THE TUESDAY MORNING DISCUSSION GROUP

The Tuesday morning discussion group has its origins in a group begun many years ago by the late David Marsden and his wife Mary: Mary still is a regular attender. It began to meet in the lounge at Daar Lodge because one of its members, Rev Walter Calderwood, was a resident there and has continued to find that to be a pleasant and comfortable venue (although recently growing numbers have made it a bit of a squeeze!)

We are a group of people from a variety of church backgrounds – Episcopal, Methodist, United Reformed, English and Irish Presbyterian as well as Church of Scotland. Most of us are members of the Parish Church but we are glad to have some Greyfriars members too.

Our normal format is to meet at 10, watch a DVD presentation and then spend some time discussing the contents, often using discussion material previously circulated by email. We then have a break for tea or coffee and afterwards continue the discussion or watch the next bit of the material or sometimes (quite often actually!) have a second look at the extract we watched in the first half in the light of our discussion.

Recent programmes have included The God Question, which explored the relationship between faith and science, Eclipsing Empire, which focused on Paul, Rome and the Kingdom of God and Painting the Stars which explored evolutionary Christian spirituality. We have just begun a course called ‘The Change that Changes everything’ in which our guide is Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan theologian from the USA. Father Rohr’s invitation to us will be to enter the world of the mystics where “to see is to be astonished; to see is to be moved at the core about who and what we are and to experience ourselves in powerful connection within a world that nurtures all living things and empowers us to be very different kinds of human beings.”

We occasionally lead the 9.30 service (the next one is on 3rd March) and at one of these services, David Brown, one of our members described us as “a group that likes to ask questions.” It would be fair to say that we are better at asking than answering! But even if we don’t always agree with each other, the exploration is very stimulating and members have also found a very deep level of support, friendship and care within the group.

And a twice yearly highlight is the lunch held at Christmas and early summer when theology and opinions take second place to food and drink and companionship!

We have a membership of around twenty people, which is probably as big as you would want a discussion group to be but it has been suggested that we might split into two groups, so if anyone would like to be involved, please get in touch with Graham Finch or with any other member of the group, or just come along to Daar Lodge at 10am some Tuesday morning.
 

THE DOWNSIZING OF TRAIDCRAFT PLC

Having been formed by Traidcraft plc, Traidcraft Exchange – a separate, legal charity - still works closely with the business, and many people still support their work through donating their profits back to the charity and making top up donations when ordering stock. This is what the Fairtrade Group in Kirkcudbright have been doing for many years.

As Traidcraft plc will be downsizing and restructuring, the funds received from donations of profits and top-up donations to Traidcraft Exchange are likely to decrease by around 40%. The charity is therefore working hard to ensure the impact of such a significant reduction in funding on the 300,000 people they are currently working with across the developing world is kept to the minimum.

At the same time they are trying to raise some additional funds to assist those plc producers who have been affected by the downsizing of the business. Their small team of experts have worked with producers all over the world, and are offering their expertise to some of those groups affected by the restructure of the business.

They intend to develop tailored plans for affected groups they believe they are able to help, focusing on things like finding new buyers and new markets, support with new designs and alternative products, and advice on setting up export processes. Where necessary and funding permitting, they’ll offer direct financial support, especially for those groups who run community outreach projects which will need urgent short-term funding.

Alongside this, they will be continuing the core work, supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable to secure a fairer future and get a better deal from trade.

How we can help?

• Make a regular gift to Traidcraft Exchange
• Sign up to receive updates and news

Compiled from the Traidcraft website (www.traidcraft.org.uk) in co-operation with Greyfriars.
 

WORLD CHURCH TEAM

Ann Morgan, a member of our World Church Team, is taking part in a 5 Day sponsored Trek in Israel from Nazareth to Capernaum on the “Jesus Trail” retracing the steps of Jesus.  Ann hopes to raise at least £1000 to help to renovate the Maternity Unit in the hospital in Nazareth which is funded by the Scottish Charity “The Nazareth Trust”.  If you would like to sponsor her please use the sponsor sheets at the back of the Church or you can go online to https://nazarethchallenge19.everydayhero.com/uk/ann-s-nazareth-challenge or speak to her after Church. The proceeds of the first  World Church Team Coffee Morning of 2019 on Saturday, 2nd February will go the Nazareth Hospital, please come along and enjoy some coffee, cake and fellowship. 
 

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM YOUR FINANCE COMMITTEE - CHURCH INCOME - OFFERING METHODS

Every Church of Scotland congregation is responsible for its own costs and these are met through the giving of the church members. Part of our vows of church membership is a promise to ‘give a fitting proportion of my time, talents and money for the Church’s work in the world.’ Exactly what a ‘fitting proportion’ might be, is left to the individual to decide. The urging of the New Testament is to give generously and even sacrificially (Romans 12v8, Mark 12v43-44). And the Old Testament practice was of tithing – giving a tenth (Deuteronomy 14v22). Certainly in churches where tithing is the norm, there is not usually a difficultly with income! 

So members have the opportunity to contribute to Church Funds in various ways - Open Plate, Envelopes, or Standing Order.

The most beneficial of these from the Church’s point of view is regular payment by standing order or by weekly envelopes. If you are a tax payer then this can be enhanced through Gift Aid. This allows us to reclaim tax at 25% of the amount donated.  

So, £100 donated by a member is worth £125 to the Church.

Gift Aided offerings can be made by envelope –weekly, and different amounts each week if desired, or by standing order per month or any other period suitable to the member. Payments need not be fixed for any period and can be stopped at any time. Non taxpayers can still pay by standing order or freewill envelope. We would encourage you to review your payment method and, if you do not already do so, consider using one of the more regular methods by contacting Margo Kerr- our Gift Aid and Free Will Offering Administrator at margo.kerr@talk21.com who can provide details on how to proceed. 
 

LADIES BADMINTON

Badminton has been played for at least fifty years by ladies in the Church Hall on Thursday afternoons. Originally by young mothers but now a very small group who are not quite so young. We don’t want to see the club disbanded, so please come and join us or tell any friends about us. We are open to all who would like some exercise and companionship. We play from 2.00pm - 4.00pm through the winter months and break for a cup of tea or coffee. We have spare racquets so just come along and give it a try. Beginners more than welcome.