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Minister's blog

28 Sep

ken Gray 


Kenneth's blog 

November 2023

As we see the pictures of destruction in Gaza and read about the ongoing fighting it is hard to imagine why anyone would want to live there. Yet we know that land is precious to many people and tied up with their very existence.

This is true for the Jewish people who have come to live in Israel in their millions since the end of the Second World War and it is true of the people who have also lived there for centuries.

It is a hard circle to square and to those of us watching from outside it is much easier to put forward solutions. Any 'solution' which is found outside is unlikely to satisfy everyone inside!

As Christians our task is to pray for the people and for them to have changed hearts to each other.

Humanly speaking it seems an impossible request; but nothing is impossible for God. Kenneth

October 2023

Jesus tells us that there will be wars and rumours of war. Despite that we have led our lives thinking that wars are a

thing of the past.  In my lifetime I can think of two Gulf Wars,Civil war in Bosnia, Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia and now

war in Ukraine and Israel. At the same time several African countries are in the midst of power struggles which look a

lot like war.

In the 1960's Peter, Paul and Mary sang the song ' Where have all the flowers gone'  it had the refrain ' O when will they ever learn'.

That was really an anti- Vietnam war song-however with so much going on the world at the moment,  we might well be asking the same question. Kenneth

I wonder how many passwords and number sequences you have?

I have a list of them at home and I sometimes forget what the different numbers and passwords are for!

It may partly be lack of interest,  possibly age!!, of that some of them are rarely used. 

Nevertheless when we want to get into an account or a website it is very frustrating to be denied access.

Yet there is no need to have a special code to get into heaven- which is after all a very special place- all we need to do is to accept that Jesus is Lord and to share that faith with others. Kenneth 


August/September 2023 

In our morning services during August and September we will be looking at the book of Proverbs.

Written mainly by King Solomon these proverbs cover almost every aspect of life and faith.

They speak about such things as laziness " Look to the ant you sluggard", faith " Trust the Lord with all your heart", causing trouble " For as churning the milk produces butter, so stirring up anger produces strife" ,friendship " A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother". However, the main theme is to seek wisdom above everything else. Today we often confuse progress, growth, and wealth with wisdom but they are not the same.

Wisdom is eternal truth which rests in an understanding that God is holy and unchanging. That wisdom doesn't conform itself to our human ideas or current accepted wisdom.

I believe that many of our problems are caused by forgetting wisdom and embracing the spirit of the age Kenneth

Over the next few weeks, we are looking at some of the Psalms ( 28-33) in the morning service and 2 Timothy in the evening. This is all happening as we look forward to the coronation of the King on the 6th of May. One verse from Psalm 33 seems to me to be especially relevant at the moment.

Psalm 33: 12;

" Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."


Our country is going through something of a crisis at the moment.

There is the continuing economic impact of the war in Ukraine, Covid and inflation. The problem seems more acute because so many other countries are suffering in the same way; to a greater or lesser extent.

There is political turmoil in Scotland and an impasse in Northern Ireland.

There are clearly some issues within the Royal Family itself and we know that many families are suffering from division, hardship and discouragement.

We can add our own list of things which cause us sleepless nights and anxiety.

When the late Queen was crowned there was an altogether more optimistic spirit in the land. ( Although I don't remember it!)

So I simply ask the question; if God is not Lord in the nation what do we expect?


We will be working through Luke's Gospel. In the morning services we will be looking at incidents which all involve money in one way or another!

 It struck me as I was thinking about Easter that Luke has a whole series of events whether actions or stories which involve money. This will culminate on the Wednesday of Holy Week when we look at Judas agreeing to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

When Jesus speaks about money he does so in a fairly neutral way. In the parables he just accepts the existence of money and doesn't make any moral judgement about money- although it is clear that he understands the greed which money can generate in people.

In the use of money he is mainly involved with people who are giving it away or using it as a test of loyalty. In the case of Judas we see how cheaply human life can be valued.  Money itself is a neutral thing; just bits of paper or metal or figures on a statement. It is what money represents that matters to us. It can give us a sense of security or insecurity depending on how much or little of it we have. It can offer the opportunity to buy things which we want or to support work which we feel committed to. It can become a servant or a master.  It is this last point which will be at the centre of our studies. Our aim is to come to the point where we can answer the question " does it master me or me it" It is a proxy for the bigger question; does Jesus master me, or do I master him!"


