-youth/church/worship/music

Resourcing Mission - https://www.resourcingmission.org.uk/worship/online-worship

Priority Areas - During COVID-19, the Faith Nurture Priority Areas section have been meeting weekly as a network; sharing learning and ideas across many areas including worship, and producing user friendly guides. All are welcome to join them on Fridays- they work wider than Priority Areas. Outwith the pandemic, their strategy has been to work with local (lay) people and support them to build their confidence in leading worship. Please contact Shirley Grieve: sgrieve@churchofscotland.org.uk for more information.

Faith Impact Forum Currently developing resources for use in on-line services, Bible studies and events. If you would like to use currently available resources or have some specific requests, please contact Carol Finlay: cfinlay@churchofscotland.org.uk in the first instance. The Forum would like to be able to tailor their resources to what you feel is right for your situation, therefore by speaking to them, they can hopefully do this. They hope that in the near future, they will have a bank of resources available for you to access and are working out the best way to do this. They can also provide an online speaker for services, Guilds etc. Streaming Services via Phone https://www.lanarkgreyfriars.com/odbp https://www.switchedonnetwork.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-create-a-phone-number-whichplays-podcasts-or-sermon-recordings-over-the-phone https://www.twilio.com/voice

Iona Community “ Wild Goose Worship Group https://www.wildgoose.scot/

Spill the Beans http://spillbeans.org.uk/

Scottish Bible Society https://scottish.bible/bagsofdiscovery/

Resources which encourage faith at home and provide ready to go ideas for Zoom meetings for children. 3 sets of 5. They could be a holiday club or used on Sundays. Scottish Bible Society https://scottishbiblesociety.org/resource-category/all-age/

Bibleworld PowerPoints and videos of some Bible stories using wonderful images. Scottish Bible Society https://scottish.bible/bible2020/

Bible 2020: An app to read the Bible daily. Daily devotions and podcasts. Daily family activities shared at https://www.facebook.com/ScottishBibleSocietyChildrensResources/ SU Scotland https://www.suscotland.org.uk/what-we-do/missions/scotlands-biggest-holiday-club/ Scotland’s biggest holiday club! Wonderzone.

An online holiday club ready to go  easy to run in your community. Easily adaptable if you have time/want to personalise it. Colin Buchanan https://www.compassion.com.au/colin-buchanan

Ready to go kids talks from this fabulous Australian singer songwriter. Doug Horley https://www.duggiedugdug.org/

Crazy kids worship to purchase and use online. Worship House Kids/Worship House Media https://www.worshiphousekids.com/ https://www.worshiphousemedia.com/

Worship videos to purchase that can be used online. Parenting for Faith https://parentingforfaith.org/

Support for church leaders to help families do faith at home. Support for parents. Lots of great thinking and easy to use practical ideas. Kitchen Table Project (Care for the Family) https://kitchentable.org.uk/

Supporting faith at home. 10 Must Know Bible Stories https://tenbiblestories.org/

Resources for RME teaching in schools, some adapted for blended learning. Easy to use, ready to go lesson plans for chaplains or teachers. God Venture https://godventure.co.uk/

Great ideas to support faith at home. Seeds Family Worship https://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/ Wonderful memory verse songs with videos to purchase and can be used online. Magnitude Youth Festival https://magnitude.org.uk/more They’ve moved it online for 2020. Why not point your young people to it?

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Monday 6th July

Thought for the Day

The NHS was 72 years-old yesterday. It had been suggested that after clapping for key workers, neighbours should raise a glass or mug to toast them and each other. Not in any street anyway, with a torrential downpour at the appropriate moment! We want to express our thanks and support for NHS staff, social care staff and all other key workers, both during the pandemic and at other times, when they have tended to be ignored in favour of ‘celebrities’. Let’s hope (and lobby?) that they receive appropriate recompense and treatment in the future

Lord, you love and value everyone, but have a special concern for those who are weak, vulnerable, ignored. During this pandemic we have seen the importance of those whose contribution is usually ignored. Help us to keep that recognition as things hopefully improve

 

Picture of the Day

This week we are off again, calling at Wemyss Bay to pick up some more passengers

                                                                                                  Wemyss Bay 1                 

                                                                                                                     Wemyss Bay 1 

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 4th July

Thought for the Day

Where shall we go today, with our new-found freedom? Weather, public transport, age, mobility, availability of ‘facilities’ may all have an impact on our answer, but we have the freedom to travel (almost) anywhere. The restrictions of the last few months reminded us of a freedom we usually take for granted. For reasons of health or mobility some people here cannot get out and about. Also, there are many people round the world who do not have that kind of freedom. Instead of just thinking about what we can or cannot do, let’s think about them today

