"ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET"?

(or in other words)

"HOPEFUL VIEWS FROM MARATHON MEWS"

It seems eons since our ‘previous lives’ were paused. Like everyone else, the Marathons have been experiencing the ups and downs of lockdown life, although as this is written, there are glimpses of a more positive and social existence approaching.

Whilst we wait however, we continue to seek smiles and pleasure in the faintly ridiculous wherever we can! The ‘Marathon Hair’ is suffering the same fate as millions of others across the nation. Mrs Marathon’s current ‘coiffure’ might reasonably be described as a cross between a slightly unkempt Old English Sheepdog and a resident of the Greenham Common Peace Camp!!! Recently whilst listening to the usually illustrious and ‘sensible’ Radio 4, Mr and Mrs Marathon heard part of an item about how people were coping with the challenges of ‘Lockdown Hair’ and the piece was suggesting strategies which might be employed. The person being interviewed actually said; ‘’We should first establish our ‘hair goals". After considerable sarcastic snorting and hilarity had subsided, Mrs Marathon asked Mr Marathon what his ‘hair goals’ were, to which he answered; ‘’Well to actually have some might be a start’’!!!! (Mrs Marathon now has an appointment booked and it can’t come soon enough)!

A particular challenge during lockdown for Mrs Marathon has been the absence of a schedule of ‘actual’ as opposed to ‘virtual’ running events. Maintaining the discipline of regular running has taken a huge amount of self discipline without races to train for, although now the days are stretching, weather improving, and runners allowed to run in socially distanced small groups again, training is becoming much less of a chore. For this Mrs Marathon is truly thankful, as meaningful training did slip somewhat during the darkest months after a ‘lazy’ and indulgent Christmas. Things had become so bad at one point that Mrs Marathon was running so slowly around the Buckland, she was actually overtaken by a tortoise with a limp!!!! More positive news though is that the London Marathon (at this moment) is scheduled to go ahead in October. 

As well as the shared ‘hair trauma’ of the past year, the Marathons have like many others, been tidying cupboards and de-cluttering. Mrs Marathon’s lovely sister in law in Greenlea was sorting out a cupboard and came upon her late husband’s box of treasured photographs. Her husband being a farmer and breeder of South Devon cattle she was quite prepared to find quite a number of photos showing images of the aforementioned beasts. However on opening the box she discovered that all but one of the photos were of South Devon cattle! And the ‘odd photo out’? A single grainy image of his lovely wife of 40 years……with a South Devon heifer in the background!!!

So, in a very short time (as she writes), Mrs Marathon looks forward to shops reopening, going out for coffee and being able to visit Granny and Grandpa Marathon as well as the ‘Mini Marathons’. Of course after so long without these things, it’s important not to view them through rose tinted spectacles! It is entirely foreseeable that on the first outing to a café with Grandpa Marathon, shortly after placing the order, he will in all probability wonder out loud whether the waiter in the café has gone to Colombia to personally source the coffee beans! And when the residents of Marathon Mews finally make it into a department store, Mr Marathon will collapse as usual into paroxysms of simulated coughing, spluttering and hyperventilating, as a path is navigated across the perfume department!!! Yet despite these minor oncoming dramas…..Mrs Marathon can’t wait!

Sue McMinn
 

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FINANCE CONVENER

At its meeting on 17th March, the Kirk Session approved the accounts which will be presented to the Annual Stated Meeting on 25th April.

The Appeal leaflet which was circulated in February highlighted some of the difficulties that the church has faced during the Covid pandemic. But the Kirk Session would like to express its deep gratitude to those who have found new ways to make their contribution, those who have increased their regular payments and those who have responded to the Appeal, which so far has raised £4010. We are also especially grateful to those who have continued to give at a time when their own financial situation has been very difficult as a result of the pandemic.

Like all churches, we depend on the generosity of our members. Thank you to all who have
responded generously in the challenging year just past.

Graham Finch
Convener, Finance Team
 

WHAT WILL BE KIRKCUDBRIGHT PARISH CHURCH'S LEGACY

(A letter contributed by some members of our congregation.)

The Kirk Session has recently approved the planning stage for a church sanctuary refurbishment programme. Details of these plans were shown in the February edition of the Church Newsletter.  The church sanctuary modernisation will no doubt enhance church worship and help to create a town community facility. All of this is happening at a crucial time for our church and our community. But let us put aside building plans just for the moment and concentrate on what our churches core activities are and in particular about what our church’s legacy will be?