It just over a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. At first, we thought it only a matter of time before Ukraine would be defeated and forced to give in to the Russian demands. Our thoughts were of helping refugees and in our case the church in Lutsk. However, it doesn't seem to be turning out that way. Ukraine managed to repulse the initial attacks and whilst much of eastern Ukraine is still in Russian hands it is clear that the Russians are struggling to hold on. We don't know how things will finally resolve themselves, but it is clear that good can certainly hold its own against evil. Whilst our friends in the Resurrection Church are having to manage in very difficult circumstances, they too have found that God is at work and the pictures we have seen of people being baptised in the river are evidence of that.

For ourselves the challenge is to keep praying, keep supporting and to keep on giving to support the work of Victor and the team. I know how hard that is; we are all facing increasing demands on our time and resources. However, we need to stand with our friends right to the end. Kenneth 


In Scotland Christmas is often very mild and all the songs about bleakness, snow, frost and cold winds seem a little out of place. It looks very much as if this year will be an exception!

The news seems to be bleak, the weather is really cold and there is a general air of dissatisfaction. Some of that is due to the media who always seem to want to focus on bad news and it sometimes even seems that they deliberately go looking for bad news!

Media was in short supply two thousand years ago. There were no daily papers, no TV or radio and news could take months to arrive from one end of the Roman Empire to the other. It was to such a world that the angel came and said to the shepherds; " Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2: 10

We believe that, that news is indeed for all people- everywhere and in every generation. If you are not in the habit of coming to church why not break the habit of a lifetime and come and join us- in person or online.

It may be that you are looking for good news at the moment; we believe that the gift of Jesus is the greatest news the world has ever received.  Have a Blessed Christmas.  Kenneth

Kenneth's summer blog

"As we move towards the summer we will be starting on a number of different series.

At the midweek meeting we will move from the Book of Daniel to looking at Psalms 100-109- that will take us to the beginning of September.

On the 12th of June we will take a break from our studies in Hebrews and begin a new study in Colossians. At the morning service we will look at the 7 letters to the churches in Revelation, we will begin on the 10th of July.  When we began our midweek meetings at the start of lockdown we looked at the psalms. They contain such a wide range of emotions; from fear to confidence, anxiety to hope, despair to confidence and from doubt to faith.

I heard that the metrical version of psalm 100 is one of the queen's favourite hymns; " All people that on earth do dwell"- it has at it's heart these words:" It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."  There is something comforting in belonging; whether to a country or a group or an organisation. The psalmist tells us that we belong to God; we are his.  The trouble with sheep and people is that they go their own way!  Our challenge is to learn to walk in his way instead." Kenneth


The whole world is now thinking about Ukraine. It is a country which has suffered terribly over the years-it has largely been ruled by other countries and many wars have been fought on its territory. Perhaps for the first time it has been beginning to know some prosperity and feel itself becoming part of the world family of nations.  

It is heart-breaking to see the pictures of destruction as well as watch the millions of refugees making their way to other parts of Europe. There has been much support for them; sanctions against Russia, financial support, weapons provided to them and warm words and promises but ultimately they are fighting alone against a far larger enemy. We have been willing them on and rejoicing in their successes but they must be weary and worn down.As a church we have had an association with the Resurrection Church in Lutsk and so we feel the events in Ukraine personally.

What can we do? If we all resolve to spend a set time each day; say 10.00 am and for a minute just pray for our friends in Ukraine then we will all be involved and active. In Revelation 5 we read of the living creatures presenting golden bowls full of incense before the throne of God; these we are told are the prayers of the saints.  Kenneth 


The poem " One solitary Life" is thought to have been written by James Francis Allen who was a Canadian minister who spent his life in churches in New York and California. The poem was written in the 1920's but became better known in the 1960's and seventies.

It is a poem which looks at the life of Jesus pointing out the humble and unseen nature of his life and contrasting that with his impact on the history of the world.

We will be using the poem to help frame our services over this Christmas.

None of us would describe our villages as obscure- but Jesus grew up in a village much like ours.

He probably worked in the family business and no doubt carried the orders and commissions to the customers. Who knows he may even have known about slow payers and bad debts!

