Charity No.SCO 17442
Minister: The Rev James Campbell
TO CONTACT US
MINISTER: email@example.com 01334 829 350
SESSION CLERK: firstname.lastname@example.org 01334 652 056
Welcome to the fifteenth newsletter – who would have thought back in March that we would still be in lockdown 15 weeks later! Yet, things are relaxing a little, although we still have to be vigilant.
The session will be meeting soon, and one issue high on the agenda will be the re-starting of public worship. We hope to begin in early August, along with the other churches in the Cupar cluster. The service will need to be socially distanced and probably without any singing. I hope to record each service as a podcast.
It is likely that we will only be using Springfield, as it is the only one of our buildings that can be deep-cleaned easily. A small group will be appointed by session to supervise both the necessary work that has to be carried out before we open for worship, and the ongoing work of following through all the government requirements both in terms of cleaning and social distancing.
Even if you do not usually worship at Springfield, I do hope that you will join us. We realise there is a transport issue, but will be looking at that at our session meeting. Please remember that we are at the end of the day one church family, and not three!
Meanwhile, I do hope that you are keeping safe and well. As always, if you would like to talk, please do give me a ring.
There will be another Zoom sharing meeting on Sunday evening at 7pm. Can I suggest that we bring to the meeting something inspiring or challenging that we have read recently? It could be from a magazine, a novel, a poem – the Bible – whatever……
Here is the invitation:
Jim Campbell is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 536 173 6478
In this newsletter you will find an article by Eleanor Forbes, former President of CKS Guild, a reflection from me (Last week’s podcast talk) a poem by Malcolm Guite, a link to a website concerning the Israel/Palestine situation, and the usual local info.
Could you write an article for the newsletter? As it us unlikely that the lockdown will be completely over when I retire on 1st September, I do hope that the newsletter will continue in some form (perhaps on a fortnightly basis) – and it will be very much dependant on people being willing to contribute. Perhaps we could build up a bank of articles, quotes, poems, etc? E-mail your material to me –
The latest podcast is now available:
Isolation and Coronavirus in the Garden
March, all around us the Spring bulbs were in flower, the trees showing signs of new growth, the early blossom adding colour, then Lockdown and restrictions of movement and isolation and everything changed.
My father was born in the country, was a WW1 veteran and married in the late 1920s When I went to school my brother, sister and I did not take long to realise very few families had a Dad at home, it was WW2 and most of the Dads were serving their duty safeguarding our country. At a very early age we were introduced to gardening, growing plants and learning to look after them and looking further afield to walks in the country and by the seaside.
Today’s Lockdown reminds me very much of the 1940s.
As I sit in the sitting room and swivel my chair round to look out of the conservatory and into the garden, there is such a lot going on. The trees burst into leaf and then the birds returned to build their nests. We have had sparrow, blackbirds, robin, blue tit , thrush and pigeon all making nests in the hedges and trees. The blossom trees have been spectacular and flowering for so long Forsythia, Cherry, Plum and Apple, the last two with fruit to come later in the year and then the Rhododendrons and Azalea in full flower, a feast for the eyes. I walk round the garden using two sticks and can see things close up again.
Let us take a look a bit closer, the bumble bees were early and the butterflies and now the flies of all kinds and the wasp. Look even closer and have you seen the ladybirds and the creepy crawlies among the stones and slabs.
The next thing to note are the different colours and shapes of leaves on the trees and bushes, each one is that way for a purpose, to shelter the birds or be strong enough for severe wind and weather.
Have you ever looked inside a flowerhead. The colour schemes are unique and are like that for a purpose so that the right insect goes for the nectar and at the same time pollenates or transfers pollen from one plant to the next for regeneration. One thing to note in nature, colour schemes do not clash, the shape and its flower match perfectly . I always look to nature for colour schemes for my craftwork because the colours match ,the proportion of each colour is stated and often the design becomes apparent.
My husband ,Sandy, grows Bonsai trees which is a completely different way of creating an ordinary tree into a new shape There are rules and it takes a lot of careful and skillful effort to get the right effect. In Springtime the work begins, to repot or trim then feed and water to give the trees a chance to grow to its enhanced shape during the year. The tree if looked after can last for hundreds of years.
My neighbour called round the immediate neighbours to give us each a freshly picked lettuce. It tasted so good, let us think about a bit of sharing.
