What a pleasure it is to say that – dear FRIENDS.
Most of us have friends, and very likely a few close friends, both in the church family and beyond. I encourage you to keep your friendships in a good state of repair.
At Christmas time, the powerful secular influence of consumerism can create tensions and weaken relationships.
Hold tight. Dig deep. Stay close. Celebrate all that Christmas means to you, in the company at best or in thought at least, of those you love and value.
Christ and I wish you a very happy Christmas and a memorable and meaningful New Year.
Deepest blessings and kindest regards.
Tuesday 1st October 2019: Rev Alan Livingstone - Pulpits, Politics and Planning
An excellent attendance for our first meeting of the Session – 19 of us altogether with only three apologies. Hopefully we can keep this up.
We had an excellent afternoon with Alan as he took us through his career from his early years in Dunfermline at Primary School, High School and College. Before becoming a Minister he spent several years in various churches as a Reader. Also while in Perth he served for a term as a Local Councillor and had several trips abroad on Council business. Alan, as you know, always has a story and there was indeed an abundance of stories to accompany his talk. Sorry too many to quote here. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and only wished he could have gone on much longer.
15th October 2019 : Royal Voluntary Services - Jan Bell
Jan is the Principal of the Dundee Branch of the Royal Voluntary Services based at Victoria Hospital Dundee – this was originally the WVS. This is a national charity dependent on local volunteers to give support to elderly people in NHS hospitals and communities. Their work covers a wide range such as – Home from Hospital which offers support to elderly people in the transition from hospital to home; Community and hospital transport; Home help services; Socialising and helping to build up their confidence to be able to cope at home; befriending visiting the elderly who live alone and have nobody, and many more. It is a very worthwhile service and entirely manned by volunteers. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer they should contact Jan Bell at Dundee 642030.
29th October 2019 : William McGonagall - Jim Lochhead
Again another good attendance of 24 with 3 guests and also nice to have Mary McMichael back with us once more.
Jim certainly knew the life of William McGonagall very well. McGonagall is thought to have been born in Edinburgh in March 1825 and he died in 1902 and is buried in Greyfriars Parish in Edinburgh. There is some doubt about his birth as it is also documented that he was born in Ireland. He was a Scottish weaver, poet and actor and was best known as a poet albeit an extremely bad one. He spent most of his life in Dundee working as a weaver, and writing poetry and acting. He gave readings of his poetry on occasions but these usually turned out riotous and he was belted with rotten fruit and other things. He travelled to London and also New York but didn’t achieve the fame he expected and returned to Scotland and continued to write and perform until his death in 1902.
Jim’s charity is Giraffe a social enterprise which helps jobseekers meet new friends, build up confidence and learn new skills.. If anyone feels they would like to help call 01738 449227 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org.. Jim has a list of talks of very interesting people and we will certainly have him back on the next syllabus. All his donations are given to the Giraffe Charity.
Tuesday, 12th November 2019 : The New Kirk Singers - Mary Ralston
Once again we had a few guests with us to hear the New Kirk Singers. Their programme this time was titled ‘Heavens Above’. They began with the following selection of songs about the Sun: The Sun has got His Hat On; Bring Me Sunshine; Sunrise Sunset; Sunny Side Up; The Sun will come out Tomorrow; Solo ‘The Sun Whose Rays’.
The Moon selection: Solo The Moon and I; Moonlight Bay; By the Light of the Silvery Moon; Solo Moon River; Fly Me to the Moon; Piano Solo Clair-de-Lune; Moonlight Serenade; Moonlight and Roses; Shine on Harvest Moon; a short Quiz where we had to guess the tunes; Long to be Close to You.
And to finish The Stars: Catch a Falling Star; I’ve told Every Little Star; When You Wish Upon a Star; You Are My Lucky Star; Swinging on a Star. Encore: Deep in the Heart of Texas. A excellent programme with two lovely solos and the pianist’s playing of Clair-de-Lune and also allowing us to join in. Another must for our next syllabus.
Tuesday 26th December 2019 : Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 10th December 2019 : Our Christmas Lunch - If you haven’t yet given your name there’s still time to do so. See either Nancy Jack or Evelyn Cox.
STARTING DATE IN 2020 is Tuesday 11th February: Sitting exercises with Marguerite Ruffle.