When he was around 30 he set out on a public ministry in which he would engage directly with probably no more than 10,000 people.  He was betrayed by a friend, killed at the behest of a screaming mob and nailed to a cross by disinterested soldiers who gambled for his clothes.

His funeral was a race to get the body in the tomb before the Sabbath came or else it would have been too late.

Yet today that man stands above every other who has ever lived and unbeknown to many we use his words in our everyday speech.

This one solitary life began with the birth of a baby and we will be looking at that birth in the light of what the child became.  Poem attached here : One solitary life

Midweek Services


Since lockdown began we have been running a livestreamed service on a Wednesday night at 7.30pm.

Our sense is that these are still being well received and valued. We intend to keep running them into the new year.

As you can imagine it is a huge commitment from the musicians and AV team and I just want to put my thanks to them on record.

On the 6th of October we began a new series in the book of Daniel. Our plan is to look at the first 6 chapters this year and come back to the final 6 in 2022.  Daniel spent his life serving those who had conquered Israel and Judah.  He rose to great prominence and was used by God to protect his people during those long years of exile. In his personal life he was an example of faithfulness and courage. This is seen especially in his life of prayer.

We are probably most familiar with the Lions Den and the Fiery Furnace but both of these incidents reflect deep faith in the face of persecution.

I am sure that we will find the studies an encouragement in what are still difficult days for us all.




On Sunday 12th September we are going to start a series on Peter in the Book of Acts. In the early chapters of Luke's account Peter is the central figure. As the church grows out into the Roman Empire the focus shifts to first Stephen and then to Paul. Yet these early chapters of Acts contain the story of the beginning of the church and of the challenges which the early believers faced. As we try to find our feet in the wake of the pandemic restrictions there are lessons for us all to learn as, in a sense, we start again!  Peter was clearly an exceptional person but he is a mixture of characteristics. He is often brave- but sometimes fearful. Decisive- yet hesitant. Confident-on occasion unsure.

This is the plan for the series:

Sunday 12th September    Acts 1: 12-17; 21-26 Getting the team right

Sunday 26th September  Acts 2: 29-41 Getting the message right

Sunday 3rd October Acts 3: 1-10 Getting the attitude right

Sunday 10th October Acts 4: 1-20 Getting the faith right

Sunday 17th October Acts 4: 32-5:4 Getting the church right

Sunday 24th October Acts 10: 1-23 Getting the future right

I think that we can all learn from and reflect on these issues!! 

On Sunday 19th September it will be our Harvest Thanksgiving Service a chance to give thanks for all the blessings we have continued to know even in these difficult months.  We will be joined by members of the Young Farmers Club to celebrate the wonder of God’s provision.  In our Bible reading we will look at what Paul says about sowing and reaping in 2 Corinthians 9 : 6 – 15.  Kenneth 


At the end of May we finished looking at the first 5 chapters of the letter to the Romans. From the 8th of August we are resuming that study by looking at chapters 6-8.

In these chapters Paul continues to look at the theme of justification by faith. In the Autumn we will resume the series by looking at the next 3 chapters.In Chapter 6 Paul discusses one of the recuring themes of theology. If we are saved by faith does that mean we can go on doing what we want?  His argument is very clearly developed; we need to become slaves to righteousness and not to sin.In the next chapter he uses the illustration of marriage. This is a legal as well as a social and spiritual relationship. Paul tells us that the law no longer applies when a marriage ends and that this should help us to understand the new relationship which we have with God through faith.In Chapter 8 he speaks about the new life which is found in Jesus and ends with the resounding phrase that we are more than conquerors through the saving work of Jesus.These are chapters which bring us to the very heart of our faith- although they need to be studied carefully!!



On the 6th of June we begin a series in the Old Testament prophet Joel.  We know very little about him. There are 12 other Joels mentioned in the Old Testament but the prophet isn't one of them. We are not even sure if he lived in the 9th century BC or the 5th century BC; although we will assume the earlier date. However he is quoted on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the church. At last weeks General Assembly of the Church of Scotland his most famous words were often quoted; " I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy , your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions."

There was almost a sense of desperation that the church needed that touch of God; yet voted through lots of things which may be counter to his will!!!

