Rector’s Letter – February 2019

Dear Friends,

At the end of a Sunday service, when I enquire if anyone has a notice to give, I never know what is coming. Usually it is a reminder of an event or a request to join a rota but last Sunday at the 10:30 service, I was asked to bless a box! We had heard a passage from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth where he makes it clear that every Christian has been given spiritual gifts, each one equally important, for the building up of God’s Kingdom. In Young Church, the teenagers had also been thinking about Paul’s message and each one had listed what they saw as their personal strengths. They brought a gift box containing these offerings to Communion. They wanted me, as their priest, to pray over it that their gifts would be activated through the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the Church. What a privilege it was to say that prayer! Please continue to encourage and pray for our youngsters and those who are guiding and supporting them and their families in Young Church, Messy Church and the Youth Group. We are so blessed to have them as part of our church family.

Because Easter is so late this year, the season of Epiphany is unusually long. This gives us a chance to hear passages that are not often read in church as part of our lectionary, including some important sections of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians which may help us to think more deeply about our lives together as a worshiping community. I thought that we might make the most of the opportunity to get to know this letter a little better, so in addition to our sermons, the ministry team will be producing a weekly sheet with questions for you to ponder. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in meeting together to discuss these sometime before the end of February.

Paul talks a great deal about the Holy Spirit in his letter so it is appropriate that we have in church this month a flock of paper doves as a symbol of God’s Spirit among us. I am grateful to Sue and Roger for creating the eye-catching installation which, I hope, will attract more visitors to our beautiful church. Thank you also to those who helped put together the display of information about organisations working for justice which is in the Prayer Room. Please pop in if you can to find out more about the work of the local Christian Aid Committee, Start-up Stirling, Grace Chocolates, Thursdays in Black, Amnesty International, Investing in Peace in Palestine and Israel, Traidcraft and Forth Valley Welcome. I would ask you also to look out for information about events during Fairtrade Fortnight at the end of this month which are being planned jointly by Dunblane Cathedral and St Mary’s.

I wish you could have all heard the reaction of Abbey Parkhouse, the Regional Fundraiser for Aberlour Child Care Trust, when I told her on the phone that we had raised £1,000 for the charity! She will be joining us at our all-age celebration on Sunday 3rd February and there will be an opportunity after the service to find out more about the various projects they run the length and breadth of Scotland. Thank you also for the hundreds of stamps you brought for the RNIB and thanks to members of the Craft Group for patiently trimming and sorting them. It is good to have opportunities to support a range of charities in different ways. I look forward to meeting with those of you who are keen to work together to develop this aspect of the life of our church before too long.

Please continue to pray for each other, joining in with our youngsters in asking the Holy Spirit to activate the gifts God has given us for the glory of his Kingdom. I will continue to pray for you all also.

With love,