DON'T FORGET YOUR SANDWICHES!

The proposed walking group programme for the autumn allows for gradually shortening hours of daylight and possibly deteriorating weather and ground conditions(!!!!!)

Saturday 31st August from Sandgreen
Murray’s Isles. We’ve been offered the unique opportunity to join up with the Gatehouse walking group, to accompany them on a walk across to Murray’s Isles at an exceptionally low tide. We should be back at Sandgreen around 7.30pm. Some paddling may be required!

Sunday 13th October at 12.15pm
Kippford to Rockcliffe loop. Rescheduled from August. 4 miles. Fairly easy walk. If you’re happy to drive please bring your car.

Sunday 10th November 12.15pm
Torr’s Point.  4 miles, moderate, may be wet underfoot in places.  We’ll drive as far as the road allows (this cuts down on boring road walking!) and walk past the lifeboat station to Torr ’s point and then head inland. The walk will loop back to the starting point.

Sunday 8th December at 12.15pm
Kirroughtree Forest Walk.  5 miles, moderate, on mainly paths and forest tracks. If you’re happy to drive please bring your car.

Please come along and join a walk. There’s chat and laughter, and often a cuppa somewhere afterwards!

For further details just speak to Sue McMinn.  

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
 

THE SEARCH HAS BEGUN!

As many of you will be aware, Rev. John Collard, our current Interim minister and acting Session moderator, will be relinquishing these positions at a final service of Holy Communion to be held on Sunday, 2nd June at 10.00am. Following the Communion Service held on Sunday, 5th May, our congregation met to elect a Nomination (vacancy) Committee for the purpose of seeking a new permanent minister for Kirkcudbright Parish Church. The names of the thirteen people (from 26 proposed names) elected to the Nomination Committee are: Elizabeth Bennett; Howard Brown (convener); Neil Cavers (secretary); Thelma Hart; David Henry; Kathreen Hope-Dunbar; Mark Hutton; Susan Hutton; John Locke; Sue McMinn; Katy Perez; Irene Robertson; Andy Wade.

The challenge of filling the vacancy will be significant, as there are over two hundred and twenty vacant Parishes scattered throughout Scotland, and currently, the rate of retirement amongst Church of Scotland ministers greatly exceeds the supply of new ministers who are coming through the training system.

Nevertheless, we are in the fortunate position of being a “stand-alone” Parish Church in an attractive town, unburdened by linkages with various additional parishes. We have been granted by Presbytery the privilege of being allowed to call a new minister to our church, not least because we are in a small minority of churches in our Presbytery who remain financially self-supporting (so please continue your generous support as we seek to go forwards!), Finally, we remain an “alive” congregation, open to challenge and change, as evidenced by our two varied types of service available to all each Sunday morning, as well as our four Home Study Groups,+ numerous additional areas of activity both within the congregation as well as in the community. Our Nomination Committee will have met three times by the time you read this article, and plans are being formulated to progress the advertising and filling of our vacancy. Please keep this matter, as well as your Nomination Committee members in your prayers at this time as they seek God’s guidance in finding a minister for Kirkcudbright Parish Church. Humanly speaking, the challenge may be great, but remember: “—- with God, all things are possible!” (Matt.19v26).

Howard Brown
Nomination Committee convener
 

CHOIR NEWS

The church choir continues to work hard on Thursdays and following their excellent performance of two carols at the Christmas service sang a thrilling account of a new arrangement of “Ride on, ride on in majesty” on Palm Sunday. The work described being part of the crowd as Jesus approached from the distance, passed by in front of us, and moved on into Jerusalem.

On Easter Sunday the choir sang a jubilant “My Lord, what a morning!” another of Geoff’s arrangements of an old Negro Spiritual.

Further performances include June 9th at Greyfriars when the choir will again sing “My Lord, what a morning!” and also John Rutter’s popular and catchy arrangement of “All things bright and beautiful”.

Geoff Davidson has just been appointed conductor of Kirkcudbright Choral Society, succeeding Michael Appleford, and is looking forward to many years of directing enterprising and top-class music-making with this excellent choir.

The same applies to the church choir and anyone wishing to join will be made very welcome. They are a happy, enthusiastic bunch!

Geoff Davidson
Organist & Choir Master
 

NAZARETH TO CAPERNAUM - MORE THAN JUST A JOURNEY!

Our Church secretary, Ann, tells of her personal pilgrimage : Following in the Footsteps of Jesus

After all my training for weeks up-hill and down-hill over the Galloway countryside with lost toenails, blisters and aches and pains I managed the walk from Nazareth to Capernaum on the “Jesus Trail “without any problems. An unforgettable emotional experience which I wanted to go on and on. As some of you may have realized, I was a bit apprehensive about the Trek as I had a couple of niggly on-going injuries which were bothering me and I had not been sleeping very well for the first few days after arriving in Israel and felt very weary and a bit down hearted.

So I am going to start my story the Saturday before the walk. We went up to Nahariya in the north of Israel near the Lebanese border to attend a Messianic Jewish Shabbat where we were warmly welcomed, being with a well-loved member of the congregation. There was singing first in Hebrew, then Arabic, then after the sermon we had a song in English. Not your usual hymn but a song made popular by the band West Life & Jos Groben. Some of you may remember it was sung by Hilary at Douglas’s last service and it goes like this: 

“When I am down and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up, to more than I can be”

What can I say but this was everything I needed to know, and I was going to be O.K! I walked with 24 others aged from mid-20’s to early 70’s, up to 12 miles each day, up all the hills, without any pain, without blisters and with joy because I knew I was not alone and was being raised up to “more than I could be”.