However the words of Joel come out of a very particular context. A plague of locusts has descended on Israel and this has left famine and despair in its wake.

As we look at Joel we will be able to link it into our pandemic context and hopefully come to a point where we want to see God send his Spirit upon us in power.  Kenneth



We have started a new series in the letter to the Romans.

Paul sends this letter to help the church in Rome better understand the wonderful truths of the Christian faith. It is the place in which we find the fullest expression of the idea that our salvation is by faith alone.   Throughout the letter Paul makes reference to the place of Jews and non-Jews in God’s plan for salvation.   In many ways it is a challenging book and we will look at the first few chapters before turning to the life of David later in the spring.


It is good to see so many familiar faces in church again and we hope that the number of people who are able to come will increase soon.

In the meantime can I say that there has usually been space available for those who want to come and it would be good if we could be booked out every week!


For the last year people have been asking me how I am managing with speaking to an empty church. The answer is that I have got used to it- even if I don't like it!

I then say " what I don't know is how I will manage when people come back!"

The good news is that we are about to find out!

Hopefully people won't then be saying " we actually like the livestreamed services better!"

We have had to get used to all kinds of new experiences and many of us have gone for very long periods with no visitors in our homes. That has been compounded for many of us by our inability to see family and friends.

I think that we need to make sure that we make every effort to restart the things we did and to re-engage with those whom we love and cherish most. We need to embrace the opportunities which are opened up to us. Our fundamental belief is that we are free people and we need to make sure that as soon as it is possible we begin to live like free people again!!   Kenneth  check out Kenneth's blog on the website  


We are looking at John's gospel in the run-up to Easter. The passages range from miracles, teaching, opposition and heart break. We will see the tension which was caused by hatred, the depth of human love and the deep compassion of Jesus.

At the moment we need to reflect on these things; how do we show compassion, recognise the depth of human love and overcome the negativity which is all around us at the moment.

In John 9: 33 a man who was born blind says this about Jesus:

" If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."





For the last year people have been asking me how I am managing with speaking to an empty church. The answer is that I have got used to it- even if I don't like it!

I then say " what I don't know is how I will manage when people come back!"

The good news is that we are about to find out!

Hopefully people won't then be saying " we actually like the livestreamed services better!"

We have had to get used to all kinds of new experiences and many of us have gone for very long periods with no visitors in our homes. That has been compounded for many of us by our inability to see family and friends.

I think that we need to make sure that we make every effort to restart the things we did and to re-engage with those whom we love and cherish most. We need to embrace the opportunities which are opened up to us. Our fundamental belief is that we are free people and we need to make sure that as soon as it is possible we begin to live like free people again!!   Kenneth  


For the last year people have been asking me how I am managing with speaking to an empty church. The answer is that I have got used to it- even if I don't like it!


I then say " what I don't know is how I will manage when people come back!"


The good news is that we are about to find out!


Hopefully people won't then be saying " we actually like the livestreamed services better!"


We have had to get used to all kinds of new experiences and many of us have gone for very long periods with no visitors in our homes. That has been compounded for many of us by our inability to see family and friends.


I think that we need to make sure that we make every effort to restart the things we did and to re-engage with those whom we love and cherish most. We need to embrace the opportunities which are opened up to us. Our fundamental belief is that we are free people and we need to make sure that as soon as it is possible we begin to live like free people again!!   Kenneth


Our church accounts are currently being finalised for 2020. I have made reference to the wonderful generosity of our members in previous blogs and the simple fact is that our income was almost exactly the same in 2020 as it was in 2019. We ended the year with a small surplus in the general account and everyone who is involved in the Finance Committee is absolutely overwhelmed by the way in which everyone has rallied round to support the church this was. It would be fair to say that the Finance Committee has never before been a place where the words miracle and miraculous have been used; this year they seemed to fill every sentence.

Can the finance committee thank you all for all that you have done; it is truly humbling and of God.

Copies of the accounts will be available soon and you can read for yourselves; who knows you too might be using the " M" words! Kenneth



We are looking at John's gospel in the run-up to Easter. The passages range from miracles, teaching, opposition and heart break. We will see the tension which was caused by hatred, the depth of human love and the deep compassion of Jesus.

At the moment we need to reflect on these things; how do we show compassion, recognise the depth of human love and overcome the negativity which is all around us at the moment.

