Greetings to you all.  I write this article mid-April and barely a feeling of Spring.

Hopefully by the time you are reading this we will have at least enjoyed some sunshine and warmth and be feeling ready to cast off our winter clothes and seek out lighter summer wear.

Let me reflect upon the season of Lent leading us up to Easter and how we journeyed through those cold, dreich, weeks.

In church we enjoyed the warmth and loving fellowship, even if we had to finish early on one occasion due to snow falling heavily outside.

Our services have been reasonably well attended and I hope meaningful and helpful on the Lent Journey.

2018 is designated as Year of Young People (YOYP), and at the end of January we had a wonderful service where 4 very talented children from Laurieknowe School came and shared with us what friends meant to them.  Their essays were both witty and meaningful and gave us much to think about as well as much to thank God for.

Thinking Day saw our Church once again filled with our Youth Organisations and we were ably led by our Praise Group in singing one of the new hymns commissioned by Church of Scotland to celebrate YOYP.

Its first few verses are:

A little bit of imagination, a little bit of inspiration, Everything, everything
A little bit of energy, a little bit of creativity, Everything, everything
Every single little thing our young people bring (x2)
Our church is singing, we’re celebrating

A little bit of awkward questions, a little bit of new directions, Everything, everything
A little bit of shaking up, a little bit of waking up, Everything, everything
Every single little thing our young people bring (x2)
Our church is singing, we’re celebrating.

Here at Maxwelltown West Church we are indeed blessed to have Youth Organisations and I hope and pray that we will develop stronger links between Church and our Youth.

Holy Week saw Laurieknowe School come and celebrate Easter in our Church and once again very joyful, rousing singing and suitable Bible Passages were read clearly and meaningfully by school children.

We welcomed Dumfries Christian Network on Good Friday when we led a quiet, contemplative service and enjoyed fellowship over refreshments and goodies.

Easter Sunday saw a good attendance in Church and the singing of favourite Easter hymns was a particular highlight and when you have a good congregation singing ‘Thine be the Glory’ we can be assured our Lord Jesus heard us and blessed our service.

During Lent, Mr. Crossan and I set up a Bible Study Group.  We shared a reflection of our favourite Psalms.  Those who have joined us have agreed to continue and we will meet every Thursday in the Committee Room at 7pm from 26<sup>th</sup> April, when we will be studying and reflecting upon the Book of Acts.  So please accept this invitation to join us.  No skills or knowledge are required except the Love of Jesus in your heart.

Once again, I thank those of you whom I have been privileged to visit in Hospital, Nursing Home or in your own homes, for welcoming me and blessing me with your stories of life and love.  Whilst I am still amongst you I will continue my pastoral visits.  Please let me know if you know of any member who you think would benefit from a visit.

So as Maxwelltown West Church looks forward to an Interim Minister coming amongst you to lead you on your Next Journey, I promise that I will continue to keep you all in my prayers, and my love will be with you on every step of that Journey.

Let me finish by quoting from 1 John ch 4 v 7-12:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Your Loving Brother in Christ,

David Matheson