Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

The King’s Cave

During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” a close encounter of the arachnid kind.” The legend goes that Bruce inspired by a patient and hardworking spider diligently attempting to spin its web despite many failures resolved to return to mainland Scotland and continue the fight to free his country from Edward’s oppression.

Whether or not the cave on Arran that Marion and I visited was the actual place is open to question but what is undoubted is the beauty of the scenic views the coastline which contains the cave offers. Uninterrupted views across the water to the Mull of Kintyre with gannets diving for fish a few yards offshore and black guillemots nesting in the cliffs above the cave. The natural history was more of an  attraction than the rather more dubious medieval history surrounding Bruce and the spider. In any event when I was at school the scholarly opinion for the location of Bruce’s self-imposed exile was Rathlin Island off the coast of Northern Ireland. But wherever the encounter between King and spider did or did not take place the point of the story is one of encouragement never to give up.

Encouraging one another is at the heart of the Christian faith and way of    living. Paul exhorts the Galatians,

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”(Gal 6:9)

Often today, as in the case of Robert the Bruce long ago, we can be driven by circumstances in our lives to give up. It is at this point that a word of encouragement offered in love can make all the difference. If we know someone who needs such encouragement at this time let us offer it to them.

Jesus encouraged his disciples to love one another and in so doing to reach out with his love to the world.                

There is much in this world that tends to discourage but let us take an example from the lesser known Biblical character, Philemon, a friend of Paul’s to whom he wrote with gratitude –

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon: 7)

 As the  summer holiday season approaches Marion and I wish you all a very happy time and, if you are and  going away, may you return refreshed and encouraged.

Shalom

Bill

Politics?

As I write the General Election is over by less than a week and the Prime Minister is in the process of putting together an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to secure a parliamentary majority going forward. Needless to say the two sides don’t agree on everything and a compromise will have to … Continue reading Politics?

Fake News

Dear Friends, I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that this month, on Thursday the eighth, we have a General Election and all the main parties have been, for what seems an age now, wooing us for our votes. It is certainly not for me to tell you for whom to vote … Continue reading Fake News

Remember Watergate?

In June 1972 there was a break-in at the Democratic Party’s Headquarters located in the Watergate building in Washington DC. It went virtually  un-noticed at the time but due to the investigative journalism of two Washington Post reporters, involvement in the break-in was traced back to the White House. The attempt to cover up the … Continue reading Remember Watergate?

Snowdrops

At this time of year the snowdrops are in full bloom in the manse garden and they seem to get more and more each year. They remind me of my native, Ayrshire, as snowdrops grow in abundance there along the hedgerows and in the woods at this time of year. But the snowdrops also remind … Continue reading Snowdrops

Trade

I am writing this in the week in January when the Prime Minister has been making a major speech on the government’s Brexit strategy and the term “trade deal” has been bandied about freely. I am sure it wasn’t necessarily the intention of the PM but it is a timely reminder that “Fairtrade Fortnight” is  … Continue reading Trade

Standing on the threshold

I think this is the first time since I became your minister that I am writing my letter for the January magazine after Christmas. I thought the services over the Christmas period at both Elmers End and Emmanuel went well and it was wonderful to welcome so many who do not come to church at … Continue reading Standing on the threshold

Faith

I heard a caller say on a phone-in radio programme earlier this month  “2016 has been a frightful year.” They were referring to the uncertainty brought about by the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as the next US President. The continuing war in Syria and the terrorist attack in Nice and other … Continue reading Faith

The Russians are Coming

I am writing this on the day when the BBC news reports that the Russian Fleet (bound for Syria) is sailing through the English Channel shadowed by ships of our own Royal Navy whose job it is to monitor their progress away from British coastal waters. For some reason this news bulletin brought to mind … Continue reading The Russians are Coming

Harvest Thanksgiving

At Elmers End we celebrated our Harvest Thanksgiving on 18th September and Emmanuel celebrate theirs on 9th October. Harvest is a very important festival in the Christian Church and it is right that we celebrate it. Unlike Christmas and Easter it doesn’t commemorate a significant event in the life and ministry of Jesus but none … Continue reading Harvest Thanksgiving

Greece!

By the time you read this it will just be a few days before Marion and I and our group set off for Greece – in the footsteps of St Paul. We shall be visiting all the places Paul visited in his journey through Greece as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. We start … Continue reading Greece!