Lord, as we begin to exercise our freedom to roam, help us to remember those who cannot travel here because of reasons of health, mobility etc, and those in other countries whose movements are restricted by governments

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                         Benmore Pond            

                                                                                                                   Benmore  Pond

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Benmore Gardens re-opened this week. Next week we are off again, calling at Wemyss Bay to pick up some more passengers

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Friday 3rd July

Thought for the Day

We can travel more than 5 miles today ‘for leisure’! So it rains. Can we read into it a hint that we don’t go mad with our new-found freedom, overwhelm beauty spots, and leave a trail of litter around the countryside?

Lord, we appreciate the ability to travel further from today. Hopefully it will help many folk who are feeling deeply the stress of being confined. Help us to use our freedom wisely

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                        Benmore Chile pine forest       

                                                                                                            Benmore  Chile Pine Forest

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 2nd July

Thought for the Day

Waiting, wondering. Will The First Minister announce an easing of the physical distancing rules today (some businesses would like it, it might make it easier to accommodate children in school classes, but some people will be very worried if it happens)? Will the number of infections in Scotland dip to nil soon, or will there be new spikes (as has been seen round the world)? What will be the impact of lifting the 5-mile travel restriction tomorrow or lifting quarantine restrictions for people travelling to Britain/ returning from holidays abroad? Lots of questions, and we don’t know the answers. We can only hope, wash our hands and try to be very careful

Lord, so much of life is uncertain, and not just now. Help us to be careful, think of others, and trust you

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Benmore Flowers on tree  

                                                                                                        Benmore  Flowers on a tree

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 1st July

Thought for the Day

Ask most people how they are feeling, how they are coping, and the answer is likely to be some variant on ‘weary’. We want to be able to meet up with friends and family, go places, do things that we would have done before, or particularly at this time of the year. We want life to get back to ‘normal’. But how many of us moaned about life before Covid-19 appeared on the scene? It wasn’t really perfect was it? So what would we like changed? (Can you make a list of 10 things, or 20 things, or more, that you would like to see changed when we go to the new ‘normal’?) What are you going to do about getting those changes made? Which MP, MSP or Councillor will you lobby today? And tomorrow..?

Lord, help us to picture the changes we would like to see in our community, country and world. Galvanise us to do something about it

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                    Benmore Looking across the Glen                  

                                                                                                   Benmore Looking across the Glen (2) 

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 30th June

Thought for the Day

Leicester was a bit like a blast of cold air on a hot day. Restrictions re-imposed, ‘non-essential’ (that phrase again!) shops to close, schools to close etc, and be reviewed in two weeks. Leicester may not be in Scotland, the situation there may be different from here, but it is a reminder of what could happen here if there are localised ‘second spikes’ or even a widespread one. The disruption, disappointment, despair that could be caused are hard to imagine. It is a reminder to keep up the hand-washing etc, and not become blasé about the continuing danger of Covid-19. It is a reminder too that until we have an effective vaccine, life will not be ‘normal’

Lord, help us to accept that for some time to come life will not be ‘normal’, for some time to come it is essential that we observe all the guidelines on hygiene etc. Be with all who are troubled and disturbed by this, may they know the reassurance of your presence with them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                      Benmore Looking across glen

                                                                                                     Benmore  Looking across the glen

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 29th June

Thought for tWe will see various changes this week designed to ease lockdown restrictions: a number of shops will be re-opening today (who thought up the term ‘non-essential’? It is very disparaging to staff and owners who work hard to meet the needs of the wider public) and on Friday the five-mile travel restriction will be lifted. There will be changes to the furlough regulations on Wednesday. Some people have been made redundant, some are expecting to receive notices of redundancy soon. All of that will produce mixed feelings across the country – sometimes in the one household, or one person. Some may be excited and feel positive, some feel worried and afraid for the future. It is a time for us all to be sensitive to others and how they are feeling, as well as sensible about sticking to the guidelines currently in place

Lord, whatever we feel about the changes planned this week, help us to be sensitive to the feelings of others – whether they are feeling relief at easing of restrictions, or worried about the future. (And help us to impart to people that they are all ‘essential’ to our community and country)he Day