Legacy? Well as we grow older, we tend to think a lot about the past and the good times, or what we perceive were the good times. We also think seriously about what legacy we leave to our family.  As Christians we would all like our Legacy to be that, through this church, we as a part of the Christian Community of Kirkcudbright have brought people to Christ. Remember the old saying; for every soul that comes to Christ there is rejoicing in heaven. Let us change lives, let that be our true legacy to the town of Kirkcudbright.

At this key time in our church’s life, we need to support our minister and elders. But it is also mperative that we, the members of the congregation, play a key role in that regeneration planning.  Also, as we are after all renovating a place of worship, the way this is carried out needs to be thought through at many more levels than just as simply building work. As we seek financial support from within the community and through grant funding bodies it is important that such funders have a vision compatible with the church’s primary aims and priorities.

So, what are the churches priorities? Well obviously, the proclamation of the good news of Jesus through worshiping, witnessing, nurturing, and serving our community. We serve our community in many ways but there are priority areas that so far remain relatively untouched.

One of these key areas is the youth of our community. In the past we have had a part-time Youth Worker linked to Barcaple. Perhaps now is the time to invest in a full-time Christian Youth and Community worker capable of supporting our minister and elders in service and mission. This support has a financial implication, but again it comes back to priorities and legacy. We need to bring in new members; that is what the congregational age profile, the numbers attending services and core discipleship surely tells us. Could the funding for such a worker be a Kirkcudbright Churches Together Project? Possibly through a Covenant Scheme, a yearly donation made by members of the churches and ringfenced to support youth and community work in our town.

There is also the matter of improving the support for our minister and church service provision.  Key to a modern church is a supporting framework of administration, technology support, and Sunday Service and Mission support. The Church of Scotland in this town is much more than just a Sunday service or indeed a building; we need to have a holistic view of what it is to be a worshiping community in this age. So, as the church plans for the building upgrade, we should all plan not just for the physical refurbishment but also the spiritual regeneration of our community.

The congregation needs to know what the churches five year or even ten year plans are, and indeed what are the priority areas for the church in the next few years. If the church needs money for the building work, many will donate. If the church asks for money for a Christian Youth and Community worker to help our Minister or for enhanced church service or office support or whatever, we believe you will be surprised at how generous the congregation, and indeed the whole town will be.

Go for it, Kirkcudbright Parish Church think the big picture, think the future, think people. The church is after all the people. The Lord will provide, but for the church to move forward it must present to the congregation a clear vision of where it is going.

Acts 2: 17: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

May the Holy Spirit guide the church in the days to come.

May God’s work be done in this town!

Ron McHugh, Marian and Andy Dixon

(Any comment or feedback on this letter should be e-mailed to the Editor)

KIRKCUDBRIGHT CHURCH REDEVELOPMENT

It’s time to get excited!

When Rev. John Collard was with us, we had extensive consultations about when and how we should improve our building to make it a more useful, approachable, and outward-looking space for us and for the people of Kirkcudbright. We took the decision that we would prefer to do this work as a church rather than hand the building to a community trust.
And now we have a plan!

What are the plans?

The new worship space will be the area of the church that is not under any of the galleries. The pews will be removed and replaced with seating which will allow for flexible use of the space. The most common layout, however, is likely to be with chairs set in an arc around the new platform area which will have a rounded front. There will be seating for 200.

The area under the Trades Gallery on the North side of the church will contain a permanent home for the Food Bank in the same location which it currently occupies. A disabled toilet will also be sited in this area. There will be access to this area from outside the building and from the sanctuary.

The area underneath the Town Gallery on the South Side of the church will form a meeting room. Again, this can be accessed from inside and outside the building.

The area underneath the Laird’s Gallery will contain a toilet suite (incorporating several toilets plus a disabled toilet), and a kitchen area with facilities for making teas and coffees. There will also be an extended welcome area. The partition between this area and the church will be a glass screen extending the full width of the building and to the gallery floor.

The entrance from the vestibule will be by central glass doors allowing for a view from there right into the sanctuary.