We all know our World was created by God, sadly over the millennia we have not appreciated or looked after it the way we should but I feel in the last few months God has reassured us if we look around us there is Hope for the future, all is not lost , Springtime will come again.
Eleanor Forbes, CKS Guild.
Reflection: West Highland Memories (2)
You will not have a cup of tea with me?!
The lady was aghast. I was visiting a village on the shores of Loch Torridon where I was working as student minister. I had probably had about six cups of tea that day and the same number or more of homemade scones - so I had politely declined when Mrs McDonald offered me tea.
I realised quickly that I had committed a serious faux pas. Hospitality in the Highland tradition has almost the status of a holy sacrament. In saying no to this lady’s tea and scones, I was - unwittingly – rejecting her welcome and hospitality. So from that day on, I refused nothing – it was a hard job, but somebody had to do it!
By the way, in naming Mrs Macdonald, I am not giving away secrets. Just about everyone in that village was called Macdonald. One day a visitor offered to take out the family dog in the house where she was staying. This produced much discussion between two locals who were talking by the shore.
“Who was that lass, then?”
“I’m not sure, but that dog – that dog was definitely a Macdonald!”
Yes, even the dogs were called Macdonald.
Hospitality lies at the heart of the Gospel. Our Hebrews reading said – “Always welcome the stranger. Some have entertained angels unawares…”
I’ll never forget the night I gave hospitality to some German angels – well, German Venture Scouts, actually. It was a really wet night. I was sitting in my caravan manse listening to the Archers. There was a knock on the door. Two bedraggled young men stood there. In broken English they explained that they were having a miserable time. They had all been attacked by the “mitches” and one of them had burned his leg on their camp-fire. Their tents were soaking wet. Could they please sleep in the little tin hut that was Kinlochewe Church? I made a quick phone call and was told this would be ok.
So a grateful troop of German Scouts spent a dry night in the church building. What they didn’t tell me was that they were a mixed group. In the morning, the kirk fence was festooned with articles of female underwear….I’m sure the villagers of Kinlochewe are still talking about that student minister!
Hospitality was indeed at the heart of Highland culture. I recall driving over the Pass of the Cattle to take worship at Applecross while the minister Kenny Ban took communion at Torridon. I was invited back to the Manse and when Kenny got back from Torridon his gracious and gentle wife served us a lovely supper of Salmon – poached in more ways than one…Kenny grinned and said to me,
“Now, Jim, when you get salmon as good as this, never ask where it came from!”
Hospitality is at the heart of the Gospel. So many of Jesus’s stories, including the prodigal son, involve the table – the feast – the banquet. Indeed Jesus upset the equivalent of the kirk elders of the day by sitting down at the table of fellowship with all and sundry. At the time, your standing in the local synagogue was seen partly at least in terms of who you excluded from your table. Table fellowship was a big issue. For this reason, Jesus is castigated for sitting down with all sorts of “sinners” and outcasts.
Jesus kept an open table – and taught that purity was a thing of the heart, and certainly not something produced by external taboos.
This is such a topical message. The open table of the Master declares any kind of racism to be utter blasphemy – a spitting in the face of Christ.
The parable of the prodigal son must have been a shocker to those who first heard it. After all, the younger son has disgraced the family honour. According to the culture of that time, he deserves to have the dogs set upon him and chased off the family estate…..
But Jesus does not present God the Father as a gives-you-what-you-deserve sort of God at all. This Father longs for his wayward children to come home – throws his dignity to the wind, lifts up the skirts of his robes and races to meet his son. How shocking!
And of course, the story features a great banquet of celebration, where the disgraced son is made guest of honour…....Yes, I know we all feel sorry for the elder son, but do remember that this is a parable…The elder son stands for Jesus’ holier than thou critics who were saying of those with whom he shared table fellowship – these riff -raff, these rebels just don’t deserve to be treated like that…this Jesus makes it all too easy…..
