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 our 19th Newsletter – doesn’t time fly?
As things ease a little (but not too much, hopefully) I do hope that you are keeping well and perhaps enjoying being out and about a little more.
In this newsletter you will find – a short letter from myself, an article by Robin Bennett, a flier for our exciting Alternative Church Fete, a reflection on the Lindisfarne Pilgrimage theme, an apology and the usual local news.
There will be no zoom meeting this Sunday, but there is a new podcast now available. This is the link:https://open.spotify.com/show/4inqwlxMqzHoYb09slj1zG
Last Saturday morning, I conducted the last wedding of my full-time ministry – and it was certainly a wedding to remember. I mentioned last week that I was to conduct the marriage ceremony, in St Monans, for two young doctors. The wedding had originally been planned for May, but like so many others, was a casualty of the lockdown.
This was to be a very scaled down ceremony with only the bride and groom plus both sets of parents. We were, of course, unable to use St Monans Church, and the wedding took place outside behind the church, overlooking the sea. We would certainly be weather dependant….so my heart sank when I woke last Saturday to the sound of torrential rain….
Fortunately, the rain had stopped by 11am. A small table was set up near the sea wall. As always, I had emphasised to the couple the importance of bringing the wedding schedule (which is signed at the end of the ceremony) and of making sure that it is returned as soon as possible to the registrar.
On the basis of Murphy’s law – that anything that can go wrong eventually will go wrong -and thinking ahead to all eventualities - I had even brought with me two glass paperweights to weigh down the said document in the event of strong winds…..
Well, . Windy it certainly was, but the ceremony proceeded smoothly – until the giving of the rings. There was no best man, and it was my job to lift the box with the rings from the table at the right moment. This I did, as planned, but unfortunately, Murphy’s Law definitely kicked in at this point. As I lifted the ring-box, I inadvertently nudged the paperweights which were holding down the schedule - and yes, you’ve guessed it, the said document took off like a kite and headed over the wall to the sea….
Thank God – literally – that the tide was quite far out. Bride’s father headed off in pursuit, while the bride doubled up with laughter. The photographer was quickly despatched to make sure that this unplanned moment was recorded for posterity! So there he is – Dad forever preserved in that photograph, emerging from the beach waving the wedding schedule like it was a trophy won in battle!
Yes – it was an unforgettable wedding – a very warm and human one. Dare I say it, but so often the warmth and the humanity gets lost in a big wedding when the glossy wedding magazines and Wedding Fairs get to work….
As I said last week, we are learning a lot in these days. Will we return to a more human and less materialistic world when it’s all over and the so -called “new normal” kicks in? I do hope so…
Giving thanks after the lockdown.
I have not been a hospital patient, or worn full PPE, or had loved ones at risk from the virus. I have not been running a business which is barely surviving, or worrying about redundancy, or straining to keep children applied to their remote school work.
So when asked by a researcher about the effect of Covid-19, my response - speaking purely, and somewhat guiltily, for myself - has been that the time has been rather pleasant. No need to rush here or there. The garden has had more attention. Roads have had little traffic, and we haave had a pleasant Spring and Summer in which the planet has been less polluted.
Some busy parents, working from home and unable to go out much, now know their children better, and vice versa Friends and relatives in the next town or on the other side of the globe have been able to have relaxed face-to-face conversations over the Internet (or by phone) instead of only snatches of conversation on social occasions, distracted by meals, entertainment or - dare I say it! - children. The time and expense of travelling has been cut and people have saved more (or at least spent less). So for some of us, there is much to be thankful for.
And that is where Prayer comes in. In our tradition personal, silent prayer is as important as being led in prayer at church. So we can give thanks for our blessings. But we have much else to pray about: for the many adversely affected by the pandemic or other circumstances. And for the world beyond our shores: for example, the people of Hong Kong, Iraq, Syria, Xinjiang (where the Uyghurs live) Yemen, and the millions at risk from the pandemic in India, Brazil or the USA.
When someone says “I am praying for you”, there tends to be a sign, often silent, of comfort and gratitude. The UK to date seems to have had more Covid-19 deaths per million than almost any other country, and it is good to know that people have been praying for us too.
We are on the Island of Lindisfarne. We stand in front of an impressive statue. This is St Aidan. In his right hand he holds high the torch of the gospel. His left hand rests on his staff – he is ready to travel, prepared for the road of mission.
But let’ go i back in time – and to another island.
Let’s go back to the Island of Iona. It is the year 635. 38 years have passed since the death of Columba, the founder of this mission base and school of discipleship. Iona is flourishing and still sending out mission teams into a rather scary and brutal world.
One day, a rather exhausted and weather-battered messenger arrives on the island. He is welcomed as if he were Christ himself. Food and drink is set before him – and then he tells his story.
He has come all the way from Northumbria – from the great Castle at Bamburgh. The Kingdom of Bernicia – stretching then from the Humber to the Forth - is now ruled over by the Angles – one of the invading Germanic tribes.
The new King is Oswald. The eyes of the monks light up. Surely not that Oswald? Yes, the messenger replies, the very Oswald who had been sent to Iona as a boy to be educated there. The monks remember the boy well and they fall into storytelling mode for a few minutes as they affectionately recall a popular student – Oswald of the bright eye, Oswald of the sharp mind.