Plans to improve the audio-visual provision are already in place and are described in detail below. There will also be improvements made to the heating and lighting; the precise form which these will take has still to be decided.

Audio-visual Improvements:

Our current audio-visual system is no longer fit for purpose and is long overdue replacement. A significant upgrade of this system will take place. Already installed within the sanctuary is fibre-broadband service as well as the necessary cameras, LED digital lights & associated equipment to allow services to be streamed or recorded, and transmitted initially via Zoom. This capability will eventually be used to expand our Church’s presence on additional internet-based platforms as well as on our new Church website, currently under development.

Within the sanctuary itself, the obsolete sound system will be replaced with new speakers and sound-desk. The aged projector & screen will be replaced with modern large-screen (T.V. type) colour monitors which will provide high-definition images. Opportunity will be taken to relocate the control-centre for the audio-visual systems from the laird’s balcony to a ground-floor location.

When completed, this fully integrated system will enhance not only our worship experience, but also provide desirable features for other users as we develop our plans for greater community use of the building.

When will it happen?

Some of it is already in place! We now have the ability to stream services from the church online and once volunteers are trained to operate the system, the Zoom service will be able to be recorded and/or transmitted live from the church building.

The Kirk Session has approved an application to Presbytery for permission to remove the pews and to upgrade the AV system. If Presbytery approves, the application will go to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland and if they give the green light then we are ready to go ahead. Money is available from the Bequest Fund to fund this part of the work.

We hope to use voluntary labour to remove the pews. We have done this before in parts of the building and it presented no problems. We currently have 62 chairs and have sourced a supply of good quality secondhand chairs; if this purchase is successful, we will have enough seating for most normal purposes. For special occasions or large funerals, we can bring chairs from the church hall. When we have decided on what chairs we want for the building, these can be used in the meeting room or welcome area.

The start date for the rest of the work will depend on successful fundraising.

How much will it cost?

Costing a project on this scale is not easy but we are working on a figure of around £300,000. The Session has set up a Fundraising Team. It has 15 enthusiastic members, all volunteers! They have held their first meeting, which was a very positive one, and they will begin the process of interacting with funding groups to see what kind of grants we might attract. We will also be hoping to raise funds locally from the congregation and the community.

Is this the right time?

It is certainly not an ideal time! To begin a project like this in a time of lockdown is not what you would want. The insert in last month’s newsletter spotlighted the effect that Covid has had on the church’s income and that too is a major consideration.
But we have been talking about doing this for more than ten years and if we wait for the ideal time, the likelihood is that we will never start! The response from the Buildings Group to the plans has been positive; the response from the Session has been very enthusiastic, and we believe that with God’s help, we can create a facility that will make for better worship and a deeper engagement with the community which we serve.

“Then they said, ‘Let us start building!’ And they devoted themselves to the common good”
(Nehemiah 2 : 18b, NRSV)

Finally:

There will be an opportunity for all congregation members to attend a more detailed Power-Point presentation of the Church redevelopment plans following the Annual Stated Meeting of the congregation, scheduled to take place after the service on Sunday 21st. March 2021.

Graham Finch
(Convener Church Redevelopment Committee)
 

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

At a recent meeting of Kbt. Church’s Sunday Evening Gathering, some discussion took place at this time of lockdown and isolation as to how we might be able to fulfil Scripture’s exhortation that we should encourage each other. A suggestion to send a daily scripture verse & message was well received, & a few of these messages are under-noted. May they bring encouragement also to you!

1. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1 v6)

You might sometimes think because you struggle you can’t be a Christian. It’s because you are a Christian that you struggle—Satan doesn’t fight with those he’s already got! Stay strong & keep your eyes on Jesus!

2. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you “ (Mat. 7 v7)

Bring all your concerns to God in prayer, and expect an answer! — just don’t think it will necessarily come to your timetable! God may choose to delay the answer because the lesson He wants you to learn is in the process!

3. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thess. 5 v 16—18).

Stop focussing on what you’ve lost & start giving thanks to God for all that you still have!

4. “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4 v24)

Accepting Jesus as Saviour & Lord allows His Holy Spirit to get to work & change you from the inside out. Not everyone you know will necessarily appreciate the change! Stick with it, the journey will be worth it in the end!

5. “Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy & find grace to help in times of need”

Mercy withholds God's judgement; Grace is what release God's forgiveness!