• - I can’t breathe

    George Floyd is now known to all of us. His last words, ‘I can’t breathe’ have been burned into our psyche. Another victim of seemingly racially motivated police brutality in the US. If nothing else, this shocking episode serves to make us realise we cannot ignore for a moment the injustices that continue to perpetrated throughout our world. It is all too easy, at times like this, to turn in on ourselves, shutting our eyes, our ears, our minds and our hearts to what is happening in places like Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories, other places too.

  • - Pentecost

    This weekend is Pentecost. What many refer to as the ‘birthday’ of the Church. It reminds me that for many of us, celebrating birthdays has been very difficult this year; whether it be our own birthday or that of someone close to us. And not just birthdays. Other notable occasions have had to be ‘put on hold as it were’. But of course, we only have one ‘birthday’. And so it was with the church. God, through the Holy Spirit breathing life into the world, bringing the Church into being, enlivening the world, transforming the world, putting God’s indelible mark on its unfolding history. It is this we are called to do. As a congregation of God’s people, as individual Christians, we are called to leave an indelible mark on our particular generation as others have done who have gone before us. At the present time it is difficult to imagine just how this might be done, and yet when I look around me, I see a thousand acts of kindness being shared between total strangers. Covid-19 will leave its own indelible ‘stain’ upon our history, but what is being done because of it, even in spite of it, that will leave its own indelible mark. I am grateful to all of you for the part you are playing in such acts of kindness. Thank you…

  • - Ascension Day

    Tomorrow, Thursday, is Ascension Day. After witnessing Jesus being taken from them in a cloud, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait; to wait for what Jesus had promised them, power from on high. They were forced to stay behind locked doors. They were afraid of what would happen to them. No indication as to how long the wait would be. For them, it was to be a mere 10 days. For us it seems like for ever. I sense there is a rising tide of impatience regarding the lifting of lockdown. It is as if the fairly minimal relaxation that we are presently experiencing is acting as an incentive to go further, faster. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the re-opening of places of worship. I know that numbers of you are eagerly looking forward to the Free Church being open soon. I, and the Elders appreciate this, but at the same time we have to be both careful, and cautious. So, please continue to be patient. When we are ready, and when we are satisfied that we can function with minimal risk to anyone who attends, then will be the right time, but not until then…

  • Greetings to you all. I trust that everyone of us is continuing to stay safe and keep well. I realise that the longer we are ‘locked down’ the harder it is for many of us. But we have to believe that it will be worth it in the end, and anyway, as we have seen, the alternative is too awful to contemplate, so please, hang in there…

  • - We need to be realistic

    It is anticipated that this coming weekend the Govt will make an announcement concerning a ‘route map out of lockdown.’ We should not expect anything to happen immediately; certainly not before the end of May. Of course, all of us are looking forward to what might happen, but as the saying goes, ‘we should be careful What we wish for.’ It would be a great shame if the progress made during the lockdown period is jeopardised by an over exuberant response to even the most modest lifting of restrictions…

  • How is everyone? They often say that the weather matches your mood. Up until today (Tuesday) throughout nearly the whole of the lockdown period we have been blessed with almost continuous sunshine which has meant that for those of us who are able, opportunities to go for long walks in and around the Heath and its extension. Even those of us confined to gardens have been able to enjoy being out in the fresh air. It has helped us enormously; of that I am sure. Today, it is cold and wet and miserable, and I imagine that is how many of us are feeling right now…

  • Dear Friends, Hello again to you all. I trust that everyone of us is continuing to maintain our discipline. The longer the time, the harder it is I’m sure, but it is still very necessary to be vigilant… …During this week, please think about and pray for those very many people doing their best to maintain the disciplines of self-isolating, and/or of social distancing in spite of the very difficult and challenging conditions of their home and family life. We are very fortunate to live where we do, and whilst ‘lockdown’ is an inconvenience, we have the compensation of being able to enjoy wide open spaces, spacious gardens, well appointed homes, and generally speaking a comfortable existence. For many others, it is not like this. Pray especially for those living in cramped conditions, those with no access to gardens or green spaces, those who have little money for food, those whose relationships are under stress; for those with children who have to be kept entertained, those caring for dependant relatives, those living alone…

  • Once again, greetings to you all from the Manse. I hope that everyone of us is managing to cope as best we can with what is happening. Already there is talk of ‘relaxing’ lockdown restrictions and while this might seem to be good news, we need to realise that we still have to be vigilant. The next couple of weeks will tell us an awful lot about what we can expect to happen but for now we just have to be patient. Just because living where we do has shielded us to a degree from the worst effects of the virus, we must be mindful of those for whom it continues to be a very real threat to their health and their livelihood. So please, continue to maintain the discipline that has kept us safe thus far…