(Nancy is due the gratitude of us all for her hard work and organisation throughout the year which is to the benefit of us all. Indeed she deserves a break for a Happy Christmas. EMC)
SALEM CHAPEL AND MUCH SADNESS
Our friendship with members of Salem Chapel goes back many decades and because of this precious connection we share and grieve with them for the painful path lying ahead. The death of Mrs Phyllis Crook, as recently as 13th September, was a tremendous loss for all of her loving family, her church family and a very large wide circle of friends. Her faithful dedication to every angle of Salem Chapel`s life was given with heartfelt sincerity and love and the timing of her passing was acutely poignant for all who knew and loved her.
On Sunday 24th October, barely six weeks later, an unforgettable Celebration of the Life of Salem Chapel with a Final Service of Holy Communion was held to mark the closure of this precious building. This chapel was opened for divine worship on 6th October 1872 and down the road stood our own Ward Chapel (as we were at that time) which opened in 1833. It can be said truthfully that we were friendly neighbours for over 50 years.
This unforgettable service was honoured with a packed congregation of caring and sensitive friends along with an impressive representation of ministers both local and further afield. Rev Alan McGougan, their current minister, conducted this very moving celebration with warmth and dignity. and with the five colleagues participating brought much reverence and compassion for this sadly auspicious day which brought to a close the 147 years of the presence of this United Reformed Church – to be fondly remembered in our hearts as Salem Chapel.
Eagles Wings Trust
24th September 2019
Dear Friends at Dundee Congregational Church,
Thank you so much for your donation of harvest vegetables and £50 to Eagles Wings Trust. Your generosity makes a huge difference to our work, allowing us to continue serving the homeless and most vulnerable in our city.
We have a lunch time drop in and evening soup kitchen in the city centre offering hot drinks soups and sandwiches to those who come along. We generally see about 20 to 30 folk at each. Everyone who comes along is welcomed with love and without judgement. We offer whatever support we can give – even if it is just a listening ear. We have drop in clinics with Dundee North Law, Shelter and the Council Connect Team. We can also refer to the food bank, clothing bank, Starter Packs and residential rehab centres.
We rely entirely on donations so thank you so much again. We are also incredibly grateful for your prayerful support.
Mike, Fee, Alison, Kirsty, Rob and all at Eagles Wings Trust
A Nativity Tale of Precious Innocent Childhood
The teacher was trying desperately to get three twelve-year-old boy to act out the parts of the three kings, but with little success. When they got to the crib where the pretend baby was lying, each boy in turn showed awkwardness and embarrassment. The teacher, too, was growing more and more frustrated as she tried and tried again.
`This time,` she said, `as you come and look at the baby, say something – the kind of thing people say at home when they see a new baby.`
The first and second boys just couldn`t get it right. Then came the third boy and, looking into the crib he said `Oh, isn`t he like his father!`
(He that has seen ME has seen the Father also)
(from A Basket of gems by Mark Stibbe)
A Tale for Thought
His name is Bill. He is a student. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and scruffy trainers This was his wardrobe for his entire four years at college.
Across the street from his accommodation is a conservative, well-dressed church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but they don`t know how to go about it.
One day Bill decides to visit the church. He walks in with scruffy feet, jeans, his T-shirt and wild hair. The service had already started and so Bill walks down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can`t find anywhere to sit. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says a thing. Bill gets closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realises there are no seats he just squats down right on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time the minister realises that from the back of the church one of the deacons is slowly making his way towards Bill. The deacon is in his eighties, has silver-grey hair and a smart three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he approaches Bill everyone is thinking to themselves, `You can`t blame him for what he is about to do.`
It takes a long time for the old man to reach the boy. The church falls silent. Nothing can be heard save the tapping of the deacon`s cane. All eyes are focused on him. The minister has paused before beginning his sermon. Everyone holds their breath.
And then they see something amazing. The deacon drops his cane on the floor and with great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill so he won`t be alone. Everyone gasps. When the minister regains his poise, he says. “What I`m about to preach you will never remember. But what you have seen you will never forget. Be careful how you live as
you may be the only Bible some people read.
A D V A N C E N O T I C E
Rev Dave Taylor`s charming son David has very kindly organised a special Cabaret Night next year to raise funds for our organ care. The details are below and will be mentioned again in the next Newsletter.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire
Cabaret Presenting Pat Cairns as Neil Diamond and Kenny Rogers.
Venue: Lochee Burns Club, Muirton Road Dundee. at 7.30p.m.
Raffle and small buffet
Tickets to be available from Lindsay Craig.