In John 9: 33 a man who was born blind says this about Jesus:

" If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 


February Blog

On 7th February we are beginning a short series in 2 Thessalonians. We can read about Paul's missionary journey to Thessalonica in Acts 17. It was one of those places where Paul actually caused a riot!! His stay was cut short as a result and he moved on to Berea and Athens.The new church needed to be helped to understand what it meant to be faithful to God in an environment which was hostile to it. The purpose of the two letters to the Thessalonians is to help them to understand these things better.    Second Thessalonians was written about 6 months after the first letter and it shows us how Paul seeks to help them to come to terms with the world in which they lived.  In our current situation with lockdown almost seeming like the new normal there is much to learn from this letter.  Kenneth


Over the last few weeks a number of people have been telling me about either having a letter to invite them for a Covid-19 vaccination or actually having had the first injection.  There is a real air of excitement as we move forward so quickly with the vaccine.

After a year of many setbacks it is good to know that we are in the forefront of vaccinating our population. 

When I was at primary school I remember being told that a vaccine is to be given a little bit of a disease so that our bodies learn to fight that disease. I think my primary school teacher was largely correct in what she told me!

I also remember my gran telling me that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! I suspect that a little knowledge acts like a vaccine- stopping us from wanting to learn more!

I wonder if I can suggest that as we get vaccinated against covid lets resolve to see our knowledge of the scriptures increase.

One way to help in this will be during Holy Week where we will be recording a reading of the whole of Marks Gospel to be watched in chunks during each day- we can hear the whole gospel read in the comfort of our own homes!   Kenneth



happy new yearA New Year message from Rev. Kenneth Gray  

There has been an almost universal feeling that we are glad that 2020 is behind us!

That said the world seems quite similar already!!! However one thing is very different. We now have hope that a vaccine will soon be available and that all the restrictions will eventually be ended. It may be that those hopes will be realised and we will be free of this virus. Sadly it may be that those hopes will prove to be false. I certainly hope that it is the former!! 

Hope is one of the great human emotions which enables us to cope with a vast range of challenges throughout our lives. To use a funny illustration. I once read of a football fan whose team fell 6-0 behind after 75 minutes. He wrote " when the sixth goal went in I knew that there was no way back" It is possible to hope when things really are hopeless!

In one of the most famous chapters in the Bible Paul is speaking about the supremacy of love ( 1 Corinthians 13). The chapter ends like this;  " And now these three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13: 13   Paul doesn't devalue hope by saying that love is the greatest. Hope and faith still remain!!

Our hope and faith are in a God who is love. We give thanks for the wonderful scientists and medical specialists who are fighting this virus on our behalf; and we enter the new year with the blessing of knowing that God who is love.

Hope is not gone; Jesus lives.  Kenneth


16182 jesus our hope A Christmas message from Rev Kenneth Gray

After jesus was crucified two of his friends were walking to a nearby village. They were joined by a stranger and they told the stranger that they HAD hoped that Jesus was the saviour of the world.

A few hours later that hope was renewed when the news emerged that Jesus was alive.

We have had so many false hopes this year that it is easy to despair. For two thousand years through wars, famines, plagues and depressions the message of the angel has never been lost.

" I bring you good news of great a saviour has been born"

 Hope hasn't gone; he was born for us.

Have a very Happy Christmas.  Kenneth



December Blog


Technology- friend or foe?


This week the news has been of well known shops going into administration. Some of the names seem to have been around forever; Debenhams, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins...

I suspect that fashions have changed ( get it!!) and that some retailers have made major mistakes in how the businesses have been financed.

 However it is clear that a lot of shopping has moved online and people are happy to order from the comfort of their own homes.

This has led me to reflect on where we are as a church!

 Hitherto our " offer" has very much been focused on 'come and see, or come and take part'. It has been about coming into the building or in some things about going out from the building.

 For the last 8 months our offer has changed. We have moved online and are competing in a massive, world- wide marketplace.

 Of course the vast majority of those who share the online services are our own members but I know that we have people watching from many parts of Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad.

 The response to the online services has been very positive and thanks for that must go to those who have the technical knowhow to make it happen.

