Mention was made in an earlier newsletter of the Cairn which was built during the General Assembly Sunday event in Princes Street Gardens. Our Elder Margaret Jamieson took a couple of stones to add to the cairn and one of them was taken back to Stewarton St Columba’s church in the Presbytery of Irvine and Kilmarnock and that congregation is remembering us in their prayers throughout the year.
I brought back with me an unnamed stone, and it has been on the Communion Table since the Assembly. Each week in the Prayers for Others, and using the words David Arnott used during the worship each day, we remember one congregation in one of the Presbyteries of the Church of Scotland.
We are almost half way through the Presbyteries and in each case the minister of the congregation remembered is someone whom I know, or someone whom the congregation known. I have purposely done this, as it does make it easier to visualise the situation. On the Tuesday after the service, I send an email to the minister saying that we remembered their congregation the previous Sunday. A number of appreciative responses have been received, with the promise to share the news with their congregation the following Sunday, and to remember Carnoustie Panbride in their prayers.
Some of the ministers studied with me, some are former members of the Presbytery of Angus – David Taverner, Robin Mackenzie and Colin Caskie; others are ministers in congregations where I used to worship when on placements during my agricultural studies (St Mary of Wedale in Stow), or congregations where I know there is some link with Carnoustie Panbride (Langholm).
Through this aspect of our worship, we are reminding ourselves that our ministry is not just something we do within the parish boundaries of Carnoustie Panbride. There is a very real ministry in remembering others in our prayers. Incidentally, after the service at the end of October when Imentioned in the sermon some of the ministers who had influenced me in my life, a lady in the congregation asked me if the John L Kent was the minister who had been in Cathcart South in Glasgow – indeed it was – and she told me that he had married her parents and baptised her! He also baptised me! I know it is a cliché, but it is a small world, the Church of Scotland!
However, I want to finish this letter by acknowledging a ministry which does take place within the parish. The ministry of flowers. Each Sunday after the service, the flowers which are gifted to the church are delivered to people within our congregation and parish who have been bereaved, or are ill at home or in hospital, or whom we wish to remember for some reason. I know how much this is appreciated and I also know that when flowers are delivered it is often much more than a knock at the door and handing over of the flowers. Very often those delivering flowers are invited in and sometimes are able to help the person by listening and just “being there” – and this can be demanding.
There are many instances of members of our congregation exercising a ministry like this – and they do so quietly and without fuss, by just being there. Thank you – you may not be aware the impact of your ministry – but it is profound.