A letter from our Locum MinisterDecember 4, 2011
Dear People of Maxwelltown West, (I do trust as we get to know one another that we might see each other as friends).
Some months ago I transferred my Church membership to Maxwelltown West at the termination of my appointment and long-time membership at Kirkmichael, Tinwald and Torthorwald Church. As I live within walking distance of Max West and many of my churchgoing neighbours are members here, it seemed the right time to make this move. (Last winter’s weather might also have been a factor!!)
I came as a member of the congregation, but circumstances have changed that status. As you all sadly know, Gordon’s return to duty, rejoiced in by us all, has been interrupted as he faces once again the punishing chemotherapy treatment which is endeavouring to keep his illness at bay.
With the departure of Sandy Geddes, we are left with a ministerial gap, which, after discussion with our Interim Moderator Rev Donald Campbell and Gordon, endorsed by the Kirk Session, I have agreed to partially fill as your Locum Minister. This appointment covers Sundays plus the equivalent of one other day’s work, so it’s not a full-time job! But, as I have done in all the other parishes in which I have served, I am happy to do all that I can to maintain and encourage the full life of the Church during this time of difficulty. My answer phone is on at all times and I am available for all pastoral matters as required.
We are happily not in a vacancy and Gordon is still the Minister of Maxwelltown West, albeit on sick leave, and be assured that we will be in regular consultation. I will however, be utterly dependent on YOU to keep me informed of anyone in hospital, sick at home, or in any other way in need of a visit. Please leave me details on the phone or in writing, as verbal information at church is liable to be short-lived in my brain!
This situation is very hard for Gordon, Mairi and the boys and we hold them constantly in our prayers. It is also hard for the congregation, as its long term stability has been sorely shaken, but as Gordon said in his last pastoral letter, this is a time for pulling together and willingly sharing the load in maintaining the life and mission of our Church. Helpers are needed in all areas, especially in our youth work. With Rachel’s resignation, the Sunday School and Youth groups need more adults for this essential work. As Mother Teresa once reminded us, “God has only OUR hands to do His work on earth.” BUT, He will never leave us to work in our own strength alone, for every task He calls us to, He always provides the necessary ability.
This is something which I have learned with great joy and relief as I moved from the playing fields as a teacher of Physical Education and Guidance, to the pulpits and pastoral ministry of the Church – a huge jump of faith, but one which reliance on God has enabled me to do in many different parishes in this Presbytery for the past 18 years. And I’m grateful that God does not seem to believe in Retirement!!
As we work together for His kingdom here, let us cling steadfastly to the beautiful promise found in the book of Jeremiah chapter 29 at verse 11. “For I know that the plans I have for you” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future … and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
May God Bless us all