  • And so, we find ourselves well into quarantine/lockdown/self-isolation. It is quite likely that by now we have adapted to some form of routine. There is a sense in which are just settling down, waiting for it all to be over. We are trying to keep busy, to amuse ourselves, to make the best of it. For some of us, maybe just a few of us, this will prove to be a liberating time; an opportunity for decluttering in every way. Or a time for taking stock; being able to realise just what is important to us, what is necessary, what is vital. But for many of us it will be nothing of the sort, it will just be a case of counting the days, watching the clock. By now, we are all to a degree staring to get bored with it all…

  • Dear Friends, ‘The Light Shines in the Darkness: The Darkness shall never overcome it’ This last Sunday was one of the very few Sundays in the last 30 odd years when I have not conducted an act of worship from within a church building. It was very strange indeed. And I know for many of you, regular attendees at the Free Church, it must have felt the same. We have a building to be proud of, and even when empty remains a powerful symbol to God’s continuing, active presence in the community… …But as this time of total lockdown unfolds, we have to accept that the Church is primarily made up of the people. The challenge for us all is to do the best we can to comfort, to strengthen, and to encourage one another through all of this. To be Church’ requires that we realise that each one of us bears some responsibility for each other. Whilst I will do my best to share information, make suggestions, and identify resources to as many of you as I can, it will be for every one of us to find a place in our hearts for everyone else… …Charity really does begin at home: many of us have our immediate families, those with whom we share our lives every day and they have to be our first priority at this time. We should do all we can to ensure their safety and security as well as our own. And then we go beyond ourselves reaching out to those who are precious to us, those for whom we have a particular concern; extended family, immediate neighbours, those whom we know who need our help, if we are able to give it… …But then there is our church family. Keeping in touch with one another will do us all good. Many of us are on e/mail, and most if not all of us have a telephone. We have a copy of the church directory. Why not reach out to one another by contacting one another? Go beyond those who we know well, get in touch with those who until now have only been a ‘name’ or a ‘face’, introduce yourself and have a chat. This will be important especially for those of our number who live on their own and who for now have no prospect of physical company with others. And please feel free to telephone/message me too…I could do with some company as well and I intend to send a letter like this every Wednesday, and to circulate some devotional material in time for every Sunday morning… …In the Gospel, we read of Jesus sending out His followers, (the 70 or the 72 depending on which Gospel you read), and when they came back, they told of the miracles they had witnessed. As a congregation; you, me, we together are being sent out in the same way…One day we will reassemble…Until then, be sensible and stay safe…

  • - I can’t breathe

    George Floyd is now known to all of us. His last words, ‘I can’t breathe’ have been burned into our psyche. Another victim of seemingly racially motivated police brutality in the US. If nothing else, this shocking episode serves to make us realise we cannot ignore for a moment the injustices that continue to perpetrated throughout our world. It is all too easy, at times like this, to turn in on ourselves, shutting our eyes, our ears, our minds and our hearts to what is happening in places like Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories, other places too.

  • - Pentecost

    This weekend is Pentecost. What many refer to as the ‘birthday’ of the Church. It reminds me that for many of us, celebrating birthdays has been very difficult this year; whether it be our own birthday or that of someone close to us. And not just birthdays. Other notable occasions have had to be ‘put on hold as it were’. But of course, we only have one ‘birthday’. And so it was with the church. God, through the Holy Spirit breathing life into the world, bringing the Church into being, enlivening the world, transforming the world, putting God’s indelible mark on its unfolding history. It is this we are called to do. As a congregation of God’s people, as individual Christians, we are called to leave an indelible mark on our particular generation as others have done who have gone before us. At the present time it is difficult to imagine just how this might be done, and yet when I look around me, I see a thousand acts of kindness being shared between total strangers. Covid-19 will leave its own indelible ‘stain’ upon our history, but what is being done because of it, even in spite of it, that will leave its own indelible mark. I am grateful to all of you for the part you are playing in such acts of kindness. Thank you…

  • - Ascension Day

    Tomorrow, Thursday, is Ascension Day. After witnessing Jesus being taken from them in a cloud, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait; to wait for what Jesus had promised them, power from on high. They were forced to stay behind locked doors. They were afraid of what would happen to them. No indication as to how long the wait would be. For them, it was to be a mere 10 days. For us it seems like for ever. I sense there is a rising tide of impatience regarding the lifting of lockdown. It is as if the fairly minimal relaxation that we are presently experiencing is acting as an incentive to go further, faster. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the re-opening of places of worship. I know that numbers of you are eagerly looking forward to the Free Church being open soon. I, and the Elders appreciate this, but at the same time we have to be both careful, and cautious. So, please continue to be patient. When we are ready, and when we are satisfied that we can function with minimal risk to anyone who attends, then will be the right time, but not until then…

  • Greetings to you all. I trust that everyone of us is continuing to stay safe and keep well. I realise that the longer we are ‘locked down’ the harder it is for many of us. But we have to believe that it will be worth it in the end, and anyway, as we have seen, the alternative is too awful to contemplate, so please, hang in there…

