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
 

WARTIME EXPERIENCES OF A CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MISSIONARY

With the recent commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, one of my sons asked what his grandparents had been doing on the original VE Day. That prompted me to have a search through my father’s old five-year diaries which he kept all his adult life, and lo and behold, below is the entry for 8th May 1945.

“Celebrations everywhere, flags flying, bells ringing – but I have to spend day in bed, sick and vomiting with a temp. over 104 degrees!! Called in the military doctor (Capt. Lake – a female) from hospital. Better this evening”

The fact that he was obviously suffering from a bout of malaria at the time (for which there is still no effective vaccine!) got me thinking about his experiences in India, particularly during the war years and the result is this small article for the newsletter.

My father, Robert (Bert) Waddell was a Church of Scotland missionary from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s, working as an educational advisor amongst the Santal people of north east India – the Santals are/were an aboriginal ethnic group with a very low social and economic position in caste ridden India at the time. He enjoyed his time in India, where he met my mother who was doing similar work with the Irish Presbyterian church and where I was born. Life for missionaries in India does not seem to have been particularly hard – they had servants, a cook and a gardener and were in many ways considered part of the British Raj. The main difficulty was the climate which was unbearably hot for much of the year and extremely wet and humid during the monsoon. The hottest months of the year, May and June, were usually spent on holiday at one of the many hill stations in the foothills of the Himalayas where the climate was more bearable. My father arrived in India in 1939 and within months World War Two had begun. The main threat throughout the war was the prospect of Japanese invasion from their bases in neighbouring Burma (Myanmar). It never happened but my father’s diary frequently refers to unrest in the area stirred up by what he refers to as “fifth columnists” working for the Japanese.

In 1942, my father suffered a double bereavement when his father died and his brother Douglas, my uncle, was tragically killed in a training accident while serving in the R.A.F. Bomber Command. He decided to come home on compassionate leave to help his sister deal with winding up the family business and this decision gave rise to the most dramatic event of his life – the ship he was travelling in was sunk by a German U boat in the south Atlantic! The whole story of this event and its heroic, yet tragic, aftermath is captured in the book 'Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You'.  To summarise, my father was one of those lucky enough to survive the sinking and, after spending two weeks on an open lifeboat, to land at the island of Saint Helena, where he was marooned for three months, waiting for another ship to take him back to Britain. He wrote a detailed account of his experiences which was one of the main sources for the book whose title was reportedly the last words spoken by the U boat commander to the lifeboats after the sinking.

To complete the story on a happier note, my father and mother were married soon after and returned to India by ship, this time using the shorter but not necessarily safer Suez Canal route. They spent the rest of the war there and returned to Britain in 1955 accompanied by yours truly aged 2 and his older brother aged 5. Needless to say, I have no memories of India, but the old black and white family photograph albums are a good substitute.

Ivor Waddell
 

COVID KO's ANN'S RIO ADVENTURE!

On Friday 24th May Sue McMinn and I were to travel down to London to have a couple of days relaxation before Sue ran the London Marathon (for Parkinson’s Disease charity) and I flew off to Brazil to help finish renovating a community centre in Rio with Mission Direct. As you know the London Marathon was postponed and my trip to Rio was cancelled. A disappointment to us both, but with accommodation rebooked for the rescheduled Marathon in October we are looking forward to being able to have our couple of days in London and I along with friends and family will be able to stay to support and watch Sue run the marathon.

Mission Direct have now informed me that they have an alternative date in October to go to Rio. As we do not know what is going to happen with this virus and what restrictions will still be placed on us, I have decided it would not be advisable for me to plan to travel to Brazil in October. The virus is rampant in the Favelas in Rio at the moment and this is where I would be working every day. There is another date planned for Brazil in May 2021, and hoping the virus is better under control and by then there is a vaccine, Mission Direct have agreed to postpone my trip until then.

I may not be working on the same project as intended in the Community Centre but will be working with ABBA Children’s project – set up in the middle of the nearby Favelas to provide education to primary children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to education. I will be helping to build new facilities to support the expansion of this vital work.

I do hope all of you, along with your loved ones near and far, are keeping safe and well during this time of “lockdown”. We have been blessed with sunshine and the beauty of spring flowers. On my walks I have seen small unidentified creatures rushing across the road , deer grazing in the woods and squirrels scurrying around looking for food or running madly up and down the trees. I have watched the garden and roadside flowers awaken and grow with their lovely vibrant colours, especially the primroses and marsh marigolds and have had time to watch and listen to the birds. In the past in my busy-ness sometimes I have not had the time to be still. These walks have been my prayer time.

Even though I would rather our lives were back to normal I have in a way been thankful for this time of peace and relaxation with more time to talk with family and friends, research family history, write letters, send emails, read, garden, take photos, bake and make some earrings.

I have missed being with family and friends, 9.30am Church Services, Church activities, working in the Church Office and my Tuesdays at Barcaple , sport on the TV, and of course not being able to go to the hairdressers !!

Let us hope and pray that in the not too distant future all the things we have missed we will be able to enjoy again. I pray that until those days are with us again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand and keep you safe.

Ann Morgan
 

SOS FROM GUATEMALA

Some of you will remember missionaries Hank Miller and his wife (friends of Ann Morgan) who visited us last year and were involved in running a stall at one of our Messy Church services. Frank and his wife are back in Guatemala doing their best to help the poorest families and their kids survive the impact of Covid 19. The already desperate situation of these families has deteriorated even further as a consequence of Covid restrictions to the extent that they are hanging white flags from windows to indicate they have no food. Hank is trying to raise $5,000 dollars to help feed these starving families. You can read more on his “Go-fund-me” page (link below). If you feel moved to help, please click the link below to his page: “https://www.gofundme.com/f/bfuve-food-to-survive

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.