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Benmore River Eck 

                                                                                                                Benmore  River Eck  

                                                                                                    Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 27th June

Thought for the Day

Today is Armed Forces Day, when the country is encouraged to think about, and show its appreciation for, our Armed Forces. Usually there will be events around the country to mark it, and Dumbarton hosts it for West Dunbartonshire Council from time to time. No events this year because of the virus, but still an opportunity to think about the service personnel and their families. Different people may have different opinions on the tasks the military are deployed to do, but the men and women in the military are human beings like the rest of us. Some join up because life has not been good for them, and they want a new start; some encounter traumas that leave them mentally scarred, if not physically scarred; many experience long periods away from home and family; some experience difficulty in adjusting to civilian life when they are demobbed. We’re thinking of you, we appreciate you

Lord, we pray for all who are part of the armed forces, and their families. Support them through their hard times. Guide those who deploy and lead them to use them to bring peace and justice to your world, and to think of their personal needs too

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                                          TotB Customs House Greenock              TotB Port Glasgow Newark Castle      

                                                                      Tail  of the Bank  Customs House Greenock        Port Glasgow Newark Castle   

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Next week we go to Cowal, and visit Benmore Gardens (disembarkation? Dunoon, Kirk, or one of the Holy Loch piers – Hunter’s Quay, Ardnadam, Kilmun or Strone

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Friday 26th June

Thought for the Day

End of term, end of school year. What a term, what a year! Thanks to all the school staff and volunteers who have helped to keep the education system going (albeit in a different way) over the last few months. Good wishes to all the pupils and parents/ guardians. All the best for planning for the new session

Lord, thanks for the commitment of school staff and parents/ guardians trying to keep the education system going during lockdown. We pray that they may have a suitable rest before the new session starts. We pray too for all the pupils, particularly those moving on to a new phase in their lives, and those whose education fell behind in recent months

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                                  TotB Tall ship 1999               TotB Tall ships 19992         

                                                                     Tail of the Bank  Tall ship 1999                                    Tall ships 1999

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 25th June

Thought for the Day

The newspaper headlines today are celebrating when people will be able to go to pubs, the hairdressers, art galleries, on holiday. For it all to happen on the planned dates, infection rates must stay low. That requires people to be sensible, careful and think about others. Most of the population meet those requirements all the time, though we can all have occasional ‘blips’. Some are less sensible, careful and thoughtful about others. How do we encourage them to be thoughtful and considerate, without being interfering so-and-sos?

Lord, it is encouraging to think that we might be able to do things we haven’t been able to do for months. Help us to remember that the virus is still about, so we must be careful and vigilant at all times. Help us to respond appropriately when people are not being so sensible

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                            TotB RY Britannia 1997                  TotB RY Britannia at Review of Home Fleet 1965                           

                                                            Tail of the Bank  RY Britannia 1997              RY Britannia at Review of the Home Fleet 1965                          

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 24th June

Thought for the Day

Talk about Sex and the City! There were strange noises in the garden late last night. Investigating with a torch confirmed that two hedgehogs were indeed getting friendly. (What a chat-up line: “Here hen, d’ye wan a date doon by the compost heap?”) All fitted exactly with the text-book information on hedgehogs. Humanity has seen its world turned upside down over the last few months, but the rest of nature goes on with its business in the usual way, oblivious of us. At times humanity likes to think that the world revolves around it. Maybe we need to get ourselves in the proper perspective

Lord, thank you for the world around us. We are blessed with many good things, but sometimes we get above ourselves, and think that we are masters of the universe, never mind the earth. Help us to see ourselves in  perspective, and to see our true place amid the rest of nature

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                                 TotB CPR Empress at Greenock     TotB QE2 1994                          

                                                             Tail of the Bank   CPR Empress at Greenock                           QE2 1994      

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 23rd June

Thought for the Day

Yesterday we reflected on the ‘new normal’. Today we are reminded of the ‘old normal’: it’s raining, it’s not awfully warm, the rest of the country is roasting, while we can look forward to usual ‘start of the school holidays’ weather! But the school holidays will not be the same as they usually are: people will not be heading off abroad this week or weekend; children have not had the usual ‘summer term’ teaching and activities; some have struggled to keep themselves occupied for the weeks of lockdown with sunshine, how will the cope in the rain?; and there is the question of ‘holiday hunger’ (some steps are being taken to help, but will children have all that they really need?) Some things are new, some things are unchanged

Lord, some things have changed unrecognisably because of the pandemic, but some things stay the same. Help us to cope with the change, and to work to resolve the ongoing challenges in our community and country. Thank you that you never change, and are always faithful and true

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                            Tail of the Bank Ark Royal 2003                    TofB Invincible 2000                         

                                                               Tail of the Bank Arc Royal 2003                                           Invincible 2000 