Yes – that Oswald.
Oswald had been sent for safety to Iona when his family was embroiled in war. As Oswald had studied on Iona, the message of the monks had gone deep. He had himself become a follower of Christ.
Now that Oswald was King, the messenger explained, he was determined that the Gospel be proclaimed throughout his Kingdom – he wanted the Earthly Kingdom of Bernicia to become a colony of the Kingdom of God.
In short, said the messenger, would Iona please send a mission team to Bamburgh. King Oswald would give them all the help they needed to establish a mission base there – with a school of course.
Well, that was quite a challenge. Oswald’s tribe, the Angles, were a wild lot – Oswald was an exception, but the Angles - or the Anglish - were savage, untamed pagans.
They would need the right man for this job. They chose one Corman – a tough man for a tough mission. Eleven monks were appointed to go with him. With prayers and blessings, they were soon sent off from Iona on the long journey from the West to the East.
Months passed. Iona waited anxiously for news – then many months later they were much surprised when the entire mission team turned up on the shore of Iona. After they were fed and rested, an urgent meeting was called.
A rather embittered and exhausted Corman told his story. These Anglish were just beyond hope – beyond redemption. They were just too wild, too savage. They had done their best, their very best, said Corman – but these people just wouldn’t listen.
There was a silence, a long and ominous silence. One of the monks who listened to the sad and bitter story was one Aidan. He felt his heart stir within him as he heard the story. Surely no tribe was beyond Christ – it was all a question of approach, of method and attitude towards to these so called savages..
Aidan knew that God was speaking to him – You are the man Aidan – go and be the Apostle to Northumbria – go in my name to the Kingdom of Bernicia. Yet Aidan loved Iona – he loved his companions – he loved the very rocks – he loved to walk in prayer along the sweeping beach called the Machair. It would be hard to leave that all behind….
Aidan rose to his feet – and addressed Corman. “My brother, you were too hard on these poor people. You tried to force feed them with meat when they were only read for milk. Had you been gentler, you might have won them for Christ…..
All eyes were on Aidan. Adan knew the hand of God was upon him. Everyone in that gathering knew that the hand of God was on Aidan.
So Aidan was duly sent off with a fresh mission team of eleven monks. When they finally arrived in Bamburgh, the challenges were obvious. He had a new language to learn – Aidan spoke Irish Gaelic. The natives of Northumbria spoke Breton – something like Welsh. They were also bitterly resentful of this new King Oswald and his people – there was a real danger that Aidan would be seen as simply the spiritual authority of the new regime.
So when Oswald offered Aidan a base within the safety of Bamburgh, he refused graciously. He knew that couldn’t be seen as being in the pocket of the King. No, that would kill the mission from the start.
He had noticed on coming to Bamburgh that there was an island quite close by – but not too close by. He had also heard that it was tidal – you could walk to it over the sands at low tide. Perhaps His Majesty would give that island to his mission team…..
So it was agreed. Lindisfarne became the Iona of Northumberland – of Bernicia. Soon Aidan, staff in hand, became a familiar sight walking the highways and byways of the Kingdom – a simple man, a simple traveller. The King was aghast. Surely he should have a horse as befitted his station – he had the rank of Bishop. No, that would not do, answered Aidan .If he rode a horse he would be speaking down to people – many of the locals would take him for a rich noble and would bow their heads and not even look him in the eye.
No – Aidan wanted to walk alongside the people. He wanted to listen to their stories. If he met a believer on the road, he would seek to encourage them. If they were as yet non – believers, then he would gently share the Christ -story with them.
Better off people would often give Aidan money – bags of it sometime. So Aidan became a familiar sight at slave markets. He would buy as many slaves as he had money – and then grant them their freedom. After all, his spiritual great - grandfather Patrick had himself been sold into slavery. Aidan would have known that story well. Many of the liberated slaves remained with him as trainee missionaries.
These days, people are talking about the Aidan model of mission – a gentle model of walking alongside people, not preaching at people or declaiming from on high – rather this is a model which is all about creating community around the table of hospitality. It is a model that returns us to the foundational calling of the Church to follow Christ and to bring others into the company of followers.
May we do so.
Sadly, one of our most senior members, Miss Annie Martin of Dan Gor, Cupar Road, passed away on the 28th of July. Annie was a lady of real warmth and personality – I know that she will be much missed. With the family’s permission, I hope to publish the eulogy from her service in an upcoming newsletter.
Opening for Worship.
We plan to open for Worship at Springfield Church on Sunday 16th August at 11.15am – subject to approval from Presbytery. On my last Sunday, we hope – subject to approval of Presbytery – that there will be a service at Ceres as well as at Springfield. We had hoped to have both services at Springfield, as this would be safer and much easier to clean, but Presbytery has vetoed this.
Worship will be rather different – masks will need to be worn and there will be no singing..We aim to provide taxis for non-drivers so that they can attend too. Watch this space for news……..
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
In a recent newsletter, I wrote an article, intended to be humorous, about events leading to the overflowing of my septic tank. Some people took offence at what I said. I am very sorry about this. It was not intended to be derogatory, and I apologise for any hurt caused.