 This is where I have been reflecting! The news this week of the first vaccine being available from next week allows us to think that at some point we may now be able to open the doors again and return to something like 'normal'.

But will we? How many people will now decide that the services are actually better for them at home? How many who have watched at home may now decide to come along to church?

Will we be in a mixed economy with more participants in total but fewer in the actual church?

 Then the next question would that be good or bad?

 The church has always been evolving. We began in borrowed buildings ( in our case in a field!!), later on we built simple structures often without any furnishings of note. Eventually we added heating!!!!, pews, organs, furnishings and in some cases sound systems and loud speakers.

Is going online the next stage of that ongoing response to change and fashion?

 These are just my musings but actually they are the questions we will need to address very soon!!


Advent Calendar


One of the actual changes which technology has made possible is out virtual advent calendar. A large number of people have been involved in this and there is a wide range of types of service as well as the focus of the messages. I suspect that we will not all enjoy them all. However it shows what can be done together even if we remain true to our own core values.







Our Session Clerk, Graeme Harris, suffered a massive heart attack on the 22nd August. We were all in a state of shock not least because he is one of the fittest people we know!

He received instant attention from a nurse and his son Grant and later from the ambulance crew. In the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle he received further wonderful care.

He has made an amazing recovery and we are grateful to everyone who cared for him and to everyone who prayed for him.

To make the joy of the family even more complete Graeme and Margaret became grandparents for the second time with the birth of Caleb Graeme Harris.

With all the progress made we still need to keep on praying for a

full recovery. As a church we have realised that prayer matters and God has taught us a valuable lesson too!!!





Good News


As most of us will know the new livestreaming equipment is up and running. As you can imagine this has taken a great deal of time from those who are managing it. We are especially indebted to Robin who has worked night and day on this and who has been driving force behind it. Indeed Robin was the force behind the livestreaming from the very start and we are very, very fortunate to have him.

Chris has also been very involved in the work and he too has put in many hours of work on our behalf.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the cost of the system and who continue to take an interest in it.


The good news is that we are looking for volunteers to help to run the system- this is an opportunity to be involved from the start and full training will be given and you will never be thrown in at the deep end!!

You can contact either Robin or myself.


More good news

 As we can imagine these have not been easy times for everyone. We continue to support the foodbank with donations of groceries but the opportunity to do so is now very limited as the church is not open.

We have however been able to make a donation towards the work of the Foodbank from the Benevolent Fund and we sent a cheque for £ 750. This has been received with thanks and we are glad that people in real need are still being supported by the foodbank.

 For some families the return to school is always a challenge because the costs associated with uniforms, shoes, bags, stationery, etc place huge demands on families.

We have also made a donation of £ 750 to the Paisley back to school fund which supports parents who need help.

The benevolent fund is available to provide further help and it may be that some of you know of needs which we could help to meet. It may also be that some of you would like to give to the fund and donations can be made if you want.

More Good News

I want to share a few things about the finances of the church. The first thing is to say a massive thanks to everyone for their continuing support for the church. I know that some people have brought forward their givings and others have made great efforts to pay money by standing order or by paying the money in at the bank counter.

I know that others are saving their envelopes up.

If you want John Coventry is happy to collect and bank any offers envelopes which may be accumulating.

All of that said at the end of June our overall income was actually up about 1% year on year. That is a wonderful position to be in I would like to thank you all for the incredible generosity which has been shown.

As always we are indebted to the finance people who are doing a great deal to keep everything going at the moment.


What happens now?


We all know that as the Scottish Government easies the lockdown restrictions that it becomes harder to know what we can and can't do! How many can meet outside? How many inside? How many families? When to wear a mask? The list in almost endless.

 For churches the rules are very complicated and on the face of it a little confused. Indeed they have been changing almost every week as well!!

 The basis rules are these.

 Churches can open for private prayer and now for worship. That said there are many complications to be overcome.

 With social distancing Freeland can only accommodate 29 people with another 5 or 6 allowed in the Pirie. Everyone attending a service has to wear a mask except the worship leader. There can be no congregational singing and the flow of people has to be managed.

There can be no tea or coffee afterwards and social distancing will have to be observed at all times.

 In many ways these are the most onerous rules for any area of society.

