Coffee Mornings – (Small Hall) ...All are welcome for coffee, biscuits and friendship!
Music Performance: Edinburgh Napier University Degree Show – 11 May in the afternoon (TBA)
A Word from the Manse
I recall a conversation with a friend. He had just received the news he had cancer, and the diagnosis was terminal. The doctors were not sure, but perhaps he had months, maybe, a year to live. In the weeks and months that followed his life changed. The reality of this news, very real and present, shaped how he went about the business of living. Plans were brought forward, places and people he wanted to see were made a priority. It got me thinking about how our perception of reality shapes how we live
In the context of the War in Europe, post pandemic life in the UK and the restructuring of our lives and relationships that have followed, our own realities are shaping our lives. In the church this is exacerbated by presbytery plans and closures. Reality can feel bleak, but it doesn’t have to feel this way. Easter is an opportunity given by faith to stop panicking and to live without fear, because it seems to me that much of our living is driven by our fears. Fears about how we look, the future, whether we are loved, our past experiences, jobs, health, homes, children. How much of our living is shaped by the reality of our fears? I know mine is. I can often feel my own fears, their control, oppression, and excitement. But our faith teaches
in the scriptures that God is in all our realities especially when they are challenging.
In the Old Testament, in "Isaiah 43:2. we read "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you".
And so, to the promises of Easter and the empty tomb.
In just over two weeks we are invited to remember the Easter story. Its retelling will resound throughout the world. It will tell us how Jesus' suffering on the cross was an act of love that frees us to live in hope,
certain of a different reality of life. You see, the story of the first Easter shaped the lives of those who first encountered it. For the disciples, the thief on the cross, the centurions, the women of Jerusalem, the ordinary people of the time witnessed to the fact that God showed no partiality because Jesus' unfettered love for humanity was compassionate, all encompassing, profligate and unending. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, paralysed with fear and grief, found themselves somehow strengthened by their encounter with the risen Jesus, and so they were able to respond to this new reality, and went to tell Jesus' friends in Galilee. Jesus' love, made explicit in his death and resurrection, was able to cast out their fears and allowed them to move to a different rhythm of life.
It seems to me then, that experiencing Easter is a bit like experiencing the gift of hope offered by the empty tomb. It does not mean life will be easy or that we won't be taken advantage of as a community or individuals, but it will mean that increasingly we will be able to let Jesus' perfect love cast out our fears, and this means how we live our lives may be profoundly different. We won't have to win that argument, fear the consequences of speaking truth to power, incessantly worry about our future or that of our children or grandchildren. We won't have to exclude this or that group of people, or store up treasures on earth, or, as my friend witnessed, let his terminal diagnosis of cancer crush his remaining life out of him. Easter is for us, the story of the conquering of death and a hope filled life touched by God in the gift of love offered by Jesus.
My prayer for you this Easter is that you will find peace and love, that the risen Lord will help cast out your fears, and transform your lives to live in the moment.
With every blessing,
Church Life at MUC – An Update...
Choral Music and Meditations for Holy Thursday
On Maundy Thursday at 7pm there will be an opportunity for reflection with choral music by Bach, Duruflé, Stainer and Chilcott, interspersed with readings and mediations. The meditations are led by Rev Steven Manders, and the vocal ensemble is directed by Brigitte Harris.
All are welcome.
EASTER CONCERT FUNDRAISER FOR THE BRITISH RED CROSS UKRAINIAN CRISIS APPEAL
The Romanian Orthodox Church warmly invites you to a Charity Choral Concert in aid of the British Red Cross Ukrainian Crisis Appeal, which is currently providing humanitarian relief to people fleeing conflict in Ukraine. Much of their activity is taking place at Ukraine's borders included that shared with Romania, so this charity is particularly meaningful to our congregation.
The concert is on Saturday 16 April at 7pm, at Morningside United Church. We have invited Russkaya Cappella to come over from Glasgow to provide a seasonal programme of music for Lent from the Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Anglican traditions.
welcome your support.
Christian Aid Week 15 -21 May 2022
In the last Link we explained the different format of the Holy Corner Booksale this year - in the Main Hall on Saturday 14 May 10 am – 5 pm and on Sunday 15 May 1pm – 5pm. Teas and coffees will also be available on Saturday14 from 10am to 4pm in the small hall. Many people save up books to donate – which is normally welcomed. However, as already mentioned in last month’s article, this year we are working only with the books we already had collected and stored in the basement. We’re glad to let you know that there is another option to benefit Christian Aid with books you have collected. The George Street Christian Aid Sale run by St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church is also re-starting this year. They have much less space to store books from year to year than we do and are looking for donations for the sale.
The times that donations can be received at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church are:
As well as books, they take antiques, printed ephemera, maps, stamps, postcards, sheet music, records, CDs and DVDs, toys, games and jigsaws.
