CHRISTIAN AID

The final totals for Christian Aid week are now in and I have to thank all who participated in any way. The House to House collection raised £3,992.63. Well done to all you collectors! Mary Newton’s Tea was a further success, raising £320.38. Sadly, however this was her swan song and we thank her for her help over the past few years. Our new event for this year was the Morning Tea arranged by Sue McMinn which raised £60, another splendid effort. The sponsored Half Marathon raised £965.00, thanks to the great ‘feet’ of strength of Doreen Blackadder of Greyfriars and to Vivien McAlpine.  I hope they have now recovered!

This gives us a splendid total of £,5,338.01. Well done everyone!

Christian Aid week has again raised a superb amount of money for those in need and has provided an excellent opportunity for the churches in Kirkcudbright to work together.

Linda Kinnell
 

BADMINTON CLUB COFFEE MORNING

The members of the Church Badminton Club would like to thank all those who came to their Coffee Morning and/or who gave donations. It was a very successful and enjoyable occasion (for the helpers too!).

The total raised was £310.35, all of which has been given as a donation towards the refurbishment of the hall floor.

Fiona Michie
 

CHURCH WALKING GROUP

Thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in the new walking group, thanks too for the extremely helpful feedback.
We’ll give it a go!! The group will probably evolve over time and we’ll continue to chat about the sort of walks folk would like once we get started.

Sunday 7th July. 12.15pm
St Mary’s Isle – 3 miles – easy

Sunday 4th August. 11.30am
Kippford/Rockcliffe circular – 3 miles – easy with some uneven paths (if you’re happy to provide a lift please bring your car)

Some general information:-
Meet outside Kirkcudbright Parish Church – Don’t forget your sandwiches!
All timings are approximate, depending on the length of the morning’s service!
The walks are ‘self-supporting’ in that participants are responsible for themselves.
We’re not a club that folk join, simply like-minded people getting together for a walk.
Further reminders about forthcoming walks will be posted on the Church notice
boards. 

Sue McMinn
 

WALKING GROUP ADVENTURES

Seven scamper up Screel on a Sunday!

Despite a busy Sunday morning on June the 9th, (which included a 9.30am service at Kirkcudbright Parish Church, an 11am joint ecumenical service at Greyfriars Church and the temptations of a car boot sale and Barbecue on the Harbour Square and Moat Brae!), seven hardy souls donned their walking boots for a sunny walk up Screel hill.

Aged 27 to 69 with some first time ’Screel Scalers’ amongst them, the seven set off from the Screel hill car park shortly before 1pm. The group made their cheery way to the summit via the forestry road and strenuous steep rocky ascent to the cairn in a very speedy 50 minutes (with promised lunch at the summit a considerable incentive)!

At the top, although slightly overcast, views towards Castle Douglas, Kippford and the Lake District were impressive and after a hectic morning lunch was most welcome!!!  Returning to the start from the summit via the forest meant the stunning vistas were enjoyed almost all the way back to the starting point.

There was lots of conversation and banter on the route, and following the hard work of climbing the hill, scrumptious reward was provided at the ‘Crown and Anchor’ tea room in Dundrennan!  The next walk will take place on Sunday 7th July, beginning outside the church gates at 12.15pm and will be an easy walk of around 3 miles around St. Mary’s Isle.

Please coming along, all are welcome! 
 

WHAT AM I DOING HERE?? MISSIONARY LIFE IN MALAWI: THE DAY JOB

It seems overdue that I spend time trying to articulate what it is I’m doing here. However, the reality is a desk, in a small office, in a converted house, at the far corner of the synod campus and a short dusty walk from Mzuzu’s various hardware shops and street vendors. A desk which, if the rain comes hard enough, is just below the drip from our leaking roof.

I’ll spare you the proposals, budgets, baseline surveys and theories of change. Instead, over the next few weeks, I thought I’d try and introduce you to some of the issues the projects exist to tackle.

Let’s start with accountable democracies. If any nation is to prosper then it requires effective democracy that listens to and represents the people. Governments must be accountable to their citizens, and not just on the days they visit the ballot boxes.
Malawi is in the run-up to a general election just now. The papers are filled each day with the latest political alliances and disputes as candidates and parties prepare for the polls. As I type (you know at the desk, in the office, in the house…under the drip), I can hear the car horns as aspiring MPs make their laps of town drumming up support as they leave from filing their nomination papers.

I’m sure there will be more to say on that, not least because these elections seem more tense than usual. There have already been reports of political violence and tensions are high even three months ahead. People are disenfranchised, they look around and see their country’s great needs, their own great needs, but all too often see a government that doesn’t understand that. That fails on its promises for development.

One of the biggest issues is corruption. Not the casual bribes that are part of daily life here, but serious, organised corruption that pervades government, public services and the private sector alike. One estimate shared with me claimed over one third of Malawi’s government funds have been siphoned off over the last decade.

Malawi’s score on Transparency International’s corruption index has remained stagnant, gaining one paltry point in the most recent statistics (32 out of 100). This is despite numerous legislative changes, declaration of a zero tolerance approach from government and countless political promises. Leaving the country at 120 of 180 countries in terms of transparency.

There is no shortage of public corruption scandals, each with the ubiquitous -gate suffix. ‘Cashgate’, ‘maizegate’,  ‘TRACTORgate’, ‘MERAgate, ‘ESCOMgate’, ‘WATERBOARDgate’, and ‘TEVETAgate’ are just a few. Surely it’s time to close the gate!

With such staggering sums of money being stolen from the public purse, it’s the poorest and most vulnerable who pay the price. The money is not there for the 25% of children who do not finish a primary education, for the households affected by drought and flood; for the 81% of rural households who don’t have enough food to eat; not to mention to address the shortage of doctors, nurses, and jobs in general. [Source: IMF Country Report]

We’re engaged in projects that look to change this. We’re helping bring these cases to court and, once they’re there, ensuring they are seen through to completion with the help of media scrutiny. We’re working with other civil society and human rights organisations to say enough is enough and Malawians want their money back. We’re also working at grass roots, to help communities demand their rights and hold their officials to account.

Serious, organised corruption needs a serious, organised response. In an election year, while political promises are plentiful once more, there is also the opportunity to stem the tide of corruption and protect Malawi’s resources for those who need them most.

Gary Brough
 

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