After an early morning service in the hospital chapel, our first day saw us walk up from Nazareth through a hillside of wild flowers, (finding en route a small tortoise on a rock!) to Zippori National Park. We visited the archaeological ruins of the main administrative city in Galilee at the time of Jesus, which has Byzantine mosaics and an ancient cistern sytem. Following lunch, we walked through the small Arab village of Mashad to Cana the site of Jesus’s first miracle, tracing a route by paths and countryside filled with wild flowers. We stayed in the Cana Guest House an Arabic household and shared our evening meal in the family’s home along with a wee drop of Cana wine to accompany it.

Next morning time did not allow us to go into the church building in Cana, which commemorates where Jesus changed the water into wine. We were, however, taken underneath the Church to a room which had been excavated and where coins had been found dating back to the time of Jesus. We then climbed the road out of Cana to walk along a forest ridge overlooking peaceful valley views, visiting an ancient Roman road, part of the Via Maris which connects the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee. We picked and ate wild asparagus and fennel fronds as we walked through the colourful wild flowers of red, yellow and white enjoying the peace, warm sunshine and fellowship. We sometimes came across rows of the cactus prickly pear and were reminded by our guide that this was a sign that an Arab village had once been situated there as the cactus was used as fencing to keep livestock in. Walking up a hill to arrive at Kibbutz Lavi, one of the very few religious Kibbutzim in the country, we were able to enjoy the swimming pool, peaceful grounds and a wonderful kosher buffet for supper.

Next morning we headed out across agricultural fields, (avoiding a poisonous snake!), and there was pointed out to us tares amongst the wheat, which reminded us of the parable in Matthews Gospel. Next, we ascended the Horns of Hattin, a volcanic structure, once again passing through areas of the most beautiful wild flowers, where a famous Crusader battle took place in 1188 between Saladin and the Crusader States of the Levant. Here we got our first glimpse of the Sea of Galilee, and lovely valley below. We descended the rocky hill-side to visit Nebu Shu’eib, the holiest shrine of the Druze religion, and the tomb of Jethro, father in law of Moses. After lunch, we proceeded through olive groves and the ruins of Hattin village, rising out of the valley to Moshav Arbel, where we stayed for the night in wooden holiday cabins. There was a large appealing lemon tree in the garden and thankfully we had a very tall gentleman with us who was able to pick for us the best lemons from the tree (with permission of the owner, of course!)

Because of the rain and thunder throughout the night we were unable to go up to the Arbel Cliffs, which would have given us magnificent views of the Sea of Galilea and surrounding countryside, these being closed due to the slippery surfaces. Nevertheless we were given another treat as we descended with care a very rocky and slippery flower filled hillside into the most beautiful Arbel Valley, where we crossed over 11 small burns, whilst being watched some of the time from the cliffs by Rock Hydrax, (a type of badger). I occasionally looked up at the Arbel Cliffs, with its ancient cliff dwellings and caves, to wonder if I would have had the courage to climb down these using metal rings and ropes, as this was one of the optional routes down from the cliffs. After a lovely walk along the shore of the Sea of Galilee we arrived at another Kibbutz at Karei Deshe, where we spent the night.

After another good breakfast we knew this was to be our last day of walking -- only 7 miles today! After walking beside the Sea of Galilee we visited Magdal , a prosperous fishing village in the time of Jesus, to view the excavations of the ancient town, indicating the presence of an observant Jewish community where it was likely that Jesus taught the multitudes and healed the afflicted women, including a woman who made her home town famous, Mary Magdalene. The Magdal synagogue is the oldest excavated in Galilee. Coins excavated date between 5 and 63AD. A coin printed in 29AD leaves the impression of Jesus teaching in the synagogues during his public life. The Magdal stone which has been found is believed to be the holder for the Torah and Prophet scrolls. To me this was a most beautiful place, which touched me with its chapels of mosaics depicting Biblical events from the Galilee. Most striking was the women's Atrium, featuring eight pillars, seven of which represent women of the Bible who followed Jesus, while the eighth honoured all women of faith across all time.

We then headed to Ginosar and had a lovely peaceful contemplative sail on the Sea of Galilee. We were transported for lunch to Mount Precipice, above Nazareth, where tradition has it an angry mob attempted to throw Jesus off the cliff. While we were there, we stopped at a small shop to get a coffee, and when the owner asked us who we were, he gave us all a free coffee as a thank you for what we were doing for his town! This gesture was a lovely example of many kindnesses we had encountered from people throughout our walk.

After taking in the view of Mount Tabor and the Yizrael Valley, we travelled back to the hospital where we were welcomed by the hospital staff and a Scout Band of drums and bagpipes which was really special. A little bit of Scotland to greet us!
Our last morning in Nazareth was taken up with a visit to the hospital and especially the maternity unit. We met the nurses and they thanked us for our efforts to raise money for the refurbishment of the unit. We then visited the Nazareth village which is an historically accurate and truly authentic site of what Nazareth would have been like in Jesus time. Then it was time to leave, I was sad, I wanted to stay and carry on walking.

Before and after the walk I did some travelling with my friend Miriam, touring Israel from snowy capped Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights to the Red Sea and the Egyptian Border. One of my lasting memories is in Jerusalem and the peace on the Mount of Olives with its magnificent view of the city and then walking down to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we chatted to the gardener. He asked us to pray for his sick mum and then cut off a small branch from the oldest olive tree in the garden and gave it to us.

Your donations, your prayers and encouragement meant such a lot to me and now you can know that in a hospital in Nazareth on a hill so far away your help will be a lasting contribution to the maternity unit and to the new babies being born there. With God’s grace, they will grow up in peace in this beautiful country I had the privilege to walk through.

Thank You.

Shalom

Ann Morgan (Church Secretary)