A New Year Message…

A message from the Moderator, Rt Rev Russell Barr…

‘So what does the New Year hold for you?

Whatever it brings, good or bad, the promise of the Christian faith is that you will never face it alone but always in the company of God, the God who watches over our going out and our coming it, the God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the God who came to live among us in Jesus of Nazareth and lives among us still.

So in the hope and promise of that faith let me wish you and yours a good New Year.’

You can hear his message here.

Service of Welcome

Members of Presbytery joined the congregation of St Margaret’s Church, Glenrothes for a joyful and poignant Service of Welcome and Introduction for Ruth Livingstone, their new Congregational Support Worker on Sunday 4 December. Ruth grew up in St Margaret’s and attended the Monday Group she will now lead. The Service was led by the Moderator and Ally Stark, a friend and fellow MDS in Glenrothes, gave the address. We wish Ruth well in her new post.

Let us build a house

Congregations in Presbytery are encouraged to support World Mission’s Build A House Challenge.

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Church of Scotland congregations have raised more than £215,000 for the Let us Build a House campaign, which is helping rebuild communities in Nepal after the devastating earthquake of April 2015 left more than 700,000 people homeless. From selling the bricks on a cardboard house and building makeshift shelters and sleeping in them, to more traditional fundraisers such as Polwarth’s Grand Canal High Tea, congregations across the country found creative ways to support the campaign.

Iain Cunningham, convener of the World Mission Council praised church members across Scotland for their generous response to the appeal.

“The response from Presbyteries, congregations and individuals to ‘Let us build a house’ has been truly staggering,” he said. “There have been many creative fund raising activities taking place up and down the land and we want to thank everyone for their efforts and for recognising the immense need of people in Nepal at this time.”

Congregations across Scotland say they are not finished yet. This Friday, 9 September, five volunteers from Annandale and Esdale Presbytery will sleep out in a makeshift shelter constructed on from scrap timber and cardboard boxes in Annan St. Andrews Parish Church car park. Then on Saturday 10 September St Andrews will hold a special Nepal event from 10am to 3pm.

“”All the money donated will go to building homes for people in Nepal who were made homeless after the 2015 earthquake,” says Alan Dodds, World Mission convener for Annandale and Eskdale. “The cost of building one house is around £500, and we hope to be able to build at least one house.”

Joel Hafvenstein, executive director of United Mission to Nepal, the Kirk’s partner in the region, thanked everyone who donated.

“We are very, very grateful for the money that has been raised as well as for all of your prayers,” he said. “It’s tremendous and it means a lot to us. We want to use it to build homes for the poorest of Nepal’s homeless people and we are looking forward to putting this money to use.

“Through our 62 year history of service in Nepal, the Church of Scotland has been a faithful partner and it is your help that is making it possible to transform lives for people who have lost everything.”

Joel and his wife Fiona and their sons Caleb, 5, and Isaac, 2, have only been in Nepal since December 2015. But they felt at home almost immediately because both Joel and Fiona had parents who worked for UMN and grew up in the country. They returned at a time of continuing crisis.

More than 8,000 people across Nepal were killed in the devastating quake and a further 22,000 were injured. Roads, schools, hospitals, water and electricity plants were destroyed, affecting more than 8 million of the country’s 31.5 million people.

Focusing its efforts on Dhading, one of the worst affected districts, the mission quickly started rebuilding. UMN has repaired roads and pathways and built new schools, water systems and electricity plants. The mission is also training masons to build homes that can withstand earthquakes and helping people recover the livelihoods lost after the earthquake.

Some remote villages have lost most of their young men to migration, Joel says, leaving women, children, people with disabilities and the elderly living among the destruction. UMN is helping young able-bodied people make a living in Nepal instead of being forced to migrate in search of work.

And the mission’s construction efforts are helping ensure the most remote villages can be reached by car or on foot.

However, progress on building homes has been delayed as charities wait for permission from the Nepali Government, which has taken over a year to decide how to allocate millions in international aid funds across the country.

