Udny & Pitmedden Church Diary

Saturday 27th February 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of our digital newsletter. This week we have a tractor in a church (yes, really!), information about exciting changes in the church and presbytery, and an opportunity to join a singing group for Easter… Please send in anything that you think deserves a wider audience – information, good news, offers of assistance, requests, prayer points. What do you want us to include?

email Elaine at elainemoff@aol.com

This week, Gert writes

This is the second Sunday in Lent, the time in the Christian calendar when we are invited to journey with Jesus towards the cross and Easter Day. We will be in lockdown during this lent and these are difficult times, hence it is good to look at God’s promises to us. This week's readings recall God’s promises made to Abraham a long time ago and take us through towards their fulfilment in Jesus Christ. So there are connections to note:

Abraham himself is a strong link, most obviously between the readings from Genesis and Romans.
The cross and resurrection connect Psalm 22 and the Gospel readings.
‘Promise’ has emerged as a strong theme connecting all four or five readings, beginning with God’s covenant with Abraham to its ultimate completion in the Risen Jesus in whom is seen humanity’s fulfilment.

There is scope to consider the promises we make in life and to reflect on how God’s promises might help us with the ones we make, though the focus of these Scripture readings are on the hope of a good future and fresh purpose found in God during challenging times - very appropriate for our day and this lent.

The word ‘Covenant’ appears 396 times in the Bible and usually refers to promises given and received between God and individuals, who may also represent others. The initiative lies with God, God makes the first move. God’s grace is unconditional and crucially, unwarranted. The foundation of the covenant lies in: “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This is also the foundation for us to live in these promises of God as seen in his covenant with his people. The calling of those who live the covenant will be to bring light to the nations “that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). May we all bring light in these dark times through the way we love, because God loved us first.

We continue our journey into the Lord’s Prayer this Sunday during our worship service, please join us on Zoom.

Sunday Worship

Suggested readings for this week:
Genesis 17:1-7
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38
Mark 9:2-9

We continue our journey into the Lord’s Prayer this Sunday during our worship service, please join us on zoom:

Topic: Sunday Worship Meeting
Time: 28 Feb, 2021 09:45 for 10:00 AM London
Click this link to join Zoom

Meeting ID: 865 0049 5369
Passcode: Udny

Discussion Group

Our discussion group is on Wednesday at 10am. It’s great to be able to catch up with people as well as have an interesting chat based on Sunday’s sermon, or on a question raised by one of us. Please join us – it’s very informal, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, and this week you can email questions or comments to Elaine in advance.

Topic: Udny and Pitmedden Discussion Zoom Meeting
Time: Wednesday 24 February at 10:00 am
Click this link to join Zoom

Meeting ID: 869 2017 6805
Passcode: Udny

News

As part of the Church of Scotland, we do not stand alone. Our parish of Udny and Pitmedden is supported by, and interacts with Tarves and Barthol Chapel, and Methlick, in our “parish grouping”. We are also part of a wider network with other parishes in the shire, Gordon Presbytery. Ultimately, all the Presbyteries in Scotland (and in the wider world) are served by our Central office based in 121 George Street, Edinburgh – often referred to as ‘George Street’, or even just 121. Representatives from all the churches get together annually at the national Assembly, where all sorts of issues are discussed, reports presented, and votes taken. This is where ‘The Moderator’ moderates!
Over the past 5 or 6 years, much of the discussion has centred round reforming the presbytery system we currently have, aiming to make it less cumbersome and more effective, to move decision making closer to the members, and this will soon take effect and impact us all. You can read more about this here:

Church makes good progress on presbytery reform | The Church of Scotland Running alongside national Presbytery reform, is the need to look at our own Presbytery of Gordon. The role of the church in society has changed, the needs of the community as well as those of our congregations is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and not just because of Covid. How do we best serve our wider parish, how can we be good stewards of our time, efforts and money? The Gordon Presbytery planning group has taken this on board and have presented their proposals in consultation documents, presentations and at open meetings. This is all available on their website, and I would urge you to take a look. The way ahead can be filled with opportunity and optimism…
planning (presbyteryofgordon.org.uk)

Rhona, the minister at Inverurie West writes: “At Inverurie West Church we have a small ensemble of singers who have been recording pieces for some of our services. Some weeks we are joined by members of other churches including one in Inverness and one in Stirling. One of our members, Marc Falconer, edits together our individual voices.
For Easter we’d love to create a larger ensemble of singers from around Gordon presbytery. The recording could then be used by any or all congregations who wish to use it in their Easter services. To participate all you need is the ability to record yourself on video ( laptop, tablet and phones all work fine for this) while listening to the accompaniment on headphones. Being able to read music is helpful, but if you are singing melody, or have a good ear for harmonies you might manage without.
We haven’t decided what we are going to record yet - it may depend on how many voices we get! We’ll need to get started as soon as possible.
If interested please contact Marc Falconer marc.falconer.15@abdn.ac.uk who can give you more details or talk you through how to do a recording, or contact Rhona Cathcart RCathcart@churchofscotland.org.uk