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 22nd June

Thought for the Day

While sifting through old photos yesterday to scan for this week’s Tail of the Bank shots I came across some photos from Primary School days. When in P5 I went on a school trip to Belgium, starting with the overnight train to London. There we were on the station platform, hours after we usually went to bed, dressed in school uniform – boys in caps, girls in panama hats! One girl had her woolly scarf on, even though it was June! How long ago and far away that world seems. So much has changed in the interim. So much has changed in the world since this year started, and though lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased, we are not going back to where we were. In some ways the post-Covid 19 world of later 2020 will seem as far removed from what we knew as the year started as that photograph from 19?? seems from now

Lord, we don’t know what the ‘new normal’ will be like, but help us to accept it and adjust to it, and start looking forwards, not to a past that cannot be recovered

 

Pictures of the Day

                                                            Tail of the Bank Loch Long                   TotB Loch Long near Arrochar                                    

                                                                    Tail of the Bank Loch Long                                        Loch Long near Arrochar    

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 20th June

Thought for the Day

This weekend sees Midsummer. Restrictions on movement started before the Equinox, and we were in lockdown by the time the clocks changed. We have had all sorts of feelings and emotions over the past three months. Fortunately, and unusually, we have had many sunny days during that time. It may be indicative of more serious climate-change issues that will need to be addressed, but the immediate effect has been to help people cope with lockdown by (for many) being able to work and sit in the garden. Can God send sunshine to help us? Scientists and theologians may dispute the idea, but for many of us saying thanks to the Almighty seems appropriate

Lord, thank you that, amid all the pain and trauma of the last few months, there has been sunshine and warmth to lift our spirits and enable us to go outside and enjoy parks or gardens. Help us to appreciate what we have, not what we have not

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                   Gareloch view from Whistlefield                 

                                                                                                      Gareloch View from Whistlefield   

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Next week we’ll have awe wander at the Tail of the Bank

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Friday 19th June

Thought for the Day

Question: Can you say what the new regulations are about meeting, and when they take effect? It was much easier when the answer was ‘Don’t do almost everything, don’t go almost anywhere’. It is more complicated now, because restrictions have to be eased without the risk of increasing spread of the virus. Let’s hope and pray that people take time to try to read and understand what the Phase 2 requirements are, and don’t start making them up for themselves

Lord, we wish all of this ‘virus stuff’ were over, and life could be as it was. But we are not through with it yet, so we still need measures to keep us and everyone else safe. Help us to cope with the frustration. Help us all to adhere to the guidelines for our own good, and the safety of everyone else

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                Gareloch Faslane Naval Base             

                                                                                                       Gareloch Faslane Naval Base       

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 18th June

Thought for the Day

We are expecting to hear from the First Minister later today that we will soon be moving into Phase 2 of the easing of restrictions. The chances are, though, that there will be vociferous complaints that the easing does not go far enough, or fast enough. Concerns about children’s education, the state of the economy, the needs of the hospitality, leisure and creative industries, the mental health and well-being of large sections of the community are very real and important. So is the fear that there could be a ’second spike’. Difficult decisions, weighing one risk against another. We all engage in criticising politicians at some time or another, but would we really like to be doing their job?

Lord, it is always easy to criticise what other people, to be the expert on everything. Have we never made mistakes? Have people never criticised us for decisions we took in good faith, though with hindsight might have been different? We pray that we may be more tolerant and understanding. We pray too for those in Government and their advisers, that they will listen to the voice of your Wisdom

 

Pictures of the Day  Yes, two today

                                                     Gareloch German frigates and the Sugar boat                                 Gareloch  Wheelhouse from Lucy Ashton                                   

                                                    Gareloch  German frigates and the Sugar boat  &  Wheelhouse from Lucy Ashton  now in the Maritime Museum at Irvine       

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 17th June

Thought for the Day

One of the main stories yesterday was the decision of Government ministers (in Scotland as well as England) to provide free school meal vouchers for the summer holidays. Holiday hunger (and term-time hunger) are very real  issues for many families – the situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, but it existed long before it, and is likely still to be there once the virus goes away. Similarly demand for the services of foodbanks has been around for quite a number of years – and is not expected to disappear soon. As we move towards the mid-21st Century is this really something we want in our community and country? Should we be asking Governments to address the issues underlying them – not just for the Summer holidays, but all the time?