You know, we still struggle with believing that God freely accepts us, forgives us and welcomes us to his table. Some time ago now, in a situation of serious illness, I was visiting someone who seemed to think that God’s welcome at the end of the day was something we had to earn, to deserve, and this poor man was so sure he hadn’t done that….he just hadn’t measured up….even if he had tried his best…
Don’t we get it? It’s all gift, all grace. That’s what the Cross of Christ is all about. Nothing in my hand I bring…simply to thy cross I cling. Accept that you are accepted. Some of us – maybe most of us – are much better at forgiving others than believing that we ourselves are forgiven and set free,
For all the hospitality I experienced in the Highlands, there was a real contradiction that I came across in the churches there. People were so welcoming and gracious but somehow doubted that God extended that same welcome to themselves. In the past there had a been a dreadful practice called fencing the tables. This meant that in order to be welcomed to the Lord’s Table for communion, you had to be interviewed by the elders….to see if you were worthy of partaking. I believe that at that time at least, some of the stricter Presbyterian denominations like the Free Presbyterians were still doing something like this…
I got to know a quiet old man who had served the church faithfully in a particular office for some forty years – yet he was an adherent, not a member of the church. He had never taken communion. He wasn’t good enough……
Or I think of Johnny and Jeannie – not their real names – who welcomed me to their cosy cottage for many a supper. They were in their pew every Sunday but neither took communion.
Too many people – and not just in the Scottish Highlands – are living with the distorted idea of God as a gives-you-what you deserve sort of God. For goodness sake, read the Prodigal Son ! Here is the son who has brought disgrace upon the family – he is absolutely mingin’ as they would say in Glasgow – emaciated, smelling of pig-muck. Yet the Father doesn’t see the muck – only the son he loves……
Reckless, generous welcome is at the heart of the Gospel of Christ. Reckless generous welcome is the heartbeat of the church.
Such radical welcome defines any kind of racism as utter blasphemy.
May we embody that welcome in all our living and may we also know that we are radically welcomed by a gracious God whose face is Jesus Christ.
It is amazing indeed to realise that we have been over three months in lockdown. As I look back, it seems to me that one of the things I missed most was the celebration of Easter – climbing the Hill of Tarvit for the 8am service, worship in the churches, the Easter Egg Hunt in the garden…The following poem by Malcolm Guite is surely a powerful reminder that Christ is not entombed in our locked up church buildings!
And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.
He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.
On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that corona which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed.
You will have seen in the news the concerns about the further annexation by the State of Israel of further Palestinian territory. I am reprinting the link that I included in last week’s newsletter. Please do follow this up.
Those of us who visited the area in 2017 know the reality of the suffering of the Palestinian community and the increasing limitations placed upon their daily lives. Those restrictions have been described as a form of apartheid. Let’s remember that the Christian community in the Holy Land is Palestinian – and (although diminishing under oppression) is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
Do please follow this up. This is the link:
In Ceres, the Butcher is delivering. The Spar Store is keeping well stocked and keeping its usual hours. Much appreciated!
The Ceres Inn s doing a roaring trade in carry out meals at the weekend. Well done Lenny ! I know that this is much appreciated.
This is the link:
In Springfield the store is well stocked too. Much appreciated!
Also, three businesses in Cupar have come together to create and
launch a fresh food delivery service - The Central Cafe, Cupar and The Fish
Tail, Cupar working with Fisher & Donaldson and Minick of St Andrews Group.
The Balgove Larder in St Andrews are delivering: www.balgove.com Telephone: 01334 898 145
Ardross Farm Shop in St Monans deliver throughout North East Fife. https://ardrossfarm.co.uk/ 01333 331 400
Muddy Boots in Kingskettle are delivering: 01337 831222
Local Community Groups
There are local groups which can be contacted for assistance
https://www.facebook.com/groups/303482260645015/?ref=group_header (for Ceres, Craigrothie and surrounding district)
- and by email:
Blebo Craigs, Kemback & Pitscottie: email@example.com
The Cupar Food
bank is needed now more than ever. At this time when most of us are confined to
home, monetary donations can be made, either by direct bank transfer or by
posting a cheque. Cheques should be made payable to Cupar Foodbank and posted
Cupar Foodbank 21 St Catherine Street Cupar KY15 4TA
However, if you are shopping in Tesco (or if someone is shopping for you) you might like to put a couple of cartons of UHT milk in the Foodbank box. UHT milk is the one thing that is in short supply at the moment.
It can be paid directly into Re-Act's account:- Re-Act Now Ltd.
Bank of Scotland Account: 1430 6461 Sort Code. 80-22-60
Please put Fife on the Transfer source. Or a cheque can be made payable to Re-Act Now Ltd and sent to the Fife co-ordinator, Jan McCall, 20 Belleisle Road, Kirkcaldy KY2 6JF