The government’s register of quake victims has left off many people who should be eligible, Joel explains, including many of the most vulnerable— remote village dwellers who don’t have land ownership documents, for example, or people who can’t read and write.

“We still have heartbreakingly large numbers of people across rural Nepal who are living in desperately inadequate shelters – in caves, tents or under bits of tin.” Joel adds. “At the moment the government is allowing some aid agencies to start the rebuilding, but only if they build homes for everyone. We are keen to do it for the poorest.”

Mission staff have helped 3,800 households in remote areas get onto the register, but the numbers who have been left out are daunting.

“With the best will in the world, the very poorest will struggle to register and be accounted for. Over a hundred thousand homeless households have complained that they were left off the register. So we continue to ask the government for permission to build homes for the very poorest.

“Knowing we have this funding from the Church of Scotland to start building these homes gives us the confidence to keep lobbying to make that happen. And as soon as we get that we will begin working on shelter. ”

Construction in the remote northern hills of Nepal is limited by extreme weather – a monsoon season that runs from July to September and heavy snows that can start in mid-December and don’t melt until March. Joel says his team is prepared to build a new wave of schools this October, and to help people rebuild their houses as soon as permission is forthcoming.

“I can’t praise my team at UMN enough,” he says. “Most of them are Nepali professionals and they are very dedicated. We are longing to get started on shelter, and we will spend every penny that was raised by the Church of Scotland members on rebuilding these communities.

“For the moment we are glad that we’ve been able to help ensure people have clean water, access to electricity and are able to walk safely to their villages. Despite the frustrations, I’m very happy with what we have been able to achieve so far.”

One of the most valuable results of UMN’s work is the uplift it is giving traumatised communities.

“There is tremendous fear,” Joel says. “People have lived through not just the two large earthquakes but also through months and months of aftershocks, when everyone had to run outside and relive the horror they had been through.

“One of the things we discovered that was our presence in the community was tremendously comforting because we were known and had a long history in Nepal. People were telling us; ‘We know we are not forgotten. We know we are not cut off and we are not alone. As we go out into the remote areas and places of real poverty so many people are thanking us.”

New Moderator

Rev Andrew Donald is Moderator of Presbytery for the coming year. The outgoing Moderator, Rev Rosie Frew, spoke of his commitment to Presbytery over the last 11 years. As a member of the Ministries Committee Andrew took on responsibility for the Presbytery Plan which involved a lot of difficult and sensitive discussion and decision making. As Convener of the Ministries Committee he had wide ranging responsibilities. On the Business Committee he has imparted both wisdom and common sense. In his reporting to Presbytery he has always been well prepared and meticulous in detail. All qualities that he brings to the role of Moderator. Andrew thanked Presbytery for the privilege of serving as Moderator.

Record Breaker…

George Luke has just ‘retired’ after being our Presbytery Prayer Co-ordinator for the past 10 years. Thanking him for this long service the Moderator commented, ‘You have brought to this role your passion for prayer and you have worked so hard over these 10 years to keep prayer to the forefront of Presbytery every day of every week. You have set the bar incredibly high for your successor – between the web pages and prayer call, inspiring and encouraging prayer promoters and resourcing Presbytery. 2 highlights stand out for me. The daily prayer meetings with David and Maggie Lunan during their Moderatorial visit to Kirkcaldy Presbytery back in 2007. And the more recent prayer pilgrimage when we took our banner round the churches. Our banner is unique in Scotland in having the names of all our congregations attached to it.

Presbytery heard that 500 copies of Pray Now – People of the Way had been sold through Presbytery (George!!). A record….

 

Welcome

We warmly welcome Paula Civilek to Kirkcaldy Presbytery. Paula has been appointed as our new Administrator. She has spent the last few weeks shadowing Beryl and Douglas and attending meetings as she gets to know Presbytery and Presbytery members. Paula is the Administrator at Pathhead Church. She will be in touch over the summer. Contact details for Presbytery remain the same.