Lord, you have particular concern for the poor, the vulnerable, the hungry, those in need. Help us to do what we can to assist with their immediate situation. We pray too that Governments will address the longer-term issues that underlie them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                           Gareloch Hill House Hall Helensburgh   

                                                                                                 Gareloch Hill House Hall Helensburgh         

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 16th June

Thought for the Day

How will it be when schools re-open? When will schooling be back to ‘normal’? What will be the immediate impact on pupils hoping to go to university, college or a career? What will the longer term impact be on all children who have lost out on an important part of their schooling this year, and may lose out on some of next session? How will they and their teachers cope with ‘blended’ learning? How can concerns for the children’s well-being and education be squared with worries of children being potential carriers of Covid-19 virus to staff or family? There are no simple or easy answers, and as with so much of the Covid-19 response there may need to be compromises and recognised risks

Lord, we pray for all involved in planning the way ahead for schools, and all affected by decisions taken. We pray for all pupils, particularly those leaving school, and those from homes where they do not receive the same support and encouragement to learn

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                Gareloch Hill House from NW Helensburgh               

                                                                                              Gareloch Hill House from NW Helensnurgh       

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 15th June

Thought for the Day

A few weeks ago roads were very quiet, and people only went out for a short time each day. Now we can go out for longer, and on the whole the weather has been favourable for going out for longer. Many people seem to be walking or cycling, which is good for both physical and mental well-being, but at times it becomes hard to maintain the 2m social distancing. Areas of grass have become extra ‘pavements’, and sometimes one party has to walk in the road (but that isn’t always safe, with more cars etc about). With the possibility that we will hear this week about plans for re-opening more shops and businesses soon, will we hear too about plans to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing?

Lord, we want people to be safe from Covid-19. We also want them to be safe from traffic accidents. Help those with responsibility for such things to come up with practical, creative ways for addressing both

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  Gareloch Hill House Gates Helensburgh         

                                                                                              Gareloch Hill House Gates Helensburgh

                                                                                                Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 13 June

Thought for the Day

Over the past week there have been on-going debates in the media about ‘racism’ and ‘transphobia’, which join topics such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and homophobia, that were often in the news before it was swamped by Covid-19 stories. From as far back as we have historical sources, and from a wide spread across Planet Earth, it appears that there is some innate human instinct to be afraid of, feel threatened by, be ready to criticise/vilify anyone who is ‘different’ (whether that means in appearance, dress, speech, behaviour, physical or mental capacity, or whatever). Maybe it is something rooted in our pre-human evolutionary past? Whatever its origin, it is an instinct that does not encourage growth, or peace, and creates injustice. Jesus shocked many of his contemporaries by going out of his way to speak to, deal with, and affirm people who were ‘different’. Rebuilding our world post-Covid-19 gives us an opportunity to build a more inclusive church and a more inclusive society

Lord, your love extends to everyone. Forgive us for the times we have thought or expressed prejudice or dislike against someone you love. Help us to be inclusive, and work to build an inclusive world

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                        Dumbarton St Augustine's            

                                                                                                         Dumbarton St. Augustine’s 

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Time to hurry back to the Pier Park by the Castle and hop on board the steamer to Craigendoran for a wee trip up the Gareloch (and maybe hear the echo of Lucy Ashton chuffing up and down)

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Friday 12th June

Thought for the Day

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the surrender of the 51st Highland Brigade at St Valery, and Poppy Scotland, the Royal British Legion and others are marking the event in various ways. It was the ‘flip-side’ of Dunkirk, the troops who didn’t get away at the fall of France, and ended up as prisoners of war for five years – almost all Scots. Perhaps for reasons of keeping up morale, nothing much was said publicly at the time or later – but it had a big impact on many Highland communities. It also had a big impact on the soldiers involved, many of them young men: feelings of guilt, anger, even betrayal. It is something to recognise for itself, but also perhaps something to reflect on as we go through the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and all the other issues (like racism) that are coming to the surface. Further details can be found at https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-involved/saint-valery/

Lord, as we recall the impact that the surrender at St Valery had on individuals and communities at that time, we also take time to pause and reflect on our own day, on people who feel guilt, anger or betrayal because of the effects on them of the Covid-19 pandemic, and on all the attempts to ‘sweep under the carpet’ unpleasant news or statistics. Help us to be honest and truthful (even when it is ‘inconvenient’) and where, we can, to support those living with difficult feelings

