PASTORAL LETTER  –  JANUARY 2021

 

Dear friends,

 

There is a well known story in St Mark chapter 2 verses 1-12, where some friends bring a man to Jesus on a stretcher. There is such a crowd, they cannot get near, so they carry their friend up to the roof, make a hole, and lower him down to rest at Jesus feet. And Jesus says to him “Your sins are forgiven; take up your mat and walk.”

When I was a child, I wondered if it was easier to say “Your sins are forgiven,” because no-one could see . If you said “stand u and walk” and the person didn’t – how embarrassing!

As an adult looking at this story, other thoughts come to mind: what did those at the back of the crowd think was happening? What did the owner of the house think when his roof was destroyed?

Assuming those at the back could hear, but not see what was happening, they would have heard the debate about authority between Jesus and the Jewish clergy. Imagine the whispers going around: “what did he say? No. That is blasphemy” – only in a loose sense – but who will standon the letter of the law when things get heated in a debate with no negotiation?

Mark ends the story by saying everyone was amazed, and therein lies the problem.

Some would be amazed and full of wonder, eager to tell the story. Others would be amazed and horrified, and rather than try to understand Jesus, try to undermine Him.

We are seeing a similar problem in our own times. How to respond to the second wave of Covid 19 . Fewer people are observing the rules this time, we are told. That “we are all in it together” sentiment has been replaced by “I will do what I want”.

Then there is the fallout of Brexit; Donald Trump being banned from Twitter after disputed elections and riots in Washington.

Attack the person, not the problem?

I wonder what Jesus would have done? Did he set about repairing the broken roof (a good way to clear the mind while working)? Did he go for a walk on the shore (a good way to see things differently)?

Whatever happened, as we read on, we discover that Jesus found a way to balance the arguments over forgiving sins with Godly conversation (constructive), while some of the scribes looked for ways to destroy Him.

PRAYER

Lord, when I am facing opposing views, help me to find a way to understand, and to respond in love rather than hate, whilst keeping faith with you.

Amen.

From the Ministry Team

Revd. Steve Fulcher: Parish Minister

I was born in Kent in a Christian family and brought up through the Church. I had a personal experience of Jesus when I was fourteen and that eventually led to me offering for full time ministry. In 2003 Chris and I moved to Scotland and transferred to the Church of Scotland from the Methodist Church. I served first on Islay and then down in the Borders. In 2012 we moved back to Argyll, settling in Southend and now serving the linked parishes in the Team Ministry of South

Revd. Christine Fulcher: Parish Assistant and Ordained Local Minister

I grew up in Gloucestershire and was very involved in the life of my local Methodist Church. After leaving school, I trained as a teacher and taught mainly in Early Years SEN settings. In 2008, I was accepted as a candidate for Ordained Local Ministry and trained through the University of Aberdeen. After my ordination, I was based in Oban for five years, then took on the role of Ministries Coordinator for part of the Presbytery. In March 2020, I joined the newly formed Team Ministry here in South Kintyre.

Matthew Ramsay: Session Clerk for Saddell and Carradale Parish Church & Reader

I was born on 18/01/47. I have lived all my life in Carradale and have always been involved with Church. I attended Sunday School Bible Class and became a member of the ”the kirk”. I was ordained an elder at and became Session Clerk in November 2005. I feel very passionate about the church. I trained for three years in becoming a lay preacher having preached in mostly Kintyre for a number of years. I am delighted with our linkage being now South Kintyre.  

Malcolm Ronald: Session Clerk for Southend Parish Church

I am 65 years old and have been retired from farming for just over 3 years.  I have been married to Inez for 42 years and we have a son, two daughters and two grandsons. I attended church from a young age and have been a member of our church and choir for about 48 years. I have been an elder 33 years and became Session Clerk early in 2020.  Our South Kintyre Linkage has had a difficult start with the virus shut down, but I hope we will soon be able to meet with our Highland and Carradale friends.

Elizabeth Kennedy: Session Clerk for Campbeltown Highland Parish Church

I was brought up in Glasgow where I attended Sherbrooke St Gilbert’s Church through Sunday School, Bible Class and Youth Fellowship. After this I lived in Cape Town and attended St Andrew’s Presbytery Church when there was still apartheid and St Andrew’s was much a mixed-race church. Coming back to Scotland and Campbeltown, I visited the local churches and I was drawn to the Highland where my family was made most welcome. I became one of the Sunday School staff and then the Superintendent, working with the young people in the Bible Class. My job as a teacher took me to Iona where I lived for thirteen years. Iona was a tremendous experience and, due to circumstances, I was involved in taking services in the parish church. On my retirement I returned to Campbeltown and the Highland where after a few years became the Session Clerk. Again, I have been involved in the delivering Sunday services. I have recently taken the Presbytery’s course for local worship leaders.