Administrator – kdypres@googlemail.com

Clerk – kirkcaldy@churchofscotland.org.uk

Goodbye…

Members of Presbytery said goodbye and thank you to Douglas Hamill and Beryl Luke at our June meeting. Douglas was sworn in as Depute Clerk to Kirkcaldy Presbytery on 14 September 2004 for a 4 year period…. 12 years on he has decided that the time has come to put away his fountain pen. In her thanks the Moderator said, ‘You have brought to the Clerkship a real commitment to the work of Presbytery, a love of minutes, a forensic eye for detail, and underneath that always impeccably dressed exterior you have been a kind and compassionate advisor, pastor and friend to many.’ In addressing Beryl who has been our Presbytery Administrator for 9 years the Moderator remarked, ‘I often describe the admin side of Kirkcaldy Presbytery as a well-oiled machine. It is. But a power of work over many years has gone into making it so. For that we thank you wholeheartedly.’ Douglas and Beryl were presented with Thank You cards signed by all Presbyters and each received a pewter Iona cross to remind them of this particular Christian service.

Moderators’ Cycle Challenge

Rev Rosie Frew, as Moderator of Presbytery, joined Rt Rev Angus Morrison (Moderator of the General Assembly) and Hannah Mary Goodlad (Moderator of the National Youth Assembly) along with other Presbytery Moderators on a Moderators’ Challenge to raise money for StARS, the St Andrews Refugee Service, a project of St Andrew’s Church in Cairo  http://stars-egypt.org/

On 16 April the Moderators cycled round the Loch Leven Heritage Trail in Kinross-shire, seeking sponsorship for StARS from across the whole country. The aim is to raise £6,000 and we’re getting close!! Please support the Cycle Challenge! Here is the link to the donation site:  https://mydonate.bt.com/events/moderatorschallenge16/291450

Induction

Markinch Church was packed for the Induction of Rev Carolann Erskine  as minister of Markinch and Thornton Parish Church on Tuesday 12 April 2016. The Moderator, Rev Rosie Frew, conducted worship, Mrs Jacqueline Thomson DCS preached the sermon and Rev Peter Neilson gave the charges. We warmly welcome Carolann to the Presbytery.

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Ordinations

 James Bissett and Susan Cord were members of Linktown Church and did many of their training placements within Kirkcaldy Presbytery. We wish James and Susan God’s blessing in their respective ministries. From the Church of Scotland website: 

A married couple were ordained as Church of Scotland ministers at the same “beautiful and moving” service. Susan Cord and James Bissett of Cowdenbeath, Fife were warmly welcomed into the Presbytery of Ross at Knockbain Church in Munlochy near Inverness on Saturday. The couple, who are both 40, said they were both thrilled to be embarking on a new adventure together. Mr Bissett said: “This afternoon was a joy filled occasion, full of love and warmth. “It was a beautiful service which was very moving and even those of our friends and family with little or no church connection felt very much part of and at home in. “For that, we are very grateful to Ross Presbytery. “We are excited by the prospect of becoming part of this community, working with the congregations of Killearnan and Knockbain, and with our colleagues in the wider Ross Presbytery.” Ms Cord will lead the linked charge of Killearnan and Knockbain churches as a Minister of Word and Sacrament while her husband is an Ordained Local Minister who will work directly for the presbytery on a part-time, voluntary basis while continuing to study at Highland Theological College in Dingwall. The role of the OLM is to lead worship, preaching and offer pastoral support – living in and being known by the local community where the Parish minister is not regularly around. Ms Cord, who studied theology at New College in Edinburgh, said: “It is an exciting and somewhat scary next step on a journey I have been on since I was three years old – the age I told my mum I wanted to go to church.” Mr Bissett, who expects to finish his training in 2019, will work where ever he is needed in Ross Presbytery. He said he and his wife were a good team and bounced ideas off each other. Mr Bissett added: “The after dinner conversation can be a bit theological sometimes but we are quite good maintaining a balance and creating space.” The couple will live in the manse attached to Ms Cord’s charge with their two gerbils, Caper and Caillie.