The Lent appeal has so far raised £1996, thank you so much to everyone who has donated. There is a small amount still to be handed in – so the total should be over £2,000. Gift Aid will also be added to this. The money collected is to be split between:
Thank you for your support.
I am very conscious that some time has passed since we mentioned in worship and by letter that some of us had attended gatherings of our cluster group in February and March.
One of the things that emerged from those meetings was to try and collaborate with St Catherine's and Marchmont St Giles. Negotiations have started in earnest, and we have more meetings this month because a timetable has been framed that requires a draft presbytery plan by June of this year.
In essence the ministry allocation is being halved by 2025.
...This creates many challenges and I think it is fair to say that no congregation will be left unaffected.
Our conversations have been very positive and encouraging and we were working together through Holy week, at Christian Aid and will be worshipping together also. None of us know exactly what will emerge from these discussions, but it is certainly my desire that what is proposed and eventually realised is a plan that will be sustainable, and life-giving and see MUC very much engaged and involved in the mission of the surrounding area as we go forward together. We will keep you up to date with how things are progressing as we go forward.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you would like to discuss this further.
We will do our best to answer any questions or concerns as they arise.
With every blessing,
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,
If you are struggling to know how to pray for today’s situation in Ukraine, we invite you to pray this prayer:
Your will for your people is peace, not war.
Pour out on our world, especially in Eastern Europe, your Spirit of compassion and solidarity.
Grant all those who believe in you the strength to be close to those who suffer
and the courage to resolve their differences and conflicts in truth and without resort to arms.
Be with the widow, the orphan, the refugee and the peacemaker.
Bind us all into the peace of your Kingdom.
Through Christ our Lord,
Prayer written by Father Damian Howard
Online services – these will restart Sunday 13 February.
Coffee Mornings – The Thursday coffee mornings continue to be enjoyed by our members, friends and the yoga group who join us after their class. We are very much hoping our local care homes may join us soon. Our next coffee morning will be Thursday 27 January from 10.30am – noon in the Small Hall.
We are so pleased to be able to report that the floor in the Main Hall has been finished.
It looks wonderful!
We’re sure that everyone will enjoy being back, and would like to thank everyone for their patience.
Interested in hiring the Main Hall or any of our other facilities?
Thank you to everyone who has helped with putting flowers in the church since it has opened. They really do brighten everyone’s spirits.
I intend restarting the Flower Rota from January 2022 and would be delighted for anyone to give me her/his/their name to fill a Sunday slot or two. May I remind you do not have to be an expert flower arranger: a bunch of flowers from a supermarket, a small posy in a vase, a pot plant or a full arrangement as you wish - all are enjoyed, and variety is nice. Some people wish to do flowers for a special occasion or anniversary, others just when it suits. Men are as welcome and able as ladies to do this, and we welcome families and children doing flowers together. Please just have a go, you may surprise yourself and enjoy it. Your help would be much appreciated.
If you wish to put flowers in the church but cannot do so yourself, please ask someone else if he/she could do them for you. If you wish to give money to a flower fund, please give it to me or Lesley Donald.
0131 261 4908
We are glad that we can welcome a Waldensian minister in training. Giovanni has written this biography for you. Please make him welcome and be kind to him.
My studies have also been enriched by the preparation of a series of lessons on worship and liturgy with Prof. Hiltrud Stahberger Vogel and, by three years of collaboration with pastor Luca Negro at the Baptist communities of Albano Laziale and Grosseto.
As for my pastoral experiences, these have taken me to the Waldensian Church of Verona during the summer. Here I got to stand in for the pastor and I was able to carry out ministry and biblical studies within a multicultural context. This was a new and highly stimulating world for me. Another important experience was being locum pastor for six months at the Waldensian Church of Vasto.
In 2018 I carried out international activities by participating in the Protestant Forum for Young Theology in Europe. This was entitled "Taking responsibility, give hope, being visible" organized by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) and the Evangelischer Bund Hessen. I also took part in the international volunteering project promoted by the AIESEC association entitled “woman in Power (UN global goal gender equality).
I am looking forward to spending time here in Edinburgh and meeting both members of the MUC congregation and people from further afield.
Article by Jemima Parker
SEPT 2021: In just a few days one of the most important conferences to be held in recent years will take place. The global climate summit, known as COP26, will be held in Glasgow during the first two weeks of November.
