THE FRIENDSHIP CLUB

In King George V1’s Christmas Day radio broadcast to the country in 1939, the King sought to bring reassurance and calm in very uncertain and challenging times. His attention had been drawn by his then fourteen year old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to a poem written by Minnie Louise Haskins, published in 1908 and entitled God Knows (latterly known as The Gate of the Year). He concluded his broadcast with the lines below and it seems to me that although fortunately we are not at war, we have been battling an invisible enemy in the form of Covid-19, so our situation is not that dissimilar to the Britain of December 1939.

Following the death of her father in 1952, the Queen had these words engraved on brass plaques and attached to the gates of the King George V1 Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where her late father King George V1, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and the ashes of the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, are all interred. Indeed, when the Queen Mother died in 2002, the Queen had the poem read at her funeral service. The words were intended as a message of hope and reassurance all those years ago and to bring comfort and encouragement where they were needed.

I hope they do exactly the same for us today, as well as reminding us that our heavenly father is in control and that we need not fear the future.

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.

On behalf of the Pastoral Care Group, can I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and please remember that if you, or anyone you know, needs help of any kind, please ring Irene Robertson in the first instance.
 

A GIFT OF FLOWERS

My hope is that by the time you come to the end of this letter you will feel moved to say “yes, I will help.”

These are strange times indeed but made far, far worse if you've lost a loved one, become ill, fall and can't get about so easily, or just feel so lonely you need to know someone is caring enough to call with a bunch of flowers, flowers that you can place nearby, where you can see them often and remind yourself that somebody cares. Because we do.

Our team of flower distributers bring comfort and appreciation to a chosen Church member who needs it at that time. Our Flower Distributers are highly valued members of our Church. Some of our team are vulnerable themselves because they are shielding, so our numbers have reduced and those who remain are carrying the burden.

Please, can you help them?

The more volunteers we have the lighter the burden. We have a vision to set in place enough in our team to be able to distribute Church flowers one Sunday in every couple of months. The more who join the easier it will be.

If you have ever been at the receiving end of a bunch of flowers you will know how special it feels to be remembered, to know that someone has thought about you and cares enough to want to bring them to you.

If you would like to help please contact Thelma Hart.
 

STEWARTRY FOOD BANK

On behalf of Stewartry Food Bank (SFB) I would like to thank eveeryone who has so generously supported us as we endeavour to meet the needs of local people throughout the Stewartry, particularly during these difficult times.

SFB began in 2012 as an initiative of Kirkcudbright Churches Together.  For several years it has been operated from Greyfriars House in Kirkcudbright by a small team of dedicated volunteers.  We acknowledge, with tremendous gratitude, the immense support tht Greyfriars Church has provided over several years.  Due to the need for better access and more space, we have now moved to a corner of the Parish Church.

During the pandemic, along with Stewartry Council of Voluntary Services (SCVS), whose support has been invaluable, we are working in partnership with Stepping Stones based in Castle Douglas.  Provision of parcels has increased by 300% since March this year.

As confidentiality is paramount, we use a dedicated mobile phone for all referrals.  The majority of recipients are referred to us by SCVS or various departments of Social Services, with other organisations and certain individuals referring occasionally.

SFB could not achieve anything without the ready support of the volunteers who undertake a variety of tasks and the help of local businesses who have supported us in many ways.  However, the important thing is to ensure that we continue to meet the local needs.  Should you, or anyone you know, be in need of help, please contact SCVS on 07387 658 177.

Again, thank you for your support.  Keep safe and well.

We gratefully acknowledge funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Marian Dixon
 

A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES

Howard has suggested that we take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the “organisation” behind the printing & distribution of Kirkcudbright Parish Church News. He (Howard) edits the articles and news items which are submitted, composes them using “Microsoft Publisher,”and then prints around 1200 double-sided pages —- a task which usually takes over three hours using the church office printer!

A team of three of us then fold the sheets and afterwards put them into named folders for each of the 32 distributors. The folders are transferred to the Church (or Church Hall currently) from where most distributors collect them. The remaining folders are delivered straight to the homes of the distributors. A few Newsletters are sent by post to church members who live in rural areas.
We are grateful to all the distributors who brave the elements every month to put the Newsletter through the doors of so many parishioners. One of our team delivers as many as 50; most, a lot fewer!

We also rely on distributors to update us of any changes in their district.

On occasion we are in need of relief distributors to cover for holidays or periods of illness, so we would be pleased to hear from anyone who feels able to do this in the future.

Many thanks to everyone involved.

Sally McKenzie, Alison Armstrong and Valerie Elwood

PRIVATE PRAYER TIME

The Kirk Session of Kirkcudbright Parish Church are in the process of formulating plans to allow limited opening of our Church premises for private prayer. The Church of Scotland have issued a 35 page guidance on how to ensure that this and various other church related activities can be safely restarted.

It is hoped therefore to be able by July to open the Church building on a limited basis for private prayer, perhaps on Wednesdays & Sundays, with appropriate safety measures in place.

We will need volunteers to allow this to happen. If you would like to offer a couple of hours of your time on these days to staff the Church, please contact our Session Clerk by email: session@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk or alternatively use the details on our 'Contacts' page.

Thank you for your assistance.

Editor