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Dumbarton Glencairn House

                                                                                                       Dumbarton Clencairn House  

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 11th June

Thought for the Day

The news media, and government advisers, around the world from time to time discuss whether it is better to focus on suppressing the virus (and accepting the economic consequences) or keeping the economy going (and accepting that people will become seriously ill, and some will die). There are arguments both ways (even trying to discount those who are perhaps looking as much to their electoral ratings or personal investments as ‘the common good’). It was reported yesterday that one ‘think tank’ reckons that Britain could be the worst-hit of all Developed economies. Certainly we have seen many businesses beginning the redundancy process (even staff in the Church Offices in Edinburgh have felt the effect), and more are expected. Many self-employed people are struggling. In Developing economies, where there are no ‘furlough’ schemes or unemployment benefits, lockdown restrictions and disruption to global trade systems mean that millions face unemployment, and in some cases starvation

Lord, we believe that you want whole and full lives for everyone, free from worries about health, poverty and hunger. We pray for wisdom for political leaders and their advisers, that they will strive for your goals, and work for the kind of world you want to see

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                      Dumbarton Burgh Hall        

                                                                                                            Dumbarton Burgh Hall 

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Wednesday 10th June

Thought for the Day

There is widespread coverage in the news media of the debate around statues and memorials to people associated with the slave trade, slavery and colonialism. It is a difficult one for Clydeside because its 19th Century prosperity was rooted in all three (tobacco, sugar, cotton, ship building, supplying goods for the Empire). At the same time it must be said that the working and living conditions of many of the ordinary folk here were pretty awful, and they had few of what we would now regard as ‘human rights’. We may also all have in our own family stories ancestors affected by Highland Clearances, the Potato Famine etc. Yesterday we marked St Columba’s Day. We have very little accurate historical data about him, but over the years many legends and myths have grown up. It is true of our other heroes, like Wallace, Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. People often try to create the character they would like, rather than the ‘warts-and-all’ individual who lived in a very different time and culture, where different values were at times to the fore. As part of the Christian Church we acknowledge that none of us is perfect – though despite that God still loves us – that truth and honesty are important, and that we are called to work for a world of peace and justice

Lord, help us to recognise that we are not perfect, nor is anyone else, to recognise mistakes made by us, by others in our name, by people in the past. Without being judgemental or self-righteous, help us to work to put right wrongs, and to strive to build peace and justice in our community, country and world

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Dumbarton Castle Cannon          

                                                                                                         Dumbarton Castle Cannon 

                                                                                                 Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Tuesday 9th June

ST COLUMBA SERVICE

Contents

Welcome

Prayer 

Reading Luke 6: 27-28 (Good News Bible)

Reflection St Columba at the Castle

Prayer for others

Blessing

 

Welcome

Ordinarily this morning the Christian Heritage of Dumbarton project (part of Dumbarton Churches Together) would have arranged for P6 children from all Primary Schools in Dumbarton, plus representatives of Kilpatrick School, to visit the Castle. It is partly to help them learn more of the history, including the Christian history, of the town, and also to bring together children in the two streams of education as part of an anti-sectarian initiative.

It usually happens on or near 9 June, traditionally marked as the Feast of St Columba.

 

“Come, bless the Lord, all you his servants. Lift up your hands towards the sanctuary and bless the Lord.” Psalm 134: 1, 2

Prayer  (A hymn attributed to Columba)

1 Christ is the world's redeemer,
the lover of the pure,
the fount of heavenly wisdom,
our trust and hope secure,
the armour of his soldiers,
the lord of earth and sky,
our health while we are living,
our life when we shall die.

2 Christ has our host surrounded
with clouds of martyrs bright
who wave their palms in triumph
and fire us for the fight.
For Christ the cross ascended
to save a world undone
and, suffering for the sinful,
our full redemption won.

3 Down in the realm of darkness
he lay a captive bound,
but at the hour appointed
he rose, a victor crowned,
and now, to heaven ascended,
he sits upon the throne
in glorious dominion,
his Father's and his own.

4 Glory to God the Father,
the unbegotten One;
all honour be to Jesus,
his sole-begotten Son;
and to the Holy Spirit --
the perfect Trinity.
Let all the worlds give answer:
'Amen, so let it be'.

 

Reading Luke 6: 27-28

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who ill-treat you.

 

Reflection     Columba at the Castle

Columba and King Roderick

R: Probably the name most associated with the Christian church in the Highlands and Islands is Columba, the Irish monk who came to Scotland and founded the monastery at Iona which played an important part not only in bringing the Christian faith to Scotland, but also parts of England and the Continent.

C: Columba’s biographer, writing about 100 years after the saint’s death, relates that he was a friend of Rhydderch Hael ap Tudwal (Roderick the Generous), king at Dumbarton. We don’t know if Columba actually visited Dumbarton, but for today’s purposes we’ll assume that he did.

****************

 R: Columba, my old friend, how lovely to see you again!