The importance and relevance of COP26 cannot be underestimated given the domination of our news headlines, over recent months, by one environmental crisis after another - from extreme heat events and frequent wildfires, to catastrophic floods and biodiversity loss.
Events like these are becoming increasingly commonplace and, as our scientists predicted, are a result of climate change, they are now a reality for us here in Yorkshire, just as much as they are in distant lands. If left unchecked climate change will make life on earth at best far less comfortable and at worst unbearable.
There is however, still time to do something about it, if we can act more swiftly and implement the big global wide changes that are needed to curb fossil fuel emissions and boost nature recovery.
These summits, known as the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP) are where amendments to the global agreement on climate change are negotiated. The first COP was in Berlin in 1995 when most of the world had yet to register the significance of climate change. Twenty-six years later, COP26, co-hosted by the UK and Italy, will be the most significant since COP21 in Paris in 2015.
What emerged from COP21 is referred to as the Paris Agreement, a landmark in the multilateral climate change process, because for the first time a binding agreement brought all nations into a common cause, to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
The Paris Agreement was a breakthrough because it allowed all nations to make a pledge – or a nationally determined contribution – which if delivered (a crucial point) should start to slow the rate of global warming, with the ultimate aim of limiting the average level of warming to at least 2°C, and ideally to 1.5°C.
These figures don’t sound like much, but they are massively significant for two main reasons. First, they are global annual averages and there will be big variations around the world, with the extremes being much higher and enough to trigger massive disruptions, including making some areas effectively uninhabitable. Second, the science is clear that 1.5°C of warming is a crucial tipping point. Stay within 1.5°C and we retain control of our future climate – but go beyond it and we risk triggering ‘run away’ climate change. In other words, if we go beyond 1.5°C of warming we lose control of our future, as a range of feedback loops kick-in where warming unlocks natural cycles that then drive further warming. One key natural cycle (there are many) relates to the melting of extensive areas of permafrost which currently contain huge quantities of methane that if released would drive further warming.
Before the Paris Agreement, the world was headed to 4° or 5°C of warming – well into the range of runaway climate change. The pledges made at Paris (if they are delivered) should limit warming to around 3°C – still well beyond that crucial threshold. But Paris included provision for these commitments, and their delivery, to be reviewed after five years. Glasgow is the Paris-Plus-Five COP, where this review happens, so it is crucial that the commitments are upgraded and each country explains how it will deliver on these carbon cutting promises.
The prospect of accelerating climate breakdown, caused by our fossil fuel emissions into the biosphere, and biodiversity loss, is an unpleasant one to think about. In its most extreme form, it would mean the end of organised human society. It’s not the earth we need to save - it will save itself – but ourselves, from being annihilated, as a result of making earth’s climate uninhabitable.
Big changes are needed in humanity’s relationship with the earth - our only home. Our ancestors were not capable of affecting ‘earth systems’, but we are, and right now our fossil fuel greedy societies are doing just that. Times of change can be turbulent and hard for all of us, but pretending climate change will not affect us and delaying action, as we have seen with the Covid pandemic, will lead to harder and more costly decision further down the line.
The good news is we have all the scientific knowledge and technology we need to transition to a thriving carbon neutral economy, powered by renewable energy. All that is needed is the political will to make it happen.
At COP26 we will be looking to our global leaders for clear strategic action, based not on wishful thinking, but on proven pathways to rapidly curb fossil fuel emissions, and boost nature recovery, to be rolled out at scale and at pace.
It is up to governments of the world to work together to forge these international agreements. Whilst we, as citizens, have a responsibility to remind our government - our political representatives - of the future we want for our beautiful Yorkshire and to show them that we are ready and willing to play our part by embracing carbon action each of our cities, towns and villages.
A good COP would see a global commitment from all countries to stop subsidising fossil fuel industries and the setting in place of an equitable agreement, where the ‘carbon polluters’ support and finance those nations and areas of the UK where climate change will have the most climate impact. The outcome of a bad COP is not even worth contemplating.
Jemima Parker is the Environmental Officer of the Diocese of Leeds, Church of England. She is also the Chair of Zero Carbon Harrogate.
Parker, Jemima (2001 Sept). Zero Carbon Harrogate on why COP26 will be crucial for the future of humanity. Retrieved from https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/environment/zero-carbon-harrogate-on-why-cop26-will-be-crucial-for-the-future-of-humanity-3370598.
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.