The George Street Sale runs on
Many people like to visit both sales. Flyers for both sales are now in MUC vestibule. Please take and distribute to people you know who might be interested.
More information is available from David and Lesley Donald if you are interested in helping. You can also use the contact form on the Booksale website. https://holycornerbooksale.wordpress.com/
ENCC – A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
You are warmly invited to join the Edinburgh Napier Chamber choir at their first live performance since lockdown. Presenting a varied programme including songs by female composers along with old favourites, the concert will feature works for choir with several solos and small ensembles showcasing our members. Please join us to show your support for what will prove to be A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.
The concert will begin at 7:30pm on Friday 8 April at Morningside United Church, Edinburgh. Tickets cost £9 per adult, £5 for a concession, and are available on the door. We hope to see you there!
A Prayer for April
Christ the Lord is risen, and as all the world rejoices, singing of his glory with such joyful hearts and voices. May you find that Easter brings you peace and faith and hope anew, and may these blessings fill your heart with joy the whole year through.
Easter reminds us that hope must never be lost, for as dark as the road may seem, there always lies light at the end of it. May all your prayers be fulfilled.
May your Easter be happy,
May your day be bright,
May you enjoy the treats,
And sweet delights.
But remember the meaning,
Remember God’s gift,
Remember the resurrection,
Your soul uplift.
LENT APPEAL Ukraine
Thank you for the generous donations received so far. The money collected
is to be split between:
Cash or cheques in the bucket at church, by post or by electronic payment to the church account are all welcome. If you have a Gift Aid declaration to MUC gift aid this will be claimed and added on – please use a cheque or electronic means, or for cash an envelope with your name on it.
Morningside United Church
Sort Code: 80-02-85 Account No: 00551871
If you use a bank payment, please put the reference “Lent” or “Ukraine”. (Your name will appear anyway). Any cheques should be made payable to MUC – with the account name only on the front of the cheque. If you are posting a cheque and you want to make it clear it is for the appeal rather than a general donation for MUC funds, please put a note separately or on the back of the cheque.
Thank you for your support.
Flowers for April 2022
3 April Mrs Elizabeth MacGregor
10 April Vacant
17 April (Easter) Max Allen
24 April Vacant
If you would like to help arrange the flowers one week, please speak to Maggie McKenzie on 0131 261 4908. Your help would be much appreciated.
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I thank God daily, not just for the beauty we see each day that surrounds us, but also for each other, those we share our lives with. I say this because I have just come in from a lovely walk along the back of Blackford Hill with New College friends; it has been a wonderful afternoon, with the sun shining in a fading winter sky. On the way we saw emerging displays of spring flowers, snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and budding daffodils, standing out against the soil and grass. There was a real lightness in the steps of those people I passed, all enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. There was a sense of Spring in the air and subliminally maybe a sense of new beginnings. Our circumstances are changing and hopefully we can look forward to warmer and longer hope filled days.
It got me thinking, March is just around the corner and the season of Lent is upon us and, for us as Christians, it is significant that the season of Lent always coincides with the arrival of spring; all around we are seeing signs of new beginnings as the earth wakes up from its winter sleep. But the purpose of Lent is traditionally more than just a period of beginning again, it is also a period of reflection, a time for taking stock of our life and our relationship with God. It begins with Ash Wednesday, when we start on our Lenten journey with Christ to the cross, and then on to the joyous Easter dawn and his resurrection. Many Christians, under normal circumstances would celebrate Ash Wednesday saying sorry; resolving with the help of God to turn around their life, change in life’s direction, with the intention to be different from this point forward in a renewed decision to live as disciples of Jesus serving others and renewing efforts to pray. March therefore is a busy month, what with Lent, Mothering Sunday, the clocks going forward an hour, and looking forward to Holy Week and Easter. It is with this in mind that we have much to be grateful for in our parish.
Like many of you I am very relieved that COVID-19 and its effects are slowly dissipating and that we can gather as a worshipping community each Sunday. The work of the congregation continues, many groups are now returning to use the building and the issues of the Presbytery Plan are slowly being resolved.
On a positive note, we hope to appoint Brigitte Harris as our new organist. She has a great deal of experience and was formerly organist at St Andrews and St George's. She is an excellent musician and will work with Evan Cruikshank to re-establish a singing congregation. I am especially happy with the news from the Government that we don't have to wear masks after 21 March. This means people can participate fully in worship and sing and read with gusto, and best of all, we can celebrate the sacraments in person.
March will also see us kick off several new events and groups that will hopefully deepen the spiritual life of the church and congregation.
