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.
 

ARE YOU BEING FED?

No, for once we are not featuring some new fad diet from the latest celebrity chef to hit the headlines! What I plan to feature over the coming months, is a report from each of the four or more Bible Study Groups which are such an important part of our congregation’s life. Some might go as far as to say that they offer more than just fellowship —- they provide a lifeline which encourages and explores both spiritual growth & development, whilst additionally offering real & practical support to each of us as we continue our journey through this world towards that future day when all our questions, and doubts will be finally and completely answered and resolved. A Church of Scotland minister with whom I was in conversation recently, was reflecting on how his denomination had evolved over time to become a “broad church” encompassing, whether for better or worse, a spectrum of Biblical interpretation & understanding that stretched from what might loosely be called “modern liberal” all the way to “traditional evangelical”. Each of our Bible Study Groups has come in to existence to meet a perceived need, and each has uniquely developed & evolved over time to become what it represents today. Wherever you may be in your own personal spiritual journey, whether full of doubts or confident of your salvation, whether “modern liberal” , or “traditional evangelical”, or indeed anything in between, do consider coming to one of our Bible study and discussion groups —— You will definitely “fit in” to one of them and be made most welcome! This month, first to say who they are and what they do is the Tuesday Morning Discussion Group. Read below what they have to say, and ask yourself the question : “Could this be the one for me”??

(Ed.)
 

GOOD NEWS! NEW YOUTH WORKER APPOINTED

Daniel Rimmer has been appointed to the jointly funded post between Abernethy Trust Barcaple and Kirkcudbright Parish Church. His responsibilities at the Parish Church will be for two days a week Youth Work. Daniel will be starting work on 18th February 2019 and we look forward very much to welcoming him and working with him in the days ahead. Please remember him in your prayers as he takes up his new responsibilities.
 

FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT 2019 - 25th February to 10th March

Each year for two weeks over February and March, Fairtrade puts a spotlight on trade through the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign.

Together with Fairtrade farmers and workers, and campaigners up and down the country, including the Kirkcudbright Fairtrade Group, they highlight the difference fair trade can make to lives and communities.

Fairtrade Fortnight is the time of the year to celebrate Fairtrade achievements, whilst encouraging further commitments from all of us - the general public, companies and governments - to take action for fairer trade.

This year, Fairtrade Fortnight will focus on cocoa. Farmers of this iconic Fairtrade product have seen prices crash to crisis levels in the last few years, particularly in West Africa where most cocoa is grown. The situation highlights in stark terms the scandal of unfair trade. Many farmers – both men and women – are underpaid and exploited. That means they can’t earn enough for the basics many of us take for granted, including food, education and housing, because they don’t earn a living income. It’s even worse for the women who work in the fields and in the home. Despite the hard work they put in, they’re often overlooked and under-represented, and usually see even less of the money for their crop. They deserve more.So, the voices and stories of women farmers will be at the heart of Fairtrade Fortnight. By recognising those special women round us during Fairtrade Fortnight, we can create a platform for the amazing and inspiring women farmers across the Fairtrade network. They are leading the way in changing attitudes, behaviours and, ultimately, their communities.

Raising the bar: beyond the FAIRTRADE Mark

Buying more Fairtrade cocoa can catalyse transformative change for producer communities, but more needs to be done to truly over-come the injustice at the heart of this much-loved product. This year, an ambitious new 3-year campaign will be launched to encourage everyone in the cocoa sector – consumers, companies, governments and others – to play their part and make a living income a reality for cocoa farmers.

In 2018 Fairtrade items worth £1587.40 were sold via the Traidcraft weekly stall in the Parish Church Hall. This includes £249.35 of household items for use in the Parish Church and Hall, thereby implementing the decision that as a Fairtrade Church, Fairtrade items should be used wherever possible, not just in catering. Last year’s total sales were £1171.59. A big thank-you to everyone for supporting Fairtrade, and let’s see if in 2019 we can again increase sales.

Watch out for news about the activities planned by our local Fairtrade group during Fairtrade Fortnight!

Compiled from the Fairtrade Foundation website (www.fairtrade.org.uk) in co-operation with Greyfriars.

Don’t Feed Exploitation!

Choose Fairtrade!
 

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.