C: [Puffing and sounding out of breath] Roderick, these steps up the Rock get longer and steeper every time I come up them. Still the view is worth it, and that gives me an excuse to keep stopping on the way up.

R: As they say, ‘When you can see the hills it’s about to rain, and when you can’t see them, it’s raining!

Where have you put your boat?

C: One of the monks is bringing it upstairs with him, but he’s having to take it slowly.

R: Bringing it up here? All on his own?

C: Oh yes! We regularly carry the coracle on someone’s back. It’s quite small and light, so you can transport it easily over narrow strips of land between lochs or round shallow bits in rivers.

R:  Well, I suppose it’s probably safer up here. You can’t leave anything lying around in Dumbarton, or it disappears. If they can pinch church floodlights, they’d soon enough take your coracle. Anyway, how was your trip here?

C: A bit longer than we had expected. We’d planned to call at Colonsay, then sail down between Islay and Jura, land at West Loch Tarbert, cross over to East Loch Tarbert, sail down round Garroch Head and into the Clyde. But the wind or the Good Lord had other ideas.

R:  What do you mean?

C: We missed Islay and Jura, and nearly ended up in Belfast Lough. We made it back across to Kintyre and took shelter in Campbeltown Loch..

R: Did you get some whisky?

C: No. We went round Arran twice – first one way, then the other. Then we were blown straight past Cumbrae and Bute, we couldn’t turn right right at Gourock, and ended up at Arrochar. So we walked over to Tarbet, came down Loch Lomond and bounced our way down the Leven.

R: How were the Vale folk?

C: No problem at all. When you’ve faced down the Loch Ness Monster, the folk from Renton and Bonhill are no problem!

R: Are all your journeys like that?

C: Not all, but some can be. That’s what can happen when you travel about in a small boat with a wooden frame covered in ox-hides, with only a small sail and one paddle. Look what happen to Brendan – he got carried off to Iceland, Greenland and North America, and met a whale and a volcano en route. But our trusty little boat takes us to all sorts of places: I’ve been to Mull, Tiree, Eigg, Skye, Ardnamurchan, up the Great Glen to Inverness, and all over Ireland. They may be small, but they are very useful. We simply commend our journey to the Good Lord before we set off, and if we don’t make it, we know that he will take us to a better place.

R: Do you never think about walking or riding to places on dry land?

C: I’ve nothing to ride on, and the roads are awful – even without Argyll and Bute Council! You have to negotiate rocks, mud, marshy ground and thick woodland in the river valleys and along the shore, and peat bogs on the hills – not to mention the midges!

R: What do you do when you go to these places on the edge of the world? Is there much to see? Are there people? Are there shops?

C: When you can see the views they are stunning, but on many days you can’t see anything for the mist, drizzle and rain. Then you have to stay put – wet, midgy and put. On the clear days, with that vast sky and the cry of the sea, the wind and the sea birds, you want to praise the Good Lord for the beauty of the world he made. On the wet days you thank him for his presence  - there is just him and you, and it’s beautiful.

As for people, yes there are small scattered farming and fishing communities. Some are thriving, some very poor. Some are friendly, some less so. When we meet them we tell them the Good News of Jesus, we seek to bring healing and wholeness for their troubles, we pray with them, if they respond to the message we baptise them and share communion. And many islands and remote spots have small communities of monks, or hermits seeking peace and solitude to pray and think about the Good Lord.

R: I think I prefer living here, with all the bustle of a busy place like Dumbarton.

C: I’m sure you do, and that’s where the Good Lord probably wants you to be. But I believe he wants me to be out and about in his Highlands and Islands working for him there.

 

Prayer (a hymn attributed to Columba)

1 O God, thou art the Father
of all that have believed:
from whom all hosts of angels
have life and power received.
O God, thou art the maker
of all created things,
the righteous Judge of judges,
the almighty King of kings.

2 High in the heavenly Zion
thou reignest God adored;
and in the coming glory
thou shalt be Sovereign Lord.
Beyond our ken thou shinest,
the everlasting Light;
ineffable in loving,
unthinkable in might.

3 Thou to the meek and lowly
thy secrets dost unfold;
O God, thou doest all things,
all things both new and old.
I walk secure and blessèd
in every clime or coast,
in name of God the Father,
and Son, and Holy Ghost.

 

Blessing  The so-called Prayer of St Columba:

“See that you be at peace among yourselves, my children,
and love one another.
Follow the example of good men of old,
and God will comfort you and help you,
both in this world
and in the world which is to come.