These events that I have outlined are all part of a bigger plan that I believe the Lord is leading us into this year. The church doors at MUC are open to allow people into the building ecumenically serving people of the parish and University. It is my prayer that we will see more doorways open into the church for those in our community who do not yet know the redemptive love of Jesus. Because that, dear friends, is why we are here: to share that same love with our neighbours, so that they may find themselves caught up in the great story of God. So may you find a way to become a “door” for someone else this Spring so that MUC becomes a true place of welcome in Christ’s name.
With every blessing,
The Christian Aid Week activity that MUC hosts is the annual Booksale.
Before Covid, we were able to raise sums in the order of £15k, and obviously, Covid has prevented us from being able to run any kind of sale over the last two years. However, now there is a plan to run the Booksale in 2022. The sale is organised by a committee that spreads wider than MUC, who have spent time thinking and discussing what might be possible.
The aim is of course to raise as much money as possible for Christian Aid. And to this end we really need help in moving the large volumes of books up and down from the basement. If you can help to move books before and after the sale, it really would be appreciated. There are other less strenuous tasks as well, but that is the main need.
More information is available from David and Lesley Donald if you are interested in helping (email@example.com). You can also use the contact form on the Booksale website. (https://holycornerbooksale.wordpress.com/)
Other Christian Aid week activities may be planned later along with Marchmont St Giles and St Catherine’s Argyle in our cluster grouping.
Edinburgh Bookshop (https://www.edinburghbookshop.com/)
Spektakulär - Scandi Pop-up Shop (https://www.spektakular.co.uk/)
On Saturday 27 November Spektakulär, who used to be on Colinton Road, is holding a one day pop-up shop within our main entryways and the McLeish room (central vestibule located at the back of the sanctuary). It promises to have lots of wonderful gift ideas and decorations for Christmas.
Spektakulär is a Scandi home goods and gift boutique owned by local resident Charlotte Brink, formerly located as a brick-and-mortar shop on Colinton Road. The shop is now fully online, and can be found at https://www.spektakular.co.uk/
We are proud of our neighborhood small businesses, and thrilled to be a location for these events.
Main Hall - The contractors have been contacted and arrangements made for the floor to be fixed at the end of November. We really look forward to this and the resumption of church life there
Falcon Road Flat - The Elders agreed to end the commercial rent for the flat. Now, by arrangement with Link Housing Association and Edinburgh Council, the flat is being leased by the Housing Association for a Afghan refugee family.
Max Carsely - Max would like to extend his grateful thanks to all who contributed to his farewell gift. He is deeply grateful for your help and says he feels blessed to have worked at MUC. He hopes to return to visit us from Berlin at Christmas.
Organ - Max has been temporarily replaced by Evan Cruikshank. Brigitte Harris is helping too. Meantime the Elders will look at longer term arrangements in the next few months
Online services - These will resume. We have purchased a new camera to enable this. Technology seems the way forward in the economy of worship post pandemic.
Romanian Orthodox Community - The shared use of the church on Sundays has proved very successful and it’s wonderful to be able to offer support to this large community of Christians.
Church of Scotland Parish Clusters & Mergers - We shall hear this month about future plans but meantime we seek to work more closely with Marchmont St Giles
Edinburgh Napier University - We have been approached by Napier University to look at developing part of the building for student wellbeing services. At the same time, we have been asked if Napier could use part of the Church for classes because of the shortage of accommodation caused by Covid.
Book Group – This month’s book groups will be held on 11 and 25 November. We are reading Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith.
Children’s work – The elders will be meeting shortly to discuss the children’s work and we will have new proposals for the congregation.
Coffee Mornings – These will be held on Thursday 4 & 18 November in the Small Hall. We look forward to seeing everyone.
Autumn is almost upon us, our harvest festivals are happening, and our thoughts are beginning to turn from summer to winter. Traditionally, this is the time of year when we take stock of things. We celebrate the good things that have happened over the last year and we look to the future.
. Are things better than last year? Let’s hope so! After all, there are many good reasons to believe they will be. Chief amongst them is the successful vaccination program. While clearly there are many reasons to remain cautious, we should remember that we have so many things to be thankful for.
I’m thankful that our building is open, our regular services are all running, we can sing and praise God, and that next week we can have coffee after the services. Fellowship is beginning to seem more normal. The Church Halls are open with social activities and coffee mornings. Of course, there are the usual challenges. Singing while wearing a face mask will never seem a natural idea, and whilst YouTube and Zoom have proven their worth throughout recent times, technology always seems capable of producing challenges.
Looking into the winter months ahead I am reminded of all the things we didn’t manage to do last year including, Remembrance Sunday and our Christmas Eve service. It is my firm hope that we will be able to honour those we love and have sadly passed away at our All Saints service this year, and that our Remembrance Sunday service will be open to more people. For Christmas, I’m sure that my prayers for unrestricted carol singing will be echoed by many.
Times have been difficult and continue to be challenging but I believe we have a lot to be thankful for and even more to look forward to.
With Every Blessing,
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.