Since 1910 people all over the world have joined together to pray with and for a specific country on the World Day of Prayer. This year the service has been prepared by the women of Vanuatu. On Sunday the 7th March we will use this service for morning worship. The order of service can be downloaded from this link
http://www.wdpscotland.org.uk/dload/WDP21-WorshipBookletA5.pdf.
For those of you who would like a "hard copy", phone 07950 801486, or email catriona@millofallathan.co.uk. I will be delighted to deliver one to your door. I also do "click and collect". The collection from the service goes to the projects in Vanuatu, and the Bible Society. Anyone wishing to make a donation can put money in the Guild account, sort code 82 63 10, account no 00485394. Please use WDP as your reference

As soon as we can, we plan to start a music and singing group in Pitmedden, not only for our Church but also for the wider community. The aim with such a group is for the social aspect of it, getting to know each other in the community better and of course for music. We are thinking of a weekly get together to learn new music and Sunday performances at church worship services and then maybe concerts and music evenings as determined by the group themselves. If you would be interested in joining such a group either as singer, musician playing an instrument or organiser with some experience in organising a music group please make contact with Gert.
Also important is the beginning of a planning or discovery committee.
We are looking for members and adherents of Udny and Pitmedden Church who would like to be part of a visionary group to look into building the church and faith community in our Parish. If you would like to be part of this please let Gert know with an e-mail or text. As soon as we can, we will organise our first think-tank

Being the church, a worshipping, caring community, is challenging when we are not able to meet together or visit people in their homes. Zoom meetings, phone calls, letters and emails can fill some gaps, but there is a danger that someone will be missed, or will have needs that are not being met. If you can think of something more we could be doing, or know of someone who needs help in any way, please contact elainemoff@aol.com or Gert, and we can organise appropriate contact and assistance

The Church of Scotland has launched a photographic competition for Lent, for adults and children. You are encouraged to look out for images of the cross in everyday life and send a photograph (or several!) to them for inclusion in a picture gallery.
Closing date is 17th March. Find out more at https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news

The Udny COVID 19 Assistance fund is managed by the church and exists to give financial support to anyone in the wider parish. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, please contact one of these people, in strict confidence. Fiona Entwistle 01651 842412, Debbie Smith 01651 842446, Paul Bailey 07803 501960, Alison Green 07771 996537

The next Session meeting will be on Thursday 18th March

I want to thank one of our readers, Henry Pirie, for sending this photograph to me. He, and his friend Sammy Neil share a love of vintage tractors. When Sammy was approached by Edenberry 1st Presbyterian Church in Ireland and asked to “add a tractor to their harvest festival display”, this was the result.
Ten out of Ten for effort – it’s even up a step!

A tractor in church !

Gert can be contacted on 07510 670606 (phone calls, WhatsApp, text) or by email
"email Gert@gvanrensburg@churchofscotland.org.uk"
Please remember that he takes Friday as his day off and avoid contacting him then.

Parish Prayer Pointers

o

Between us, we will know a lot of people, both in the parish and wider afield, who are finding life tough – the bereaved, those who are ill, those struggling financially, those caring for young children… Pray for them by name, regularly, and give thanks as you see your prayers being answered, even when it’s not in ways you might expect.

o

Some of us can join the Sunday Zoom service and the Wednesday discussion, but many are not able to do so, and are missing the personal contact and worship they would usually enjoy. Please pray for them, and perhaps phone someone you know or find some other way of contacting and supporting them o

Pray for politicians and leaders, as they try to tackle the huge issues we face as a country.

o

#PrayerForTheNation is a month-long prayer initiative by ++Justin Welby and the Church of England, encouraging us to pray at 6pm every night. You will find daily info on Facebook, and there are resources and a printable booklet available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/prayer-nation

o

The whole world is working to overcome coronavirus. Give thanks for the development of vaccines, and pray for scientists, medics and healthcare staff, as well as many other key workers, who daily put themselves at risk for the good of others.

o

We are so fortunate in many ways. As you count your blessings, remember those in countries where war, ‘natural’ disasters, widespread poverty and corrupt government make life precarious

Do you have something you would like to add to this prayer list? Or would you like our prayer team to pray confidentially for an individual or a specific situation? Please email elainemoff@aol.com

Thought for the week

Over the past few weeks, Gert has been encouraging us to find that centre point in ourselves where God dwells, to go deeper, to understand more, to recognise the spiritual. I am reminded of two quotes:
“Wisdom isn’t something you get from a guru or a reward for performing certain actions. Wisdom is about inner work and transformation. Wisdom isn’t knowing more; it’s knowing more deeply, with more of yourself.”
Cynthia Bourgheault (1947-)
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

Practice for the week

Our first instinct when we look for knowledge or wisdom in to use our intellect, to engage our will – logic, reason, working out, making decisions…
This week, look within, be aware of your emotions, pay attention to what your senses are telling you. Dreams, symbols, art, music, metaphor, stories…
As Jesus said, “let those with eyes to see, see, and let those with ears to hear, hear”… look, listen.