Rev. John Collard (our Interim Minister)

Dear Friends,

Advent

The word ‘advent’ simply means ‘coming’. It is most often used about people, although it can also be used about events – the advent of a particular technology maybe.

The Christian season of Advent has a clearly personal focus. It’s about the arrival of the one on whose shoulders rests the fulfilment of God’s promise throughout the ages. Such a coming demands careful consideration and preparation, in order to properly acknowledge it’s significance. And of course our church services, carols, and parties throughout this Advent season all have that background.

There are two important meetings for the life of our congregation that take place early in Advent, at the beginning of December.

On Sunday 2nd December, following the joint service at 10.00am there will be a Congregational Consultation in the church arranged by our Buildings Group. This is intended to allow a general discussion of how the church building might be re-furbished and developed. We are at an early stage but its very important that the whole congregation, who are the main users of the building, have an opportunity to express their thoughts on what is most needed. The Buildings Group is also thinking about ways to consult with the wider community in order to hear the widest possible range of views.

Then on Wednesday 5th December at 7.30pm, in the Parish Hall, there is a Congregational meeting with the Transition Support Group. This is an important step in the Interim Ministry process. The Transition Support Group (TSG) was appointed at the beginning of the Interim Ministry placement and is responsible for supervising its progress. This is the same group that met with the congregation in October 2017 and helped us draw up the Aims and Objectives for the Interim Ministry. They are coming back to meet us in order to see how we are getting on, and to make a recommendation to Presbytery about the next steps. Our hope is that their recommendation would be to restore the Right of Call to the congregation and so allow a normal Vacancy Process to begin.

Both of these meetings are open to all members, adherents and attenders of the church.

It may seem odd to begin this short piece with the high glories of Advent and then move to the nitty gritty of church meetings! But perhaps that’s the implication of Jesus coming in flesh. The incarnation means that God is closely involved in the ordinary stuff of life; pregnancy, birth, the exhilaration and exhaustion of family life. The wonder of our salvation in Jesus is worked out in the midst of the mundane, and not by retreating into an esoteric other-worldly mindset. Our discipleship is most effective and most real when it makes an impact on our behaviour at church meetings!

May you know God’s blessing in this Advent season.

John Collard

Interim Minister