May the Father shield you in the valleys

may Christ aid you on the mountains

may the Holy Spirit bathe you on the slopes

and may God Almighty take you in the clasp of his own two hands. Amen

 

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                          Dumbarton Castle Gatehouse 

                                                                                                        Dumbarton Castle Gatehouse

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Monday 8th June

Thought for the Day

On a walk along the shore, up-river from the Castle, we came upon dozens of jellyfish washed up by the tide. There is an amazing variety of wildlife in Dumbarton, from ravens to wrens, bats to geese, deer to rabbits and foxes, some folk have spotted a seal and an osprey here. How much wildlife can you spot this week? What do you know about it, what can you learn about it?

Lord, thank you for the rich variety of life around us. Help us to appreciate it, and preserve its habitats

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                    Dumbarton Castle Governor's House          

                                                                                                     Dumbarton Castle Governor’s House      

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Saturday 6th June

Thought for the Day

“We’re all going on a Summer holiday!” No we’re not, at least not in the near future, and maybe not very far away if we do. Travel companies and those in the hospitality industry would love us to be going on holiday, as their livelihoods depend upon it, but lockdown travel restrictions, quarantine rules for anyone going abroad, uncertainty about job/finance and uncertainty about risk of catching the virus are all factors that will hold people back on planning holidays. Not every holiday community is keen to see an influx of visitors who could potentially bring the virus with them. A few weeks ago the media were promoting ‘staycations’ in Scotland or Britain to preserve businesses and local economies in both. This week the excitement has been about foreign holidays being possible again (and please could the government do this, and this, to make them easier). Why the change of heart? Does it reflect their own wishes, or what they believe their core audience want? And what about the rest of us, who would be delighted even to have a trip ‘doon the waater’?

Lord, help us to cope with ‘staying put’, with not getting a holiday, seeing people, going places. If we can, help us to make the most of the weather, the views, the local facilities that we have. Help us to be aware too of those who do not have such facilities (eg living in flats), and do what we can to help and support them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                              Canal OK Ferry Rd Canalside House  

                                                                                          Canal Old Kilpatrick Ferry Road Canalside House  

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

PS Time to get back on board and sail past Henry Bell’s memorial at Dunglass, and the crannog at Dumbuck, to get off at Dumbarton Castle Pier (1875-1908). Would that the new River Leven walkway were open! We’ll have a look round the town centre – though, as the locals would tell you, a wander round the shops won’t take long

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Friday 5th June

Thought for the Day

How many of us missed going out to ‘clap for carers’ last night – not just to express support for those people, but also to see, shout to, and wave to, neighbours up and down the street? Though it is probably better for the practice to make a definite stop rather than just drift into extinction. But we still need to remember the carers, and the impact that coping with the crisis has had on them – physically and mentally. We need to remember too the people who were and are patients or residents in hospitals or care homes, and those whose appointments/treatments were cancelled or postponed till well into the future. The health and care systems went into the crisis with ‘underlying health problems’ that have only been made worse. We hope that the decision-makers in government will ensure that all the words said in favour of the staff and the systems will turn into actions (and funding) – maybe we will need to keep reminding them.

Lord, thank you for the continuing care and dedication of health and social care workers. We ask your blessing on them, on all who are or have been in hospital or care homes, and those whose appointments/treatment is postponed. We ask you to inspire those in government to be bold in recognising the importance of the health and social care systems, and addressing issues urgently

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                  Canal OK Bascule Bridge           

                                                                                                    Canal Old Kilpatrick Bascule Bridge                  

                                                                                                   Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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Thursday 4th June

Thought for the Day

A month or so ago hopes were widely expressed about the New World there would be after Covid-19: greater concern for neighbours; greater respect for health and social care workers, those who worked in transport or retail; more walking, cycling, less use of cars; home working; greater interest in gardening, growing your own food, knitting, sewing, painting; re-evaluating our need constantly to buy new clothes, furnishings etc; a re-focussing of the economy on ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’. Then restrictions started to be eased. Only travel up to five miles was the Scottish Government advice, so people flocked in their cars to beauty spots. Mountains of litter were left behind in places like Balloch. Adult cyclists speed along pavements. Were we mistaken in our hopes and dreams? Has lockdown had a negative effect of making people (some people) more self-focussed? Do we just let the dreams fade away, or do we work hard at holding onto them, and trying to turn them into reality?

Lord, help us to keep our vision of a cleaner, more caring, more just world, and to keep working for it

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                                     Canal Bowling Inner Canal Basin              

                                                                                                       Canal Bowling  Inner Canal Basin

                                                                                                     Click on the picture to see it enlarged

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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

PS 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

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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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