Our magazine is published four times a year. This is the latest edition – December 2020.
You can scroll through the complete edition below, and read or download any previous issue using the links in the left-hand menu.
Christmas Newsletter 2020
Greetings to everyone
Wow! What a very strange year 2020 has turned out to be. A year which began with so much hope and promise, but sadly turned out to be a year dominated by the Coronavirus.
Locked down in our own homes, many of us felt fear and anxiety. No visits from loved ones or indeed neighbours. Yet many of us were blessed by neighbours and help came often in many different ways. Indeed we saw something of a much more caring society and neighbourhood suddenly re-appear.
And now we have the devastating news of Rev Sally’s death. Sally was such a blessing for Maxwelltown West Church when she became your Interim Moderator in May 2017. Her love of life, her infectious laughter, and her thoughtful guidance, brought a real sense of hope for our future. May sally rest in peace, safe in the arms of Jesus. We will ever be grateful for her enormous contribution to the wellbeing and future of our church.
At the end of this very strange year, may we look towards the joy and peace of Christmas. Yes, it too will be very different, and yet I hope that will help us to focus our thoughts on Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey of over 90 miles. No cars or buses. Just a dusty, bumpy journey at best on a donkey. Mary of course in the late stages of pregnancy. How difficult and arduous that journey must have been. Then to arrive and find Bethlehem teeming full of people and nowhere to stay. A simple stable sufficed for the BEST CHRSTMAS PRESENT the world ever received. Love came down at Christmas – God came to dwell amongst us in human flesh.
So let us despite all the difficulties, celebrate the real meaning of Christmas and the real joy of God with us – Behold the Lamb. May God bless you all with a joyful and very happy, peaceful Christmas, and may God grant to each of us a very Happy and Healthy 2021.
God’s Blessings be with you all.
Brownies are back!
We resumed our meetings in the church hall on 17th November with 12 Brownies and 3 Leaders coming along. Brownies will be different due to Covid-19 restrictions and we have adapted what we do to ensure everyone stays safe. However, hopefully Brownies will still be fun which became apparent with the first game ‘Simon Says’ as there was a lot of laughter whilst the game was in progress.
Girlguiding introduced a new award in 2020 and Nina was delighted to be our first brownie to achieve a Bronze Award with a badge and certificate presented to her. During lockdown, the Unit Team achieved a Highly Commended certificate form Girlguiding Dumfriesshire for Unit activities in 2019.
We hope to hold a total of three meetings before Christmas and then resume on 12th January 2021. In 2021, we would like to be able to have new girls join us. Interest in any section of Girlguiding should be registered at www.girlguiding.org.uk/interested.
Restarting of Movies in our church buildings
With the recent change to Tier 1 we would be able, with appropriate measures in place – such as masks or visors, 2.00m distancing and taking of bookings as for church worship – we would be able to recommence showing the movies which had to be suspended after February. This would be a boost to our morale and a return to near normality.
As we are entering a busy season of church activity, we will not be able to start a new programme until the early part of 2021. Your views and feedback would be welcome.
The Movie Team
Church services online
The services throughout the year from lockdown can be made available on DVD for those who may not be able to watch them via the Church Website or YouTube.
If you are able to play DVDs on your TV, please let us know; if there is sufficient demand we can arrange for you to catch up with what has been sent out over the last 9 months.
The Tech Team
Church Finances Report, by the Treasurer Team
As the end of the financial year approaches, we can confirm that we have managed to meet our Ministry and Mission allocated amount, and have paid the staff wages, cleaner’s invoices, and Locum salary in full. In a year when our income has been under unprecedented pressure this is truly an accomplishment, especially since we have also successfully invested in the technology to continue sending out the Christian message, enabled on a weekly basis by the great and ongoing efforts of Mike Marshall, our mission and ministry maestro, and a few willing helpers, including Stephen Crosbie, our dedicated organist.
During the unprecedented lockdown period, we have forfeited our Hall rental income of around £6000 per annum. The numbers attending church have also been restricted since we have resumed Sunday worship, resulting in collections being considerable reduced compared to normal. Thankfully around 30% of the congregation contribute their givings by standing order, which has provided a vital lifeline to our ongoing finances. In addition, those who have been in attendance have continued to give generously to our foodbank boxes, which has been met with true appreciation by the food bank organisers.
A Bank Mandate is attached at the end of this newsletter. We would encourage all members or adherents to consider using this as a convenient means of regular giving, to allow us to continue the good works. To all those who already donate in this way, thank you. Every contribution is vital at the best of times, and all givings in the current circumstances is all the more deeply appreciated, continuing supporting our wonderful church and all our efforts. Some of us were surprised to realise it has been fully 11 years since last held a “Stewardship Campaign” – and with even the Chuirch of Scotland head Office advising that this should be revisited at 3-yearly intervals, we would just like to gently remind everyone to consider reviewing the amount of your givings. Many of you will already have considered this, for which we thank you. It all makes a difference, however much that may go too often unsaid, and every amount contributed is appreciated.
Update from the Christmas Tree Sponsorship Team
David Johnson obtained a 15ft Nordham Pine Tree, which was erected and decorated with lights on Saturday 5th December, all thanks to an enthusiastic group o9f helpers, and which was connected up and switched on by Hamish McNaught.
In many previous years, we have been the grateful recipients of a tree generously provided by the Lions Club. However, as many of you will know, this provision has no longer been possible for this year. David suggested that we could offer our followers sponsorship of a light in memory of a loved one, to defray the cost of the tree, and with any excess going to this year’s charity, CrossReach.
Our charity giving would normally have been from a collection at our Christmas Eve Carol Service. As this year’s Carol Service will be streamed online at 7.00pm on Christmas Eve, there is no system in place for a collection.
If you wish to sponsor a light, please make a contribution in an envelope marked “tree light sponsorship” and place it in the weekly collection, or send it by post to: The Treasurer, Maxwelltown West Church Halls, Rosemount Street, Dumfries DG2 7AG (Do not mark the outside of the envelope in any way which might suggest a donation inside).
Maxwest Contact Issue 41 REDACTED MARCH 2020