 Jim Welsford and Graeme Harris have been putting in hours of work in preparation for a return to worship. The level of detail which has to be addressed in almost overwhelming- we are talking about dozens of pages of forms to be completed as well as all that will be required in relation to cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting.

 About a quarter of churches in the Presbytery have decided to reopen so far whilst others have decided to wait until something more like normal worship is possible.

The Kirk Session will meet at the beginning of September to decide on our response. It may be that we will reopen or it may be that we will decide that the current livestreaming arrangements offer a better worship experience.

If you have views please pass them to me so that I can share them with the Kirk Session.


May 22nd


Thy Kingdom Come


Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that calls on Christians of all denominations to join together in prayer from Ascension to Pentecost.

Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has joined the Scottish Church Leaders Forum in encouraging everyone to take part in

There are full details elsewhere on the website. A couple of weeks ago we had an interruption to our Wi-Fi signal during the Sunday morning livestream. It came just as the point where I was talking about prayer!

Our idea is to run a virtual Day of Prayer starting at 10.30 am on Saturday 30th May and finishing at the beginning of the morning service on Sunday 31st May at 10.30.

We are looking for people to volunteer to fill the slots over the 24 hours. It may be that some of us can commit to more than one slot or that we can manage just 15 minutes. There will be an opportunity to " book" a time on the website so it will be first come, first served!

I really do believe that prayer should be our focus as a church at the moment and it is very encouraging that the whole church takes the same view.  I very much hope that we can fill the full 24 hours.


Church Finance

 The management accounts for the first 4 months of the year have recently been produced and I just wanted to share where we are financially.

 Our giving's have actually increased slightly in the year to date! That runs counter to what some of might have been expecting!

There are a number of people who have brought forward their annual giving and some people have started to give by standing order rather than envelope.

I also know that many of us are saving up our envelopes to bring along when the lockdown ends. I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and thoughtfulness.

There isn't really a " however" but the income has reduced very slightly because of a decrease in non-giving income. Over the next few months we will see a decline in hall rental income for example. The however is that whilst we cannot be complacent we can be thankful that at the moment we are able to function as normal.



 There are too many to mention by name but many of our members are still very active on our behalf.

Those who are involved in the Sunday and Wednesday services as well as the Zoom meetings for BB and Sunday School. The GB have had a virtual display and presentation.

The administration carries on and there has been a need for continuing work on the fabric of the building.

One of our neighbours pointed out that there was a smell from the church drains and we are now regularly flushing the toilets and running the water !

perhaps the single most important thing  is that we keep in touch with each other, pray for each other and encourage one another.


On a personal note can I say how much I appreciate all the positive comments about the services and it has been amazing to find that we have more worshippers online than we have normally!

We hope to be able to continue to livestream the services when this is all over and there will be something about that in Freeland News which should be coming to us all fairly soon.


April 20th

Thank you to everyone for colouring in the crosses. I hope that you will take photographs ( or do a drawing) of your street and send it to the link so that we can show them before the service each time we have a livestream.

I know that the website has plans for a boat and I am hoping to speak about a boat this Sunday- of course not really about the boat- but there is a boat in the passage!!


Please remember people who have loved ones in care homes and hospital at the moment. It isn't easy to visit and lots of people are missing their loved ones. Lets pray for them to feel peace.


Easter Sunday

As usual we will have a family service on Easter Sunday. I am hoping to build a tomb in the church to help us understand what happened on Easter Sunday.

Hopefully the camera will not be too shaky!


Holy Week

Thank you for all the positive comments after the Holy Week services. Robin has some idea of how many people are tuning in but for those of us participating it

is hard to know if we are speaking to ourselves or not!


Easter Blog 

Holy Week Services

We will continue to have services each evening of Holy Week. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday they will be Livestreamed from Freeland.

The theme is " Going Home" and we will explore the fall, the consequence of the fall and the glory which is now ours through Jesus Christ.

Each night we will listen to the theme from the New World Symphony which has been used as a basis for a hymn, known as Going Home.

On Thursday and Friday the services from St Machar's will be shown on our Facebook page. These will be pre-recorded.

All of the services will be streamed at 7.00 pm and will be available for viewing afterwards.

If anyone would like to watch the services and doesn't want to use Facebook then email the website or myself and they can be sent to you as an attachment.