  • - We need to be realistic

    It is anticipated that this coming weekend the Govt will make an announcement concerning a ‘route map out of lockdown.’ We should not expect anything to happen immediately; certainly not before the end of May. Of course, all of us are looking forward to what might happen, but as the saying goes, ‘we should be careful What we wish for.’ It would be a great shame if the progress made during the lockdown period is jeopardised by an over exuberant response to even the most modest lifting of restrictions…

  • How is everyone? They often say that the weather matches your mood. Up until today (Tuesday) throughout nearly the whole of the lockdown period we have been blessed with almost continuous sunshine which has meant that for those of us who are able, opportunities to go for long walks in and around the Heath and its extension. Even those of us confined to gardens have been able to enjoy being out in the fresh air. It has helped us enormously; of that I am sure. Today, it is cold and wet and miserable, and I imagine that is how many of us are feeling right now…

  • Dear Friends, Hello again to you all. I trust that everyone of us is continuing to maintain our discipline. The longer the time, the harder it is I’m sure, but it is still very necessary to be vigilant… …During this week, please think about and pray for those very many people doing their best to maintain the disciplines of self-isolating, and/or of social distancing in spite of the very difficult and challenging conditions of their home and family life. We are very fortunate to live where we do, and whilst ‘lockdown’ is an inconvenience, we have the compensation of being able to enjoy wide open spaces, spacious gardens, well appointed homes, and generally speaking a comfortable existence. For many others, it is not like this. Pray especially for those living in cramped conditions, those with no access to gardens or green spaces, those who have little money for food, those whose relationships are under stress; for those with children who have to be kept entertained, those caring for dependant relatives, those living alone…

  • Once again, greetings to you all from the Manse. I hope that everyone of us is managing to cope as best we can with what is happening. Already there is talk of ‘relaxing’ lockdown restrictions and while this might seem to be good news, we need to realise that we still have to be vigilant. The next couple of weeks will tell us an awful lot about what we can expect to happen but for now we just have to be patient. Just because living where we do has shielded us to a degree from the worst effects of the virus, we must be mindful of those for whom it continues to be a very real threat to their health and their livelihood. So please, continue to maintain the discipline that has kept us safe thus far…

  • And so, we find ourselves well into quarantine/lockdown/self-isolation. It is quite likely that by now we have adapted to some form of routine. There is a sense in which are just settling down, waiting for it all to be over. We are trying to keep busy, to amuse ourselves, to make the best of it. For some of us, maybe just a few of us, this will prove to be a liberating time; an opportunity for decluttering in every way. Or a time for taking stock; being able to realise just what is important to us, what is necessary, what is vital. But for many of us it will be nothing of the sort, it will just be a case of counting the days, watching the clock. By now, we are all to a degree staring to get bored with it all…

  • Dear Friends, ‘The Light Shines in the Darkness: The Darkness shall never overcome it’ This last Sunday was one of the very few Sundays in the last 30 odd years when I have not conducted an act of worship from within a church building. It was very strange indeed. And I know for many of you, regular attendees at the Free Church, it must have felt the same. We have a building to be proud of, and even when empty remains a powerful symbol to God’s continuing, active presence in the community… …But as this time of total lockdown unfolds, we have to accept that the Church is primarily made up of the people. The challenge for us all is to do the best we can to comfort, to strengthen, and to encourage one another through all of this. To be Church’ requires that we realise that each one of us bears some responsibility for each other. Whilst I will do my best to share information, make suggestions, and identify resources to as many of you as I can, it will be for every one of us to find a place in our hearts for everyone else… …Charity really does begin at home: many of us have our immediate families, those with whom we share our lives every day and they have to be our first priority at this time. We should do all we can to ensure their safety and security as well as our own. And then we go beyond ourselves reaching out to those who are precious to us, those for whom we have a particular concern; extended family, immediate neighbours, those whom we know who need our help, if we are able to give it… …But then there is our church family. Keeping in touch with one another will do us all good. Many of us are on e/mail, and most if not all of us have a telephone. We have a copy of the church directory. Why not reach out to one another by contacting one another? Go beyond those who we know well, get in touch with those who until now have only been a ‘name’ or a ‘face’, introduce yourself and have a chat. This will be important especially for those of our number who live on their own and who for now have no prospect of physical company with others. And please feel free to telephone/message me too…I could do with some company as well and I intend to send a letter like this every Wednesday, and to circulate some devotional material in time for every Sunday morning… …In the Gospel, we read of Jesus sending out His followers, (the 70 or the 72 depending on which Gospel you read), and when they came back, they told of the miracles they had witnessed. As a congregation; you, me, we together are being sent out in the same way…One day we will reassemble…Until then, be sensible and stay safe…