At the moment everyone is saying that these are strange times. I know that some people are struggling to sleep properly and others are finding it hard to cope outside of our normal routine.

It is good to recognise that these are difficult times and the next few months afterwards will not be easy either.

What has struck me is just how well people are being supported and encouraged at the moment.

It may be that some of us have been missed. If that is the case please get in touch. there is a group in the church who are willing to help and I am very happy to do whatever I can as well.

Please don't hesitate; as we are rightly reminded every day, we are all in this together!



March 2020 Blog

Dear Friends

I saw a programme on television recently in which the principal characters were discussing children leaving home to go to university.

One said this; " The thing is, once they go then they never come back"

That isn't always entirely true and of course most of our children do keep in touch and come back regularly. However we do know that being away from home

changes them and broadens their horizon.

For the next few weeks we are going to be away from home!! We will live stream the morning service for as long as possible and hopefully that will be until we can meet again for worship.

We also hope to have a midweek talk in place of the Bible Study and Housegroup meetings.

I did have a message after the service yesterday saying that the person had watched the service from bed! Lets hope that doesn't catch on!

So lets pray that we will be home together before too long.

Thank you to everyone for the positive feedback after the service yesterday. I think that it went very well- I did notice a few things about myself which I will try to put right next week!!

I just wanted to say that thanks are due to Robin for getting everything sorted out in order to make it happen.

We are also very fortunate to have Nicola, Graham and Dave to lead the music and work the AV system..

For the first time we had a bouncer at the service; Chris Lawrence, our church officer, he was there to keep people out -not to drag them in!!

January Blog

We are delighted to welcome one of our missionary partners, Lorna Ferguson, who will be with us on Sunday 26th January.

In the morning she will be speaking about the challenges of being a missionary in Japan. She will use Joshua 3 to make the point that sometimes the challenges seem to great for us but God is in control. She will also speak a little about the difficulties of dealing with David's illness and death whilst pointing people to a God of miracles.

In the evening Graeme Harris will interview her to help us to get an insight into her work in Japan.

We will also be continuing our studies in the life of John the Baptist.

 At the moment the Church of Scotland is embarked on a process of reducing the number of Presbyteries from 45 to 12.

In the local area we have decided to unite our Presbytery ( Greenock and Paisley) with Dumbarton Presbytery.

We hope to complete the process by the beginning of September which is an ambitious target.

I am involved in this as I am the Business Convener of the Presbytery whilst Hanneke is part of the committee which is working out how the new presbytery will be structured.

Our hope is that the new structure will be one where the presbytery supports the congregations rather than annoying them!!!!


One or two people have asked how the different parts of the Christmas story fit together.  Just a quick explanation why Jesus was born in 4BC,  there was a 4 year error made by a Roman monk/mathematician Dionysus Exeguus when the calendar was set in 525 AD

Here is a simple attempt to put things into chronological order.   

King Herod died late in 4 BC.

Jesus was born in early 4BC.  Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem because of the census.

The shepherds came to the baby and the angels sang to his praise.

8 days later Jesus was circumcised in Bethlehem. ( In Luke 1: 59 we are told this in relation to John the Baptist; " they came to circumcise the child")

So a priest or priests came to fulfill this.

At the same time he was given his name.


41 days later the family went to the temple and made the sacrifice which was usual for poorer people- the magi had not been by this point or else they would not have been poor!!

Simeon and Anna bless the child and praise God.


After this the family returned to Bethlehem.

In Matthew 2:1 we read this " After Jesus was born". That phrase sets the scene for the visit of the magi. Matthew uses the word" paidon" to describe Jesus, that means young child.

Luke calls Jesus " brephos" which means baby.

In Matthew 2:7 we read that Herod had asked the magi " the exact time the star appeared". The magi therefore visited a child who was a few months old.

They brought their gifts and worshipped Jesus.


Joseph is then warned in a dream to flee to Egypt, the family then returned to Nazareth in 3 or 2 BC



08 Jan
ken Gray

We start a new series at the morning services on Sunday 13th January.

The overall title is " People God Called" Until the end of February we will be looking at 8 different people from the Old and New Testament including one who was called but refused! One of the underlying points will be that God hasn't stopped calling people.

Meanwhile our evening services continue to look at the early chapters of Johns Gospel.


Freeland Church

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